The whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) name is derived as a loose interpretation of the bird's call. The genus name Numenius is from Ancient Greek noumenios – it is associated with the curlews because it appears to be derived from neos, "new" and mene "moon", referring to the crescent-shaped down-curved bill. The Whimbrel is also known as "elephant bird" in some parts of the world thanks to the unusual shape of the bill. It has a large body, elongated neck and long bill that is pink at the base. It has long, bluish-grey legs and feet. The Whimbrel is the one of the most widespread of the curlews being present on the tundra, marshes, prairies, shorelines, and mud flats of the Arctic across North America and Eurasia, and wintering on the coasts of six continents.