The stone-curlews, also known as dikkops or thick-knees, consist of nine species within the family Burhinidae, and are found throughout the tropical and temperate parts of the world, with two species found in Australia. Despite the group being classified as waders, most species have a preference for arid or semi-arid habitats.

Temporal range: Late Oligocene to present
Bush Stone-curlew444
Bush stone-curlew, Burhinus grallarius
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Suborder: Chionidi
Family: Burhinidae
Mathews, 1912


They are medium to large birds with strong black or yellow black bills, large yellow eyes—which give them a reptilian appearance—and cryptic plumage. The names thick-knee and stone-curlew are both in common use, the preference among authorities for one term or the other varying from year to year. The term stone-curlew owes its origin to the broad similarities with true curlews (which are not closely related). Thick-knee refers to the prominent joints in the long yellow or greenish legs and apparently originated with a name coined in 1776 for B. oedicnemus, the Eurasian stone-curlew. Obviously the heel (ankle) and the knee are confused here.[1]


They are largely nocturnal, particularly when singing their loud wailing songs, which are reminiscent of true curlews.[2] The diet consists mainly of insects and other invertebrates. Larger species will also take lizards and even small mammals.[2] Most species are sedentary, but the Eurasian stone-curlew is a summer migrant in the temperate European part of its range, wintering in Africa.


A fossil genus Wilaru, described from the Late Oligocene to the Early Miocene of Australia, was originally classified as a stone-curlew; however, it was subsequently argued to be a member of the extinct anseriform family Presbyornithidae instead.[3] The ten living species are:

Picture Name Binomial name
Burhinus oedicnemus0 Eurasian stone-curlew Burhinus oedicnemus
Burhinus indicus, central India Indian stone-curlew Burhinus indicus
Burhinus senegalensis Senegal thick-knee Burhinus senegalensis
Waterdikkop-crop Water thick-knee Burhinus vermiculatus
Cape Thick-knee at the Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, Nebraska (2006-09-30) Spotted thick-knee Burhinus capensis
Double-striped Thick-knee Double-striped thick-knee Burhinus bistriatus
Peruvian Thick-knee (Burhinus superciliaris) Peruvian thick-knee Burhinus superciliaris
Bush Stone-curlew Bush stone-curlew Burhinus grallarius (formerly B. magnirostris, the bush thick-knee).
Thimindu 2009 09 27 Yala Great Stone Curlew 2 Great stone-curlew Esacus recurvirostris
Beach Thick-knee Inskip Pt2 Beach stone-curlew Esacus magnirostris


  1. ^ Kochan, Jack B. (1994). Feet & Legs. Birds. Mechanicsburg: Stackpole Books. ISBN 0-8117-2515-4.
  2. ^ a b Harrison, Colin J.O. (1991). Forshaw, Joseph (ed.). Encyclopaedia of Animals: Birds. London: Merehurst Press. pp. 105–106. ISBN 1-85391-186-0.
  3. ^ Vanesa L. De Pietri, R. Paul Scofield, Nikita Zelenkov, Walter E. Boles and Trevor H. Worthy (2016). "The unexpected survival of an ancient lineage of anseriform birds into the Neogene of Australia: the youngest record of Presbyornithidae". Royal Society Open Science. 3 (2): 150635. doi:10.1098/rsos.150635. PMC 4785986.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)

External links

Aiguamolls de l'Empordà

The Parc Natural dels Aiguamolls de l'Empordà is a natural park in Catalonia, Spain. It forms part of the Bay of Roses and, like the Ebro Delta, was a malarial swampland. The marshland lies between the Rivers Fluvià and Muga. It is the second largest wetland in Catalonia at over 4,800 hectares and was established in 1983.During the 19th century, much of the marsh was drained as canals were created and the land converted to agriculture. However, virgin marsh and dunes remained and was given Natural Park status in the 1980s after a campaign to save the area from development.

The park accommodates 327 different species. Great spotted cuckoo, spoonbill, nightingale, collared pratincole and stone-curlew are among its many birds. The park offers seven hides and one tower for bird watchers. They are connected through a plain dirt track which allows wheelchairs.

B. indicus

B. indicus may refer to:

Belonostomus indicus, a prehistoric fish species

Bos indicus, the zebu, a type of domestic cattle

Burhinus indicus, the Indian Stone-curlew

Butastur indicus, the grey-faced buzzard, an Asian bird of prey

Beach stone-curlew

The beach stone-curlew (Esacus magnirostris) also known as beach thick-knee is a large, ground-dwelling bird that occurs in Australasia, the islands of South-east Asia. At 55 cm (22 in) and 1 kg (2.2 lb), it is one of the world's largest shorebirds. At a mean of 1,032 g (2.275 lb) in males and 1,000 g (2.2 lb) in females, it the heaviest living member of the Charadriiformes outside of the gull and skua families.It is less strictly nocturnal than most stone-curlews, and can sometimes be seen foraging by daylight, moving slowly and deliberately, with occasional short runs. It tends to be wary and fly off into the distance ahead of the observer, employing slow, rather stiff wingbeats.

The beach stone-curlew is a resident of undisturbed open beaches, exposed reefs, mangroves, and tidal sand or mudflats over a large range, including coastal eastern Australia as far south as far eastern Victoria, the northern Australian coast and nearby islands, New Guinea, New Caledonia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. It is uncommon over most of its range, and rare south of Cairns.

A single egg is laid just above the high tide line on the open beach, where it is vulnerable to predation and human disturbance.

The beach stone-curlew is classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Bullwaddy Conservation Reserve

The Bullwaddy Conservation Reserve is a protected area approximately 120 km (75 mi) north east of Elliott in the Northern Territory of Australia.

The Reserve occupies an area of 115.3 square kilometres (45 sq mi) and was established in the year 2000.Amungee Mungee cattle station surrounds the Reserve to the north, south and west. Tanumbirini Station abuts the Reserve to the east. The Reserve is found on the Sturt Plateau and the Carpentaria Highway bounds the property to the north.

The Sturt Plateau has infertile, shallow soils on a lateritic land surface. The area supports large stands of Bullwaddy interspersed with dominant area of lancewood.The traditional owners of the area are the Alawa and Jingili peoples. The first Europeans to arrive in the area were pastoralists who brought cattle to the surrounding plains.

Near threatened animals that are found in the area include Bush stone-curlew, Spectacled hare-wallaby and Northern nailtail wallaby. Other species of interest include Black tailed goanna and the Giant frog.


Burhinus is a genus of bird in the Burhinidae family. This family also contains the genus Esacus. The genus name Burhinus comes from the Greek bous, ox, and rhis, nose.The Burhinus are commonly called thick-knee, stone-curlew or dikkop. They are medium-sized, terrestrial waders, though they are generally found in semi-arid to arid, open areas. Only some species of Burhinus are associated with water. The genus ranges from 32 cm to 59 cm in size. Burhinus are characterised by their long legs, long wings and cryptic plumage. Most species have a short, thick, strong bill. The stone-curlews are found all over the world except Antarctica. They are mainly tropical, with the greatest diversity in the old world.There are eight species of Burhinus. No species is threatened and none have become extinct since 1600.It contains the following species:

Bush stone-curlew (Burhinus grallarius)

Double-striped thick-knee (Burhinus bistriatus)

Peruvian thick-knee (Burhinus superciliaris)

Senegal thick-knee (Burhinus senegalensis)

Spotted thick-knee (Burhinus capensis)

Eurasian stone-curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus)

Indian stone-curlew (Burhinus indicus)

Water thick-knee (Burhinus vermiculatus)There are three fossil species known:

Burhinus lucorum Bickart, 1981 from the Early Miocene of Nebraska

Burhinus aquilonaris Feduccia, 1980 from the Pleistocene of Kansas

Burhinus nanus Brodkorb, 1959 from the Late Pleistocene of Bahama's

Bush stone-curlew

The bush stone-curlew or bush thick-knee (Burhinus grallarius, obsolete name Burhinus magnirostris) is a large (55–60 cm wingspan), ground-dwelling bird endemic to Australia.

Claremont Isles National Park

Claremont Isles is a national park located in Queensland, Australia, 1783 km northwest of Brisbane. Established in 1989, the isles are managed by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

The isles constitute an important breeding and roosting habitat for a variety of birds, specially seabirds. The habitat consists of coral reefs and swaths of offshore seagrass. This makes it a unique habitat for the birds. To preserve the area, going ashore is prohibited.

Double-striped thick-knee

The double-striped thick-knee (Burhinus bistriatus) is a stone-curlew, a group of waders in the family Burhinidae.

It is a resident breeder in Central and South America from southern Mexico south to Colombia, Venezuela and northern Brazil. It also occurs on Hispaniola and some of the Venezuelan islands, and is a very rare vagrant to Trinidad, Curaçao and the USA.

This is a largely nocturnal and crepuscular species of arid grassland, savanna, and other dry, open habitats. The nest is a bare scrape into which two olive-brown eggs are laid and incubated by both adults for 25–27 days to hatching. The downy young are precocial and soon leave the nest.

The double-striped thick-knee is a medium-large wader with a strong black and yellow bill, large yellow eyes, which give it a reptilian appearance, and cryptic plumage. The scientific genus name refers to the prominent joints in the long greenish-grey legs, and bistriatus to the two stripes of the head pattern.

The adult is about 46 to 50 cm (18–20 in) long and weighs about 780 to 785 g (27.5–27.7 oz). It has finely streaked grey-brown upperparts, and a paler brown neck and breast merging into the white belly. The head has a strong white supercilium bordered above by a black stripe. Juveniles are similar to adults, but have slightly darker brown upperparts and a whitish nape.

The double-striped thick-knee is striking in flight, with a white patch on the dark upperwing, and a white underwing with a black rear edge. However, it avoids flying, relying on crouching and camouflage for concealment. The song, given at night, is a loud kee-kee-kee.

There are four subspecies, differing in size and plumage tone, but individual variation makes identification of races difficult.

The double-striped thick-knee eats large insects and other small vertebrate and invertebrate prey. It is sometimes semi-domesticated because of its useful function in controlling insects, and has benefited from the clearing of woodlands to create pasture.


Esacus is a genus of bird in the stone-curlew family Burhinidae. The genus is distributed from Pakistan and India to Australia. It contains two species, the great stone-curlew and the beach stone-curlew.

Eurasian stone-curlew

The Eurasian stone curlew, Eurasian thick-knee, or simply stone-curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus) is a northern species of the Burhinidae (stone-curlew) bird family.

It is a fairly large wader though is mid-sized by the standards of its family. Length ranges from 38 to 46 cm (15 to 18 in), wingspan from 76 to 88 cm (30 to 35 in) and weight from 290 to 535 g (10.2 to 18.9 oz). with a strong yellow and black beak, large yellow eyes (which give it a "reptilian", or "goggle-eyed" appearance), and cryptic plumage. The bird is striking in flight, with black and white wing markings.

Despite being classed as a wader, this species prefers dry open habitats with some bare ground. It is largely nocturnal, particularly when singing its loud wailing songs, which are reminiscent of that of curlews. Food consists of insects and other small invertebrates, and occasionally small reptiles, frogs and rodents. It lays 2–3 eggs in a narrow scrape in the ground.

The Eurasian stone curlew occurs throughout Europe, north Africa and southwestern Asia. It is a summer migrant in the more temperate European and Asian parts of its range, wintering in Africa.

Foxhole Heath

Foxhole Heath is an 85.2 hectare biological Site of Special Scientific Interest east of Eriswell in Suffolk. It is a Nature Conservation Review site, Grade I, and part of Breckland Special Area of Conservation and Breckland Special Protection Area under the European Union Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds.The site is heathland and its vascular plant flora includes the following species: Slender Cudweed Filago minima, Shepherds Cress Teesdalia nudicaulis, Bird's-foot, Ornithopus perpusillus, Sand Sedge Carex arenaria, Purple Milk Vetch Astragalus danicus, Common Centaury Centaurium erythraea, Sheep's-bit Jasione montana and Larger Wild Thyme Thymus pulegioides. There are three nationally rare plants. It has a breeding population of the rare Stone-curlew, and this species also uses the site to gather prior to its autumn migration.The road verge along the south side is included in Suffolk County Council's protected road verges scheme.There is access from the B1112 road.

Great stone-curlew

The great stone-curlew or great thick-knee (Esacus recurvirostris) is a large wader which is a resident breeder in tropical southern Asia from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh into South-east Asia.

This species prefers gravel banks along rivers or large lakes, and also beaches. A single egg is laid in a bare scrape on the open shingle.

It is mainly nocturnal or crepuscular like other stone-curlews, but can frequently be seen foraging during the day, moving slowly and deliberately, with occasional short runs. It tends to be wary and flies off into the distance ahead of the observer, employing powerful, rather stiff wingbeats.

The great thick-knee is a large wader at 49–55 cm, and has a massive 7 cm bill with the lower mandible with a sharp angle giving it an upturned appearance. It has unstreaked grey-brown upperparts and breast, with rest of the underparts whitish. The face has a striking black and white pattern, and the bill is black with a yellow base. The eyes are bright yellow and the legs a duller greenish-yellow.

In flight, the great thick-knee shows black and white flight feathers on the upperwing, and a mainly white underwing. Sexes are similar, but young birds are slightly paler than adults.

The call is a wailing whistle, given mainly at night, as with other birds in this family. The great thick-knee eats crabs, large insects, and other animal prey.

Hingol National Park

Hingol National Park or Hungol National Park (Urdu: ہنگول نیشنل پارک‎), covers an area of 6,100 square kilometres (2,400 sq mi). It was established in 1988.

In 2004, the Makran Coastal Highway which links Karachi with the port town of Gwadar was opened.

Indian stone-curlew

The Indian stone-curlew or Indian thick-knee (Burhinus indicus) is a species of bird in the family Burhinidae. It was formerly included as a subspecies of the Eurasian stone-curlew. This species is found in the plains of South and South-eastern Asia. They have large eyes and are brown with streaks and pale marks making it hard to spot against the background of soils and rocks. Mostly active in the dark, they produce calls similar to the true curlews, giving them their names

Marpa National Park

Cliff Island is a national park at Yarraden on Cape York Peninsula in Far North Queensland, Australia, 1,757 km northwest of Brisbane. It is part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park west of Cape Melville in Princess Charlotte Bay. The park is a restricted access area in order to protect cultural resource of the islands traditional owners, the Lama Lama people.

The national park was formerly known as Cliff Islands National Park. The alteration was part of new process where parks on the Cape York Peninsula are jointly managed between Aboriginal land trusts and the state government under the Cape York Peninsula Heritage Act 2007.It comprises three small sandstone islands. Ronganhu is positioned to the north, Errewerrpinha in the west and Olilu to the south. The islands have remained in pristine condition. The islands are home to a number of important bird species, including the beach stone-curlew, eastern curlew and sooty oystercatcher. Also seen around the islands are the white-bellied sea-eagle, peregrine falcon and eastern osprey. Fringing reefs and seagrass beds are found in the surrounding waters. Green turtles nest on the beaches.

Senegal thick-knee

The Senegal thick-knee (Burhinus senegalensis) is a stone-curlew, a group of waders in the family Burhinidae.

It is a resident breeder in Africa between the Sahara and the equator, and in the Nile valley.

Senegal thick-knees are medium-large waders with strong black and yellow black bills, large yellow eyes — which give them a reptilian appearance — and cryptic plumage. The scientific name refers to the prominent joints in the long yellow or greenish legs.

They are similar but slightly smaller than the Eurasian stone-curlew, which winters in Africa. The long dark bill, single black bar on the folded wing, and darker cheek stripe are distinctions from the European species. Senegal thick-knee is striking in flight, with a broad white wing bar.

This species has a preference for dry open habitats with some bare ground, preferably near water. It lays two blotchy light brown eggs on a ground scrape. It is most active at dawn and dusk. The song is a loud pi-pi-pi-pi-pi-pi-pi.

Food is insects, crustaceans and other invertebrates. It will also take other small prey.

Serendip Sanctuary

Serendip Sanctuary is a 227 ha protected area in Victoria, Australia, near the You Yangs and the town of Lara, some 22 km north of Geelong and 60 km south-west of Melbourne.

Originally used for farming and other purposes, it was purchased in 1959 by the state government of Victoria for wildlife research and the captive management and breeding of species threatened in Victoria, such as the brolga, magpie goose, Australian bustard, and bush stone-curlew. The sanctuary contains many different types of wetland and is home to many plant species as well, such as river red gums, tall spikerush, and tussock grass. Serendip now focuses more on environmental education about the flora and fauna of the wetlands and open grassy woodlands of the volcanic Western Plains of Victoria. It was opened to the public in 1991 and is now managed by Parks Victoria.

Sierra del Mugrón

Sierra del Mugrón is a 16.6 km (10 mi) long mountain range located between the Valle de Cofrentes (Valencian: Vall de Cofrents) comarca, Valencian Community, and Almansa, Castile-La Mancha, Spain. It is an isolated range between the Iberian System and the Cordillera Prebética. Its highest point is 1,209 m. The northern section of this range is within the Ayora (Valencian: Aiora) municipal term, while the southern belongs to Almansa.

There are remains of an Ancient Iberian settlement in Castellar de Meca, between Ayora and Alpera.

This mountain range is a quiet lonely and isolated area with a sizeable amount of wildlife, foremost of which are the wildcat, boar, little bustard, Eurasian stone-curlew, peregrine falcon, European nightjar, black wheatear, common wood pigeon, Dartford warbler, red-legged partridge and Bonelli's eagle.


Wilaru is an extinct genus of bird of uncertain phylogenetic placement from the Late Oligocene to Early Miocene of Australia. It was originally classified as a stone-curlew, but subsequently it was argued to be a member of the extinct family Presbyornithidae instead. It is either the oldest known burhinid or the youngest known presbyornithid. The type species is Wilaru tedfordi; genus also includes the second species Wilaru prideauxi. The type species was described from fossil material collected from Lake Pinpa, Lake Palankarinna and Billeroo Creek, in the Lake Eyre Basin of north-eastern South Australia. The genus name Wilaru is the term for “stone curlew” in the Diyari language of the Lake Eyre region. The specific epithet of the type species honours American palaeontologist Richard H. Tedford (1929–2011) of the American Museum of Natural History, who led the 1971 expedition to Lake Pinpa during which much of the descriptive material was collected.

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