Burhinidae – Thick-knees & Stone Curlews
The Burhinidae or stone-curlews, also known as dikkops or thick-knees, consist of ten species 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.
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.
They are largely nocturnal, particularly when singing their loud wailing songs, which are reminiscent of true curlews. The diet consists mainly of insects and other invertebrates such as desert snails. Larger species will also take lizards and even small mammals. Most species are sedentary, but the Eurasian Stone-curlew is a summer migrant in the temperate European part of its range, wintering in Africa.
According to the IOC, there are just ten species of Thick-knees or Stone Curlews in the family Burhinidae; they are:
Eurasian Stone-curlew Burhinus oedicnemus
Indian Stone-curlew Burhinus indicus
Senegal Thick-knee Burhinus senegalensis
Water Thick-knee Burhinus vermiculata
Spotted Thick-knee Burhinus capensis
Double-striped Thick-knee Burhinus bistriatus
Peruvian Thick-knee Burhinus superciliaris
Bush Stone-curlew Burhinus grallarius
Great Stone-curlew Burhinus recurvirostris
Beach Stone-curlew Burhinus giganteus
Number of bird species: 10
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