Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Bush Stone Curlew

Last Wednesday I showed you the Australian bird, the Beach Stone Curlew and it might be an idea if you did not see that post to look at it so that you can see the difference between it and today's bird, the Bush Stone Curlew.  At the end of this post, there will be a short video.


The Bush Stone-Curlew or Bush Thick-knee (Burhinus grallarius, obsolete name Burhinus magnirostris) is a large, ground-dwelling bird endemic to Australia. Aussie locals call them thick-knees but proper bird watchers identify as Bush Stone Curlew.  


Although it looks rather like a wader and is related to the Oystercatchers, Avocets and Plovers, it is a terrestrial predator filling a similar ecological niche to the roadrunners of North America. 







Perhaps you can now see why they are called 'thick knee'.


During the day, Bush Stone-curlews tend to remain inactive, sheltering amongst tall grass or low shrubs and relying on their cryptic plumage to protect them from predators. When disturbed, they freeze motionless, often in odd-looking postures. For visual predators like raptors (and humans), this works well, but it serves little purpose with animals that hunt by scent such as foxes, dingoes or goannas.


Look how camouflaged they are.  At first you may only see 2 birds
however there are 3 Bush Stone Curlews.


Like most stone-curlews, it is mainly nocturnal and specialises in hunting small grassland animals: frogs, spiders, insects, crustaceans, snakes, lizards and small mammals are all taken, mostly gleaned or probed from soft soil or rotting wood; also a few seeds or tubers, particularly in drought years. Birds usually forage individually or in pairs over a large home range, particularly on moonlit nights.


Despite their ungainly appearance and habit of freezing motionless, they are sure-footed, fast and agile on the ground, and although they seldom fly during daylight hours, they are far from clumsy in the air; flight is rapid and direct on long, broad wings.


The Bush Stone-curlew is probably heard more than it's seen. Its call sounds like a wail or a scream in the night. When scared, it screeches - a sound similar to the screech of a possum. When threatened (presumably in the presence of a nest), they may raise their wings wide and high in an impressive threat posture and emit a loud, hoarse hissing noise.


Feeding: 

Bush Stone-curlews have a wide-ranging diet, but prefer to feed on insects, small lizards, seeds and occasionally small mammals. Feeding takes place at night. During the breeding season, nesting birds will search for food in the vicinity of the nest site, while at other times, birds may travel large distances. All food is taken from the ground.




Breeding: 

Bush Stone-curlews have a remarkable courtship dance. Individuals stand with their wings outstretched, their tail upright and their neck stretched slightly forward. The birds will stamp their feet up and down, like a soldier marking time. This courtship ritual is repeated for an hour or more at a time and is accompanied by loud and constant calling. Eggs are laid in a shallow scrape in the ground and both adults share the incubation and care for the young.


 I hope you enjoyed reading and seeing the Bush Stone Curlew and can see the difference between it and the Beach Stone Curlew 
I showed you last Wednesday.

The short video can be accessed at

 http://youtu.be/KzkN8iYFvnU

If you see a black space below, click it and the video will appear.

Listen carefully and you will heard the surrounding bird noises.



Thanks for visiting and I hope you will look in again soon.

I am linking this post with Wild Bird Wednesday.

59 comments:

  1. I saw plenty of these on my trip up north, but luckily have even seen them walk past my house on a few nights. Great photos and interesting info!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI Christian I am glad you got to see these birds on your trip and thanks for commneting. Glad you enjoyed the information regarding them

      Delete
  2. Hi there - hope you dont mind that I linked this up! I have no idea why the button at your end does not work!

    Nice pictures. I got cracking views of this bird on Magnetic Island.

    Cheers - Stewart M

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI Stewart Many thanks for sorting that out. Guess it must be my end so if that is the case, I hope blogger can sort it out. Glad you have seen this bird. I have friends in Australian adn they live on a banana farm adn are torchered everynight by the screams they make. thanks for comment.

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. Hi Neill Many thanks for your comment and I am glad you enjoyed the post.

      Delete
  4. They have such large eyes. Part of their nocturnal nature perhaps?
    Great post - and thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi EC Yuor comment reminded me of 'Little Red Riding Hood' when the she says,' What big eyese you have',and he responds, 'all the better to see you with'. Memories coming back to childhood now for me!! Anyway, thanks for your comment and glad you enjoyed it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. such beautiful photos of the bush-stone curlews Margaret; the way they sit is incredible

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI Carole Yes I agree. Thanks for your comments and glad you enjoyed the photos

      Delete
  7. gosh they are a big bird with such big eyes, you've taken amazing shots and I really enjoyed seeing the video...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI Lynn I am glad you enjoyed this post and that will be another bird for your list I think. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  8. Replies
    1. HI Em thanks for commetn and glad you liked their knees.

      Delete
  9. Your photos always inspire me to do better. thanks for sharing..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi That is such a lovely comment and I appreciate it very much. Hope you are enjoyed the posts.

      Delete
  10. Hi Margaret,
    Beautiful pictures of the Stone Curlew.
    Beautiful eyes, how they sit on the legs is very special.
    Very well photographed, compliments.
    Greetings Irma

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI Irma Many thanks for your kind comments and I am glad you enjoyed the post.

      Delete
  11. Photos like these make me want to travel to Australia. ;))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI EG Boo the flight! Many thanks for your kind comments and I am glad you enjoyed the post.

      Delete
  12. such large eyes - the nocturnal nature explains that. :) really neat birds!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tex Yes, Hugh eyes. Many thanks for your kind comments and I am glad you enjoyed the birds

      Delete
  13. Those eyes.....they look like Predator eyes. I would love to see these birds....and nice shots up close:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI Ch.ris I am glad you liked the post and thanks for comment.

      Delete
  14. Terrific looking birds, beautifully photographed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Karen You are so kind with your comments and I thanks you for them.

      Delete
  15. Thanks for the interesting information and wonderful photos of a bird with which I am not familiar. I learn a lot by visiting you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI George Many thanks for your kind comments and I am delighted that you are learning from my posts. Thats make all the hard work very worthwhile.

      Delete
  16. Beautiful birds Margaret and well captured :-)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi David Many thanks for visiting the post and I am delighted you liked it. Many thanks for commenting.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Neat looking birds. Thanks for posting the images of them out in the field so I could get a sense of scale/size.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI CC Glad you liked the post and birds. Thanks for comment

      Delete
  19. this is a species I really like. And you have a great set of shots showing them off. Thanks for them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi NF Many thanks for your comment and I am glad you enjoyed the post.

      Delete
  20. Herons also have that knee that bends backwards, it is for wading in the water without disturbing it so the fish don't see them coming. At least that is how it works for the herons. This bird has the biggest eye in relation to it's body that I have seen, except for ostriches and emus.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Well, I did listen that you have spoken, but what a special bird, I love them, cheers Margaret.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI Bob Many thaks for comment and glad you liked this bird.

      Delete
  22. Hi Margaret, I love hearing about NEW birds to me. The Bush Stone Curlew is a gorgeous bird --and really does blend into the environment... I loved the video --and hearing to the bird sounds.

    We have a little bird here (Catbird) which has a 'call' that sounds like a cat's meow.....

    Hugs,
    Betsy

    ReplyDelete
  23. It's amazing how they blend I to the background. Very nice shots!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI Karen Yes it is amazing. Thanks for comment.

      Delete
  24. Those birds are just gorgeous - and look at those knees! Is that a real toucan in your other header? It is unbelievably beautiful bird.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi CM Glad you enjoyed the birds in this post adn thanks for comment. Yes the Toucan is a real bird. I photographed it when I was in Paraguay.

      Delete
  25. Beautiful birds. That must be some dance!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI Pattis Yes I would love to see that dance and thanks for comment.

      Delete
  26. Beautiful and interesting birds. Their eyes look really big. Nice video too.

    ReplyDelete
  27. It is a beautiful bird. I love the eyes. Wonderful shots and information. Thanks for sharing, have a great day!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Great series, and thanks for the video, it was nice to see them in action.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Oh, my goodness, Margaret. Its EYES are the most impressive thing about this bird to me. They are so large and beautiful! blessings ~ tanna

    ReplyDelete
  30. my....what big, bright eyes they have!! beautiful, they almost look like a painting!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Incredible photos Margaret and a great video. What an amazing looking bird!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Thank you for such an informative article about a really interesting species! Their cryptic plumage serves them well. Superb photographs!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Great photos! They do blend in quite well.

    ReplyDelete
  34. HI Gunilla, Eileen, Judy Tanna, Wally and Anne.
    Very many thanks for all your comments and I am glad you all seemed to like this bird with the 'big'eyes and my photos of it.

    ReplyDelete
  35. You really captured some great pictures of these beautiful birds. The video showed that they really do resemble roadrunners when they are running along the ground. Very interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI Linda Thanks you for comment and I am glad you enjoyed the photo and video.

      Delete
  36. What an amazing photographer you are. these images are absolutely marvelous, so close in and sharp. Very well done. I enjoyed my visit!
    Sorry for my tardiness. Monday my bad knee gave way to a full Medial Meniscus tear and I am having Arthroscope done to help ease pain this Tuesday...doing life ;)

    ReplyDelete
  37. HI Mary Many thanks for your very kind comments and I am very glad you enjoyed this post. I am sorry to hear about your knee and I hope that the pain will disappear soon.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I am starting to get into birding and am really glad I found this blog spot. I am thinking about using wildflower seeds to attract them to my yard. My aunt used that technique and it worked well for her. However, she has been doing it for many years so she may have other techniques she employs.

    http://www.harvestingbeauty.com/special-use-wildflower-seed-mixes.html

    ReplyDelete