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Order Waders, Gulls, Skuas/Charadriiformes, Family Thick-knees/Burhinidae

Eurasian Thick-knee/Burhinus oedicnemus - Adult

L 38-45 cm, WS 76-88 cm. Breeds on bare or sparsely vegetated open ground (heathland, dry, stony pastures, dried mud, steppe margins, etc.). Summer visitor (Mar-Oct), winters in SW Europe and Africa. In Britain & Ireland, rare away from few breeding areas in S and E England. Most active dusk to dawn, but daytime activity and calling not unusual. Food mainly insects. Nest is bare scrape.
IDENTIFICATION: General shape and actions like oversized plover. Walks stealthily or runs with long body held horizontal and head often hunched into shoulders. Well camouflaged when stationary; large yellow eye and black-tipped bill are often most eye-catching features. Distinctive in flight, with strong black and white wing pattern, hunchbacked profile, and shallow beats of long, stiffly bowed wings. Will sometimes squat on ground to avoid detection. - Adult: Standing male has horizontal white covert bar more strongly bordered with black than female, difference obvious when pair seen together. - Juvenile: Lacks prominent whitish supercilium; coverts plain, sandy (lacking adult’s obvious blackish and whitish bars); greater coverts broadly fringed white.
VOICE: Noisy during breeding season. Some calls rather reminiscent of Curlew, like rising, whistling ‘küü-liie’ or ‘kur-li-lii’ and alarm, a rapid ‘küvü- vü’, repeated in long series. Also heard is a thin piping ‘kiiiie’. Displaycall often heard at night, a series of loud, wailing, mournful notes with first syllable coarsely trilled and second clear, ‘klii-ürr-lee, klürrr-lee, klürrr-leee, klürrr-leee, klürrr-leee, …’.

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