Great stone-curlew

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Great stone-curlew
Thimindu 2009 09 27 Yala Great Stone Curlew 2.JPG
At Yala National Park, Sri Lanka.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Burhinidae
Genus: Esacus
Species: E. recurvirostris
Binomial name
Esacus recurvirostris
(Cuvier, 1829)
Esacus recurvirostris magnirostris range.png
Distribution of E. recurvirostris in dark green. E. magnirostris in light green

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[2] 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.


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