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Bush Stone Curlew

Burhinus magnirostris

Also known as Bush Thick knee

By Alicia Carter

Images by Melanie Barsony & Kathy Grieveson

 

The Bush Stone Curlew is listed in the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 as an endangered species.

It is a long-legged ground-dwelling bird weighing between 625g (female) and 670g (male).  The Brush Stone Curlew lives and breeds in sparse grassy eucalypt woodlands, which means they can see the predators approaching. 

They rely on fallen logs and branches for nesting and camouflage.  Curlews mate for life and produce one to two eggs each season which both parents help to raise. 

The Brush Stone Curlew is well known for its wee-loo call which can be heard more often during mating season.  The Curlew forages at night and lives on a diet of insects, mollusks, crustaceans, spiders, lizards and small snakes. 

During the day the Curlew crouches on the ground and is extremely well camouflaged.  They hide behind logs and freeze when approached rather that flying away.   This makes them extremely vulnerable to attacks from sneaky predators like cats and foxes. Another cause for their decline is habitat destruction, the hiding places they once used are scarce and they can be easily hunted by domestic animals.  As a consequence of this human footprint the Curlew is on a fast road to extinction.

Once upon a time these birds were reported in flocks of 50 to 100 but now it is rare to see even 1 pair.  This decline has occurred over the last 30 year and is mainly due to foxes and the clearing of logs from the under story of the woodlands, fires, particularly frequent burning, degredation of habitat through overgrazing, logging, and habitat loss from farming and urban developement..

 

 
Image by Sharon McGrigor
 
Image by Sharon McGrigor
Image by Sharon McGrigor
Image by Sharon McGrigor
Image by Sharon McGrigor
Image by Carol Chandler
Image by Carol Chandler
Image by Carol Chandler
Image by Carol Chandler
Image by Carol Chandler
Image by Melanie Barsony
Image by Melanie Barsony
Image by Kathy Grieveson

 

Beach Stone Curlew

 

Image by Sharon McGrigor
Image by Sharon McGrigor
   

Images by Melanie Barsony & Kathy Grieveson

References
Australian Bird Rehabilitation Manual – by Norma Henderson
Threatened Species Network web site fact sheet.

 

 

 

Updated March 19, 2017  

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