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Stone Curlew Bird

Identification of Stone Curlew Bird

Stone Curlew Bird 1 Length: 38-45cm Wingspan: 77-85cm Call: "kee-oo-lee"

A cryptically plumaged bird, with a strange reptilian appearance due to the large yellow eyes set in a rather small head. Fairly sizeable, and resembling a large plover, the Stone Curlew has long yellowish legs with a prominent tibiotarsal joint, from which is derived its other name of Thick-knee. It has a shortish yellow bill with a black distal half. The plumage is a sandy-brown streaked with black, and at rest it has a prominent wingbar, a white stripe bordered above and below in black. In flight this is also quite striking, as are the black wingtips. Crepuscular, it is mostly active at twilight and night.

Habitat of Stone Curlew Bird

Essentially a bird of semi-desert and arid areas within the temperate zone, it favours sandy plains and heaths, stony bare ground, fallow or dry fields and anywhere with bare and dry open areas without vegetation or with a very short sward. In Britain it is found on sandy heaths and on sandy or stony arable land in the south-east of England, and in autumn can form large gatherings on similar habitats prior to southward migration for the winter.

Song/call of Stone Curlew Bird

Stone Curlew Bird 1

The common English nomenclature uses the "Curlew" name due to the similarity of some of the calls to those of the unrelated Curlew Numenius arquata. Most commonly heard at night or at twilight, when it can be very vocal, particularly on the breeding grounds. There is a similarity to Oystercatcher and Avocet in the quality of the voice, and the main call is a clear loud trisyllabic "kee-oo-lee". The display call or song is a long and rising sequence with a Barn Owl-like hoarse rasping sound "ukhhhhh-lipp" ascending on the second note, preceding a chorus of this sound added to the main call, such as "ki-ukhhhh-lee ki-ukhhhh-lee ki-ukhhhh-lee ki-ukhhhh-lee ki-ukhhhh-lee". It also has a thin piping "kiiiiie", and in alarm gives a series of "ku-vuee-vuue" notes.