Great Thick-knees

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Great Thick-knee

Great Thick-knee

The Great Thick-knee (Esacus recurvirostris) is a very large wader which is a resident breeder in tropical southern Asia from India and Sri Lanka into South-east Asia.

This is a species of gravel banks along rivers or near lakes, and also beaches. A single egg is laid in a bare scrape on the open shingle.

It is mainly nocturnal or crepuscular (active during the twilight) like other stone-curlews, but can frequently be seen foraging by daylight, moving slowly and deliberately, with occasional short runs.

It tends to be wary and fly off into the distance ahead of the observer, employing powerful, rather stiff wingbeats.

Flying Great Thick-knee


Physical Description

The Great Thick-knee is a very large wader at 49–55 cm, and has a massive 7 cm upturned bill.

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. Males and females look alike, but young birds are slightly paler than adults.

Great Thick-knee


Great Thickknees Calls / Vocalization

The call is a wailing whistle, given mainly at night, as with other birds in this family.


Diet / Feeding

The Great Thick-knee eats crabs, large insects, and other animal prey.


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