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9

Bush Stone-curlew

(Burhinus grallarius)
Alternate name(s): "Bush Thick-knee", "Stone-plover", "Curlew", "Southern Stone-curlew", "Scrub Curlew"
Aboriginal name(s): "wilo", "kwil" (WA); "willaroo", "moolyerra"

Size: 55-60 cm
Weight: 530-860 g

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Bush Stone-curlew at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

ADULT

Close-up full-frontal view of an adult Bush Stone-curlew (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Botanical Gardens, Brisbane, June 2017]

Frontal view of an adult Bush Stone-curlew (photo courtesy of L. Tonnochy)
[Near Townsville, QLD, September 2012]

Near-frontal view of a Bush Stone-curlew (photo courtesy of L. Tonnochy)
[Near Townsville, QLD, September 2012]

Close-up lateral portrait of a Bush Stone-curlew (photo courtesy of R. Russell)
[Mount Molloy, QLD, April 2012]

Close-up lateral portrait of a Bush Stone-curlew (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Anstead, QLD, March 2018]

Lateral view of a Bush Stone-curlew resting on the ground (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Botanical Gardens, Brisbane, June 2017]

Lateral view of a Bush Stone-curlew resting on the ground (photo courtesy of L. Tonnochy)
[Near Townsville, QLD, September 2012]

Lateral view of a Bush Stone-curlew ducking for cover (photo courtesy of J. Ross-Taylor)
[Southport, Gold Coast, QLD, November 2014]

Near-dorsal view of a Bush Stone-curlew, showing part of the bird's back (photo courtesy of L. Tonnochy)
[Near Townsville, QLD, September 2012]

Close-up view of a pair of Bush Stone-curlews (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Anstead, QLD, December 2017]

Close-up look at a Bush Stone-curlew's three-toed feet (photo courtesy of R. Russell)
[Mount Molloy, QLD, April 2012]

Note the resting technique of this Bush Stone-curlew (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Anstead, QLD, March 2018]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

"Happy family" - two adult Bush Stone-curlews with a juvenile (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Anstead, QLD, March 2018]

Resting juvenile Bush Stone-curlew (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Anstead, QLD, March 2018]

One month old Bush Stone-curlew posing as a log (photo courtesy of D. Johnston)
[Allamaggoola Creek near Gulargambone, NSW, November 1980]

Bush Stone-curlew protecting its chick (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Darwin, NT, August 2017]

Lateral view of a Bush Stone-curlew chick ducking for cover (photo courtesy of J. Ross-Taylor)
[Southport, Gold Coast, QLD, November 2014]

Bush Stone-curlew chicks following their parents (photo courtesy of L. Tonnochy)
[Near Townsville, QLD, October 2012]

Close-up lateral view of a Bush Stone-curlew chick (photo courtesy of L. Tonnochy)
[Near Townsville, QLD, October 2012]

Lateral view of two Bush Stone-curlew chicks (photo courtesy of L. Tonnochy)

Bush Stone-curlew chicks using their camouflage colours to hide (photo courtesy of L. Tonnochy)
[Near Townsville, QLD, October 2012]

Bush Stone-curlews using their camouflage colours to hide (photo courtesy of L. Tonnochy)
[Mount Molloy, QLD, December 2012]

Two Bush Stone-curlew chicks at an age of only a few days (photo courtesy of L. Tonnochy)
[Near Townsville, QLD, October 2012]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Aug - Feb Eggs: 2 Incubation period: 28 - 30 days Fledging age: ca. 50 days

Given the right conditions Bush Stone-curlews can breed any time of the year.

The young are "precocial", which means that they leave the nest almost immediately after every chick has hatched (which can be within hours of the last chick hatching). They follow their parents, who lead them away and show them how to feed themselves. The chicks do not return to the nest.

Nest building: ? Incubation: Female & male Dependent care: Female & male

Nest

"bungobittah", "malunna" = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Scrape Material: Bare soil Height above ground: N/A

This Bush Stone-curlew, by adopting its defensive/threatening posture, clearly gave an indication that it had something to hide... (photo courtesy of R. Russell)
[Mount Molloy, QLD, December 2007]

... which was its nest with two hatchlings inside (photo courtesy of R. Russell)
[Mount Molloy, QLD, December 2007]

Bush Stone-curlew nest, which is just a scrape (photo courtesy of L. Tonnochy)
[Near Townsville, QLD, October 2012]

Bush Stone-curlew nest, with a pair of sunglasses for size comparison (photo courtesy of L. Tonnochy)
[Near Townsville, QLD, October 2012]

Bush Stone-curlew nest, with a pair of sunglasses for size comparison; when far away, one will not stand a chance to find the nest (photo courtesy of L. Tonnochy)
[Near Townsville, QLD, October 2012]

Pair of Bush Stone-curlews at their nest (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Casuarina Coastal Reserve, Darwin, NT, January 2017]

Bush Stone-curlew defending its nest (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Casuarina Coastal Reserve, Darwin, NT, January 2017]

Eggs

"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 59 x 39 mm Colour: Mottled greyish-brown Shape: Tapered oval

Bush Stone-curlew nest with two eggs in it (photo courtesy of L. Tonnochy)
[Near Townsville, QLD, September 2012]

Click HERE to see the full-size photo showing the nest with eggs (2.6 MB).

Bush Stone-curlew nest with two eggs in it (photo courtesy of D. Johnston)
[Allamaggoola Creek near Gulargambone, NSW, September 1980]

Bush Stone-curlew nest with two eggs in it (photo courtesy of D. Johnston)
[Allamaggoola Creek near Gulargambone, NSW, September 1980]

Adult Bush Stone-curlew at its nest near a fence line (photo courtesy of D. Johnston)
[Allamaggoola Creek near Gulargambone, NSW, September 1980]

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Territorial Mobility: Sedentary/dispersive Elementary unit: Pair

Bush Stone-curlews defend themselves and their nests by posturing, but they are completely harmless (and have no spurs on their wings).

Posturing Bush Stone-curlew, frontal view (photo courtesy of L. Tonnochy)
[Near Townsville, QLD, September 2012]

Posturing Bush Stone-curlew, frontal view (photo courtesy of L. Tonnochy)
[Near Townsville, QLD, October 2012]

Posturing Bush Stone-curlew, dorsal view (photo courtesy of L. Tonnochy)
[Near Townsville, QLD, October 2012]

Bush Stone-curlews can be quite smart - here one seen about to enter a building... (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Darwin, NT, August 2018]

... but it is not known to us whether staff inside were prepared to answer the bird's question: "How many eggs should I have in my next clutch?" (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Darwin, NT, August 2018]

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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