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June 21-June27, 2013

Great Thick-knee by Gunashekar S.

A large wader at about 50–55 cm in height, the Great Stone-curlew or Great Thick-knee (Esacus recurvirostris) is a resident breeder along rivers and lakes (preferring gravel banks), and sometimes even beaches in southern Asian tropical regions from India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka into Southeast Asia.  Thick-knee refers to the prominent joints in the long, yellow or greenish legs.

Like all other Stone-curlews, the Great Stone-curlew is generally nocturnal or crepuscular, but sometimes forages during the day, moving very slowly, with occasional short runs.

The bird has grey-brown upper parts and breast, and whitish underparts. The face has striking black and white patterns and a massive, seven-cm, upturned black bill with a yellow base. The eyes are bright yellow. In flight, the Great Thick-knee shows black and white flight feathers on the upper wing, and a mainly white underwing. The sexes do not show great sexual dimorphism but the young ones are distinctly paler than the adults.

The bird’s call, a wailing whistle, is heard mainly at night along with that of other birds in the family. The Great Thick-knee feeds mainly on crabs and large insects.

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