Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Beach thick-knee

In Thai: นกกระแตผีชายหาด, nok kra-tae phee chai-had

Binomial name: Esacus magnirostris, Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot, 1818

The beach stone-curlew (Esacus magnirostris) also known as beach thick-knee is a large, ground-dwelling bird that occurs in Australasia, the islands of South-east Asia. At 55 cm and 1 kg, it is one of the world's largest shorebirds. At a mean of 1032 g in males and 1000 g in females, it the heaviest living member of the Charadriiformes outside of the gull and skua families.

It is less strictly nocturnal than most stone-curlews, and can sometimes 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 slow, rather stiff wingbeats.

The beach stone-curlew is a resident of undisturbed open beaches, exposed reefs, mangroves, and tidal sand or mudflats over a large range, including coastal eastern Australia as far south as far eastern Victoria, the northern Australian coast and nearby islands, New Guinea, New Caledonia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. It is uncommon over most of its range, and rare south of Cairns.

A single egg is laid just above the high tide line on the open beach, where it is vulnerable to predation and human disturbance.

The beach stone-curlew is classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

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Scientific classification

Esacus magnirostris

Common names

  • English:
    • Beach stone-curlew
    • Beach thick-knee
  • Thai: นกกระแตผีชายหาด, nok kra-tae phee chai-had


  • Esacus magnirostris magnirostris, Les Christidis & Walter E. Boles (2008)
  • Esacus neglectus neglectus, Les Christidis & Walter E. Boles (1994)
  • Burhinus giganteus giganteus, Charles Gald Sibley & Burt Leavelle Monroe (1990)
  • Esacus neglectus, Burhinus giganteus Wagler (1829)

Conservation status

Near Threatened (IUCN3.1)

Near Threatened (IUCN3.1)

Range Map

Distribution map of Beach thick-knee, Esacus magnirostris in Thailand
Range map of Esacus magnirostris in Thailand