Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Great thick-knee

Thai: นกกระแตผีใหญ่, nok kra-tae phee yai

Binomial name: Esacus recurvirostris, Georges-Frédéric Cuvier, 1829

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

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

It is mainly nocturnal or crepuscular like other stone-curlews, but can frequently be seen foraging during the day, moving slowly and deliberately, with occasional short runs. It tends to be wary and flies off into the distance ahead of the observer, employing powerful, rather stiff wingbeats.

The Great Thick-knee is a 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. Sexes are similar, but young birds are slightly paler than adults.

The call is a wailing whistle, given mainly at night, as with other birds in this family. The Great Thick-knee eats crabs, large insects, and other animal prey.

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Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Charadriiformes
Family
Burhinidae
Genus
Esacus
Species
Esacus recurvirostris

Common names

  • English:
    • Great stone-curlew
    • Great thick-knee
  • Thai: นกกระแตผีใหญ่, nok kra-tae phee yai

Synonyms

  • Burhinus recurvirostris recurvirostris, Charles Gald Sibley & Burt Leavelle Monroe (1990)

Conservation status

Near Threatened (IUCN3.1)

Near Threatened (IUCN3.1)

Distribution map of Great thick-knee, Esacus recurvirostris in Thailand
  • Ban Laem District, Phetchaburi
  • Laem Pak Bia
  • Pha Taem National Park

Range map of Esacus recurvirostris in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

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