Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Indian thick-knee

Thai: นกกระแตผีเล็ก, nok kra-tae phee lek

Binomial name: Burhinus indicus, Adelardo Tommaso Salvadori Paleotti, 1865

The Indian stone-curlew or Indian thick-knee (Burhinus indicus) is a species of bird in the family Burhinidae. It was formerly included as a subspecies of the Eurasian stone-curlew. This species is found in the plains of India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. They have large eyes and are brown with streaks and pale marks making it hard to spot against the background of soils and rocks. Mostly active in the dark, they produce calls similar to the true curlews, giving them their names

Description

This stocky and brown ground bird with large eyes is about 41 centimeters in length. It has dark streaks on a sandy brown ground colour and is plover-like. The large head has a dark stripe bordering a creamy moustachial stripe below the eye. There is also a narrow creamy supercilium. The legs are stout and the knees are thick, giving them the group of name of "thick-knee". They have large yellow eyes. The sexes are alike and the immature is paler than adult with more marked buff and streaks on the underparts. In flight, they have two prominent white and a white patch on the darker primaries and at rest a broad pale band is visible on the wing.

The Indian stone curlew is active mainly at dawn and dusk and it calls mainly at night. The call is a series of sharp whistling notes pick-pick-pick-pick ending sometimes like pick-wick, pick-wick. They are found in small groups and during the day, they are found standing still under the shade of bush.

Taxonomy

This species was earlier treated as a subspecies of Burhinus oedicnemus but the Indian population was distinctive in plumage leading to its being treated as a species starting with the treatment by Pamela Rasmussen in 2005. There has however been no major phylogenetic study of the genus.

Habitat

Found in dry deciduous forests and thorn forest, scrubby riverbeds, groves and even gardens.

Distribution

This species is restricted to India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka where it occurs in thin dry deciduous forest, scrub, stony hillsides and fallow lands.

Breeding

The breeding season is mainly March and April. The normal clutch is 2 to 3 stone colored eggs laid inside a scrape on bare ground, sometimes at the base of a bush. The eggs are incubate mainly by the female with male standing guard nearby. The nidifugous chicks are downy and cryptically coloured and follow the parents soon after hatching. The young chicks freeze and crouch when alarmed and the cryptic plumage make them hard to detect.

Diet

The diet mainly consists of insects, worms and small reptiles and occasionally some seeds.

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Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Charadriiformes
Family
Burhinidae
Genus
Burhinus
Species
Burhinus indicus

Common names

  • Thai: นกกระแตผีเล็ก, nok kra-tae phee lek

Synonyms

  • Oedicnemus indicus
  • Burhinus oedicnemus indicus

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Distribution map of Indian thick-knee, Burhinus indicus in Thailand
  • Ban Lat District, Phetchaburi
  • Bangkok Province
  • Bueng Boraped Non-hunting Area
  • Kaeng Khoi District, Saraburi
  • Kaeng Krachan District, Phetchaburi
  • Kaeng Krachan National Park
  • Kamphaeng Saen District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
  • Kui Buri National Park
  • Laem Pak Bia
  • Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai
  • Mueang Lampang District, Lampang
  • Mueang Phetchaburi District, Phetchaburi
  • Mueang Samut Songkhram District, Samut Songkhram
  • Mueang Tak District, Tak
  • Nong Ya Plong District, Phetchaburi
  • Pak Phli District, Nakhon Nayok
  • Phutthamonthon District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Pran Buri District, Prachuap Khiri Khan
  • Taphan Hin District, Phichit
  • Tha Yang District, Phetchaburi

Range map of Burhinus indicus 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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