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Beach Thick-knee - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Ignacio
Komodo Island, Indonesia, August 2008

Alternative Name: Beach Stone-curlew

Esacus giganteus

Burhinus giganteus


Photo © by RMD
Nhulunbuy, NT, Australia, Febuary 2004

51–57 cm (20-22½ in) A large, rather ungainly bird with an outsized beak, it could be mistaken at first glance for a heron species.

  • Greyish-brown upperparts
  • Black and white striped face
  • White shoulder patch
  • Light grey throat
  • White belly

Similar Species

The only other thick-knee or stone-curlew to occur in Australia is the Bush Thick-knee which is more generally brownish, and is not confined to the coasts.


Photo © by Ken Doy
Kakadu Beach, Bribie Island, Queensland, September 2018

Coastal Australia, New Guinea, New Caledonia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

Status This large wading bird is endangered.


This is a monotypic species[1].


Open sandy and rocky beaches, exposed reefs, mangroves, and tidal sand or mudflats.



It is thought their diet consists almost entirely of crabs, with the addition of some other small crustaceans.


They lay their single egg in a shallow scrape, above the tide line; on beaches, sandbanks islands are in mangroves. They will relay if the first attempt fails. Both adults defend the nest and care for the precocial young. They become independent at around 7-12 months.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved Sept 2018)
  3. NSW Office of Environment & Heritage
  4. Wikipedia

Recommended Citation

External Links