Double-striped thick-knee

The double-striped thick-knee (Burhinus bistriatus) is a stone-curlew, a group of waders in the family Burhinidae. The vernacular name refers to the prominent joints in the long greenish-grey legs, and bistriatus to the two stripes of the head pattern.

Double-striped thick-knee
Flickr - Rainbirder - Double-striped Thick-Knee (Burhinus bistriatus), crop.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Burhinidae
Genus: Burhinus
B. bistriatus
Binomial name
Burhinus bistriatus
Wagler, 1829
Burhinus bistriatus range.png


There are four subspecies, differing in size and plumage tone, but individual variation makes identification of races difficult.

Range and habitatEdit

It is a resident breeder in Central and South America from southern Mexico south to Colombia, Venezuela and northern Brazil. It also occurs on Hispaniola and some of the Venezuelan islands, and is a very rare vagrant to Trinidad, Curaçao and the USA. It prefers arid grassland, savanna, and other dry, open habitats.


The double-striped thick-knee is a medium-large wader with a strong black and yellow bill, large yellow eyes, which give it a reptilian appearance, and cryptic plumage. The adult is about 46 to 50 cm (18–20 in) long and weighs about 780 to 785 g (27.5–27.7 oz). It has finely streaked grey-brown upperparts, and a paler brown neck and breast merging into the white belly. The head has a strong white supercilium bordered above by a black stripe. Juveniles are similar to adults, but have slightly darker brown upperparts and a whitish nape. The double-striped thick-knee is striking in flight, with a white patch on the dark upperwing, and a white underwing with a black rear edge.

Habits and foodEdit

This is a largely nocturnal and crepuscular species. It flies only reluctantly, relying on crouching and camouflage for concealment. The double-striped thick-knee eats large insects and other small vertebrate and invertebrate prey. It is sometimes semi-domesticated because of its useful function in controlling insects, and has benefited from the clearing of woodlands to create pasture. The song, given at night, is a loud kee-kee-kee.


The nest is a bare scrape into which two olive-brown eggs are laid and incubated by both adults for 25–27 days to hatching. The downy young are precocial and soon leave the nest.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Burhinus bistriatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2013.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • ffrench, Richard (1991). A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago (2nd ed.). Comstock Publishing. ISBN 0-8014-9792-2.
  • Hilty, Steven L (2003). Birds of Venezuela. London: Christopher Helm. ISBN 0-7136-6418-5.
  • Stiles, F. Gary; Skutch, Alexander F. (1989). A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica. Comstock Publishing Associates. ISBN 0-8014-9600-4.
  • Hayman, Peter; Marchant, John; Prater, Tony (1991). Shorebirds. Christopher Helm Publishers Ltd. ISBN 978-0-395-60237-9.

External linksEdit