Water thick-knee

The water thick-knee (Burhinus vermiculatus), or water dikkop is a species of bird in the thick-knee family Burhinidae. The species is found across sub-Saharan Africa, usually close to water.

Water thick-knee
Water Thick-knee (Burhinus vermiculatus) close-up (16608927739).jpg
Water Thick-knee, flipped & cropped.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Burhinidae
Genus: Burhinus
B. vermiculatus
Binomial name
Burhinus vermiculatus
(Cabanis, 1868)
Burhinus vermiculatus range.jpg

Distribution and habitatEdit

The water thick-knee has a widespread distribution in sub-Saharan Africa, being found in Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eswatini, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Across its range it is found on the edges of lakes, estuaries and rivers, as well as mangroves and also some sheltered beaches. It also needs bushes or nearby woodlands for shelter. It is found from sea-level to 1,800 m (5,900 ft).[2]


A captive bird stretching its wings

The water thick-knee is 38 to 41 cm (15–16 in) and weighs 293–320 g (10.3–11.3 oz). It has a heavy bill that is black with yellow at the base. The wings are broad and blunt and the tail is short.[2]


The water thick-knee is a terrestrial feeder that forages at night. Although it is typically associated with water it can be found foraging up to 1 km (0.62 mi) from water. It feeds on insects, crustaceans and mollusks.[2]

The water thick-knee generally breeds in the dry season or early rainy season. It is a monogamous breeder. The nest is a simple scrape in sandy or stony ground, usually close to water. The clutch size is two sandy-yellow eggs. Both sexes incubate the eggs for 22-25 days, and both are responsible for feeding the young.[2]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2016). "Burhinus vermiculatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T22693584A93413917. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22693584A93413917.en. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d Hume, R; Kirwan, G. M. (2019). del Hoyo, Josep; Elliott, Andrew; Sargatal, Jordi; Christie, David A; de Juana, Eduardo (eds.). "Water Thick-knee (Burhinus vermiculatus)". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 11 February 2019.

External linksEdit