Beach Stone Curlew

Beach Stone Curlew resting in the cool shade of the green forest above

Quick Facts

Length: -
Height: 56 cm
Weight: 1 000 grams
Colour: -
Habitat: Undisturbed beaches, islands, reefs, estuarine sand and mudflats, with estuaries and mangroves nearb
Food: crabs, other marine invertebrates
Predators: Raptors, cats, dogs and feral pigs
Status: -

The Beach Stone-Curlew is a very large thick-set wader. Adults have a large head, massive uptilted bill, hunched profile, stout legs and thick 'knees' (actually ankles). The upper body is predominately grey-brown with distinctive black and white patterning on the face, shoulder and secondary wings. The throat and breast are a paler grey-brown, the belly is white and the wings are white with some black on the tips. The large bill is yellow at the base and black at the tip. Beach Stone-Curlews have a large yellow eye and a broad black eye patch, with white bands above and below it. Also known as the Beach Thick-knee

There are no species with which the Beach Stone-curlew may be confused. It is readily distinguished from all other waders by its large size, massive bill with yellow patches at the base, and bold black and white pattern on the head. The related Bush Stone-curlew, has a much smaller bill, a less boldly marked face, and has extensive black streaking on the body.

The Beach Stone-Curlew has been observed around the north coast of Australia and associated islands from near Onslow in Western Australia to the Manning River in New South Wales. The species has largely disappeared from the south-eastern part of its former range, and is now rarely recorded on ocean beaches in New South Wales.

The Beach Stone-Curlew occurs on open, undisturbed beaches, islands, reefs, and estuarine intertidal sand and mudflats, prefering beaches with estuaries or mangroves nearby. However this species also frequents river mouths, offshore sandbars associated with coral atolls, reefs and rock platforms and coastal lagoons.

The Beach Stone-Curlew forages on large intertidal mudflats, sandflats, sandbanks and sandpits exposed by low tide for crabs and other marine invertebrates.

Beach Stone-curlew nests may be located on sandbanks, sandpits, or islands in estuaries, coral ridges, among mangroves or in the sand surrounded by short grass and scattered casuarinas. Typically one egg is laid per season, however, the female may lay a second egg if the first is lost. Once the young have hatched, both parents care for them until they reach 7-12 months old.

Human impacts on the Beach Stone-curlew include loss of habitat due to residential and industrial development, disturbance from beach-combing, boating and off-road vehicles. Other threats to the Beach Stone-curlew include predation by raptors, cats and dogs and nest destruction by feral pigs.

Author: Rosalyn Plunkett
Last Updated: Thursday 9th January, 2014

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