Friday, 6 April 2012


Burhinus oedicnemus

Photo by Aeschlimann Ruedi (Schweizerische Vogelwarte)

Common name:
stone-curlew (en); alcaravão (pt); œdicnème criard (fr); alcaraván (es); triel (de)

Order Charadriiformes
Family Burhinidae

This species is found breeding in southern Europe, from Portugal and Spain to southern England, through Italy and the Balkans, around the Black Sea and into the Caucasus and southern Russia. They also breed in northern Africa and in southern Asia from the Middle East to India, southern China and Myanmar. Some population migrate south to winter in southern Europe, southern Asia and northern Africa down to the Sahel.

These birds are 38-44 cm long and have a wingspan of 76-88 cm. They weigh 300-540 g.

The stone-curlew is typically found in dry rocky areas with very little vegetation. It often breeds in fallow land and set-aside fields, on grass heath, dry scrubland or sometimes in sand dunes.

They mostly collect invertebrates from the ground, taking beetles, woodlice, earthworms, snails and spiders. They sometimes hunt small reptiles, bird eggs and chicks and small mammals.

Stone curlews breed in March-June. The nest is a simple scrape on bare ground, sometimes near a small bush, where the female lays 2 sand or clay-coloured eggs. The eggs are incubated by both parents for 25-27 days. The chicks leave the nest soon after hatching, but remain with the parents until they are able to fly, 5-6 weeks after hatching.

IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 130.000-310.000 individuals. The overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations have unknown trends and, in Europe, some populations are increasing.

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