Thursday, 2 May 2013

Eurasian Stone-curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus)

Two adult Eurasian Stone Curlew (subspecies B. o. oedicnemus) on Farmlands near Madrid, Spain - April 2013

OTHER NAMES: Stone Curlew, Eurasian Thick-Knee
Featured Subspecies: Burhinus oedicnemus oedicnemus
Local Name (Spain):  Alcaraván
Weight: 290-535g
Length: 38-46cm
Wingspan: 76-88cm
UK AMBER LIST  / IUCN Red List Least Concern

The Stone-curlew is a fairly strange member of the waders, unusual in several regards.  It is a heathland dwelling, largely nocturnal and about the size of a crow and intensely shy.  It is also one of the rarest breeding species found in the UK, to the point where there is only a single site which is made known to the public: Weeting Heath.  There are other sites in the Brecks and on Salisbury Plain, but the specifics are not public for their protection.  They can however with some extreme luck be seen on migration, particularly during the spring.  Whatever the case, as Summer migrants, you can only see them from April onward, and even then their supreme camouflage makes them a difficult prospect to pick out even at Weeting.  In Spain they are much more widespread, but still scarce and difficult to see - I spotted a pair on fields on my tour of the steppe near Madrid.

Related Species:
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Burhinidae
Genus: Burhinus
Subspecies: B. o. distinctus, B. o. insularum, B. o. saharae, B. o. oedicnemus, B. o. harterti

- Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - Rare and very local Summer migrant 
 - Breeding birds seen at Weeting Heath in May 2013.
SPAIN - Scarce and local Summer migrant.
 - MADRID 2015 TRIP: Two individuals seen on farmland near Madrid
 - MADRID 2016 TRIP: A pair flushed from farmland in Castille La Mancha from moving car.

Further Notes: RSPB, Wikipedia, BirdGuides, BirdForum Opus, Arkive, IUCN Red List

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