Double-striped Thick-knee

The Double-striped Thick-knee (Burhinus bistriatus) is a species of Stone-Curlew. It is a resident breeder in Central and South America from southern Mexico south to Colombia, Venezuela and northern Brazil. It is also found on Hispaniola and on some Venezuelan Islands. It is a very rare vagrant to Trinidad and the USA. Its preferred habitat is arid grassland, savanna, and other dry, open areas.

This is a medium-large wading bird about 18 to 19.75 inches in length and weighing about 27.5 ounces. It has a strong black and yellow bill, large yellow eyes (which give it a reptilian appearance), and cryptic plumage that acts as camouflage. It has long greenish/gray legs. Upperparts are gray/brown with paler brown neck and breast merging into a white belly. There is a strong white eyebrow bordered above by a black stripe. The young are similar to adults, but have slightly darker brown upperparts and whitish nape.

In flight, this bird shows a white patch on the dark upper wing, and a white under wing with a black rear edge. Though striking in flight, the Double-striped Thick-knee avoids flight and would rather remain camouflaged and concealed from sight. Its song, a loud kee-kee-kee, is sounded at night. The female lays two olive-brown eggs in a bare scrape nest. Both parents incubate the eggs for 25 to 27 days. The young are born precocial (able to move freely with little parental care) and soon leave the nest. Its diet consists of large insects and other small vertebrates and invertebrates.

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

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