Double-striped Thick-knee Burhinus bistriatus

  • Order: Charadriiformes
  • Family: Burhinidae
  • Polytypic: 4 subspecies
  • Authors: Katie LaBarbera
Sections

Behavior

Behavior

A terrestrial bird, the Double-striped Thick-knee has "a springy running walk of several steps, ending in a postured halt." It exhibits an occasional nodding and an occasional lowering and raising of its tail (Slud 1964). It is variously reported as occurring singly or in small groups (Slud 1964) or in pairs (Sick 1993). It is chiefly crepuscular and nocturnal, spending the day hiding low in the grass (Sick 1993, Garrigues 2007), although Slud (1964) reports it as diurnal as well. It can be found by following its tracks in sand, and can often be seen near roads, where it is frequently run over (Sick 1993).

Although judged a fairly approachable bird, it will crouch to the ground when threatened, even laying its head on the ground, and may take to easy low flight for a hundred yards or more if closely pressed (Slud 1964, Freese 1975, Sick 1993).

Territoriality

No evidence of territoriality has been reported (Slud 1964, Hume 2004).

Sexual Behavior

Although socially monogamous, it is occasionally seen breeding in loose groups where it is common (Freese 1975, Hume 2004). The genetic mating system, including the extent of extra-pair paternity, is unknown.

Social and interspecific behavior

The Double-striped Thick-knee is variously reported as occurring singly or in small groups (Slud 1964) or in pairs (Sick 1993).

During incubation, the non-incubating parent usually remains near the nest; both parents flee when approached but may return quickly (Freese 1975, Pereira and Amat 2010).

A lone female was observed foraging near several Long-billed Curlews (Numenius americanus) in Texas (MacInnes and Chamberlain 1963).

Predation

Little is known of predation on this species, although predator avoidance mechanisms appear to be chiefly cryptic behavior and flight. Adults and chicks are cryptic in their grassy habitat, and eggs are cryptic in nests. Adults will crouch to the ground when threatened, even laying their heads on the ground, and may take to easy, low flight for a hundred yards or more if closely pressed (Slud 1964, Freese 1975, Sick 1993).

Recommended Citation

LaBarbera, K. (2010). Double-striped Thick-knee (Burhinus bistriatus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.dstkne.01