Notice for readers: On March 31, Neotropical Birds will be integrated into the new Birds of the World, a powerful research database offering species accounts for every species on earth. Learn more at While Birds of the World is a subscription service, we remain committed to offering this content to Neotropical Birds contributors and to those unable to pay for it through our scholarship program. Stay tuned.

Double-striped Thick-knee Burhinus bistriatus

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


This bird is socially monogamous (Freese 1975), although occasionally seen breeding in loose groups where it is common (Hume 2004). Nests are shallow depressions in the ground in open habitat, often among pieces of manure (Land 1970). Nest diameter is approximately 17-22 cm (Freese 1975, Pereira and Amat 2010).

Clutch size is usually 2, with the following egg dimensions of 58.0 x 41.4 mm, and a volume of 50.5 cm2 (Pereira and Amat 2010). Freese (1975) describes eggs as "olive buff with large and small brown blotches and a few greenish gray blotches" or "dark gray, with large and small blotches of dark brown and pale lilac." The eggs are cryptic in the nest (Pereira and Amat 2010).

During the day, the non-incubating parent is usually in the shade under the nearest scrub, probably to avoid overheating (Pereira and Amat 2010). Both parents will flee upon close approach but return to the nest quickly when the intruder withdraws (Freese 1975).

Incubation period is 26-27 days, and young are nidifugous (Freese 1975, Hume 2004). Freese (1975) observed one nest in Guanacaste province, Cost Rica, in which the second chick hatched (on 26 April) at least one day after its sibling, and upon hatching appeared approximately one-third smaller than its sibling. On 25 April, the first-hatched chick "could walk, but not strongly, and remained within 1 m of the nest." The chicks were buff with black markings, cryptic in their environment, although made more conspicuous by frequent peeping. The day after hatching, the younger chick was observed dead in the nest and no sign was seen of the parents or older chick.

This species has bred successfully in captivity in many zoos (Jones 1997).

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.