Distribution in the Americas
Chiefly southern Mexico to northwestern Costa Rica, northern South America, and on Hispaniola (Slud 1964, Freese 1975). Vagrant to the southern United Sates, e.g. recorded in the United States in Texas in 1961 (MacInnes and Chamberlain 1963). In Costa Rica, fairly common in the northwestern lowlands, rare south to Jacó and in western Central Valley; sea level to 800 m. In Guatemala, rare in the Pacific lowland and arid interior; sea level to 1300 m (Land 1970).
The Double-striped Thick-knee inhabits low woodlands and savannas in the savanna-and-forest mosaic, as well as coastal grassy “plains” akin to salt marshes (Slud 1964, Freese 1975). In Costa Rica these savannas are dominated by stands of jaragua (Hyparrhenia rufa), an introduced African grass, and are also dotted with occasional trees and scrubby growth. This habitat is created by deforestation and used for cattle grazing, arresting succession; it is often burned during the dry season (December-May) (Freese 1975, McKay 1980).
A female Burhinus bistriatus bistriatus in Texas was observed foraging in brushy, dry grassland approximately 250 yards from the shore of the Laguna Madre, and approximately five miles from the nearest human habitation (MacInnes and Chamberlain 1963).
An extinct subspecies, nanus, is known from Pleistocene deposits from New Providence, Bahamas (Olson and Hilgartner 1982).