Saturday, October 14, 2017

Double-striped Thick-knee

“Once more bend in the river,” exclaimed our Tarcoles River boat tour captain, “and we will find thick-knees!” In the gathering dusk, sat two Double-striped Thick-knees, birds I very much wanted to see. Thick-knees are thought to be most closely related to plovers. Ten thick-knee species are found around the world. Erika and I saw Peruvian Thick-knees in Peru, a Bush Thick-knee in Australia, and, in my youth in Somalia, my brother and I listed Water Thick-knees, which we jokingly called Zombie Birds. Double-striped Thick-knees have an odd distribution—Veracruz, the Pacific Coast of Central America, and scattered areas of Venezuela and other locals in northern South America.

Thick-knees are crepuscular or nocturnal feeders. They eat insects, worms, mollusks and occasionally lizards and small rodents. Mexicans sometimes keep them around ranches, "where species is held to be a useful controller of insect pests and is kept on patios and in corrals of country houses” (Handbook of Birds ot the World).

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