Bush Stone-curlew, Adelaide Zoo, South Australia

Bush Stone-curlew, Adelaide Zoo, South Australia

Bush Stone-curlew, Adelaide Zoo, South Australia

I find the Bush Stone-curlew to be a fascinating bird. It seems so ungainly on its long legs, yet to see it run one has to conclude that it is very graceful in its movements.

While it tends to be a bird of the grasslands and open woodlands of rural western , northern, eastern and south eastern Australia, it has adapted to a more artificial lifestyle in urban areas, especially in Queensland.

Another intriguing aspect of this bird’s behaviour is its haunting call. The eerie ‘weee-ooo’ call carries far into the night – it usually calls at night – and is a well known sound of the Australian bush. To hear a recording of the call click here.

Sadly, I have yet to add this species to my list of birds seen in their natural environment.

The photos on this post were taken at the Adelaide Zoo.

Bush Stone-curlew, Adelaide Zoo, South Australia

Bush Stone-curlew, Adelaide Zoo, South Australia

Bush Stone-curlew, Adelaide Zoo, South Australia

Bush Stone-curlew, Adelaide Zoo, South Australia


16 Responses to “Bush Stone-curlew, Adelaide Zoo, South Australia”

  1. Kelvin says:

    Fascinating! I too think it is ungainly, but your photo is great (as always) and I am always amazed at the variety of different birds that our Lord has created.

  2. Trevor says:

    Thanks Kelvin,

    I agree with you – and with just a few short of 10,000 different species there is a lifetime of amazement for anyone who cares to look. (I’ve seen less than 400 of that number!)

    You might like to look up Matt 6: 25-27 (especially v. 26)

  3. martin bentley says:

    I think I may have a breeding pair of bush stone curlews that are nesting in an area of my yard (nature area) they were there last year and have come back again.

  4. Trevor says:

    Hi there Martin,

    If they are nesting that would be great. They are ground nesting birds. If you have foxes in the area it might be advisable to fence off the nest – if this is possible.

  5. Leon says:

    There is a family of these birds living in Brisbane Botanical Gardens.

    • Trevor says:

      Hi there Leon,

      Thanks for visiting and for leaving comments. I was aware of the family in the gardens – but haven’t been there to see them (I live near Adelaide).

      I find it very interesting that these birds are usually somewhat secretive – yet here is a family right in the hustle and bustle of the city! How did they survive the floods earlier on?

  6. Tina says:

    I live in a semi rural suburb just west of Brisbane and was wondering what was making that very strange noise at night. I managed to see a pair of these birds in my yard today after hearing them again and went googling to see what they were. And found them straight away on your site. I will be keeping a close eye on them and see if they are nesting.

  7. Tina says:

    Thanks for that Trevor. Yes, that is them. I will certainly be taking a bit more interest in them in the future.

  8. Alex says:

    There is a pair in the Ferny Grove area, Brisbane. I walked past them one afternoon, say 3 metres away. They are regularly heard near our house or in the front garden at night Loud enough to wake me up!
    they were feeding on a flowering grevilla.

  9. Isac says:

    Do you know of the Curlew with bright red eyes?

    • Trevor says:

      Hi Isac,

      Sorry, I don’t know the species to which you are referring. Neither of the stone-curlews in Australia have red eyes, as well as none of the curlews.

      • Isac says:

        Thanks for responding Trevor.
        Here’s a link to the forum I am a member of and a fellow member wants an ID. for this bird.

        • Trevor says:

          Hi again, Isac,

          I had a good look at the photos on the forum and did some intensive research. There is no doubt in my mind that the photos clearly show Bush Stone-curlews, a fairly common species in the drier parts of Australia. The Beach Stone-curlew, our only other species in this family, has a thicker bill and quite different plumage colours.

          Now for the “red eye” issue. All of the reference books I consulted state “large yellow eye”. All online photos I found show bright yellow in the eyes – except one which shows a red orb along one edge, a photo taken with a flash.

          Ah ha – I thought. That happened to me last year when I took a photo of a Boobook Owl in our garden. I had to edit out the red because it was not only wrong, but very evil looking. Boobooks have yellow eyes with a black iris.

          The culprit was the red eye effect from the flash, common in human photography but quite rare in bird photography. It is not all that often that I use a flash for my bird photography.

          Now back to the shots of the stone-curlew in question: I can see no evidence of the use of a flash except for the red eye, but the flash must have been used due to poor light conditions. They are primarily nocturnal birds after all.

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