Indian thick-knee

   ›      ›   Indian thick-knee - Burhinus indicus

The Indian thick-knee (Burhinus indicus) belongs to the family of stone-curlews, dikkops and thick-knees, Burhinidae.

The Indian thick-knee species are distributed in Indian subcontinent, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. These species are characterized by thick knee joints. These thick-knee birds are monotypic species.

Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Indian Thick-knee Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Indian thick-knee - Overview

  • Scientific name: Burhinus indicus
  • Species author: (Salvadori, 1865)
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Oedicnemus indicus Salvadori, 1865, Burhinus oedicnemus indicus
  • Family: Burhinidae › Charadriiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Indian thick-knee, Chinese: 印度石鸻, French: Oedicnème indien, German: Indientriel, Spanish: Alcaraván indio, Russian: Индийская авдотка, Japanese: インドイシチドリ, Tamil: Kankiledi
  • Other names: Indian stone-curlew
  • Distribution: Indian subcontinent, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam
  • Diet and feeding habits: worms, insects, small reptiles, seeds
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)
The Indian thick-knee (Burhinus indicus) is closely related to Eurasian thick-knee (Burhinus oedicnemus). Earlier Burhinus indicus was considered conspecific with Burhinus oedicnemus.

Appearance, physical description and identification

The Indian thick-knee (Burhinus indicus) is a medium-sized bird, measuring 40 to 45 cm in length.

The overall plumage is sandy brown with dark streaks. The head is large. There is a creamy supercilium. The creamy stripe below the eyes is bordered by dark stripes. There is a white patch on the dark primaries.

The bill of thick-knee is relatively long and broad set. The bill is buff colored at the base and is dark at the distal end. The stout legs are greenish yellow. The eyes are large and the irises are pale yellow. Their call is a series of sharp whistling "pick-pick-pick-pick" sound.
Picture of Indian thick-knee - Burhinus indicus
Image of Indian thick-knee - Burhinus indicus by Sumeet Moghe

Photo of Indian thick-knee - Burhinus indicus
Picture of Indian thick-knee - Burhinus indicus by CLpramod

Image of Indian thick-knee - Burhinus indicus
Photo of Indian thick-knee - Burhinus indicus by Koshy Koshy

Origin, geographical range and distribution

These Indian thick-knee species are distributed in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

In Indian states, except for Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Tripura and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the thick-knee species occur in all the regions.

Ecosystem and habitat

These Indian thick-knee species do not normally occur in forests. These species occur in altitudes from 0 to 100 meters. The artificial ecosystems of these thick-knee species include agricultural lands, fallow fields and pastures.

The natural ecosystems of these thick-knee species include tropical and subtropical dry grasslands, dry deciduous and thorn forests, temperate grasslands, tropical and subtropical dry shrublands, dry savannas and temperate shrublands.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of these thick-knee species is mostly insects. Worms, insects, small reptiles and seeds are their primary food. They feed on the ground.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of these thick-knee species is during march and April in Indian subcontinent. The laying season in Sri Lanka is during June and July. The nest is a small depression on bare ground or under a bush. These species are monogamous.

The typical clutch contains 2-3 pale buff colored eggs. The female incubates the eggs and the male guards the nest. The hatchlings have downy cryptic feathers. The chicks are nidifugous and follow the foraging parents soon after hatching. When alarmed the chicks crouch and freeze.

Migration and movement patterns

The Indian thick-knee species are generally considered non-migrant resident birds. Some thick-knee populations in Thailand migrate locally.

Post breeding, the juveniles may disperse and establish in new locations within the range. They may make local movements for feeding and breeding within their range.

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the Indian thick-knee (Burhinus indicus) has not been quantified. The overall population trend of these thick-knee species is reported to be decreasing. Throughout its range it is reported to be rare and uncommon. The generation length is 10.5 years. Its distribution size is about 8,230,000

The Indian thick-knee (Burhinus indicus) has not approached the thresholds for being Vulnerable, either under the range size criterion, or under the population trend criterion or under the population size criterion. Habitat degradation, habitat loss and hunting are the main threats that may endanger the survival of these thick-knee species.

IUCN and CITES status

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the thick-knee species and has listed it as of "Least Concern". The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for the Indian thick-knee (Burhinus indicus).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Burhinus indicus
Species:B. indicus
Binomial name:Burhinus indicus
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
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1.Indian thick-knee image source: (cropped)
Image author: Sumeet Moghe | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 6/10/17
2.Image source: (cropped)
Image author: CLpramod | License: CC BY-SA 4.0
3.Image source: (cropped)
Image author: Koshy Koshy | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 6/10/17
Current topic: Indian thick-knee - Burhinus indicus.
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