132 (Eurasian) Stone-curlew
(Burhinus oedicnemus)


38-45cm. The Eurasian Stone-curlew is also known as Eurasian Stone Curlew or Eurasian Thick Knee. General shape and actions like oversized plover. Walks stealthily or runs with long body held horizontal and head often hunched into shoulders. Well camouflaged when stationary; large yellow eye and black-tipped bill are often most eye-catching features. Distinctive in flight, with strong black and white wing pattern, hunchbacked profile, and shallow beats of long, stiffly bowed wings. Will sometimes squat on ground to avoid detection. Adult: Standing male has horizontal white covert bar more strongly bordered with black than female, difference obvious when pair seen together.


The Eurasian Stone-curlew is a regular but localised breeder in small numbers, its population has decreased in the past decade. The Kiskunság, the southern part of the Great Plain (especially the steppes of Cserebökény and Csanád), the Heves Plain, the Hortobágy, and the Borsodi-Mezőség are among the typical breeding areas in Hungary. Primarily breeds on grazed, short-grass alkali and sandy steppes with very short grass but can colonise other barren, stony and sandy habitats, too. Increasingly common in agricultural areas (cereal and sunflower fields), and on bare parts of forest plantations. Migrant. In spring it arrives sometimes in late march but usually in April. From mid-August gathers in flocks and leaves in late October or early November.

Can be found in the following IBAs

07 BA)

132 (Eurasian) Stone-curlew pic

© Graphics by Szabolcs Kókay

Source: 1) Lovászi Péter (editor): Javasolt különleges madárvédelmi területek Magyarországon, Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2002; 2) BirdLife International:IUCN Red List for birds. Species factsheet; 3) Králl Attila, Nagy Károly: Fontos Madárélőhelyek Magyarországon (Területek, kritériumok és minősítő fajok) MME Monitoring Központ, 2007; 4) Szabolcs Kókay bird illustrations; 5) www.hungarianbirdwatching.com bird descriptions and checklists, 2004-2012; 6) Lars Svensson et al.: Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe 2nd Edition, Harper Collins, 2010; 7) MME Nomenclator Bizottság: Nomenclator avium Hungariae. An annotated list of the birds of Hungary. Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2008