The Stone-curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus) is a Little leggy bird of about 77-85 cm., very difficult to observe because of its power of mimicry. We must be great observers and using good binoculars, focusing very well among the olive trees of our fields and pastures. He has more nocturnal habits tan diurnal, so we should do birdwatching in the afternoon, or very early before dawn.It is distributed in a wide swath of southern Palearctic,
from Britain and Mauritania to Central and East Asia (India and Indochina).
These steppe birds have plumage that camouflages with stones and terrain. In one moment, you think you’re seeing it, and then you lose again. So, if not for his yellow eyes , or his peculiar singing, we can go unnoticed. During the breeding season is more detected by its characteristic and unmistakable claim, that they do at twilight hours.
It occupies a wide variety of open habitats in Spain of drier weather, whether steppes,
sandbanks or agricultural land, in this case, we found it in: Ojuelos (La Lantejuela, Sevilla).
The curlew eat insects like beetles , ants and earthworms.
CURIOSITIES OF STONE-CURLEW
- His perfect camouflage has a reason for being. It is absolutely necessary for these birds , like partridges and quails , walking much on the ground, go unnoticed for predators.
- The female curlew is who incubates eggs in the nest , made on the ground. The male curlew , to protect their offspring , is able to take the lame and sick, before a predator to divert their attention from the nest and that it believes that the male curlew is an easier task than their female prey and their descendants . In this way, the predator will not kill their children. Sometimes it even leaves its life in this endeavor. It is a hero to his family.
- The curlew emits a long, high-pitched squeal that some people say marks the time . In Portugal for example , it is said that if the curlew sings near a house is that there is a pregnant.
- Some farmers use it as protective due to they are very effective as birds that warn farmers of other living beings for their land.
In Villapun (Palencia) narrate this story:
“The story of the fox and the curlew”
A curlew caught between the jaws of a fox makes itself believe that if it repeats his claim: curlew ate, curlew ate, its brothers will come and will hunt them too, so the fox, cheated, accepts and, when the fox opened the jaws, the bird runaway while he mocked saying: curlew ate, curlew ate… another silly but no me.
This story honors the onomatopoeia of his song and it is from the book “Las aves ibéricas en la cultura popular” of Antonio Pestana.
If you are interested in one book, you can buy it from Tundra Editions website.
If you want to know more about the Stone-Curlew and other steppe birds you can ask about our Birding Tours or our Photography hides.
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