Sunday, 23 December 2018

Too Cute

This is what greeted us this morning. It's fledgling Bush Stone Curlew or Bush Thick-knees, Burrhinus grallarius. Bush Thick-knees live in areas of open woodland or along rainforest margins where there is open ground. They frequent cemeteries, parks and roads in suburban areas. They even nest in hotel gardens or in planted grounds around hotels in Cairns. As adults they are about the size of a bantam chicken. They mate for life and do not venture far from their home breeding grounds. Once nesting is over, they often form small flocks of up to 20 birds.

 This little fellow, dubbed Charlie, was obviously raised by a wildlife carer and was unusually tame--and hungry. After a few phone calls Charlie was provided with a supply of mealworms and reunited with his or her carer for further rehabilitation before being released.
Charlie is a great example of an animal with protective coloration. Amongst leaves and gravel the bird is well concealed from predators. Nesting or resting birds usually remain motionless until the last minute when they erupt with a series of hisses and displays.

These birds are primarily nocturnal. Their distinctive calls can be heard nightly as they move about of fly up the roads in their habitat in search of insects. They overturn leaves and small bits of wood in search of prey. In addition to insects, they feed on small reptiles, frogs and crustaceans along with a small amount of vegetable material. These birds are a lovely part of the tropical environment.

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