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Overview

Comprehensive Description

It has thick yellow legs, a long, strong, bill, and yellow eyes. The beach thick-knee is gray-brown on the back and pale on the belly. The shoulder is black above a thin white line. The head is mostly black, with a white stripe through the eye. The bill is black except for a yellow base. There is a rust-colored patch under the tail.

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Source: Birds of Papua New Guinea

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Distribution

Range Description

Esacus magnirostris is widespread around coasts from the Andaman Islands, India, Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar, islands off peninsular Thailand, and Peninsular Malaysia through Indonesia, Brunei, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia (to France) and Australia. Its population in Australia may number c.5,000 birds and is probably stable (Garnett and Crowley 2000). Its density in Australia may have decreased locally on islands and in areas of the mainland where there are high levels of human disturbance and coastal development, especially around inhabited islands of the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait, and the wet tropical coast (A. Freeman in litt. 2007). Despite this, between the 1920s and 1970s the eastern part of the species's range appears to have extended south into New South Wales (Garnett and Crowley 2000). It is very rare on and around Sumatra, Vanuatu and New Caledonia, where it has not been seen for six years (N. Barre in litt. 2003).

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Source: IUCN

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Range

Andaman Is. and Malay Pen. to Philippines and Australasia.
  • Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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Distribution:


    Andaman Is and Malay Peninsula through Philippines, Indonesia and New Guinea to Australia and SW Pacific islands.


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Source: Birds of Papua New Guinea

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Physical Description

Size

The beach thick-knee is the largest species of thick-knee and ranges from 21 to 22.5 inches (53 to 57 centimeters) in length

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Source: Birds of Papua New Guinea

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Diagnostic Description

It has thick yellow legs, a long, strong, bill, and yellow eyes. The beach thick-knee is gray-brown on the back and pale on the belly. The shoulder is black above a thin white line. The head is mostly black, with a white stripe through the eye. The bill is black except for a yellow base. There is a rust-colored patch under the tail.

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Source: Birds of Papua New Guinea

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Type Information

Type for Esacus magnirostris
Catalog Number: USNM 170879
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Birds
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Skin: Whole
Collector(s): W. Abbott
Year Collected: 1899
Locality: Pulau Wai, Riau / Kalimantan Barat, Tambelan Islands, Indonesia, Asia
  • Type: Oberholser. April 26, 1919. Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus. 55: 133.
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Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Pairs may be found on most beaches within its range; in Australia these include short stretches of muddy sand among mangroves, coralline sands on atolls and prime surf beaches (Garnett and Crowley 2000). Beaches associated with estuaries and mangroves are particularly favoured. Adults are sedentary, although the species has a tendency for wide-ranging vagrancy. It lays a single egg in a scrape in the sand at the landward edge of the beach, often using the same area repeatedly. It forages mainly in the intertidal zone on crustaceans and other invertebrates (Garnett and Crowley 2000).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Marine
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The beach thick-knee is found on seashore beach habitats. These include sand, shingle, rock, and mud beaches.

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Source: Birds of Papua New Guinea

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Trophic Strategy

The beach thick-knee eats crabs primarily, but also eats other crustaceans. Large crabs are torn into small pieces before they are swallowed. It generally follows its prey quietly, and then suddenly lunges and grabs. Sometimes, beach thick-knees also search in mud and sand for prey.

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

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Reproduction

Beach thick-knees fly away when disturbed, usually over the water. Beach thick-knees are monogamous. The nest is usually a shallow depression that is sometimes surrounded by a ring of leaves. The female lays only one egg at a time. The egg hatches after thirty days. The chick is able to fly after twelve weeks, but may stay with its parents for as long as a year.

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
NT
Near Threatened

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2014

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S.

Contributor/s
Barré, N. & Freeman, A.

Justification
This species qualifies as Near Threatened because it has a small population. If the population is found to be in decline it might qualify for uplisting to a higher threat category.


History
  • 2012
    Near Threatened
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Near-threatened.

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Population

Population
The population is thought to number c.5,000 individuals in Australia, 1,000 individuals in the Melanesian islands (G. Dutson in litt. 2002), and 10-20 individuals in New Caledonia. This totals at least 6,000 individuals, roughly equivalent to 4,000 mature individuals.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
The species appears to be threatened by extensive human disturbance of beach habitats in many areas (Garnett and Crowley 2000). It is also thought to be sensitive to predation by introduced mammals. Much of the species's habitat in Australia, particularly on islands, is secure. This species occurs at low densities and occupies linear habitats, increasing the potential for local extinctions to become regional ones; however, its apparent range expansion southwards in eastern Australia suggests that such extinctions do not represent genetic barriers (Garnett and Crowley 2000).

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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Conservation Actions Underway
No targeted conservation actions are known for this species.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Maintain a register of inhabited beaches. Monitor population trends, especially where human disturbance is prevalent. If necessary, control the use of beaches by humans and their dogs, particularly during breeding. Determine the relationship between human disturbance and breeding success.

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Wikipedia

Beach stone-curlew

The beach stone-curlew (Esacus magnirostris) also known as beach thick-knee is a large, ground-dwelling bird that occurs in Australasia, the islands of South-east Asia. At 55 cm (22 in) and 1 kg (2.2 lbs), it is one of the world's largest shorebirds. At a mean of 1,032 g (2.275 lb) in males and 1,000 g (2.2 lb) in females, it the heaviest living member of the Charadriiformes outside of the gull and skua families.[2]

It is less strictly nocturnal than most stone-curlews, and can sometimes be seen foraging by daylight, moving slowly and deliberately, with occasional short runs. It tends to be wary and fly off into the distance ahead of the observer, employing slow, rather stiff wingbeats. The beach stone-curlew is a resident of undisturbed open beaches, exposed reefs, mangroves, and tidal sand or mudflats over a large range, including coastal eastern Australia as far south as far eastern Victoria, the northern Australian coast and nearby islands, New Guinea, New Caledonia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. It is uncommon over most of its range, and rare south of Cairns.

A single egg is laid just above the high tide line on the open beach, where it is vulnerable to predation and human disturbance.

The beach stone-curlew is classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Esacus giganteus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ CRC Handbook of Avian Body Masses, 2nd Edition by John B. Dunning Jr. (Editor). CRC Press (2008), ISBN 978-1-4200-6444-5.
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