Family: BURHINIDAE (Mathews, 1912)

Genera: Two genera are recognised.

  • Burhinus – Greek; bous ox: rhis,rhinos nose; (Illiger 1811).
  • Esacus – Greek; aisakos amended from Aesacus of greek legend. One version has Aesacus, Prince of Troy, transmogrified into a wader under tragic circumstances (Lesson 1831).
  • Europe: Eurasian Stone-Curlew.
  • Africa: Eurasian Stone-Curlew, Senegal Thick-knee, Water Thick-knee and Spotted Thick-knee.
  • Asia: Eurasian Thick-knee and Great Thick-knee.
  • Australasia: Bush Thick-knee, and Beach Thick-knee.
  • Central and South America: Double-striped Thick-knee and Peruvian Thick-knee.
Ten species within the Burhinidae comprising eight species in the genus Burhinus, and two species in the genus Esacus.

B. o. oedicnemus (Linnaeus 1758)
B. o. distinctus (Bannerman 1914)
B. o. insularum (Sassi 1908)
B. o. saharae (Reichenow 1894)
B. o. harterti (Vaurie 1963)

B. v. vermiculatus (Cabanis 1868)
B. v. buettikoferi (Reichenow 1898)

B. c. capensis (Lichtenstein 1823)
B. c. maculosus (Temminck 1824)
B. c. dodsoni (Ogilvie-Grant 1899)
B. c. damarensis (Reichenow 1905)

B. s. bistriatus (Wagler 1829)
B. s. dominicensis (Cory 1883)
B. s. pediacus (Wetmore & Borrero 1964)
B. s. vocifer (L’Herminier 1837)

  • Occasionally included in Gruiformes with the bustards.
  • Both Esacus species have at times been lumped into Burhinus.
  • Beach Thick-knee was given own genus Orthorhamphus.
  • Indian Stone-Curlew considered a subspecies of Eurasian Stone Curlew by some authors.
  • Bush Stone Curlew originally described by Latham, but he described two species grallarius and magnirostris both of which were Bush Stone-Curlew. This caused problems later when Beach Thick-knee Esacus magrnirostris was propsed to be subsumed into Burhinus as both would then have the same name. This was resolved as the first reviser of the Latham’s birds was Gould who used grallarius, thus removing the magnirostris confusion from the matter. However they are now considered separate genera so the problem no longer applies.
  • BirdLife International: IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/03/2020
  • del Hoyo, Josep, Andrew Elliot & Jordi Sargatal: Handbook of the Birds of the World – Vol. 3 (1996)
  • Hayman, Peter, John Marchant & Tony Prater: Shorebirds – An identification guide to the waders of the world (1986)
  • HBW Alive https://www.hbw.com/
  • Jobling, James A.: Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names (2010)
  • Seebohm, Henry: The Geographical Distribution of the Family Charadriidae, or, The Plovers, Sandpipers, Snipes, and Their Allies (1888)
Click on an image for more information about the individual species.

Genus Burhinus

EURASIAN STONE-CURLEW – Least Concern
Stone-curlews and Thick-knees - Indian Thick-knee
INDIAN STONE-CURLEW – Least Concern
Stone-curlews and Thick-knees - Bush Stone-curlew
BUSH THICK-KNEE – Least Concern

Stone-curlews and Thick-knees - Double-striped Thick-knee
DOUBLE-STRIPED THICK-KNEE – Least Concern
Stone-curlews and Thick-knees - Peruvian Thick-knee
PERUVIAN THICK-KNEE – Least Concern

Stone-curlews and Thick-knees - Senegal Thick-knee
SENEGAL THICK-KNEE – Least Concern
Stone-curlews and Thick-knees - Spotted Thick-knee
SPOTTED THICK-KNEE – Least Concern
Stone-curlews and Thick-knees - Water Thick-knee
WATER THICK-KNEE – Least Concern

Genus Esacus

Stone Curlews and Thick-knees
BEACH THICK-KNEE – Near Threatened

GREAT THICK-KNEE – Near Threatened