Bush Stone-curlew

From Dry Tropics Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Burhinus grallarius


Size 55-59cm.

Well camouflaged and secretive, often difficult to see. Freeze flat on the ground to avoid detection. Body mid grey-brown heavily streaked with black and pale wing-band. White eyebrow with a dusky stripe through the eye and down the side of the neck. Large yellow eyes, black bill, long legs and feet are olive/yellow. The call is an eerie nocturnal wailing.

Feeding Habits

Mainly feed at night. The birds wander along, turning over litter and picking up a variety of insects.


Nest on bare ground, often near a bush or tree or beside a fallen dead limb or a place that their eggs blend in with. Both parents incubate the eggs.

Traditional Owner Values

Juru Language Name : Eungie Wula Dibala

Meaning : Death or big trouble


This bird has a low pitch screech to start off with, then, as the singing becomes louder we take notice if there are any other birds joining in.

If there are three or more birds singing with the curlew and the singing is loud and close by it means big trouble is coming your way.

If there is only one curlew screeching in a low pitch and it comes inside your yard or near your house, that means you will hear about the death of a family member or close friend.

Places to Look

They inhabit open-grassed woodlands, golf courses, parks and gardens. Can be seen in groups of up to 20 when not breeding.


Habitats destroyed by housing developments. Many young birds killed by cars, dogs and cats.


NQ Dry Tropics gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Birdlife Townsville (formerly the Townsville Region Bird Observers Club) to the information on this page

© NQ Dry Tropics 2015
© NQ Dry Tropics 2015
© NQ Dry Tropics 2015
© Birdlife Townsville 2008
© Birdlife Townsville 2008

This is a legacy website. Content is not being updated but is kept as an archive.
Updated NRM information is now held in the NQ Dry Tropics NRM Information Portal at http://nrm.nqdrytropics.com.au/.
while corporate information about NQ Dry Tropics is held on our main website at http://www.nqdrytropics.com.au
NQ Dry Tropics Website