Bush Stone-curlew

The bush stone-curlew is also known as the bush thick-knee. It is a  ground-dwelling, mainly nocturnal bird that is at risk to predation by foxes and cats.

The colouring of the curlew allows it to camouflage well in its environment. When threatened, the curlew will lay motionless, instead of fleeing.

Once quite common, the bush stone-curlew is now listed as endangered in Victoria and New South Wales and is extinct locally. Predation by feral animals such as foxes and cats as well as stock trampling nesting sites are major threats to their numbers seeing a significant decline in this species over the last 50 years.

These birds forage at night and are omnivores, eating a wide variety of food including insects, molluscs, lizards, seeds and small mammals.

Instead of building a nest, bush-stone curlews lay 1-2 eggs in a shallow scrape or in a flat clearing on the ground. The eggs are very well camouflaged.


RARES Foundation supports the breeding and release of bush stone-curlews to nearby Phillip Island in association with Phillip Island Nature Parks.

To manage this species in the wild and provide adequate solutions, it is vital to comprehend how the curlews operate. Various techniques have been supporting the curlews’ releases such as leg bands, leg flags, and radio-tracking. Our partner, Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park has already successfully done tracker trials using harnesses in the conservation parks’ aviaries.

Developed by Moonlit Sanctuary, the technology assisting in monitoring the bush stone-curlew releases is a radio-tracking harness, carrying a solar assisted tracker. The tracker refers to the Kite-L GPS GSM by Ecotone, with a solar panel, weighing 17g (less than 3% of the bird’s weight).

This new technology assisted in GPS accuracy for a longer period (months & years), which significantly improved the assessment of program release. To its extent, this highly precise data helped in raising awareness of the ecology of this fascinating bird.