So much is unknown about Queensland Bush Stone-curlew ecology and behaviour. Information for this article has been gathered from publicly available sources and research undertaken by Griffith University PhD student, Scott O’Keeffe, who is mid-way through a project on urban Bush Stone-curlew ecology.

The Bush Stone-curlew or Bush Thick-knee (Burhinus grallarius) is a large ground- dwelling bird with a wingspan of 55-60 cm. They can live for 20 years, sometimes more. They are a terrestrial predator adapted to stalking and running. Bush Stone-curlews are considered common in Queensland but since no monitoring of the species has been carried out in South East Queensland, it is possible that they could suffer the serious declines evident in southern states. In New South Wales they are listed as Endangered and in Victoria, Threatened.

The Bush Stone-curlew call is an evocative and unforgettable sound. It is a penetrating, strident, wail, rising with a slight waver, and dropping at the end and often repeated a number of times in quick succession.

Curlew Habitat

Bush Stone-curlews inhabit open country and avoid dense vegetation. Their ancestral habitats include grasslands, open woodland, mallee, mangroves and rainforest fringes. They are also found in highly modified environments such as golf courses, rail reserves, roadsides with sparse vegetation, urban parkland and grazing land. Curlews prefer landscapes that give them good visibility at ground level, so they usually inhabit areas with bare ground or low ground cover and widely spaced trees and shrubs. Sites where the ground is covered with leaves, twigs, sticks, stones or sparse grass are preferred for nesting since curlews rely on camouflaged eggs and cryptic plumage to avoid predators.

Curlews protect themselves by combining natural camouflage with good visibility to see predators approaching. If necessary they can respond with distraction and threat displays called ‘mantling’. Animals that take eggs and chicks include the usual suspects such as foxes, dogs and cats (feral and pet). Native predators include kookaburras, goannas, pythons, quolls and the Australian White Ibis.

Since curlews are largely nocturnal, they roost inconspicuously during the day in clumps of trees or among fallen timbers. In urban areas, curlews will often roost in raised garden beds with clumped shrubs and grasses or grass-like plants. Curlews forage at night in open areas such as playing fields, parkland, pasture with low grass, and sometimes mangroves, salt marshes and mudflats. The home ranges of curlews appear to vary widely according to ‘habitat quality’ and food abundance.

Curlew Diet

Bush Stone-curlews are mainly nocturnal and specialise in hunting small grassland animals, mainly invertebrates. They will also take some small vertebrates such as frogs, lizards, snakes and occasionally small mammals. In coastal areas, they may add molluscs and crustaceans to their diet. Curlews will also eat small seeds and fruits. They obtain moisture from their food and do not need surface water for drinking.

Urban Adaptations

The range of unusual behaviours exhibited by many curlews in urban areas suggests that they are capable of significantly modifying their behaviour to take advantage of urban resources.

For instance, curlews breed in Brisbane’s Southbank Parklands, despite the constant presence of noisy humans and traffic. During the day they roost quietly in the edges of shrubbery unnoticed by the crowds. At night, they can often be seen in the shopping precinct harvesting the bounty of insects and geckoes that are drawn to bright lights.

An Adult Curlew on a nest
Bush Stone-curlews are masters of camouflage, which they use to hide themselves, their nests and their young from potential predators. An adult curlew on a nest. Photo by Todd Burrows.
Curlew Eggs
Curlew eggs. Photo by Todd Burrows.

In some instances, curlews have adapted to nesting in concrete environments, next to walls and buildings, and even in seemingly hostile environments such as industrial estates with little vegetation. They have been observed nesting under buildings including a demountable site office on stumps in an industrial estate. Curlews in the wild have no equivalent nesting sites. Curlews have been observed collecting cigarette butts and surrounded their nests with them. Perhaps the nicotine in the cigarette butts repels parasites or acts as an insecticide.

Curlews…are capable of significantly modifying their behaviour to take advantage of urban resources.

How Adaptable are Curlews?

Consider the case of Coochiemudlo Island. Between 2001 and 2014, the human population rose by 47%, from 518 to 759. In that same period, the curlew population increased by 154%, from 74 to 188 birds. Over this time, the island has seen significant growth in housing, changes to the natural environment and the introduction of more pet cats and dogs. As more people have settled on the island, they have thinned the island’s natural forest cover, creating a park-like environment, increasing the potential foraging areas for curlews. Unlike the mainland, there are fewer fences restricting curlew movement and there are no foxes.

A significant proportion of residents deliberately provide food for the curlews, which may be significant enough to increase fitness and therefore survival of chicks and adults. This is not a firm conclusion, and the role of supplementary feeding is still under investigation.

Sedentary or Migratory?

Studies in NSW and Queensland have recorded short distance flights by curlews (up to about 15 km) as well as long distance movement (500 km over two nights). But we have no clear picture of patterns of, or triggers for, movement through the landscape. Do we need to provide continuous terrestrial habitat corridors for movement, or can curlews successfully negotiate the city to move from one physically isolated patch to another? We just don’t know.

Curlews nesting under a building
Curlews nesting under a building in Oxley. This behaviour shows one way in which curlews have adapted to urban areas. Photo by Scott O’Keeffe.
A fox takes a Bush Stone-curlew egg
A fox takes a Bush Stone-curlew egg from a nest near Ipswich.

Curlew Conservation

Our knowledge of the ecology of Bush Stone-curlews remains limited. However, we can still propose some practical measures, based on sound science and observation, to assist with their conservation:

• Minimise disturbance of curlew nesting areas by restricting human and pet access, such as leashing your dog while walking in a park.

• Do not approach nesting curlews, especially with a dog.

• Do not place food near curlew nests (well-meaning but ill-advised). Even the residual smell of food can attract animals, including predators which can kill curlews and their chicks.

• Assess an area before undertaking gardening or maintenance. Curlews
on their nests and their eggs are well camouflaged and can be easily overlooked by gardeners. Avoid working within ten metres of a curlew nest.

• Fence woodland remnants that are known or potential curlew habitat areas, and leave fallen branches and debris on the ground.

• Use wildlife-friendly fencing that allows curlews to move and spot predators.

• Report sightings of pest animals and assist local government to manage wild dogs, feral cats and foxes.

• Manage domestic and feral animals on your own property.

• Carefully manage introduced weed species to enhance curlew habitat. Areas where dense, tall grasses grow are avoided by curlews.

• Join patches of native vegetation to increase the size of habitat areas and avoid clearing native vegetation.

To share your sightings of Bush Stone- curlews in the Greater Brisbane area or to find out more about Scott’s research, contact Scott O’Keeffe c/ Environmental Futures Research Institute, Griffith University or 0457 328 442 or [email protected]

A wide wing display
A wide wing display is one way in which Bush Stone-curlews try to distract potential predators away from their nests. Photo by Scott O’Keeffe.

References & Further Reading

Department of Environment and Conservation NSW (2006) NSW Recovery Plan for the Bush Stone-curlew Burhinus grallarius. DEC, Sydney.

Pizzey G & Knight F (2012) The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Harper Collins.

Sleigh S, Williams L & Stothers K (2010) The Bush Stone-curlew in Northern Victoria – Conversations and Conservation. Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority.

Threatened Species Network. Australian Threatened Species: Bush stone-curlew Fact Sheet.

Article co-authored by Amanda Maggs, Brisbane City Council and Scott O’Keeffe, Griffith University.

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72 responses on “The Queensland Bush Stone-curlew

  1. Little known fact in relation to Bush Stone Curlew: Immediately after hatching, parent bird removes the evidence by collecting and hiding all egg fragments.

    For 9 years same pair nesting in my backyard (Cairns)

    1. Is that nest made from red and white jumper wire and held together with overhead ironwork?
      I’m sure the phone system for them is working perfectly.

    2. That’s interesting because I’ve got a pair on my property who were sitting on 2 eggs. I noticed the eggs and all traces of the eggs were gone. I thought a snake had eaten the eggs. Later I found the Bush Stone Curlews in another part of the garden with 2 chicks.

    3. A mating pair of Curlews (only one year old) have hatched their first pair of chicks, lost them both in storm water drain on consecutive days. One month later the second pair of chicks were hatched. One of them injured its foot. We called wildlife rescue, when the chick was taken away the Curlew family ran away. A few days later we saw them in the neighborhood without the remaining chick. One month later they successfully hatched one chick, but the other chick suffocated during hatching. The head was out of shell but membrane covering beak. The Curlews are not feeding the remaining chick. What would you do?

  2. How long ( months) before the parents leave the chicks to fend for themselves? There are largish chicks near our home whose parents haven’t returned in 3 days. is this normal?

  3. I live on Coochiemudlo Island and I am pleased to say that my back block of land has become their territory. So it is nice to agree to what has been written. In terms of eggs however there has been some seasons not always, where the mother has laid as many as four eggs and the chicks survived. However as mentioned on average its two eggs that are laid. Currently I have a curlew mother who laid one egg on Monday and laid a second on Friday which is something I have not observed occurring in the past. Would welcome your feedback.

    1. I have a pair of curlews which just hatched 2 eggs 5 hours apart. The eggs were laid about 2 days apart. The parents removed the eggshells.

      1. I saw a family of three curlews in a small area of bushland at the river end of Summners Rd Riverhills Brisbane early May 2020.

  4. we have a bush curlew who has been sitting on 2 eggs for about 6 weeks – i read the incubation period was 28 days – when do they leave the eggs if they don’t hatch?

  5. We had a family camping in our front yard. Two parents and a chick. We didn’t feed or bother them. The parents left the chick and went hunting. One morning the chick was just a mess of feathers and the parents left.

    Those parents came back months later with two chicks. This time we fed them, chased away cats and kept a watch over the chicks when the parents went hunting. Feeding them all resulted in one of the parents staying behind for the easy meals.

    The chicks grew and the parents realised these kids were too lazy to go hunting at night. The parents moved a couple of streets away. One of the kids moved on and that left the young male.

    My sister visiting with her old dog, who decided to go and lay in the shade. Sat on the Curlew. The Curlew hasn’t slept in our front yard since that incident, but visits every other night and gets fed.

    Two nights ago, visited with his girlfriend and new chick. We fed them and they left. Last night they came back and we fed them. As the they were leaving a 4WD drove over the chick crossing the road.

    The driver stopped but it was a quick death. The parents wailed and flapped.
    We had to pick the dead chick off the road because the parents were staying with it on the road. So the dead chick was on our nature strip. The parents stood over it making chook chook noises followed by an occasional wail. This went on from midnight until dawn, when they left. We went out and buried the chick in our front yard. The parents came back tonight and are standing at the spot they last saw their dead chick. Just standing there.

    Feel bad for them. It is their family history repeated, The original parents had one chick and lost it, then had two the next time. This male is from that nest. So next time….. two chicks?

  6. I live in Palm Beach 4221 and walked right past 3 beautiful curlews yesterday afternoon – I only noticed them because one hissed at me! There they were standing right next to the path in a highly populated street across the road from a school, which is perhaps their foraging ground. I was wondering if there any education initiatives for schools, to bring their awareness to the birds living on the grounds and in the vicinity, its such a busy and noisey area with the school kids and hectic pick up and drop off traffic. It would be great to have signs around to bring peoples attention to the fact that these curlews live in this area. It seems like such a miracle they’re here with all the dogs that run around unleashed and ibis that hang in the school yard. Any thoughts or suggestions?

    1. I have two large witches hats that I put at each end of the area, where our curlews nest.
      I bought them from Council Buyback in Cairns for $4 each.
      I gave them a good scrub and wrote the words, WILDLIFE KEEP CLEAR.
      On Council Lawn Mowing days, the drivers take great care.
      Its also a good idea to put water out for the hen, when she is nesting,
      The male does take a turn at sitting on the eggs.
      The eggs must be kept at a certain temperature to develop.
      We love our curlews!

  7. We have had a young curlew living on our patio for two months {Bundaberg}. We have not seen or heard any others. During the day he stands in the corner next to a pot plant, then on dusk he goes feeding. He looks at his reflection in the glass thinking it is a mate. He chatters away and holds his wings out. I hear him pecking at insects on the house at night. Since he has been with us, I haven’t seen any Gecko’s. So we are very happy about that. The family of Magpies here give him a hard time. I worry about his future because he does not fight back or run away. I love the way he rests on his haunches with his legs folded backwards and feet extended out the front of him.

  8. Hi. I am in central Queensland and we have 1 lone curlew who visits Early morning and late afternoon.
    Has been doing this for over a year.
    Would it be correct that it is on its own?

  9. I live in cairns. I have open lawn, no fence and balcony all around house. Every night, all night the curlews(two I think) circle around the house screaming and tapping on the windows with their beaks. We cant leave doors open or they come in and poo everywhere. Yes we are under seige! If we have visitors we have to warn them as they wake everybody up at night. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to dissuade them? They seem to becoming more and more territorial.

    1. Hi Joe. Wildlife is wonderful to have around, but they can sometimes be tricky to live next to. Obviously, don’t feed them or leave out pet food or have open compost bins. Consider putting up anti-reflective material on windows so they do not see their own reflection. There is really no getting around the fact that these are nocturnal animals that can be noisy at night – maybe a good pair of earplugs? Goodluck.

  10. We have possibly up to three different groups of them in our neighbourhood (they have been here for about five weeks now) and some of them sit under the window all night screaming their heads off. I literally cannot take it anymore as i am getting absolutely no sleep.
    Are their any wildlife specialists or professionals who could relocate them?

    1. To all those who can’t sleep due to our nocturnal curlews…..I fix the problem by listening to meditation tapes at night – I good headset and guided meditation tapes and I’m off with the fairies pretty quickly. You could also try music or anything that can get you to sleep. And there’s always earplugs.

      We live on Russell Island which is (one of the Southern Moreton Bay islands and the island is full of them. Personally, I think they are just gorgeous and I love the songs they sing. I do admit the screaming in the middle of the night takes a bit to get used to, but once again the headset fixes that! I’ve lived all over Australia but had never seen one before moving here 12 months ago.

      To Rob – if they really are driving you nuts call someone from wildlife rescue. Just do a google search – wildlife rescue plus your suburb.

  11. My friends sister leaves a small ‘pool’ of water out in her back yard – that joins onto an open playground etc area in Cairns north Queensland – and the Curlews use it to bath in, loving to use it each day no matter what seasons are. Once in the ‘wet season’ when she thought they wouldn’t need the pool filled they would all stand around the area as if wondering what had happened to their bath.

  12. Moved to Coochiemudlo Island about 5 months ago. Vacant block – trees and sparse grass – beside me. Have been watching (quite close to my house/driveway) a pair of curlews sitting two eggs for about a month (they tag-teamed the egg-sit). Yesterday morning two newly-hatched chicks. Watched them all day; ranged over the block a bit; both parents with the chicks all day. Last night at dusk, still two chicks. This morning only one chick. This morning, ‘Father’ crossed the road, leaving Mum and chick near my home…. Since around mid-morning, i haven’t seen Mum nor chick (unusual?, as they’ve been living on that small vacant block for the whole time (before the eggs were laid, the curlews were part of a group of four who live between the block and the yard opposite mine). Luckily, very little road traffic on Coochie… Someone told me that the father curlews tend to attack the chicks, but the two curlews were very protective and gentle with the eggs, and then with the chick/s at all times (far as i know). Am hoping that the remaining chick has survived. Would be reassuring to see her/him…

  13. Very excited I have just noticed I have a pair of Bush curlews in our yard in Camira QLD ,they call at night and are very hard to spot during the day ,I have been looking to see if they have a nest, on the ground but haven’t been able to find it as yet. Just hoping they do.

  14. Hi ,I live in Yeppoon, central Queensland. We have a pair of curlews who have been together for quite a while. We don’t have fences between three houses so they nest in one or the others depending on what’s going on. A hen is nesting on an egg in my backyard at the moment. Unfortunately not all chicks have lived over the years. A fox or dog or other has taken them. My pets ,two cats and a small dog are not at all interested in them and I think the curlews could stand up to most cats or small dogs with their scary tactics. Anyway we all love them and get quite excited if new chicks are born. I have put water out for them and put a long stool and palfrey fronds over her today as it was so hot. Hope I was doing the right thing. I don’t feed them.

  15. Hi, we have a pair of curlers who have nested on our front naturestrip over the kart few years. She has just laid her two eggs and is sitting on the nest. However I have not seen the father for about 36 hours and I’m concerned something may have happened to him. If so, how can I help her to get through the nesting season? Food? Protection? I’m concerned she won’t make it through on her own.

  16. We are in Yeppoon and there is a curlew must be sitting on eggs by a rather busy road. Wondering how long the eggs take to hatch because it’s a few weeks now since we first saw them..

  17. Since I have lived here in Cairns, (4 years) there have been a pair of Bush Stone Curlews living beside a remnant rain forest, just inches from the road!
    My friend and I, try to take some kind of care of these mysterious birds.
    In so doing, we have found that something dire has always happened to each ideal, 4 bird family group.
    This has demonstrated to us, that each pair of curlews is the decedent of the prior couple, before trouble decimated their family.
    We never found out how any bird disappeared, but we have witnessed some very cruel and witless behaviors from adults and children living here.
    At times chicks, or an adult have ended up with a broken leg or are squashed flat on the road.
    It is heart breaking for those kind souls, who care for nature, to see this happening each generation, where we have been so fortunate to interact in a small way, with these beautiful intelligent birds.

  18. Scott ,have left a message for you.I am in Manunda ,a suburb of Cairns and a pair of Curlews have produced two beautiful chicks in the garden of the units in which I live . I also thought the worst when there was no evidence of the nest or the eggs but the cock bird confronted my Mobility Scooter yesterday as I returned home but backed off ass I spoke quietly to him and mother showed off her two chicks –just beautiful for an 85 yerold duck like me to see this in an Urban Environment .Many thanks for your work.
    Regards , Alan Murdoch

  19. We are in Ocean View 4521 and can report two families on our property, one family happily tucked themselves on the tree line, probably on there second nest. The other family are nesting between our dog fence and property fence which is our path for getting the ride on to the back of the property. So will have to be mighty aware for the next couple of weeks.

  20. Does anybody know how long the adult curlews (the parents) stay with their chicks? We had a family group of 2 parents and 2 chicks who used to visit faithfully in the evening. We’re now seeing the chicks on their own, they would be about 3 months old and close to adult size.

    We also had the parent of on of the adults around until the new pair had chicks – then they chased poor old grand-dad away….is this normal behavior?

    I’ve loved reading all your comments, I only met our lovely bush stone-curlews about a year ago and I think they’re just wonderful!

    By the way, I’ve read on the “official” sites that the birds don’t drink water (apparently they get sufficient moisture from food)) but we keep a bowl of water out for all the wildlife and I’ve seen the curlews drink a number of times. Anyone else seen this?

  21. Have a pair at our place at Yeppoon. Started egg laying this week, second egg this morning. In an open area behind our place. We fear for the egg survival as we do get a lot of goannas here. Will watch with interest.

  22. We had two Curlews nesting in our car park in Carindale, 4152. They were here for about three months and laid three different clutches of eggs. They abandon the eggs prior to hatching and move their nesting site. The last pair of eggs were abandoned last week, and now the birds are gone as well. Very sad.

  23. We have discovered a pair of Curlews in Springfield Lakes, they have adopted the local Car Park and have been seen walking around at night have been their 12 months. Another pair has just had a chick in another location at the University. We do have foxes and my guess is they like the car parks for food & protection from predators. I have heard them calling late at night eiry but sad in a way. Fascinating but crazy birds when they do their I’m a stature freeze pose.

  24. Hi
    I have nesting curlews in my yard of 1 acre at tallai qld 4213
    They are much smaller in size to your examples.
    They are about 200mm high and have a wingspan of about the same.
    I am wondering if they are a sub species

  25. Our Curlew story.. We live at The Gap, Brisbane and we had heard the Curlews at night with their call. However in mid 2017 two Curlews arrived at our back door and seemed very hungry, as we already feed many native birds we fed them food also and they had some water as well. In September they made a nest in our large backyard and took turns to be fed but in October they just up and left. We had no idea if they had had a baby or if a Creditor took the eggs. How ever in February 2018 the two former Curlews turned up at our back door with a large baby in tow. They proceeded to teach the baby how to eat by making a clicking sound for the baby to pick the food up in his beak but he soon learnt to do it himself. Through the year they all disappeared but in September the two parent birds returned and again nested in the back yard. In October our family went away for three weeks holidays but when we returned they Curlews had gone. However on the 9th January this year the Curlews again returned to our back door with another long legged baby in tow and they repeated their teaching baby how to eat. They also enjoyed the water as baby liked to splash in it. The Curlew family continue to wander off each night for food elsewhere. We have enjoyed this interesting journey with our Curlew family.

  26. I would agree with most information about the lovely bush stone curlew except the surface water. The ones in my yard drink many times a day from a bucket of water that I put out for the bush turkeys who have a nest around 2 meters away from the curlews as the turkey passes out sometimes on hot days because he works so endlessly. The curlew drinks way more than the turkey. I have many photos of the water drinking culprit!

  27. We live on Lamb Island in the Southern Moreton Bay. We have many families of Curlews living on the island. We have a family which lives very close to our house and our large vacant block next door. Once we found a chick squashed/run over by a car, which was very upsetting. They are funny, when we return home sometimes of a night when our car lights are on, they appear on the road in front of our car, we go slowly but they still extend their wings and make a hissing sound, but do not seem to have the sense to go to the side, they fly in front of our car the whole way down the street. They “stand totally still” sometimes as a defence mechanism. When we first moved here they would live under our house, but now they have decided to move to the block a couple of doors away, which is not cleared, as I think we move around a bit more than the lady before us who lived on her own. One night, not long after we first moved here, I heard the most blood curdling sound coming from one of the birds, as if it was gurgling, I think a domestic cat attacked it and the horrific sound disappeared off into the night. I was so upset, so since that night, if I see a cat anywhere near my property I angrily chase them away. We found two skulls and backbone behind our shed, obviously some pray had eaten them.

  28. We have a bush stone curlew family in the park one house away from ours – no fences between us and the park, fallen branches and low shrubbery, 2 cul-de-sacs and a large grassed easement to a through road, all bordering the park, so 3 different escape routes, Sometimes they visit us, especially if the Council is mowing the park (they come running). I leave out a low container of water for them to stand in, in hot weather. Sometimes they sit on the concrete in front of our pool gate or in the garden beds next to the pool fence where they have clear line of sight and escape routes in 2 directions.. We have seen them raise 2 chicks in the last 6 months. (1 on each occasion).

    About a week ago in the evening, I heard some uncharacteristic screeching commotion and saw the 2 adults running and flying into our cul-de-sac. A man with a torch and a dog were chasing the parents. My husband and I went into the cul-de-sac and yelled at him (threatened him with the RSPCA). He went away and hasn’t attempted that again as far as we know. Maybe he doesn’t like the sounds we sometimes hear from them at night. Too bad, so sad! I was concerned for their welfare but then last night saw all 3 in our cul-de-sac.

    There is a large colony of the birds in or near Strollers Cricket Ground in Redbank Plains about 500m from the intersection of Collingwood Drive and Redbank Plains Rd. Last Tuesday I saw about a dozen birds there on the cricket ground feeding during the day (even though they are nocturnal). This location is large and open, near Six Mile Creek riparian zone and on the edge of dense bushland, so ideal for the birds. There is a lot of residential development going on in our area but they appear unfazed.

    Hope this information helps with Griffith Uni’s research.

  29. We visited Moreton Island last year (Tangalooma), and there seemed to be hundreds! They quite comfortably strolled around the paths and cafes.

    They were very different to the more reserved curlews we have at home (Milton 4064). Currently we have a family of 3. My 2-year-old son loves them, especially when they nest outside our house. He can see them from his bedroom window and the kitchen window, and likes to say we have breakfast with the curlews.

    One of my most distinct memories of them is from a couple of years ago. The family were at the top of the driveway as we came home one night, we drove very slowly to give them time to get away. I saw one of the parents shoo the chick in one direction (further into the garden), while the parent ran ahead of us with its wings spread in order to distract us. I am very glad to assure you that they all came out just fine because we love having them around and drove very slowly. It was the display of parental instict that resonated with me that night.

    One last comment: have you come across the picture book “Colour for Curlews”? It’s quite cute.

  30. Can a curlew be re located we have one at work that needs to be re located
    To a better location other than the factory carpark

    1. It is preferable not to relocate curlews unless where they are living is about to be cleared. They often successfully breed and forage in urban areas such as carparks.

  31. Great! Thanks for that information. Our Curlews must be quite old for producing chicks now. They still stay together,. Even though they may go missing regularly, they always return to their chosen spot right beside the busy road. It was the place where they were born or met up. They have succeeded in raising several brood of chicks, however we have seen some disasters with chicks. Cairns Council Lawn Mowing guys are aware of the Curlews and take great care with them.

  32. Yes, I’ve seen curlews drink water.
    We have a breeding pair in our yard (next to a nature park). Last year they raised one chick (now driven off) and a few days ago surfaced with 2 gorgeous chicks.
    I put some water out but want to leave a large badin do they can get into it.

  33. Hello!

    We have just come across a mother laying on 2 eggs in our work car park. Unfortunately she has laid in an area that is too close to cars driving and I am very worried for her unborn babies as they hatch and start to explore.

    Does anyone know the best course of action? The local bird and wildlife center said that they could only relocate the eggs and this does make me extremely sad and uneasy for the parents.

    We work near the airport so there are snakes, rabbits and even foxes at times.

    1. Hi Courtney. We recommend that you don’t try to move these nesting birds. They have chosen that site for good reasons. If it proves unsuccessful as a breeding site, they will move elsewhere. Often human traffic, including cars, provides some protection against cats and foxes.

  34. I live in Sarina, Mackay on 5 acres and I have a large native garden. I get curlews every year but sadly due to increased traffic so many get hit by cars.
    I have a bird in my garden at the moment with a broken leg. Can they survive like this? It’s wings seem fine. It’s been about 10 days. My dogs don’t seem to worry it and my yard is fenced. We lock our dogs up at night.
    Lots of fruiting plants and other wildlife in my garden but should I put some food out for it?
    I would really appreciate any input. Thanks in advance all

  35. I have a pair of Curlews who nest in my back yard every year (Atherton FNQ)
    The female nests in leaf litter out in full sun, no shade at all & she pants all day in the heat, poor thing. I leave water close by in the shade of a small lemon tree. The male Curlew keeps watch nearby and he drinks the water. I’m assuming the female will drink during the night.
    They attempt to raise two chicks every year, but they have never had both chicks survive more than a couple months. Only once in the 15 years I’ve been here has a single chick reached adulthood. Neighborhood cats claim most of them, others have been crushed on the road as they tend to wander in the evenings and early mornings. It’s very sad to see and I always feel I should help them somehow.

    1. Another breeding season and they have failed once again to bring new birds into being.
      I should not have been so fast to blame cats last time as this year I twice saw a large owl trying to get the first two chicks, which I assume it eventually did. The hen soon after laid two more eggs but only one hatched. It survived for about 2½ weeks and now too has met it’s fate somehow. I get so sad for the chicks and almost angry at the parents for being so utterly useless at raising young. They ought to stay in the bush instead of an urban area!

  36. I have a curlew sitting on eggs on my front lawn in Killaloe (near Port Douglas). She doesn’t seem to move at all and almost looks like she is ill. She is stretched out lengthways with her head resting on a tree root. The male (I assume) seems to have disappeared as I haven’t seen him for a week or more. Hope she hatches her chicks as we do have big goannas wandering around. I hope she is ok as she doesn’t seem to mind me walking past her. I do keep my distance though.

  37. We have a pair at our local park that have raised multiple broods but the chicks never survive. They are fine for the first 2 weeks when mostly under mum at the nest site but once they start to get more active they both disappear by about 3-4 weeks of age. First one and then the other a few days later. We suspect a cat but have regularly set a trap without luck and there is never any sign of an attack when we inspect the park carefully immediately following a chick disappearance (eg no feathers, remains). Could it be owls? Really frustrating!

    1. Hi Chris. Both cats and foxes will often take their prey away from the site where they catch it to consume it. If it is an owl, then that is just nature in action, as hard as that can be to see.

  38. Yesterday I saw a curlew looking through the window at Coles Alderley. It did not seem worried about all the people and cars moving about the car park. I came out of the supermarket 10 minutes later and it was still there. Perhaps it has a nest nearby. The supermarket has an underground car park and trees and shrubs surrounding it. I live in nearby Grange and often hear their call during the night.

  39. Over the past 5 years we have had a number of breeding pairs ‘renting’ our back garden while nesting and successfully raising their chicks. Last year 2019 one pair laid two clutches, neither of which hatched. One day 39 of sitting one egg disappeared and both birds came to the back door and stayed there until we moved and disposed of the second egg. Shortly after the second failed attempt another pair arrived and chased the remaining female from the site with a cacophony of “yelling”. The new pair laid a clutch which have hatched and are now 4 weeks old. The other female laid an egg in the front garden and then abandoned it, she does however visit our front garden on occasion. We provide the birds with water and daily they drink, “swim” and stand in the water. Our journey with these delightful birds has been different each time they breed and we are truly lucky to have such magic happen in our garden.

  40. When we came to Cooktown 26 years ago from WA & PNG we were told they were “death birds” however have found this a most unfair discription. They are a wonderful addition to the aesthetic and auditory medium that we share.
    About 7 years ago we found a male on the front lawn with severe scratches on one leg, probably from a cat – he had lost blood and was very weak. We bandaged the leg and gave him water which immediatetly improved his disposition. He looked deeply into me with his large and intelligent eyes and mutual trust and respect was ensconced. He stayed with us and fed for a week before moving on, but has, with his mate, nested and had chicks in our front garden every year thereafter. Some survive, others don’t – that’s nature.

  41. I live on Macleay island Queensland and we have many Curlews .
    We’ve recently noticed we have a pair that have adopted our yard .
    I love their calls to each other during the night .
    Don’t plan to feed them as they look very healthy.
    Hopefully they will hatch some chicks .
    As we don’t have foxes on the island they stand a better chance of survival.

    1. Trying to get information on then rock bush curlu. Have a pair living for 15 years under my old cane cutters Barracks. They lay eggs regularly, hatch the chicks, who grow for 2 weeks, then disappear, never reaching adulthood. I am mystified. The parents come onto the back verandah (crap) and call. Love the sound. By now there should be flocks of birds, like the mobs on the local Golf Course. How long do the birds live for????

      1. The Curlew pair I have here go through the same process of eggs to chicks to vanished.
        I’ve lived here 16 years and they have only managed to raise one chick to adulthood.
        I’ve picked up flattened chicks on the [not busy] road outside my home but by far the most common reason for their disappearance here are the owls. Although there are some roaming cats about, I’ve seen the parent Curlews deal with them quite effectively.

  42. We live in West End, Brisbane next to Davies Park. Two curlews have been nesting in the park or nearby for the last 12 years that we know of. Over the last two years, dog owners have increasingly been using the soccer field area of Davies Park every day as an off-leash and dog exercise area; there’s sometimes up to 20 dogs running amok especially in the late afternoon. Some of the dog owners have found it funny when their dogs have chased the curlews and have told one of my neighbours to “f… off” when she expressed her concern. Apparently, on two separate occasions, baby curlews have had to be rescued by the RSPCA when they tried to find shelter from the dogs in a drain. We’ve tried contacting the Brisbane City Council on several occasions about the illegal use by dog owners of the park but nothing ever happens. We are quite concerned that the curlews will be killed/injured by the dogs. Is there anything else we can do?

  43. The Curlews living opposite me, nest within 4 feet of the roadway.
    It’s a horrible position, but they will not move anywhere else.
    They always have two chicks to begin with, but by three to four weeks, one disappears.
    The surviving chick, will later end up with a broken leg, run over or disappear as well.
    The parents are very obviously distressed with their loss. We cry too!
    But a few weeks later, they will have another two eggs to guard.
    Occasionally the parents are able to raise a chick to maturity.
    However, once that chick is almost as tall as the parents, they will chase it away.
    As the days go by, they will become very determined indeed, that the chick go its own way.
    Fortunately,we are only a block away from an area containing many curlews.
    The end to this story is that now the female parent has a broken leg! So sad!

  44. Early December 2019, I was driving from Mitchell to St George in Queensland and a couple of Bush Stone-Curlews crossed the road in front of my vehicle. They were quite large birds and at that stage I didn’t know what type of bird they were. They stopped in an area off to the side of the road and ‘froze’. I took some photographs while staying in the vehicle. I found them fascinating to watch in the ‘wild’.

    Another sighting, more recently [ April 2020 ] is of 4 birds [ much smaller than the ones mentioned above ] in a garden area at the local university campus [ Ipswich 4305 ]. They act like a family and stick close together moving ever so slowly if they walk at all – both of this sightings were in daylight hours.

  45. Hello,
    I live on Macleay Island and have done so for nearly 2 years. We have a large group of Curlews living around us, some in our yard as well. I designed our garden with logs and wood chips for the soul purpose to encourage Curlews. we feed them and have water dishes in about 5 different areas of the our yard.
    They drink from these all the time, bath in them and sit or stand in the water. So it’s not true that Curlews don’t drink water. We throw out bread for them morning and night but would like to know what else to give them instead of bread, but they do love it. So our mob are good here and we won’t tolerate cats in our yard at all. Cats shouldn’t be allowed on any of the Islands as they are predators and dogs aren’t allowed to roam. Anyone who has a problem with Curlews shouldn’t live here either. Rather harsh i suppose, but lets face it they are native to this country so they need to be cherished.

    1. Hi Robyn. Good on you for caring about your local Curlews and providing all your wild birds with fresh water. As you say, most birds will drink or sip water or simply bath in it if it is provided. Please try not to feed wildlife bread. It really isn’t good for them. Generally we recommending not feeding wildlife, unless it is a drought or they are stressed for other reasons – after cyclones or bushfires for example. If you do wish to feed Curlews, please do so infrequently (so they do not get used to a regular supply), make sure the area where you are feeding them is clean (i.e. move food placement around), so that there is less likelihood of disease occurring or being spread, and feed them something that would match their wild diet (such as mealworms). Here is a link to a website that talks about how to feed Magpies safely – it would roughly apply to Curlews as they too have a mainly insectivorous diet. https://www.healthywildlife.com.au/feeding-magpies/#/

  46. The curlews in our yard only manage to raise one of a pair of chicks . So far, anyway. One chick is very obedient and stays close to the parents. We think that is a female. 😉
    The other chick wanders off and goes exploring on its own every chance it gets. We think that’s a male. 😉
    We keep a shallow dish of water for them outside and there’s often a curlew just standing in it when we go outside.
    I’m sure they feel protected here since I chase other birds off (ducks and crows).
    They hiss of we get close but haven’t been scared off. I think they’re used to our routines.

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