Spotted Thick-Knee Chick – Burhinus capensis

Three weeks ago, I reported on a newly hatched chick –

Photographed on 8 January.
Photographed on 8 January.

I am pleasantly surprised  to see how much it has grown, strutting quite confidently on sturdy little legs –

Thick knee chick_DSC9925
Photographed today, 27 January.
It's legs are nearly as long as it's parents.
It’s legs are nearly as long as it’s parents.
Thick knees come in useful for sitting on!
Thick knees come in useful for sitting on!

It’s amazing that the parents have raised this chick here in the middle of a grass lawn which is regularly mown.

Spotted Thick-knee Chick

About two months ago I posted an item on a pair of Spotted Thick-Knees nesting in the middle of an exposed grassy patch; there were doubts on their choice of nesting site, and sure enough they moved to a more secluded spot closer to vegetation.  Still it’s an area close to a pathway leading a beach and the holiday visitors have been pretty active this past fortnight.   It takes an average of twenty-four days for the chicks to hatch -and we feared that the parents may have been disturbed too often for success.  Passing by today, we were distressed to see that they had left the nest and on closer inspection we found an abandoned egg –Spotted Thick-knee eggHow perfectly the splotchy pattern on the egg is camouflaged amongst the leaf litter.  The nest is barely a scrape in the ground.   I caught sight of the parents some distance away, standing as still as a sentries, and there happily was one small and fluffy little chick.  Not quite too steady on it’s ungainly legs, but nevertheless ducking to and fro between it’s parents.  It will be interesting to watch it’s progress …..

Thick knee chick_03

Spotted Thick-knee

Generally these mottled birds like to blend in and settle for well camouflaged nesting areas, but here in broad-day light is a highly visible pair nesting smack in the middle of an open grassy patch bordering two houses. They have nested in the area before, but closer to the shelter of the scrubby vegetation, or just beyond the high-tide mark in a stony area on the beach.  The incubation period is about twenty-four days and it will be interesting to see if they are successful in raising any chicks.  Usually they lay up during the day and tend to be active at dusk and into the evening when their mournful song adds a haunting note to the background sounds of the night.

Dikkop or Spotted Thick-kneeBurhinus capensis