Eerie wailing calls at night are often the only sign that Bush Stone-curlew are about. Not only have they become very rare in southern pastoral areas due to disturbance and predation, but they also come out – to feed – only at night. During the day they rest squatting down on their feet, head out and legs stretched forward, under the body to blend in with the ground. If disturbed, they prefer to crouch or to stalk stealthily off, then freeze, rather than fly.
Open wooded rangelands, edges of forest and watercourses inland is where you can find the Bush Stone-curlew throughout Australia. They do avoid sandy or treeless deserts and heavy forest.
Most feeding is done on the ground, the birds puttering along, hunch-shouldered on spindly legs, turning over litter and picking up a variety of insects with their bills.
The Bush Stone-curlew usually breeds once during July and January. Their nest is a scrape or small clearing on bare ground, often near bush or a fallen limb. Two light stone to buff eggs with brown blotches are laid and incubated by both parents. Babies are full grown in about 50 days and the parents teach them to eat food by dropping it in front of them. If danger threatens, the parents will carry them off under their wings.
Bush Stone-curlews make a somewhat eerie, wailing noise at night (which is actually pretty cool!), and have been responsible for many a phone calls to the police, from people thinking someone was screaming in the bush. For this reason the Bush Stone-curlew is also known as the 'Screaming Woman Bird'!
Bush Stone-curlew Profiles
Age: 10 Years (DOB 29/9/2002)
Feathers was born and breed right here at Australia Zoo on September 29, 2002. He is definitely a favourite amongst the staff with those long legs and big staring eyes. He shares his time here being looked after by the Free Flight Bird Show team and receives lots of love and walks form the Roving crew every day.
Feathers was originally thought to be a star in the free flight show but the bright lights and fame were not his style. He now spends his day wandering the zoo grounds greeting patrons and having his photo taken. He is quite a character and often can't control his excitement doing crazy jumps and kicks in the air.
There are two species of Curlews, Bush-stone Curlews, like Feathers, and also, Beach Curlews. They are also known as Thick-knee Curlews.
They will find and eat things such as insects, small reptiles and rodents. Feathers favourite snack when he is out and about is definitely crickets and cockroaches. So if you are lucky enough to adopt Feathers make sure you're not afraid of creepy crawlies.