Animal Diaries Archive
6 May 2005The big-eyed, beautiful Bush-stone Curlew is one of our favourite birds here at the Zoo. These amazingly plumed, lanky, long-legged beauties are one of the most talked about, pointed at and gawked at birds of Australia Zoo's bird collection.
The Bush-stone Curlew's big, beautiful eyes always grab the attention of our visitors and provide a sure-fire way to start up a conversation with our guests.
It is a daily occurrence for us to be asked questions like '˜What type of bird is that?', 'Is that an owl?', 'What is that extraordinary creature?'. These questions and more are just about guaranteed each day, but we love a yak and we love educating the public about these birds and their plight in the wild. It is something we get a kick out of!
Bush-stone Curlews are a threatened species of nocturnal ground-dwelling birds, who were once a common sound of the night-time Aussie bush. These days land clearing and predation by the European fox (an introduced feral pest) and the feral cat, are having a serious impact on populations of the Bush-stone Curlews.
The Bush-Stone Curlew's amazing plumage camouflages them from natural predators such as the Wedge-tailed Eagle. Their big eyes that help them to see at night also help to spot any potential predators. These adaptations are, sadly, no match for the keen sense of smell of the feral cat and the cunning of the feral fox.
Bush-stone Curlews make a somewhat eerie, wailing noise at night (which is actually pretty cool!), and have been responsible for many a phone call 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'!
Here at Australia Zoo, we have an absolute beaut bunch of Bush-stone Curlews. Leading by example is the coolest cucumber of them all, the one and only 'Curly'. Curly is a legend, and he is the main man when we talk curlews. Curly loves the limelight and if you don't almost bump into this bloke while visiting the Rainforest Aviary, you must be walking around with your eyes shut!
Curly's better half is Ziggy, and together they make a great team. You could easily be mistaken and actually believe they are joined at the hip! Since falling head over heels for each other some four years ago, they can proudly boast many successful breeding seasons.
Their offspring, starting with the oldest, include 'J.C.', followed closely by 'Chilli'. These two can be found hanging out in the walk-through koala exhibit stealing the spotlight from the furry critters that hang out on trees eating gum leaves!
'Feathers', the third in line, is a fun-loving lass and a chip off the old block. Feathers has followed in her father's footsteps; she enjoys being the centre of attention (she also possesses a 'star' imprint on her forehead!). To catch a glimpse of this leggy bird, you'll have to keep your eyes peeled while seated in the crocoseum watching Lefty's freefight bird show. Yep, Feathers is a fully-fledged member of the bird show team.
The youngest of the curlew crew is 'Chad'. Chad is still living at home with mum and dad, and can also be found in the rainforest aviary.
For curiosity's sake, we would like to add that there are also two (sometime three) wild Bush-Stone Curlews, who can be spotted in the Red Roo Heaven enclosure. These guys just turned up, liked the look of the place, liked the neighbours (J.C. and Chilli) and decided to hang around.
So next time you're in town, don't forget to introduce yourself to the Bush-Stone Curlew family, and you can be assured that they will be keeping an eye out for you.
Our Amazing Bush Stone-curlews
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 dis ...more