Water thick-knee
Burhinus vermiculatus

The water thick-knee (Burhinus vermiculatus ), or water dikkop is a species of bird in the thick-knee family Burhinidae. The species is found across sub-Saharan Africa, usually close to water.


The water thick-knee is 38 to 41 cm (15–16 in) and weighs 293–320 g (10.3–11.3 oz). It has a heavy bill that is black with yellow at the base. The wings are broad and blunt and the tail is short.



The water thick-knee has a widespread distribution in sub-Saharan Africa, being found in Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eswatini, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

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Across its range it is found on the edges of lakes, estuaries and rivers, as well as mangroves and also some sheltered beaches. It also needs bushes or nearby woodlands for shelter. It is found from sea-level to 1,800 m (5,900 ft).

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Water thick-knee habitat map
Water thick-knee habitat map
Water thick-knee

Habits and Lifestyle

The water thick-knee is a terrestrial feeder that forages at night. Although it is typically associated with water it can be found foraging up to 1 km (0.62 mi) from water. It feeds on insects, crustaceans and mollusks.

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The water thick-knee generally breeds in the dry season or early rainy season. It is a monogamous breeder. The nest is a simple scrape in sandy or stony ground, usually close to water. The clutch size is two sandy-yellow eggs. Both sexes incubate the eggs for 22-25 days, and both are responsible for feeding the young.

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Seasonal behavior
Bird's call

Diet and Nutrition

Mating Habits



1. Water thick-knee Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_thick-knee
2. Water thick-knee on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22693584/93413917
3. Xeno-canto bird call - https://xeno-canto.org/650842

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