Urban Bush Thickknees

To: "Greg & Val Clancy" <>, <>
Subject: Urban Bush Thickknees
From: "Peter Shute" <>
Date: Thu, 17 Apr 2008 10:56:39 +1000
Forgetting the problem of birds not having knees, I'd be interested to
know which editions of which field guides called them Thick-knees, and
what they called them before that.  And did they change from Curlew to
Thick-knee to Stone-curlew, or was there a Stone-curlew period between
Curlew and Thick-knee?

And what's the most recent field guide that calls them Thick-knees?

A quick search of previous discussions about this in the archives tells
me that Thick-knee was around from at least 1978 to 1989 but the period
could be longer than that, plus many people wouldn't have replaced those
field guides for many years after.  Perhaps it's just that a lot of
birders started birding in that period and don't feel like changing.

Peter Shute

Greg & Val Clancy wrote on Thursday, 17 April 2008 10:10 AM:

> Hi Peter,
> The name 'Thick-knee' is not only an unpleasant sounding name
> it is also
> wrong.  Birds don't have knees and the joint that is
> equivalent to the knee
> in humans is well hidden by feathers.  The joint often
> considered to be the
> 'knee' i.e. the joint between the tibia and the tarsus is actually
> equivalent to the human ankle.  Maybe 'Thick-knee' refers to
> the hidden
> joint at the top of the tibia but regardless of this
> Australian birds have
> been officially known as Stone-curlews for a very long time.
> The name was
> changed to 'Thick-knee' for a short time and it was picked up
> by the field
> guides.  I am blown away by the broad adoption of 'Thick-knee' as
> conservative birdos are usually reluctant to accept new
> official names, but
> not in this case.
> Both editions of Christidis and Boles (1994 and 2007) have retained
> 'Stone-curlew' as the second part of the common name for both species
> in Australia.
> Greg Clancy

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