Urban Bush Thickknees

To: "Peter Shute" <>, <>
Subject: Urban Bush Thickknees
From: "Greg & Val Clancy" <>
Date: Thu, 17 Apr 2008 10:09:43 +1000
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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