Urban Bush Thickknees

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Urban Bush Thickknees
From: L&L Knight <>
Date: Thu, 17 Apr 2008 17:41:40 +1000
Shorebirds (Hayman was published in 1986 and used Thick-knee as the headline name of 6 species of Burhinus. One of the other Burhinus was titled Stone-Curlew and the other two were titled Dikkops. There was a thread on this topic a couple of years ago.

I know what you mean when you say BSC and you know what I mean when I say BTK, so I fail to see what the fuss is about.

Regards, Laurie.

On 17/04/2008, at 10:56 AM, Peter Shute wrote:
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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