Cape Thick Knee

Cape thick-knee
Burhinus capensis

Quick Facts

Cape thick-knee

Found:  Africa
Size:  18 inches
Weight:  1 pound or less
Diet:  insects, lizards
Status:  Common

This mostly terrestrial bird has knobby leg joints, hence their name.  They have long legs and weak wings and so they prefer running to flying.   When threatened, they lower their heads and hit the ground running.  To lure a predator away from the nest or young, one of the parents may flop helplessly on the ground, pretending to have a broken wing.  After catching the predator’s attention, this parent lures the predator away.  When the nest and young are out of harm’s way, the parent miraculously recovers and flies away unharmed, leaving behind a bewildered predator.

Cape thick-knee    Cape thick-knee    Cape thick-knee