Water Thick-knee.. What a Name!
The Water Thick-knee, a handsome wading bird we often hear around the cams, is mainly heard or seen at night. Often referred to as the Dikkop, his song is unmistakable, a loud high pitched sound that drops in pitch as it ends. By day it can be found on river and lake edges (normally blending in beautifully with the rocks!)
His height is about 41 cms and weighs approximately 270 gms. The male and female Water Thick-knee have the same plumage and colours, unlike many birds where the male is much brighter in color. This is easily explained as the nest is usually built on the ground and carefully camouflaged with small stones, grasses and even clods of mud or silt from the nearby waters edge. A bird that doesn't blend in is an easy target for predators. The eggs are also camouflaged, providing an additional chance for survival as they incubate.
You will see the Water Thick-knee around the water during the night as he searches for invertebrates and other small aquatic life forms. He is unmistakable when you get a glimpse of his eyes. Typical of a nocturnal creature, they are large and yellow in color. These birds mate for life, but will search for a new mate if one dies.
His name, Water Thick-knee is thought to have derived from exactly what it sounds like, the knee joint is larger than most birds his size and his habitat keeps him right around the waters edge. Its a name that sounds strange but is explained much easier than most. A busy bird and one with a very unique song, the Water Thick-Knee is a part of the South African night that often brings mystery and wonder. Rarely seen alone, when you hear his song, chances are off in the distance another will answer.
And that's a bit of info on one of the birds of the night. So listen to the dark...and see what you hear. http://www.africam.com/wildlife/justbeingawaterthickknee