11. Bush-stone curlew Burhinus grallarius
Also known as the bush thick-knee, bush stone-curlews are long-legged, ground-dwelling birds best-known for their unnerving wailing call heard at night. They are mostly a dull brown on their back, streaked with black and varying shades of brown. Their underparts are off-white with dark streaks, and they have large yellow eyes framed by a white eyebrow.
Bush stone-curlews are nocturnal, foraging for a range of insects, seeds, lizards and molluscs at night. During breeding season from July to January, they perform an elaborate courtship ritual. Birds stretch out their wings, fan up their tails and extend their necks forward, stamping their feet as if marching, and screaming continuously. This rhythmic boogie/karaoke sesh can continue for up to an hour at a time.
Bush stone-curlews were once widespread in suitable habitats across Australia, but numbers have drastically declined in NSW and Victoria. Luckily, they remain relatively common in the Brisbane region.
Call: eerie high-pitched ‘weeerr-loooo’, often heard at dusk
Where to spot them: common in a wide array of habitats including grasslands, golf courses and open woodland