Water Thick-knee ( Burhinus vermiculatus, family: Burhinidae)

Birds & Birding in the Kruger National Park South Africa. In Roberts 6 this bird was called Water Dikkop

water thick knee Kruger National Park birds The Water Thick-knee (Latin name Burhinus vermiculatus) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 298 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 386 also a picture of the Water Thick-knee on page 385. The Water Thick-knee belongs to the family of birds classified as Burhinidae.

In the previous edition of Roberts (ie 6th edition) the Water Thick-knee was called the Water Dikkop

The map of the Kruger you see on this page shows the areas (coloured orange) where this bird has been identified. The basic information was provided by the Avian Demographic Unit based at UCT and I created the maps from that information ... the green dots show the locations of the various Kruger National Park Rest Camps

The Water Thick-knee is neither Endemic or near Endemic to the Kruger National Park. It is however a common resident

In terms of distribution of the Water Thick-knee in the Kruger National Park you may not see it in all areas. Water Thick-knee : see above distribution map.

Water Dikkop Kruger ParkIdentification assistance for this avian species ...

The Water Thick-knee is a bird about the size of a Francolin now called Spurfowl. The height of the Water Thick-knee is about 41 cms and its weight is about 270 gms

The male and female Water Thick-knee have the same plumage and colours

  • Head is brown.
  • Eye is yellow.
  • Bill is black.
  • Throat is white.
  • Back is brown.
  • Legs are grey.

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The Water Thick-knee feeds in or around water mainly


Aquatic life forms

Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The Water Thick-knee is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying Burhinus vermiculatus will seek out a new mate

The nesting habit of Water Thick-knee is to create the nest on the ground. The bird lays eggs which are cream in colour and number between 1 to 3

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird ...

The preferred habitats for Water Thick-knee are: wetlands and riverine areas

You will normally see the Water Thick-knee in pairs or flocks and not as single birds.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Ingqangqolo

Zulu ... Unknown

Afrikaans ...Waterdikkop

German ... Wassertriel

Portuguese ... Alcaravo-d'gua

French ... Oedicnme vermicul

Dutch ... Watergriel

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For in-depth birding information please refer to these authoritative avian references ...

Robert's 7th edition number ... 298

The main reference source for this data was "Roberts - Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition" . Other references were "Newmans Birds of the Kruger Park" by Keith Newman published circa 1980 . Names in foreign languages were obtained from the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town website , www.fitzpatrick.uct.ac.za