Wednesday, 24 June 2015

201. Eurasian Stone Curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus)

Eurasian Stone Curlews, or just Stone Curlews to us here in the UK, are always a very exciting bird to see! A small number breed here, mainly in Suffolk, Norfolk and Wilshire where there is nesting habitat that meets their very exacting needs. They like dry open habitat with some sparse, low vegetation, such as arable farmland, heathland, dried mud and stony pastures. They rely on their excellent camouflage and mostly nocturnal habits (hence their large eyes) to avoid predation, although this isn't always successful - I once saw a distraught female Stone Curlew running around Weeting Heath calling plaintively for her chick which had just been caught by a Stoat, it was a sorry sight indeed. However Stone Curlews are subject to active and intensive conservation efforts here and as a result aren't doing too badly at all. They have breeding populations in other parts of Europe and the Middle East; there are resident populations in parts of southern Europe and north Africa, and more northern breeders winter in parts of north Africa. The sexes look alike and juveniles appear similar, but less strongly-marked.

Eurasian Stone Curlew, ©Michele Lamberti, via Flickr Creative Commons.
Stone Curlew painting.
As you can see from the date at the top of this painting, I started it some time ago! My studies got in the way, but now they've calmed down a bit I'm hoping to have more time for painting again. The Stone Curlew's cryptic plumage and this particular individual's complex pose also meant this was quite a time-consuming painting, but I am quite happy with the result :o)

No comments:

Post a Comment