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The answer to this question is ‘Yes’. The Spotted Thick-knee is native to the grasslands and savannahs of sub-Saharan Africa and Mauritania in the west to EthiopiaKenyaTanzania and South Africa in the east and south. The Spotted Thick-knee (Burhinus capensis), also known as the Spotted Dikkop or Cape Thick-knee, is a wader in the family Burhinidae. 

Spotted Thick-knee Identification

The Spotted Thick-knee can reach up to 45.5 cm (17.9 in) in height and has long legs and brown-and-white speckled plumage which provides camouflage. This makes it difficult to spot the bird in the grasslands and savannah, where it roams. 

Photo: Stewart Bentley

Its head is large and round with a prominent yellow eye and a short, stout beak. When in flight or standing in a characteristic position with its wings raised, it shows a striking contrasting pattern. Its legs are long and yellow and the tibiotarsal joint is expanded, giving it the name “thick-knee”. 


This bird has a loud, distinctive “ti-ti-ti teeeteeeteeee-ti ti ti” call.


The Spotted Thick-knee is a nocturnal bird and squats on the ground during the daytime, making it difficult to spot. It hunts exclusively on the ground, feeding on insects, small mammals and lizards, and grass seeds.


The Thick-knee is found in a variety of habitats, ranging from grasslands and semi-desert, to urban areas.


The female typically lays two eggs, and males and females rear the offspring together, with both bringing food back to the nest. The Spotted Thick-knee is monogamous with the male becoming aggressive and territorial when breeding. 

A nest of twigs and leaves is built on the ground, lined with small stones, normally placed under a bush. They lay between one and three eggs, that are incubated by both parents for around 26 days. The birds will defend the nest and adopt a defensive pose with wings spread and tail cocked, and will even peck an intruder. Sometimes they will fake injuries to lead predators away from the nest.

The Spotted Thick-knee is often found on the ground, but when in flight, they fly with rapid wing beats. They are normally found either singly or in pairs. These birds are well camouflaged and rely on this to avoid predators. Thick-knees are mostly nocturnal.

If you want to see a Spotted Thick-knee on a birding tour, contact us and find out how you can book a tour at

Sources: Wikipedia, eBird, Southafrica.

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