Burhinus vermiculatus 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Charadriiformes Burhinidae

Scientific Name: Burhinus vermiculatus
Species Authority: (Cabanis, 1868)
Common Name(s):
English Water Thick-knee, Water Dikkop
French Oedicnème vermiculé
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Malpas, L.
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2009 Least Concern (LC)
2008 Least Concern (LC)
2004 Least Concern (LC)
2000 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1994 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1988 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Countries occurrence:
Angola (Angola); Botswana; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Ethiopia; Gabon; Ghana; Kenya; Liberia; Malawi; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Rwanda; Senegal; Somalia; South Africa; Swaziland; Tanzania, United Republic of; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 5800000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Behaviour This species is largely sedentary although some individuals may make local movements to avoid river flooding (returning to exposed riverbanks as the water recedes) (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The timing of breeding is variable but generally coincides with the dry season or the early rains, with the species nesting solitarily (del Hoyo et al. 1996) or in loose associations of several pairs on riverine sandbars (Hockey et al. 2005). The species is usually observed foraging nocturnally (del Hoyo et al. 1996) in pairs or small groups (Hayman et al. 1986) but is also gregarious at times, gathering in flocks of 30 or more individuals during the non-breeding season (Urban et al. 1986). Habitat It inhabits riverbanks, lake shores, estuaries, mangrove swamps, undisturbed sheltered beaches (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and the shores of coastal creeks and islands (Hayman et al. 1986), showing a preference for habitats with bushes or shrubs providing cover (e.g. light woodland) (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It generally avoids heavily vegetated wetlands (Hockey et al. 2005) but occasionally forages more than 1 km from water (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Diet Its diet consists of insects (del Hoyo et al. 1996) (e.g. aquatic beetles, grasshoppers, locusts and termites) (Hockey et al. 2005), crustaceans (del Hoyo et al. 1996) (e.g. crabs with carapace widths of up to 50 mm) (Hockey et al. 2005), molluscs (del Hoyo et al. 1996), worms, frogs and tadpoles, millipedes and grass seeds (Hockey et al. 2005). Breeding site The nest is a scrape in the ground often positioned close to water (del Hoyo et al. 1996) on a sandbank, shoreline (Urban et al. 1986) or a small islet (Hayman et al. 1986) near a landmark such as a piece of driftwood or a bush (del Hoyo et al. 1996).
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown
Generation Length (years): 10.5
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant
Congregatory: Congregatory (and dispersive)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is threatened by human disturbance and predation by domestic dogs on beaches (Hockey et al. 2005).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Burhinus vermiculatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22693584A38484117. . Downloaded on 24 November 2015.
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