The Bush Stone Curlew (Burthinus grallarius)
The Bush Stone Curlew is found across Australia apart from the drier parts of Western Australia and the Simpson Desert. Once common in the settled and agricultural regions its presence there has been reduced by land clearing, modern land management practises, foxes and wild cats.
They have dark brown feathers streaked with black and reddish brown, making them blend into the leaf litter on the scrub floor. When they are hunched close to the ground at their daytime roost, you can walk within a metre or so of the curlew and not notice them at all. They forage for insects, lizards and seeds at night and during nesting season will only venture metres from their nest, which is made on the ground.
Often heard at night, the birds distinctive call, which has been described as akin to the call of a screaming woman or baby - can lead to a very unsettled night in the bush if a mob of these birds are making their unique calls nearby. In many Aboriginal cultures, the Bush Stone Curlew have a close association with death.