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Water Thick-knee

Water Thick-knee
Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-10-23
Categories: Birds
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H9, Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 15x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 250
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/125 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Kruger NP 2009
Date Submitted: 2010-07-15 9:26
Viewed: 5480
Points: 64
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Water Thick-knee / Burhinus vermiculatus

The Water Thick-knee is the 23rd in the series of the birds of the Kruger National Park, which I am currently sharing. Enjoy!

I took this photo at the Sunset Dam near the Lower Sabie rest camp. This dam is a very favourite spot for tourists as there is always movement in and around the dam. Whether it being birds moving about, crocodiles basking in the sun, animals coming to have a drink or hippos showing their big mouths and bodies to every one. One cannot miss to stop at the Sunset Dam when you are in the Kruger. Sometimes you are just lucky and have a wonderful sunset to photograph.

This is one of the dams in the Kruger Park that was earmarked for a cleanout. I'm not sure if it has been done in the mean time, but I surely hope they can do something about it as the toxicity levels are way above that which is acceptable for the fish and other organisms living in the water. As you can see on this bird's legs the blue-green algae has become so thick that it is almost like a paste. This is caused by the nitrates given of by the Hippo’s dung in the water working as a fertiliser which makes the algae grow to unwanted levels. Because of the number of Hippos they cause a concentration of nitrates and the natural system can not clean the water sufficiently.

The Water Thick-knee is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Burhinidae bird family group which includes birds such as typical hornbills. It is neither endemic or near endemic to the Kruger National Park. It is however a common resident. In terms of distribution in the Kruger National Park you may not see it in all areas. Previously the Water Thick-knee was called the Water Dikkop. The height of the bird is about 41cm and its weight is about 270g. The head is coloured brown while the bill is coloured black. It has a white coloured throat, grey legs and a brown coloured back. The eyes are yellow. The male and female have the same plumage and colours.

Feeding Habits
This bird has a specially adapted bill which helps it hunt for fish, crabs, shrimp and other aquatic animals in the water. This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

Breeding Habitat and Nesting Habits
It is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 1 to 3 eggs and they are coloured cream. The bird builds its nest on the ground with twigs, straw and leaves. The nest is placed under a bush to protect the young from predators.

Habitat and flocking behaviour
It is found in the Southern African wetlands, moist grasslands, riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams. This bird is sometimes seen single but usually in pairs.

Names of this avian species in other languages
Xhosa ... Ingqangqolo
Afrikaans ... Waterdikkop
German ... Wassertriel
Portuguese ... Alcaravo-d'gua
French ... Oedicnme vermicul
Dutch ... Watergriel


I hope you enjoy looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.

jlinaresp, maurydv, Noisette, jaycee, sandpiper2, briGG, jlynx, Dis. Ac., albert, marhowie, boreocypriensis, uleko, lazyman, Mamagolo2, brech has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • joska Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 806 W: 0 N: 4092] (22535)
  • [2010-07-15 9:41]

Hi Anna,
very good photo of this Burhinus vermiculatus, new species for me, TFS!

Ciao Anna, great macro capture of a lovely bird in nice pose, fine details, splendid sharpness and wonderful natural colors, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2010-07-15 9:49]

Hello Anna,
A very fine close portait of the Water Thick-knee. The sharpness and colours contribute to a an excellnt portait of this species seen from a good lateral POV.
Fine eye contact too.
I fine the colour of the BG water fascinating: a combination of blue green algae and sky reflection must have produced this rich turqoise colour, the colours of a swimming pool!
It is interesting to see the algae on the bill and the legs too.
Thanks and best regards,

  • Great 
  • horias Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 837 W: 58 N: 2084] (11033)
  • [2010-07-15 9:50]

Hi Anna
What a great shot this lovely bird.
Details, colors and light are wonderful.
Is a little sad?
Congratulation for this beauty!!#

Halloo my dear Miss Piggy,
This dam is really disgusting! Have seen the same mess in the Hartebesportdam
use link Link

This poor bird's beak is also all slimy green!

I have not seen this bird in the wild (no water where we live - and I am fascinated by the yellow eyes like a predator, watching you.

Did yo sneak out of the car? :-) ?

You REALLY had a great time in the park and slowly we, on TrekNature get the benefit of your vast stock of photos you took during that time!

Every feather is distinguishable and the profile sharp and neat against the dam.

Perfect photographic technique -like in all your photos - make it a pleasure to view this image even when wondering where the poor bird will find supper...

I wish you a nice evening

Hello Anna,
The bird is beautiful, the POV is good and the light is adequate, in my country we have a similar kind (Burhinus oedicnemus) and we call it "Alcaraván Llanero".
But, I have to say, what has surprised me most is the color of the algae, and the density which has been filled the water surface! ... Really incredible!

hello Anna
super shot with great sharpness
beautiful bird with good details
and nice pose on the water side
greeting lou

Hallo Anna,
a very beautiful capture of the Water Thick-knee taken from an excellent POV with superb sharpness and fine detail, splendid colours and interesting notes about this strange colour tones of the water, very nice close composition with a great eye contact.
Best regards

Hello Anna
very nice bird with beautiful plumage, a wonderful add to your bird serie from the Kruger Park, this Water Thick-knee is captured with sharp details,
I like the close view and the turquoise color of the water
Have a good night

Publicas muchas especies totalmente desconocidas para mí, cosa que se agradece. Buen enfoque y captura de esas difíciles capturas.
Un abrazo: Josep Ignasi.

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2010-07-15 15:44]

Hi Anna,very nice specie and excellent capture,in particular i'm surprising from the green color of the legs...a perfect pic is the best way to discover something...and this is a great example! Thanks for share,have a nice day,LUCIANO

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2010-07-15 16:07]

Hi Anna,

I envy you for being able to spend so much time at Kruger. I am so happy that I was able to get to see Africa - it was a once in a lifetime vacation. It is easy to see the algae on this bird's legs and beak. We have seen so many oil covered birds here in the states that this Water thick-knee looks relatively clean. A beautiful shot showing him off so well. I love the pose, the wonderful face and the beautiful feathers.


What a nice photo, Anna, true colours, great POV, crisp and sharp and that glint in the eye. Sunset dam is also a favourite with us, we can spend hours there waiting for a photo opportunity.
Well done.

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2010-07-16 2:33]

Hello Anna,
another outstanding composition of the Kruger series. Excellent sharpness especially the plumage and the eyes. Very nice bluish background that render a pretty view and pleasant composition.
Very nice bird in its elegance!
You showed it very well indeed.


Hi Anna

Prety interesting to see that blue green algae and teh reason for its concentration, I'm glad we don't have hippos here :)
Great shot of this thick-knee, perfectly highlighed plumage against the toxic soup in teh background.


Hi Anna,

Beautiful photo of the Water Thick-knee - The contrast against the water is great - a pitty that the colour of the water is due to algal bloom!

Thanks for your comments - will give it another go!


  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-07-16 7:15]

Hello Anna,
Great sharp-detailed photo of this Water Thick-knee. Taken from a very good POV. The colours are very beautiful, with a strange water colour. Excellent eye-contact and composition. Last month I saw the Senegal Thick-knee in, of course, Senegal. Looks very familiar.

Merhaba Anna,
Arka plan harika süslemiş türü,
nefis bir çalışma.
Elinize sağlık,
En güzel dileklerimle,

  • Great 
  • briGG Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 195 W: 2 N: 344] (1823)
  • [2010-07-16 13:10]


Strange bird with green foot!!!
The nitrate are very bad for everybody!!!

Thanks for the sharing of the photographies of the Kruger National Park. i like the collection!


  • Great 
  • jlynx Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 87 W: 7 N: 46] (455)
  • [2010-07-16 13:56]

Hello Anna,
I am glad that you wanted to comment on my picture. I am glad that you are so very grounded approach on how to photograph. I think that photography as final product of our collision with reality is born in my head and to a lesser extent, depends on the used equipment. The equipment is only a tool, and the idea for a good photograph is born in the heart and our head.
You understand it perfectly and no irritating by the fact that most photographers use SLRs.
Contrary to appearances, many excellent photographers benefit from the aid compact cameras. This is an excellent recommendation for all those people who want to experience the adventure with photography.
Such a recommendation is also your portfolio Anna. You love people and the world as it was created - this is an excellent feature.
I look at your pictures and I know that you create them with great affection and commitment.
I support what you do and how to do this work because the result is a joy to all those who have the opportunity to watch the team from your portfolio.
This is also confirmed this beautiful photo.

Hi Anna,

a great image from this bird with much details.
Are that water very dirt?

Good framing in the picture and fine colours.


Ciao Anna. Magnificent one. Just like a paint. Sharp and details are so perfect. Best compliments.


Hi, Anna,
Excellent composition of the Water Thick-knee with shades and reflections from the water. Thanks for the information. Very interesting. Congratulations, Ferran

Bonjour Anna
Il a l'air apeuré, ce petit oiseau..
merci pour ce spécimen exclusivement africain.

Hello Anna,
A great capture with excellent focus showing very nice details of the plumage
TFS and have a nice weekend

Interesting "footnote" on the blue-green algae there Anna..
Sorry, I just couldn't resist :)
Good details and I like the close framing, the birds eye connects with the viewer nicely too. The water there does look like a toxic "soup".
Great info and well done,
Enjoy your weekend!

Incredible capture of this lovely and pretty looking bird in a lovely posture Anna
The POV, DOF, details and composition are all excellent!
TFS and have a nice sunday MF!


Miss Piggy, I really like this. This is a great shot. Nice job. Thanks for commenting on my swans. I appreciate it. Have a great Sunday, Bill

Hi Anna,
Great clarity and sharpness of this thick knee, the little spikey browns seems like it just had a dip, and I hope it survives the toxins, sadly so many of our waterways are inclined to be getting this way.Another great image !!

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2010-07-18 7:58]

Hello Anna,
An excellent capture of this Water Thick-knee showing every detail very clearly. I like its pose by the waterside but a great shame about the algae invading the water. The same has happened in the Baltic in the past but not yet this year, surprisingly enough. I've seen other species of Thick-knee and find them very interesting but rather odd-looking with their big eyes and long legs!
TFS and best wishes, Ulla

Hello Anna,

Excellent tone, good focus and a beautiful macro photograph!
It harmonizes well on this lovely/smart bird wirh brown wings and water with cian color of the background, I think. It's impressive for me on sharp nib and sharp eyes. And, the branch and shadow thrust out from water at lower right draw out a good effect for the whole.

Best regards,

Hello Anna,
WOW, this is a stunning image. Beautiful colors and setting. I like the way it stands out against the blue background. Very clear details and colors. Excellent!!
Very well done my friend and thanks for sharing.

Calibration Check