Eurasian Thick-Kneeis a widespread but patchily distributed breeder in much of the southern half of Europe, which accounts for less than half of its global breeding range. Its European breeding population is relatively small (78,000 pairs), and underwent a large decline between 1970-1990. Although some populations were stable or increased during 1990-2000, the species continued to decline across much of Europe-including in its Spanish stronghold-and underwent a large decline (30%) overall. This bird with crepuscular and nocturnal habits is breeding in a major part of northern Africa, Europe – northwards to 55°N – and south-western Asia. The birds from the Mediterranean regions are sedentary. Those breeding farther north winter in the south as far as sub-Saharan Africa. Since the second half of last century, this species of dry heaths, calcareous or acid dry grasslands and sand-dunes is declining. Its breeding area is contracting, and it has been extirpated from several regions. The total population of the European Union is currently estimated at 30000-50000 breeding pairs.

Stone curlews prefer to breed on very short, grazed, often sparsely-vegetated calcareous or acid grasslands. They also nest in late spring-sown arable crops on suitable soils where the clutches and chicks are vulnerable to farming operations.

Some stone curlews are already paired when they reach breeding sites in spring. The rest pair up after courtship displays in which the male bows deeply and touches the ground with his bill, his fanned tail held high in the air. They leap into the air, wings beating, and run around, calling loudly. They nest in a scrape in an open position where 2 eggs are laid, pale in colour with dark speckles on. They are incubated by both the male and female for 24- 26 days.

North European and Central Asian populations migrate in autumn to South Europe, Turkey,  Middle East and beyond into Africa. Populations of Iberia, North Africa, India and South East Asia are resident. North African breeders sometimes move South beyond Sahara, but normal extent of migration poorly known. Canary Islands birds remain within the island group, but sometimes move from island to island. In Britain the small population arrives in mid-March rom Southern Europe. Most birds have left there by the end of October.

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