What does it look like? Bush Stone-curlews are birds standing 50 - 60 centimetres high, with long gangly legs, large yellow eyes, and grey-streaked upper parts. Their colouring makes them hard to see in bushland, especially in the dusky shadows and evenings, when they are most active.
Where does it live? The curlew's range in Victoria is now largely confined to grassy woodlands and farmland, particularly in central and western regions and the northern plains. While the bird is found in all mainland states, its range has declined drastically in southeastern Australia. It is now extinct in many former spots south of the Great Dividing Range. While its Victorian and New South Wales stronghold is along the border region, it is sparsely distributed and continues to decline.
The curlew likes to roost and nest in grassy woodlands of buloke, gum or box with low, sparse grassy or herb understorey. Nests are usually beside a fallen log, which probably makes it harder for foxes to find. Curlews prefer a sparse understorey so they can see predators while foraging for insects.
Branches on the ground are essential for the bird's camouflage, and it is unlikely to attempt nesting without it. Research and experience shows how important 'untidy' landscapes covered with fallen timber are for birds, small mammals, reptiles and insects.
Did you know... If disturbed Bush Stone-curlews crouch down or freeze, rather than fly away The bird has a distinctively eerie call, "wer-loo wer-loo", which is often the only way to know this secretive nocturnal bird is out and about Historically the species has been recorded in groups of 50 to 100 birds. However these large flocks no longer occur in Victoria, and many sightings on private land have declined from 4 to 1 pair per property in the last 30 years