Beach Stone-Curlews feed mostly on crabs, hammering them open and sometimes washing them before swallowing.
The Beach Stone-Curlew is a very large thick-set wader. Adults have a large head, massive uptilted bill, hunched profile, stout legs and thick 'knees' (actually ankles). The upper body is predominately grey-brown with distinctive black and white patterning on the face, shoulder and secondary wings. The throat and breast are a paler grey-brown, the belly is white and the wings are white with some black on the tips. The large bill is yellow at the base and black at the tip. Beach Stone-Curlews have a large yellow eye and a broad black eye patch, with white bands above and below it.
The Beach Stone-Curlew occurs on open, undisturbed beaches, islands, reefs, and estuarine intertidal sand and mudflats, preferring beaches with estuaries or mangroves nearby. However this species also frequents river mouths, offshore sandbars associated with coral atolls, reefs and rock platforms and coastal lagoons.
The Beach Stone-Curlew has been observed around the north coast of Australia and associated islands from near Onslow in Western Australia to the Manning River in New South Wales. The species has largely disappeared from the south-eastern part of its former range, and is now rarely recorded on ocean beaches in New South Wales.
Feeding and diet
The Beach Stone-Curlew forages on large intertidal mudflats, sandflats, sandbanks and sandpits exposed by low tide for crabs and other marine invertebrates.
A repeated, mournful, wailing 'wee loo', which is higher and harsher than that of the Bush Stone-curlew. When alarmed the Beach Stone-curlew may produce a 'weal' yapping sound.
Beach Stone-curlew nests may be located on sandbanks, sandpits, or islands in estuaries, coral ridges, among mangroves or in the sand surrounded by short grass and scattered casuarinas. Typically one egg is laid per season, however, the female may lay a second egg if the first is lost. Once the young have hatched, both parents care for them until they reach 7-12 months old.
- Breeding season: September to November
- Clutch size: One
- Incubation: 30 days
Human impacts on the Beach Stone-curlew include loss of habitat due to residential and industrial development, disturbance from beach-combing, boating and off-road vehicles. Other threats to the Beach Stone-curlew include predation by raptors, cats and dogs and nest destruction by feral pigs. This species is listed as Critically Endangered in New South Wales.