Spotted Thick-knee (Burinhas capensis)

Canon EOS 1DX with Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM 1.4x Ext. lens.

ISO 200. 1/320 sec at f/5.6. Manual exposure setting.

It is breeding time for the Thick-knees at the moment. This female laid these two eggs during the second week of December. The pair diligently incubated the eggs, although it was mostly the female. The non-incubating parent stood guard and could be quite aggressive if the nest was approached.

The image below is of the female patiently sitting on the two eggs. From time to time she would get up and the male would then sit on the eggs while she would feed. At times she would briefly leave the nest unattended.

Sometimes the male would play decoy if the nest was approached. He would spread his wings out and make a hissing noise while the female would just keep sitting on the nest.

Canon EOS 1DX with Canon EF 70-200mmf/2.8L IS II lens @ 200mm

ISO 800, 1/250 sec at f/8 in manual exposure mode. Hand held.

About 26 or 27 days after the eggs were laid, I found the nest abandoned and the eggs were missing.. I did look around and could not find them. However when I returned a bit later, the pair were about 20 meters from the nest with the female just sitting on the grass with the male right next to her. As I got closer she partly stood up and there they were ……   Hardly larger than the eggs and pretty much the same colour.

They did move a bit after that and I managed to capture an image of each one.

Mother was very attentive and kept the two close. In the following image one chick is under the belly of the mother and the other sitting in the grass.

It was a wonderful experience watching the behaviour of the pair for close on four weeks and then being able to see the result and the chicks when they were only a few hours old.