Posted by: Debra Kolkka | July 28, 2015

Bird parking

While out shopping the other day I spotted a curlew in the car park.

Curlew in Brisbane

He was a beautiful fellow, all by himself. He seemed unhurt, but was looking at his reflection in shiny cars and shop windows.

Curlew in Brisbane

He or she was a bush stone-curlew, quite common, apparently, in Brisbane, but I have never seen one up close before.  They seem able to make a home in the city.  They are ground dwelling birds, mainly nocturnal and hunt frogs, spiders, insects and lizards. They like to forage on moonlit nights.

Curlew in Brisbane

They look a bit ungainly with their long skinny legs, but they are sure footed and agile. They can fly, and do so mainly at night.

Curlew in Brisbane

I wonder what the car park bird was up to…perhaps looking for his mate, which might explain why he was looking at his reflection.

Curlew in Brisbane

Curlews make a loud wailing noise, but when distressed they emit a loud hiss, which is what this fellow was doing.

Curlew in Brisbane


Curlew in Brisbane

Curlew in Brisbane

The bird was in the car park most of the day, but has not been seen since. I hope he found what he was looking for.

Curlew in Brisbane



  1. He’s so cute! We were in the Northern Territory last month and fell in love with Neil, the bush stone-curlew at the Wildlife Park, he stole the show 🙂 They certainly sound eerie in the bush at night.

    • They have an amazing call. This is as close as I have ever been to one. I thought it was gorgoeus.

  2. He or she is just beautiful. Its good news when wild life adapta to living in suburbia.

    • It was a very handsome bird. I hope it found its way home.

  3. In Europe it is common to see the Eurasian curlew. I can always spot one on the river at dusk
    But they have a longer bill. Quite handy for fishing. And the same long, skinny legs…

    • I have seen photos of the ones with long beaks. These probably don’t need that because they are ground feeders.

  4. They have such nice plumage! The cry of the curlew has jolted me out of many a deep sleep at night.

    • It is a weird sound and I imagine it could sound scary on a dark night,

  5. I hope he/she found their mate

  6. That bird is beautiful. I am entranced by his eyes. What a beautiful shape. Sometimes, particularly when standing straight up, he looks sort of comical…like a gentleman, or a little wooden statue. I would have taken lots of pictures too. So sweet.

    • I found him fascinating. He must be used to people, he let me get quite close.

  7. Yes it was fasinating to watch that magnificent curlew that day.So elegant with such lovely markings and yes we believe he/she was looking for the mate- loved how it admired itself in the art gallery windows on James Street.,

    • I think he thought it was his mate in the window.

  8. He is a beautiful bird, looks even prettier standing on the pebbles. To me it feels its beauty is enhanced by the pebbles.

    • He is much the same colour as the pebbles

  9. They are such beautiful and vulnerable looking birds. I love the Curlew’s call. There are quite a lot of stone Curlew’s on Coochi Mudlo Island and if you spot one during the day they do stand as still as a stone statue, they’re normally quite well camouflaged in the bush. Great photos. Poor thing was obviously looking for love.

    • He was definitely looking for something. I hope he found it.

  10. The bird was very patient with you.

    • He was in no hurry to get away, but he didn’t want me too close.

  11. What a beautiful bird. And such beautiful photos of it.

    • Thank you, it was a lovely bird.

  12. Never saw a curlew in Brisbane. Must have gone about with my head in the clouds

    • I have only ever seen one from a distance beside the river, never this close.

  13. Deborah, what stunningly beautiful photography! Every feather crisp and clear! How close did he/she let you get and what lens were you using? Lovely work and a lovely subject!

    • I stayed a few metres away as I didn’t want to frighten the bird. I use a fixed lens Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ200. Thank you for the kind comments. I thought I was very lucky to have come across the bird.

  14. I saw a family of Curlews on my driveway in Spring Hill at dawn one morning. This is the first time I have seen them away from the bay islands, they are prolific there. In the middle of the night the call they make is haunting.

    • I have not seen one this close before…gorgeous bird.

  15. What a handsome fellow!

  16. Wonderful shots, Debra. He’s really comical. 🙂

  17. What a handsome bird! I wonder if this is a juvenile.

    Interestingly, curlews in North America have a very long, curved bill and they are mainly wading birds.

  18. Bush stone-curlews are such beautiful birds. Love hearing their haunting cry at night. Hope this little one found their way home!

  19. It always amazes me how birds can stand on those skinny legs!

  20. One of these birds attacked my bus last night, I stopped because I was afraid I hit it, I then saw another one attacking moving cars that were driving pass,it was like they were trying to commit suicide, I walked onto the road and they both attacked me. I then saw their dead baby bird on the road so that explained the situation, So I removed the baby bird in hope they will stop attacking the cars, I felt very sorry for them,

    • What a horrible experience, poor birds.

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