After 30 years of searching for a rare large wading bird, researchers in Abu Dhabi have finally found a Great Thick-knee.
The Great Thick-knee was discovered during a regular recent bird-counting exercise on Bul Syayeef, just west of the Musaffah channel in Abu Dhabi.
The rare species has occasionally been spotted along the coast of Oman, but the Abu Dhabi spotting is the first time the bird has been seen in the UAE since efforts began in the former Trucial States during the 1940s.
“This is a very significant discovery and is another wonderful addition to an ever-growing and impressive list of 448 bird species recorded in the United Arab Emirates,” said Dr Salim Javid, manager of biodiversity assessment and monitoring at the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi.
“It also highlights the importance of regular monitoring, which is not only essential to document trends in numbers of bird species but is also helpful in finding new and important species.”
The Great Thick-knee is a unique-looking large wading bird, well adapted to its diet of crabs, large insects and other small animals. It is mainly nocturnal but can frequently be seen foraging during the day.
“We’ve been looking for this species for the past 30 years in the UAE, but until this month have been unable to find it,” said Tommy Pedersen of the Emirates Bird Records Committee.
A great find
A Great Thick-knee in its mangrove habitat.