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Common Name : Great Stone Plover     -       Scientific Name : Esacus recurvirostris       -       Other Name : Great Thick-knee/ Great Stone-curlew, Maha Golu Kirala (S)
Borupan Wila
04/10/2010
Borupan Wila
09/11/2011
Thimbiri Wila
03/31/2013
Thimbiri Wila
04/29/2012
Thimbiri Wila
04/29/2014

This is a breeding resident that is usually found close to coastal, brackish and inland water bodies in the dry lowlands. Other than in Sri Lanka this species is found in South-east Asia including India and Pakistan.

The conservation status of the species under reference is regarded as “Least Concerned” (National Red List 2012)
Great Stone Plover is a species protected under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance as amended by Act. No. 22 of 2009
This is essentially a bird of the dry zone and I have observed them in all the dry zone national parks. It is also found outside protected areas around water bodies such as dry zone tanks, salt marshes, and reservoiers where there is some amount of shrub jungle. They are not found in the wet zone or in the hills. Its call is a plaintive long drawn whistling which is made when the birds are disturbed and is often heard at dusk. They are usually seen in pairs and become very aggressive towards predators such as Land Monitors and Jackals during the nesting period. It is a species that is mostly active during the night and a pair will generally rest during the day by squatting on its hock joints. It is common in the Jaffna peninsula and the Mannar Island. I have seen a pair in the Analathivu island as well as in the Delft Island during my visits to these off shore islands. They are common in Wasgomuwa, Maduruoya, Minneriya, Udawalawa, Yala, Bundala, Lunugamvehera and Kaudulla national parks. Other than in National parks they are common around on all the dry zone tanks. I have seen them at Kala Wewa, Rajangana Tank, Handapannagala Tank, Chilaw sand spits, Nawadankulama, Ampara, Potuwil, Weerawila and Arippu.

In Wilpattu it is found around Villus and the large water bodies. One of the best places to observe them in the park is at Borupan Wila. I have seen them at Kokkare Villu, Thimbiri Wila, Kali Villu, Mahapatessa, Maha Wewa, Pomparippu and Periya Villu. During a few visits in February and March 2012 I observed a pair frequenting an area under a tree at Thimbiri Wila and susupected that they are nesting. As these are ground nesting birds, which lay eggs on the open ground without building any nest, I carefully scanned the area with my binoculers but failed to locate any eggs. However on the 29th of April 2012 I was quite pleased to observe this pair at the same locality with two active chicks.