The family Burhinidae includes 1 species found in North America.
Thick-knees (also called stone-curlews) occur in open areas, often near water, but also in arid habitats in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and the Neotropics. They resemble large plovers, varying in length from 35-52 cm, with short, stout bills in the smaller species and long, massive bills in larger species. The head is large and broad with large, yellow eyes adapted to their crepuscular and/or nocturnal habits. The legs are long, bare, yellowish or greenish, with a thickened tibiotarsal joint (hence 'thick-knee'). Plumage cryptically colored in browns, gray or buff, with bars, streaks and spots of black. The sexes are alike.
Thick-knees forage at dusk or at night, taking all available small animals, including insects, worms, mollusks, crustaceans, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, birds' eggs and young and some seeds and other parts of plants.
The nest is a shallow scrape in open ground, often lined with small stones or shells. Clutch is usually 2 white to buff eggs with brown markings. Incubation by both sexes; hatching after 25-27 days. Chicks are covered with thick down and are active a day after hatching; parents guard and feed the chicks, which may be moved from the nest site; fledging about 6 weeks of age. Maturity is usually at 2-3 years.