Friday, March 30, 2012

Spotted Thick-knee: associated with the enemy or bad omen

While at Kgalagadi, I happened to discover a group of Spotted Thick-knees under a tree, just behind the little shop at the Nossob Rest Camp.This was ironic because it was just a day before my departure. It was about  mid- day.
I was amazed by the closeness in which I could get to them without being distubed. The Afrikaans people call them Dikkop. The Batswana people call them Tswang-Tswang (keep- away) while the Basutho people call them Kgoho-ya-dira (enemy). In all instances  the name refers to the enemy or bad omen.
All this remind me of the sounds they normally make at night since they are nocturnal birds.
Well, everything that it is associated with the night in Africa is "bad omen". Anyway, that is all what is in the name.Quite some lovely birds, isn'it?

Spotted Thick-knee

Spotted Thick-knee - well camouflaged at mid day

Spotted Thick-knee with characteristic big head (dikkop) and large knees (thick-knees) 


  1. A beautiful bird that reminds me of the Dikops that bred in our drive-way in SA!
    We had to remove the eggs to an incubator to save them from being smashed by cars! Poor mom!!

  2. Hi everyone,
    I recieved several complaints about the Google comments fascility not function this morning on this blog. After checking it out, I was able to re-instate it. Thanx for reporting.

    One of the followers had this to say:-

    Dear Mpho
    I have tried twice to comment on your blog using my Google account but it does not seem to accept it.
    I will try again from my home computer.
    Anyway this is what I wrote and I agree with James – please add these sort of interesting posts.
    All the best Cassia
    “Very interesting – thanks for sharing and nice photos.

    Meanwhile the mentioned James posted the following message on Birdnet earlier.

    Hi Mpho
    Thanks, that's very interesting. How about making this a regular feature, a series on the meaning of African bird-names?
    Kind regards

    1. Hi everyone,
      I am overwhelmed by the kind gesture and I am considering having regular post on the subject.
      Watch the space.
      Happy birding

  3. Hi Mpho,
    Yes I have to agree with other posters regarding the African names of birds and their meaning and their mythology where applicable. And immediately I think of the Hamerkop, that I understand has loads of mythology around it?
    Cheers, and keep up the good work.
    Karel Marais

    1. Hi Karel,
      The myth around the Hammerkop, called Mamasianoke in Sotho as well as in Tswana,is that it is a very clever bird.
      Thanx for the input.