Fun Dikkop Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Dikkop Facts For Kids

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Dikkops are a type of water bird from the Burhinus genus. They are also called thick-knees and there are many known species of these Burhinus thick-knees birds, namely the water thick-knee, the spotted thick-knee, the Eurasian stone-curlew, the Indian stone-curlew, the double striped thick-knee, the Senegal thick-knee, the Peruvian thick-knee, and the bush stone-curlew. The water thick-knee (Burhinus vermiculatus) is also known as the water dikkop and the spotted thick-knee (Burhinus capensis) is also known as the spotted dikkop. Both are found in sub-Saharan Africa. The spotted dikkop is about 13-17 in (33-43.8 cm) tall. They have a brown plumage that is speckled with black and white. The water dikkop is similar in color but they do not have small white spots and instead have a white underbelly. They are about 15-16 in (38.1-40.6 cm) tall. Both species are nocturnal and have large yellow eyes. They have long legs and the tibiotarsal joints in their legs are swollen, earning them the name thick-knee. They also have a stout beak or bill that has a swollen head. This is why they are called dikkops and also thickheads.

If you want to read about other interesting animals from around the world, please check out our facts about the ovenbird and the dove.

Fun Dikkop Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Insects (grasshoppers, worms, beetles, and crickets), small mammals, small snakes, small amphibians

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

2 eggs

How much do they weigh?

Spotted dikkop: 13-16 oz (368.5-453.5 g) Water dikkop: 10.5 -12 oz (297.6-340.1 g)

How long are they?


How tall are they?

Spotted dikkop: 13-17 in (33-43.8 cm)Water dikkop: 15-16 in (38.1-40.6 cm)‍

What do they look like?

Brown, white, black

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Eagles And Owls

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Rivers, Mangroves, Bushes, Sheltered Beaches, Spotted Dikkop: Grasslands And Savannas Water Dikkop: Lakes


Ethiopia, South Africa, Somalia, Ghana, Tanzania, Mauritania, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, Gabon, Central And Sub-saharan Africa In Mali









Dikkop Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a dikkop?

The African dikkop or the spotted thick-knee (Burhinus capensis) is a type of water bird found in central and sub-Saharan Africa. The water dikkop (Burhinus vermiculatus) is also a species of water bird that belongs to the same Burhinus genus. As their name suggests, they are found mostly in water. Other than water dikkops and spotted dikkops, other known species of dikkop are the Eurasian stone-curlew, the Indian stone-curlew, the double striped thick-knee, the Senegal thick-knee, the Peruvian thick-knee, and the bush stone-curlew.

What class of animal does a dikkop belong to?

The spotted thick-knee (Burhinus capensis) and the water thick-knee (Burhinus vermiculatus) belong to the Aves class of the Animalia kingdom. They belong to the Burhinidae family.

How many dikkops are there in the world?

There are a lot of species of birds under the Burhinus genus. They are called thick-knees and they have different ranges and habitats. The exact number of these birds is unknown, however, they are listed as Least Concern species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Their population is relatively stable in the wild.

Where does a dikkop live?

The spotted thick-knee (cape thick-knee) and the water thick-knee can be found throughout a large distribution range in sub-Saharan Africa. They can be found in the countries of Mali, Senegal, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Africa.

What is a dikkop's habitat?

The spotted thick-knee (cape thick-knee) has a vast range. They are mostly found in open sand flat habitats. Savannas and open grasslands are a favorite of this bird too and they are also known to live in wetlands sometimes. These birds are nocturnal and spend their day squatting on land, which makes them almost invisible due to their well-camouflaged plumage. Water thick-knees are found mostly in wetlands. They can be found in lakes, rivers, and mangroves. They also take shelter in woodlands and bushes that are close to their habitat.

Who do dikkops live with?

Both the cape thick-knee and the water thick-knee form lifelong bonds with their partners. They often live in pairs as a monogamous couple. Males can become very territorial when mating in the breeding season.

How long does a dikkop live?

The expected lifespan of the species is about 15-20 years.

How do they reproduce?

The dikkop bird of Africa is monogamous. The breeding season is from August to January and they build their nests on the ground during spring. They make their nests with scrape grasses and twigs. Males are especially territorial and possessive of the nest and eggs. Females usually lay two small eggs and both males and females help to incubate the eggs. The young birds hatch out of the eggs after 26-27 days.

These birds lure predators away from their nests to protect their breeding pairs (the water thick-knee is a monogamous species). Their breeding season is also during the rainy season so they build their nest on the open ground close to their water habitat. The rest of their reproduction process is pretty similar to that of cape thick-knees.

What is their conservation status?

Dikkops have a Least Concern status in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. They have a vast range and habitat and their population is safe in the wild, so there is no immediate threat to their population.

Dikkop Fun Facts

What do dikkops look like?

The cape thick-knee is about 13-17 in (33-43.8 cm) tall. They have long legs and have tawny brown feathers speckled with black and white. Their tail is also speckled. They have a large, rounded head and large yellow eyes that help this nocturnal species to hunt in the dark. Their beak (bill) is short and stout and they have yellow legs. Water dikkops are similar in appearance but they do not have a spotted plumage. Their average height is about 15-16 in (38.1-40.6 cm). They have a heavier bill with a yellow and black base. They also have a brighter white underbelly. Both these species have long, yellow legs that have slightly swollen joints (giving the species the name 'thick-knees'). The wings of these brown birds are large but they prefer walking on the ground to flying. When the cape thick-knee raises its wings, they show a striking pattern. Males and females look quite similar and even young birds, though small, have similar feathers to adults.

 dikkop bird

How cute are they?

They are quite a cute species of birds. They have a very striking pattern on their body and large yellow eyes, which make the animal very interesting like a harlequin duck.

How do they communicate?

The spotted dikkop bird sound is very distinct and loud. They communicate via vocalizations and gestures as well. Males are very territorial and the typical water dikkop call is very high-pitched and loud.

How big is a dikkop?

The cape thick-knee is about 13-17 in (33-43.8 cm) tall whereas, the water thick-knee is about 15-16 in (38.1-40.6 cm) tall. Therefore they have a similar height. Most other birds of the Burhinus genus are also similar in height to these two birds. The average dikkop bird size is shorter than that of Indian runner ducks.

How fast can a dikkop fly?

The exact speed of these birds is not known as they prefer walking to flying. They have rapid and strong wing beats and they can fly pretty high as well.

How much does a dikkop weigh?

The average weight of the cape thick-knee is about 13-16 oz (368.5-453.5 g) and the average weight of the water thick-knee is about 10.5 -12 oz (297.6-340.1 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for males and females of the species. They are simply called male dikkops and female dikkops.

What would you call a baby dikkop?

Like all young birds, baby cape thick-knees and baby water thick-knees are called chicks or nestlings.

What do they eat?

Dikkops are an omnivorous species. Feeding is mostly done on the ground and the average dikkop bird diet includes a variety of insects like grasshoppers, worms, beetles, and crickets. They also eat small mammals, amphibians, and snakes. They feed on grass and seeds. They are nocturnal predators and hunt for food during the night.

Are they dangerous?

No, these birds are not dangerous to humans. Mostly because they live in the wild and have very little human interaction.

Would they make a good pet?

The dikkop is a wild bird. They do not make for very good pets, unlike some ducks. These wild birds should be able to live freely in their distribution range across central sub-Saharan Africa (including Mali, Senegal, Mauritania, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, Gabon, Ghana, Somalia, and Rwanda).

Did you know...

Dikkops are known to be a very brave species. They are among the bravest bird species.

Do dikkop birds protect crocodiles?

Water dikkops are known to have a codependent relationship with crocodiles. They build their nests close to the habitats of Nile crocodiles in order to be protected from other predators. In exchange, they also look after the eggs of the crocodiles. They cohabit with crocodiles quite often.

How did the dikkop get its name and what other names does it have?

Birds of this species have a broad, curved crown, which gives them their African name dikkop. The word 'dikkop' means 'thick head'. The spotted thick-knee is also called the cape thick-knee and the spotted dikkop. The water thick-knee is also called the water dikkop.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these pelican facts and umbrellabird facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable dikkop coloring pages.

Written By
Moumita Dutta

Moumita is a multilingual content writer and editor. She has a PostGraduate Diploma in sports management, which enhanced her sports journalism skills, as well as a degree in journalism and mass communication. She's good at writing about sports and sporting heroes. Moumita has worked with many soccer teams and produced match reports, and sports is her primary passion.

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