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Coursers and Pratincoles

Species Of Pratincoles

The collared pratincole, red-winged pratincole, or swallow plover (Glareola pratincola) is highly unusual in having migratory populations in both the southern and northern hemispheres. Northern birds breed in open steppes, savannas, and dry mudflats in southern Europe and southeastern Asia, and winter in Africa. Birds that breed in southern Africa, migrate to northern Africa to spend their non-breeding season. The black-winged pratincole (G. nordmanni) is a widespread species that breeds from southeastern Europe through central Asia, and winters on tropical shores in south and southeast Asia. The oriental pratincole (G. maldivarum) breeds in central and southern Asia, and migrates as far south as Australia.

The Australian pratincole (Stiltia isabella) breeds widely across much of that island continent, including the semi-arid interior. This species migrates north to spend its non-breeding season in the coastal tropics, from northern Australia to Indonesia. This is the only species in its genus, and it is rather intermediate in form to the coursers and pratincoles. Like the coursers, the Australian pratincole has a relatively long beak and long legs, a short tail, and no hind toe. In addition, this species does not have comb-like structures called pectinations on the claw of the middle toe, a characteristic that all other pratincoles and the coursers exhibit.



Bird Families of the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Brooke, M., and T. Birkhead. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Ornithology. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Hayman, P., J. Marchant, and T. Prater. Shorebirds: An Identification Guide to the Waders of the World. London: Croom Helm, 1986.

Bill Freedman

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Cosine to Cyano groupCoursers and Pratincoles - Species Of Coursers, Species Of Pratincoles