Cream-colored courser

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Cream-colored courser
Cream-coloured Courser (Cursorius cursor) Tal Chhapar, Churu, Rajasthan, India February 15th, 2013.jpg
Adult from Tal Chhapar Sanctuary, Churu, Rajasthan, India
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Glareolidae
Genus: Cursorius
C. cursor
Binomial name
Cursorius cursor
(Latham, 1787)
CursoriusCursorIUCNver2018 2.png
Range of C. cursor     Breeding      Resident      Non-breeding      Passage     Probably extinct      Possibly Extant (resident)      Possibly Extant (non-breeding)
Cursorius cursor species from Dibba, United Arab Emirates
Egg of Cursorius cursor. MHNT

The cream-colored courser (Cursorius cursor) is a wader in the pratincole and courser family, Glareolidae. Both parts of the scientific name derive from Latin cursor, "runner", from currere, "to run"[2] which describes their usual habit as they hunt their insect prey on the ground in dry open semi-desert regions of Asia and northern Africa.


These coursers are found in Canary Islands, Cape Verde, North Africa and southwest Asia. Their two eggs are laid in a ground scrape. The breeding season extends from February to September,[3] but they may breed also in autumn and winter when local conditions (especially rainfall) are favourable.[4] They are partially migratory, with northern and northwestern birds wintering in India, Arabia and across the southern edge of the Sahara. Some birds also breed in the southern desert regions in northwestern India and Pakistan.[5]

They are rare north of the breeding range, but this species has occurred as far away as Finland, Ireland and Great Britain.


These birds have long legs and long wings. They have slightly downcurved bills. The body plumage is sandy in colour, fading to whitish on the lower belly. The upperwing primary feathers and the underwings are black. The crown and nape are grey, and there is a black eyestripe and white supercilium.

In flight, this species resembles a pratincole with its relaxed wingbeats, pointed wings and dark underwings.


There are three subspecies of the cream-colored courser:[6]

Taxonomic note[edit]

Hayman's Shorebirds treats the east African form littoralis as a race of the Somali courser rather than of cream-colored.[7] Some authorities in turn consider the Somali, Burchell's and cream-colored coursers to be conspecific.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Cursorius cursor". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 125. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  3. ^ Maclean, G.L. 1996. Family Glareolidae (coursers and pratincoles). In: J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott & J. Sargatal (eds), Handbook of the Birds of the World (Vol. 3 - Hoatzin to Auks), pp. 364–383. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  4. ^ Amezian, M., Bergier, P. & Qninba, A. 2014. Autumn-winter breeding by Cream-coloured Coursers Cursorius cursor is more common than previously reported. Wader Study Group Bulletin 121: 177-180.
  5. ^ Rahmani, Asad R.; Manakadan, Ranjit (1989). "Breeding records of Creamcoloured Courser Cursorius cursor cursor (Latham) from India". Journal of the Bombay Natural Historical Society. 86 (3): 447–448.
  6. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2019). "Sandpipers, snipes, coursers". World Bird List Version 9.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  7. ^ Hayman, Peter; Marchant, John; Prater, Tony. Shorebirds: An Identification Guide. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 0-7099-2034-2.

External links[edit]