Cream-coloured Courser (Cursorius cursor)

Cream-coloured Courser

Cream-coloured Courser

[order] CHARADRIIFORMES | [family] Glareolidae | [latin] Cursorius cursor | [UK] Cream-coloured Courser | [FR] Courvite isabelle | [DE] Rennvogel | [ES] Corredor | [NL] Renvogel


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range

Physical charateristics

Above pale sandy buff or sandy rufous with striking black stripe from behind eye to nape, bordered above by white stripe, with hindcrown blue-grey. Below pale sandy, lower belly white, upperwing has black primaries and primary coverts, sharply contrasting with sandy secondaries, underwing black with narrow white trailing edge to secondaries.
Bill black, legs and feet yellowish white. Plumage shbject to bleaching and wear.
Races distinguished on shades of difference in coloration, presence and extent of darker coloring on belly, and on size, though this last feature is clinal. exsul darker with reddish sand colored upperparts and breast. In size and structure the smaller, duller E African races are closer to Cursorius rufus , and they show same pale brown grey underwing coverts contrasting with black outer half of underwing.

Listen to the sound of Cream-coloured Courser

[audio: Courser.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 51 cm wingspan max.: 57 cm
size min.: 22 cm size max.: 24 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 2   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 3  


Africa : Northeast, Central, West, also Southwest EU


Arid, open, warm to hot desert and semi desert, both stony and sandy, including dune troughs, with or without low sparse vegetation also short grass and gravel plains, salt flats, semi cultivated steppe and gravel roads.


Information on the Canary Island population is limited. Most clutches are laid between March and early April, with some early eggs laid in February. Brood size is two (exceptionally three) eggs and chicks are nidifugous. Replacement deposition can extend the laying period. It is known to happen in other parts of the distribution area as an adaptation to rain in the very arid habitats it occupies.
Nest is shallow unlined scrape on bare ground. Incubation period is appr. 19 days by both sexes. Chick finely mottled sandy rufous and white above, crown streaked dusky, below white, washed buff on breast. First breeding at one year old.

Feeding habits

Normally insects, including beetles, grasshoppers, ants, flies also molluscs, isopods and seeds.
Feeds by running over ground and stopping to pick up prey which is swallowed whole, even large insects up to 8 cm long. Sometimes catches locusts in flight. May dig for food using bill.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Cream-coloured Courser status Least Concern


Nominate race makes extensive movements, much of N population apparently crossing Sahara for winter, when range extends to Sahel, Sudan and N Kenya; 30 birds of race cursor found in Jan-Feb 1987 along 165 km stretch of E shore of L Turkana, N Kenya; scare in N Sahara at this season; main northward movement in Sahara in Mar-Apr, sometimes into Jun, movement of c.1000 birds over front of a few kilometres reported in Mar in Tunisia. Winters in W Negev Desert, Israel, Dec and Jan; immigration into Saudi Arabia in winter, probably from Middle East, when numbers increase and birds spread into deserts of Nafud and Empty Quarter. Breeding birds arrive Jordan early Mar and depart late Jun; then late autumn arrival of small numbers of migrants. Race littoralis present in Kenya Sept-May. Race bogolubovi mainly winter visitor to Pakistan and NW India, occurs Aug-Apr from Baluchistan, Sind and Punjab to Rajasthan and Gujarat, in loose flocks of 6-10 birds, occasionally up to 30 or more. May occur in small flocks in most seasons; up to 45 birds together in Egypt, Aug-Sept. Has occurred widely in Europe as a vagrant, chiefly in autumn, including 10 birds seen together in Netherlands, Sept 1969.

Distribution map

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