Oriental Pratincole (Glareola maldivarum)

Oriental Pratincole

[order] CHARADRIIFORMES | [family] Glareolidae | [latin] Glareola maldivarum | [UK] Oriental Pratincole | [FR] Glareole orientale | [DE] Orient-Brachschwalbe | [ES] Canastera Oriental | [NL] Oosterse Vorkstaartplevier


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

23-24 cm, 85-88 g. Above olive brown, with white rump, throat ochre yellow, edged with narrow black collar, upper breast brown, shading to rufous and then white on belly and undertail. Flight feathers black, undewing chestnut. Forked tail black, white at base. Bill black with red gape. Legs blackish.

Listen to the sound of Oriental Pratincole

[audio:http://www.aviflevoland.nl/sounddb/O/Oriental Pratincole.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 25 cm wingspan max.: 26 cm
size min.: 23 cm size max.: 24 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 3  


Eurasia, Oriental Region : East, Northeast China


Inhabits steppes, open grassland, dry floodplains, tidal mudflats, rice stubble, ploughed and fallow fields and open pastures, usually near water


May- Apr-Jun. Nests in colonies on open plains, often recent grass fire, also on grassy islands in rivers with terns.
Nest is a shallow scrape or dried hoofprint. 2-3 eggs.
Incubation and fledging periods unknown

Feeding habits

Insects and other terrestrial arthropods, especially grasshoppers, crickets and beetles.
Prey caught mainly in flight but some also on ground. Often crepuscular


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). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not 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.
most unusual feature of the pratincoles is that although classed as waders they typically hunt their insect prey on the wing like swallows, although they can also feed on the ground.
On the 7th of February 2004, 2.5 million Oriental Pratincoles were recorded on Eighty Mile Beach in Australia’s north-west by the Australasian Wader Studies Group. There had previously been no record of this magnitude and it is supposed that weather conditions caused much of the world’s population of this species to congregate in one area.
Oriental Pratincole status Least Concern


NE populations are long distance migrants S to winter mainly in SE Asia, Indonesia and Australia
Most of Indian breeding population resident, locally nomadic, or short distance migrants.
Rare but annual, Oct to Mar, in New Guinea, birds overfly to N Australia Dec-Feb, when absent to N, therefore large portion of migratory population may be in Australia at this time.
Uncommon migrant to W Micronesia. Vagrant to New Zealand, seychelles and Mauritius, Arabian Peninsula, England, Cyprus and Aleutians.

Distribution map

Oriental Pratincole distribution range map

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