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Pratincoles and Coursers: Glareolidae

Australian Pratincole (stiltia Isabella): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: The Australian pratincole varies between 7.5 and 8.7 inches (19 to 22 centimeters) in length and weighs about 2.3 ounces (65 grams). It is light brown in color across most of its body, but has a dark brown upper belly and white lower belly. The bill has a bright red base and black tip. The Australian pratincole has a slender body, long legs, and extremely long wings.

Geographic range: The Australian pratincole is found in most of inland and northern Australia, as well as portions of New Guinea and eastern Indonesia.

Habitat: The Australian pratincole is found on short-grass plains, usually near water.

Diet: The Australian pratincole primarily eats insects. It catches these either while flying or on the ground. When pursuing prey on the ground, it may use a wing to keep insects from escaping. Australian pratincoles may also eat seeds.

Behavior and reproduction: The Australian pratincole is sometimes found alone, but is more frequently seen in flocks. Individuals are able to run quickly. They are usually silent in breeding colonies, but make considerable noise while migrating.

Australian pratincoles and people: The Australian pratincole is sometimes hunted for food in Indonesia.

Conservation status: The Australian pratincole is fairly common across its range and is not considered threatened. ∎



del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott, and J. Sargatal, eds. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 3, Hoatzin to Auks. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions, 1996.

Hockey, Phil. Waders of Southern Africa. Cape Town, South Africa: Struik Winchester, 1995.

Perrins, Christopher, ed. Firefly Encyclopedia of Birds. Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books, 2003.

Web sites:

"Family Glareolidae (Coursers and Pratincoles)." Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/classification/Glareolidae.html#Glareolidae (accessed on May 4, 2004).

"Glareolidae (Coursers and Pratincoles)." The Internet Bird Collection. http://www.hbw.com/ibc/phtml/familia.phtml?idFamilia=59 (accessed on May 4, 2004).

"Pratincoles, Coursers." Bird Families of the World, Cornell University. http://www.es.cornell.edu/winkler/botw/glareolidae.html (accessed on May 4, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsPratincoles and Coursers: Glareolidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Collared Pratincole (glareola Pratincola): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, COURSERS PRATINCOLES AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS