Cream- Coloured Courser  Cursorius cursor

Etymology :

  • Cursorius: Latin word for courier, runner derived from currere- to run.
  • Cursor : Latin word for runner derived from currere – to run

Vernacular Names: Baluchisthan: Askalo, Guj: Retal rana godhalo, Pilachato rangoghalo, Kutch: Chhena bori

Distribution in India: Resident of North West India.

Description: Size of 19–24 cm; Wt. of 102–119 g; wingspan of 51–57 cm. It is pale sandy buff or sandy rufous above with striking black stripe from behind eye to nape, bordered above by white stripe, with hindcrown as blue-grey. It is pale sandy below, lower belly is white; upperwing has black primaries and primary-coverts, sharply contrasting with sandy secondary coverts and secondaries. The underwing is black with narrow white trailing edge to secondaries; bill is black; legs and feet are yellowish white. The plumage is subject to bleaching and wear. It has a pale belly, lacking sharp contrast with rest of underparts. The juvenile is finely mottled above and below with buff and black; head pattern is inconspicuous; primaries are tipped buff.


Habitat: It is found in arid, open, fairly flat, warm to hot desert and semi-desert, stony and sandy, dune troughs, with or without low sparse vegetation; also short-grass and gravel plains, salt flats, semi-arid ground, and semi-cultivated steppe and gravel roads. It is found below 800 m.


Food habits: It eats adult and larval insects, beetles, grasshoppers, termites, cockroaches, maggots, ants, bugs, flies. It also eats molluscs, spiders, isopods, arachnids, seeds, and small lizards and snails. It feeds by running over ground and stopping to pick up prey which is swallowed whole. It catches locusts in flight. It digs for food using bill, and may feed close to villages in some areas, eating insects attracted to cattle dung, or to desert roads, in search of road-killed insects.

Breeding habits: They breed in Feb–Jun in N Africa, Mauritania, Israel and Iran, Feb–Apr in Arabia, May–Jul in Turkmenistan, Apr in Pakistan, Apr–May in Jordan, Feb–May on Canary Is, Sept–May on Cape Verde Is, Dec–May in Senegal, and Sept–Jul on Socotra; Feb-Jul in India . They are double-brooded. The nest is shallow unlined scrape on bare ground .They lay a clutch of 2-3 eggs. The incubation period is 18–19 days. Incubation is done by both sexes. Adults will do mock-brooding to distract observer from presence of chick. The fledging period is 26–30 days.