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A photo of a Indian Courser (Cursorius coromandelicus)
Indian Courser

Indian Courser

Cursorius coromandelicus

The Indian courser, scientific name Cursorius coromandelicus, is a striking bird with a vivid appearance. It is distinguished by its brighter coloration compared to its relative, the cream-colored courser. The bird's crown is a rich chestnut, and it sports a rufous breast. A notable feature is the broad black eye-stripe that originates at the base of the beak, complementing the dark black patch on the nape.

Identification Tips

Both sexes of the Indian courser are similar in appearance. The species can be identified by its long whitish legs, which, like other coursers, have only three forward-pointing toes. In flight, the white rump is visible, and the wing tip lacks the stark black contrast seen in the cream-colored courser.

Habitat

The Indian courser favors dry stony, scrubby, or rocky terrains but is seldom found on sandy grounds. It avoids wet forest zones, preferring the drier regions such as the Coromandel coast in southern India.

Distribution

This bird is native to mainland South Asia, primarily within the plains enclosed by the Ganges and Indus river systems. Its range extends from the Indus valley, eastward stopping short of Bangladesh, and southward to the tip of the Indian Peninsula. It is also present, though less commonly, in the dry zone of northern Sri Lanka.

Behaviour

Indian coursers are typically observed in small flocks, foraging for insects in areas where the grass is short enough not to obstruct their view. They exhibit a characteristic running behavior in spurts and take flight with a distinctive hoarse, creaky call. Their flight is strong, with rapid wing beats, and upon landing, they quickly resume running.

Song & Calls

The call of the Indian courser is a hoarse and creaky "gwaat," which is often heard when the bird takes flight.

Breeding

Breeding season for the Indian courser spans from March to August, with nesting occurring on bare stony ground. The species lays 2 or 3 speckled, well-camouflaged, and spherical eggs. Chicks are protectively colored and remain motionless when alarmed, making them difficult to detect. Initially dependent on parental feeding, chicks start foraging on their own after about a week.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Indian courser consists mainly of insects such as termites, beetles, crickets, and grasshoppers, which they pick up from the ground in stubbly or uncultivated fields.

Conservation status

The Indian courser is classified as Least Concern by the IUCN. However, its arid and open habitats are under threat from human activities like construction and agriculture, leading to habitat loss in some regions.

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Indian Coursers on Birda

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More Coursers, Pratincoles

A photo of a Cream-coloured Courser (Cursorius cursor)

Cream-coloured Courser

Cursorius cursor
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