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Species Guide
A photo of a Three-banded Courser (Rhinoptilus cinctus)
Three-banded Courser

Three-banded Courser

Rhinoptilus cinctus

The Three-banded Courser, Rhinoptilus cinctus, is a distinctive bird belonging to the family Glareolidae. It presents a unique appearance with its three prominent bands across its head and neck.

Identification Tips

To identify the Three-banded Courser, look for its characteristic head pattern with three dark bands. The bird's overall plumage is a blend of earthy tones, providing excellent camouflage in its natural habitat.


This species thrives in semi-arid environments, where it can blend seamlessly with the sandy and stony terrain.


The Three-banded Courser is found across a broad range of the African continent, including countries such as Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, Somalia, Somaliland, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.


Observing the behaviour of the Three-banded Courser reveals its adeptness at remaining inconspicuous within its habitat, a survival trait that serves it well against potential predators.


There are five recognized subspecies of the Three-banded Courser, each with a distribution that reflects subtle variations in plumage and size:

  • R. c. mayaudi: Ethiopia & northern Somalia
  • R. c. balsaci: southern Somalia & northeast Kenya
  • R. c. cinctus: southeast South Sudan & northwest Kenya
  • R. c. emini: southern Kenya, Tanzania & northern Zambia
  • R. c. seeboehmi: southern Angola & northern Namibia to Zimbabwe & northern South Africa

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List classifies the Three-banded Courser as Least Concern, indicating that, currently, there are no immediate threats to its population numbers that would warrant a higher risk category.

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Three-banded Coursers on Birda


More Coursers, Pratincoles

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Indian Courser

Cursorius coromandelicus
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