Birda Logo
loading...
A photo of a Australian Pratincole (Stiltia isabella)
Australian Pratincole

Australian Pratincole

Stiltia isabella

The Australian pratincole, Stiltia isabella, is a medium-sized, nomadic shorebird with a distinctive slender build. It possesses long legs, long pointed wings, and a short, slightly curved bill. This bird measures between 19 to 24 centimeters in length, with a wingspan ranging from 50 to 60 centimeters, and weighs between 55 to 75 grams. The sexes are similar in appearance, though they can be distinguished by their breeding and non-breeding plumages.

Identification Tips

In breeding plumage, the Australian pratincole's head, neck, breast, and upperparts exhibit a sandy brown coloration, while the wings are pointed and black with a notable black stripe across the lores. The chin and throat are white, transitioning to a sandy brown breast. The bill is a striking red with a black base, and the legs and feet are grey to black. Non-breeding plumage sees a fainter loral stripe and paler bill base, with grey-brown upperparts edged in sandy-buff. Juveniles resemble non-breeding adults but are paler with streaked foreheads and lack the black lores. In flight, the bird's upper body and inner wing maintain the sandy brown color, but the outer wing is black, and the tail is square-cut with white upper-tail coverts and tail sides.

Habitat

The Australian pratincole favors treeless, open plains, grasslands, and sparsely wooded areas, typically within arid and semi-arid zones. They are also found near wetlands, creeks, riverbeds, and other water sources, especially during breeding when they require low shrubland for chick shelter.

Distribution

This species breeds in the interior of Australia, with a range extending from southwestern Queensland to northern Victoria and across central Australia to the Kimberley region in Western Australia. It winters in northern and eastern Australia, as well as in parts of Indonesia and New Guinea.

Behaviour

Australian pratincoles are migratory, moving south to breed in spring and summer, and north to overwinter. They are monogamous during the breeding season, with pairs staying together and engaging in courtship rituals. They are known to gather in flocks during migration, with calls continuously heard within the group.

Song & Calls

The vocal repertoire of the Australian pratincole includes sweet or plaintive whistles, soft trills, and loud sharp notes. Four distinct call types have been identified: the flight call, a series of sweet whistling notes; the far-contact call, a plaintive sound used between mates and to call chicks; the greeting call, a gentle trill used in courtship; and the alarm call, a series of loud sharp notes often paired with distraction displays.

Breeding

Breeding pairs lay two eggs, typically on bare ground within a scrape, sometimes lined with small stones or organic material. Both parents incubate the eggs and care for the semi-precocial chicks, which are sandy buff with black markings. The young fledge at 4–5 weeks of age.

Similar Species

The Australian pratincole is often compared to the oriental pratincole (Glareola maldivarum), but it is slimmer and smaller with longer legs.

Diet and Feeding

Their diet primarily consists of insects, spiders, and centipedes, which they catch in flight or pick from the ground. They forage actively during the day, peaking at dawn and dusk, and can drink both saline and ephemeral water due to their salt glands.

Conservation status

The Australian pratincole is currently listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, with an estimated population of 60,000 individuals. However, their occurrence is unpredictable and varies in location.

App logo
Birda is a birdwatching app and community aimed at curious people who want to deepen their connection with nature.

Australian Pratincoles on Birda

Photos
Sightings

More Coursers, Pratincoles

A photo of a Indian Courser (Cursorius coromandelicus)

Indian Courser

Cursorius coromandelicus
Birda Logo

Your birdwatching journey like never before

Connect with nature in minutes
Take a walk, look out of the window and log the birds that you see. Feel good about those little connections to nature.
Discover the joy of birding
Find new birding spots, see more birds, share and celebrate with a like-minded community of nature lovers.
Play your part in saving nature
Logging your birding sightings and sessions turns into positive action for our planet. Every sighting counts.

Birda Blog

What Our Birders Say
Unbridled Discoveries
Great app for bird lovers
I love this app! It’s a wonderful way to track birding sessions, and also connect you with fellow birders. I also really like the unidentified bird section, it’s a great community tool to help figure out what a never-before-seen bird is!
Louise L
Easy to use and accurate
Love this app. It is easy to use and accurate, Their backup communication is really good. I noted a missing species. All through the process, I was kept informed about the progress in correcting the information. I now have the corrected, updated version. 😁 Thanks!
Foxgirl100
Great app for beginner twitchers
I’ve had a passion of photographing birds for a long time now but have only just gotten into proper birdwatching, and this app is brilliant for those just getting started. There is a great sense of community among users and the app is very easy to use and professional. Awesome app altogether
EandB17
Terrific App for Birders
Downloaded Birda around the time my interest in birding was sparked, and it has been a terrific app to help me (1) share my experience, (2) document my sightings, and (3) learn more about birds in general. That said, I also believe Birda is a fantastic app for birders of all experience levels. Great community!
David C
Very knowledgeable group
Nice friendly birding community. Very knowledgeable group with a willingness to help.
Dunners12345
Great App
Great app to use for logging and communicating with others who are interested in birds
778
Great bird recording
For a while I’ve been trying to find an app to easily record bird lists and day out and struggled to find one that I like. Birda is great for this, straightforward and a great community!
Robred 2
Fun way to add to your birdwatching experience
I enjoy watching birds in my backyard, but this app helped me really pay attention while on vacation this summer. It was fun to add new birds to my bird watching app.
Stewart W
Fantastic to be involved
Fantastic to be involved, great for mental health and gets you responding with the Challenges that are to takd part in.
Hip An
Fantastic
Really enjoying Birda where I live i have a lot of Red kites really hard to photograph but I can video are you planning some place on the app where us Birda can post vidsπŸ¦‰πŸ¦…
As featured in
Connect with nature,
Find your flock
Download Birda - QR Code
Β© 2024 All rights reserved