Indian Courser (Cursorius coromandelicus – Gmelin, 1789) is one of my favorite waders…
It was described by Gmelin, Johann Friedrich (1748-1804) in 1789 Systema Naturae per Regna Tria Naturae, Secundum Classes, Ordines, Genera, Species, Cum Characteribus, Differentiis, Synonymis, Locis. 1 pt2 p.692. The type locality given is Coromandel Coast, India.
Indian courser’s vernacular names recorded in various languages are Hindi: Nukri, Bihar: Thonth, Punjab: Nukri, Gujarat: Rana godhalo, Badami rangoghalo, Tamil: Al kaatti, Telugu: Yerra chitawa, Malayalam (Kerala): Veli alappan, Sinhala (Sri Lanka): Weli kirala
This courser is widespread in South Asia and overlaps with some other species such as the similar looking Cream-coloured Courser. This species is however brighter coloured than the Cream-coloured Courser and has a broader black eye-stripe that begins at the base of the beak. The crown is chestnut and the breast is rufous. The nape has a dark black patch where the long longer feathers forming the white stripe meet. In flight, the rump appears white and the wing tip is not as contrastingly black as in the Cream-coloured Courser. The sexes are alike. Young birds are dull buff above, irregularly barred with blackish brown; there is a small pale supercilium but no black on the crown; the breast is dull rufous, more or less barred with blackish; chin and abdomen white.
Cursorius coromandelicus forms superspecies with C. cursor, C. rufus and C. temminckii, although first two taxa may represent a separate superspecies. Occasionally considered to include C. temminckii.
It found in Pakistan and parts of Nepal through most of India to dry parts of NW Sri Lanka, from N of Puttalam to Jaffna Peninsula; no recent records in Bangladesh. This species occurs in dry stony, scrubby or rocky country but rarely on sandy terrain.
These birds are usually seen in small flocks. They feed on insects mainly beetles, crickets and grasshoppers picked up from the ground in stubbly or uncultivated fields. They are extremely shy, and run with great speed, now and again stopping dead to look back, and when pressed do not fly far. Breeds from March to July, under some tuft of grass or bush, laying 3 – 4 eggs of a cream or bright buff colour with patches, spots, blotches and smears of pale inky grey either all over or on only some portion of the egg; the markings above this are narrow scratches and streaks of blackish brown. The average size of eggs is 1.19 by 0.97 inches.
Further Reading on Greater Hoopoe-lark (Alaemon alaudipes – (Desfontaines, 1789)):
- Anonymous. 2011 Cursorius coromandelicus – J. F. Gmelin, 1789 (Indian Courser ) in Deomurari, A.N. (Compiler), 2010. AVIS-IBIS (Avian Information System – Indian BioDiversity Information System) v. 1.0. Foundation For Ecological Security, India retrieved on 07/01/2011
- Ali, Salim (1996). The Book of Indian Birds (12 ed.). BNHS & Oxford University Press. p. 155.
- Baker ECS; , (1930), The game birds of the Indian Empire, Vol V. The Waders and other semi-sporting birds, Part XI, Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 34:1: 1 – 11.
- Baker, ECS (1929). Fauna of British India. Birds Volume 6 (2 ed.). Taylor and Francis, London. pp. 86–87.
- Balachandran S; , (1994), Some interesting bird records from Kaliveli Lake near Pondicherry, Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 91:2: 317 – 318.
- Bharos, A. M. K. Sahu, M. (2002). “Breeding by the Indian courser Cursorius coromandelicus in winter in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, India”. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 99 (2): 299–300.
- Butler,EA (1876). “Notes on the avi-fauna of Mount Aboo and Northern Guzerat”. Stray Feathers 4 (1-3): 1–41.
- Choudhary H; , (1996), Additional sightings!, Bird Conservation Nepal Newsletter, 5:2: 2 – 3.
- Gmelin JF; , (1788), Systema naturae, , 13th:1: .
- Hume AO; , (1868), (Letter), Ibis, 4:: 233 – 241.
- Hume, AO (1890). The nests and eggs of Indian birds. Volume 3 (2 ed.). R H Porter. pp. 323–325.
- Inglis CM; , (1913), Breeding of the Indian Courser Cursorius coromandelicus in the Darbhanga District, Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 22:3: 631.
- Jerdon, TC (1864). The Birds of India. Volume 3. George Wyman & Co., Calcutta. pp. 626–627.
- Kaur J;Nair A; , (2000), Records of Oriental Pratincole (Glareola macdivarum) (sic), Indian Skimmer (Rynchops albicollis), Indian Courser (Cursorius coromandelicus) and Yellow Wattled Lapwing (Vanellus malabaricus) in Kota, Rajasthan, Newsletter for Birdwatchers, 40:5: 68.
- Krys Kazmierczak; Ber van Perlo , (2000), Indian Courser (Cursorius coromandelicus), A FIELD GUIDE TO THE BIRDS OF THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT; Yale University Press, : 110.
- Oates, Eugene W (1902). Catalogue of the collection of birds’ eggs in the British Museum. Volume 2. British Museum. p. 75.
- Parker JC; , (1875), Letters to the Editor, Stray Feathers, 3:1,2&3: 267 – 268.
- Perennou C; , (1988), Notes from Pondicherry: early breeding of Indian Courser, Blackbuck, 4:1: 28 – 29.
- Phillips WWA; , (1942), Some observations on the nesting habits of the Indian Courser, Cursorius coromandelicus [Gmelin], Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 43:2: 200 – 205.
- Rasmussen PC & JC Anderton (2005). Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Volume 2. Smithsonian Institution & Lynx Edicions. p. 184.
- Salim Ali; S Dillon Ripley , (1981), No. 440. Indian Courser (Cursorius coromandelicus ) (Gmelin), Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan; Oxford University Press, New Delhi, Volume 3 (Stone Curlews to Owls ): 9.
- Sangha HS; , (1994), Birds recorded in the Desert National Park, Oriental Bird Club Bulletin, 20:: 10.
- Santharam V; , (1996), Comments on some new bird records from Tamil Nadu, Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 93:3: 589 – 590.
- Seebohm, H. (1886). “A Review of the Species of the Genus Cursorius.” Ibis 28(2): 115-121.
- Sharpe, R Bowdler (1896). Catalogue of the birds in the British Museum. Volume 24. British Museum, London. pp. 39–40
- Siddaramaiah B;Jayadeva GS; , (1992), Indian Coursers in Chamarajanagar Taluk, Newsletter for Birdwatchers, 32:3-4: 6 – 7.
- Stairmand DA (1971). “The Indian Courser”. Newsl. for Birdwatchers 11 (3): 3–4.
- Thomas, Gavin H.; Freckleton, Robert P.; Székely, Tamás (2006). “Comparative analyses of the influence of developmental mode on phenotypic diversification rates in shorebirds”. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 273 (1594): 1619.
- Whistler, Hugh (1949). Popular handbook of Indian birds. Edition 4. Gurney and Jackson. pp. 452–491.
- Worth CB; , (1953), Additional Mysore State bird records, Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 51:2: 510.