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Small Pratincole and distraction display

small pratincole

Down the river Bharathappuzha, it was growing red, the sky being so soft and sweet, a dusky gleaming with the background score of Red-wattled Lapwing’s raucous creaking strident..titti ttee ttee,,,the four notes dissolved suns descend in the west.

migratory birds of NILA at perassannur

The white ibises, whisker terns and egrets had flown away just before the descend. Only a few plovers, practincoles and sandpipers abstained on the bank. The sandpipers moved to and fro pecking and probing in river water..but plovers were found running after the prey and chasing them.

wood sand piper

The four pratincoles who were sitting a few yards away on the gravel-strewn sandbank where water receded,triggered into action. They never went down into the stream. They sat near the shingly patch looking at other birds ,

Small Pratincole

rendering high pitched rolled or trrrrnts . One of the milky pratincoles suddenly takes off into the air with quick angular swallow like flight. He takes the prey in its small beak, largely black in colour with a small red patch of red at the base.

sandpipers,plovers at Nila , perassannur kadavu 10.3.20

After some time, the sandpipers, plovers and other waders left the scene after the busy supper.But pratincoles remained there until it was dark.

When we look closely we may feel that it is a composite bird… it is a combination of a dove, a plover, and a swallow. Small pratincoles are slender, swallow-like birds with long wings and relatively short legs, very attractive in a particular symmetry of shape. Who is pratincole’s close relative?

Small Pratincole

Can we make out a swallow from its shape..? Or from its Calls, they are a high rolling “chirrit!”, reminiscent of terns. It appears as meek as a dove perhaps.,cute milky small pratincole, a bird of sleek and splendour?!

Small Pratincole

The hind toe of pratincoles is reduced and elevated; the front three toes are moderately long. The genus Glareolais characterized by a forked tail. Pratincoles have a wide gape to facilitate catching flying insects on the wing. Pratincoles and coursers belong to the family of Glareolidae.

Small Pratincole

The coursers are structurally closer to other shorebirds. They catch their prey chasing them running. The oldest known fossil of the family is Paractiornis from Lower Miocene deposits of North America.,


It is about 20 million years old. Fossils of the recent genus Glareolaoccur in the Middle Miocene of Europe, about 15 million years old. No fossil of coursers have yet been found.we can assume that pratincoles existed during these periods.

RINGED PLOVER at Mangal jodi

The coursers catch their prey chasing them running. They are highly terrestrial suggest stay primarily on the ground not only foraging on the ground but also nest and roost on the ground. They are probably ancestral to the pratincoles. Pratincoles might have diverged from the terrestrial condition to become specialized as aerial feeders as we see in swallows often associated with large rivers.

Small Pratincole

The closest relatives of the pratincoles have long been a subject of discussion, but the latest evidence, suggests that they share a common ancestor with the aberrant crab plover and with the auks, gulls, and terns. These relationships are shown also by bone structure and system of an animal and other evidence.

flock of Lesser plovers

Australian pratincole, which also has exceptionally long wings and courser-like plumage, indicating a transitional evolutionary stage between the pratincoles and the coursers. The coursers are somewhat stockier than the pratincoles and have relatively shorter wings.

a colony of blackheaded seagulls in Chamravattam ,river Nila

Their most unusual feature for birds classed as waders is that they typically hunt their insect prey on the wing-like swallows, although they can also feed on the ground. Their short bills are an adaptation to aerial feeding.

Small Pratincole

Small pratincoles like the habitat of rivers withstand banks, marshes, mudflats, freshly ploughed paddy fields. and estuarine coastal habitat of rivers with sandbanks coastal marshes restaurant midland but flats types of pratincoles are associated with water in the form of large rivers or of inland pans.

migratory birds of NILA at perassannur

Small pratincoles are almost invariably gregarious: flocks may number many hundreds of birds, especially in the nonbreeding season. small pratincole is a resident breeder in India Western Pakistan breeds from December to April ey can feed on the ground have fancy for beetles bugs termites flies and other insects usually forage in groups .. the birds are shy they want to fly away if you to approach them. A spurt in population was reported in November 1999 in Northern Kerala with a large roost of over 400 words Chemballikund during November and December 1999.

A folk of about 300 birds were observed at Ottapalam during August and September. Kole wetlands recorded more than a thousand birds on four separate years with the highest being 1500 in2004. Therefore, we can conclude that thee occurred a spurt in small pratincole population.

northern pintail Mangalajodi

The small pratincoles who are on the sandbanks may cunningly deviate us from the original track.They may lie on our trail as if they have lost their capacity to flight…when we approach near them they may move to another location close by.

crouches on the ground so that the bottom of the body remain pressed in the spread of sand

.Then they crouch on the ground so that the bottom of the body remain pressed in the spread of sand.. after a few moments they may spread or extend their Wings partially and moves round and round in a ritualistic manner.

crouches on the ground so that the bottom of the body remain pressed in the spread of sand

Distractions or diversionary displays on the anti Predator behaviours used to attract the attention of an enemy away from something usually the nest for the young that is being protected by parents.

spreads or extends their Wings partially and moves round and round in a ritualistic manner.

Usually, they come under the category nest protection behaviour .. whenever displace distraction technique we can see the bird mixes courtship displays suggesting distraction display is not an action to itself.

spreads or extends their Wings partially and moves round and round in a ritualistic manner.

The false breeding approach is used by pratincoles..the bird runs away from codes the most from the nest site and crouches on the ground to appear to be sitting its back feathers crouches and runs away from the predator.

spreads or extends their Wings partially and moves round and round in a ritualistic manner.

Sometimes they may behave as if their wings are broken birds that are at the nest walk away from it with wings curing psoriasis to appear as an easy target for the Predator.

broken wing display

soft light brownish attractive tan wash on the throat and black lores. Lore is the region between the eye and a bill on the side of a birds head. The black-and-white wing pattern is prominent in flight.


Flight seems agile and erratic, resembling a bat or swallow; frequently flies in flocks at dusk. these birds Favour rocky or sandy islands in rivers, but can also be found in marshes, estuaries, and lakesides. It can be distinguished from other pratincoles in range by smaller size and grey plumage.

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