Cream-coloured Courser – Cursorius Cursor: An Agile Runner of the Bird Kingdom

The Cream-coloured Courser, known scientifically as Cursorius cursor, is a captivating bird species of the pratincole and courser family, Glareolidae. Aptly named, the bird is renowned for its cream-coloured body and agile, ground-running hunting style, a feature that has led to both parts of its scientific name being derived from the Latin word “cursor,” meaning “runner.”

This bird species often attracts the attention of bird lovers for its intriguing habits and its appealing, sandy body colour, which fades to a paler tone on its lower belly. Capturing the bird image or a bird picture of this elusive species could be an exciting challenge for any bird photographer. It’s a rare sight that adds a unique charm to any bird photo collection.

Basic Information

Serial NumberCharacteristicsDescription
1Common nameCream-coloured Courser
2Scientific nameCursorius cursor
3ColourSandy body colour, fading to whitish on the lower belly
4Average length23-25 cm
5Average height17-19 cm
6Type of birdWader
7Found in India in statesNorth-western regions
8HabitatDry open semi-desert regions
9IUCN StatusLeast Concern

Features of the Cream-coloured Courser

Length and Height

The Cream-coloured Courser is a moderate-sized bird, with an average length ranging from 23 to 25 cm. Its stature contributes to its speedy, ground-running hunting style, making it one of the agile members of the bird kingdom. As a wader, its size is optimal for its lifestyle, neither too big to hinder its movement nor too small to limit its hunting prowess.

Running Speed

When it comes to running speed, the Cream-coloured Courser truly lives up to its name. The bird has the ability to dart across the ground at remarkable speeds when hunting for insects, its primary prey. This rapid, ground-running hunting style is reflected in its scientific name, Cursorius cursor, derived from “cursor,” the Latin term for “runner.”


As its common name suggests, the Cream-coloured Courser sports a sandy or creamy body colour. This colour scheme extends to a whitish tone on its lower belly, creating an overall neutral, pleasing aesthetic. When spotted, the bird provides a beautiful sight for bird lovers, and its image makes for a delightful addition to any bird photo collection.

Habitat and Food of the Cream-coloured Courser

  1. The Cream-coloured Courser predominantly inhabits dry, open, semi-desert regions. These regions extend across Western Asia and northern Africa, reaching as far as Canary Islands, Cape Verde, and parts of India.
  1. The bird has a partial migration pattern, with birds from the northern and northwestern regions often found wintering in India, Arabia, and across the southern edge of the Sahara.
  1. It has also been reported that some birds breed in the southern desert regions of northwestern India and Pakistan, making it an exciting find for anyone visiting a bird sanctuary or birdlife sanctuary in these areas.
  1. As a wader, the Cream-coloured Courser primarily feeds on insects, hunting them on the ground in its characteristic running style. This dietary habit plays a significant role in maintaining the ecological balance in the bird’s habitat.
  1. Despite its predominant desert habitat, this bird species is not strictly tied to arid regions. It has been sighted in cornfields, grassy plains, and open scrub jungles, displaying its adaptability to diverse environments.

Nesting and Nurturing

The Cream-coloured Courser, much like other birds, reproduces through a fascinating process. The breeding season spans from February to September, with some instances of breeding also observed in autumn and winter, depending on local conditions, especially rainfall. During this period, the bird lays two eggs in a ground scrape, with the nest carefully concealed in the vast, open landscape it calls home.

The nurturing process of the Cream-coloured Courser is equally intriguing. The young ones, once hatched, are known for their remarkable resilience and adaptability, able to run as soon as they are born. Their survival in the harsh desert habitat from such a tender age is truly a testament to the bird’s hardiness.

Threats and 

Despite its broad distribution, the Cream-coloured Courser faces several threats. Habitat loss due to agricultural development and climate change poses significant challenges for the bird. Unregulated hunting and trapping, especially in its wintering grounds, also threaten its population.

IUCN Status and Conservation

However, the bird’s current IUCN status is of “Least Concern.” This designation primarily stems from the bird’s wide distribution and its relatively stable population. Nevertheless, there is a pressing need for more dedicated conservation efforts, especially in regions where the bird’s habitats are increasingly encroached upon by human activities.


The Cream-coloured Courser, with its distinctive cream colour and swift ground-running hunting style, is indeed a captivating specimen in the bird kingdom. However, as intriguing as this bird is, its survival in the wild relies significantly on the conservation efforts and the continued interest of the public. As a bird lover or a bird enthusiast, it’s our responsibility to play our part in protecting and preserving this unique species for future generations. Whether it’s by visiting a bird sanctuary or a birdlife sanctuary, or even a local bird shop, let’s continue to nurture our fascination and love for birds.

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