The Indian Courser: An Impressive Runner of the South Asian Plains

The Indian Courser (Cursorius coromandelicus) is a distinctive species of courser found primarily in the plains enveloped by the Ganges and Indus river systems. Acclaimed for its agile maneuvers and sprightly pace, this bird is a fascinating character in South Asia’s avian scene. Like other coursers, it is essentially a terrestrial bird, more often spotted in small clusters while on their quest for insects in dry, open, semi-arid regions.

Serial NumberCharacteristicsDescription
1Common nameIndian Courser
2Scientific nameCursorius coromandelicus
3ColourBright, with a chestnut crown and rufous breast
4Average length55 to 60 cm
5Average height20 to 25 cm
6Type of birdGround-dwelling bird, preferring semi-desert plains
7Found in India in statesWidespread in South Asia, primarily between the Ganges and Indus river systems
8HabitatDry, open, semi-desert country, avoids sandy terrain
9IUCN StatusNot specified

Features of the Bird


The Indian Courser stands out with a significant length of 55 to 60 cm, a characteristic that contributes to its ability to scout and capture prey on the ground swiftly. This avian marvel is a spectacle to behold as it navigates its terrain, displaying an inherent awareness of its environment and proficiency at locating its food.

The long, slender body of the Indian Courser aids in its survival. The length provides a low center of gravity, allowing the bird to maintain balance while running at high speeds. It’s a prime example of nature’s adaptability, using physical characteristics to survive and thrive in challenging environments.


With an average height ranging from 20 to 25 cm, the Indian Courser’s stature is relatively unassuming, but it’s this very quality that offers an advantage in the bird’s native habitat. Being close to the ground, they can easily hide from predators and remain inconspicuous to their prey, enabling them to navigate their surroundings with ease.

Running Speed

What the Indian Courser lacks in height, it compensates for with an impressive running speed. As its Latin name, ‘Cursorius’, indicates, it’s a runner, effortlessly covering substantial ground when searching for food or evading predators. It’s a thrilling sight to see these birds sprint across the landscape, their agility and speed unmatched in the avian world.


The Indian Courser’s color plays a crucial role in its life. Its bright, chestnut crown, broad black eye-stripe, and rufous breast allow it to blend seamlessly with its arid environment, a necessary camouflage for its survival.

Habitat and Food of the Bird

  1. The Indian Courser avoids dense forests and hilly terrain, instead favoring open areas like grasslands or scrub jungle.
  1. This bird is a resident from the Indus valley eastwards, with substantial populations in the drier zones of southern India, particularly the Coromandel region.
  1. The species also occurs in arid regions of northwestern India, including Rajasthan and Gujarat. It is a resident species but is known to make local movements.
  1. The bird’s diet predominantly consists of insects, such as termites, beetles, crickets, and grasshoppers, which it finds in stubbly or uncultivated fields.
  1. The Indian Courser has an unusual feeding style. It runs in spurts on the ground, occasionally pausing to peck at food.

Nesting and Nurturing

The Indian Courser’s breeding season stretches from March to August, with nests typically being simple scrapes on bare, stony ground. The eggs, usually numbering two or three, are speckled and well-camouflaged. Notably, the chicks are protectively colored, making them difficult to spot. The parents initially feed the chicks, but after a week, the young start foraging independently.


In the vast expanses of South Asia, from the bustling bird shop corners to the tranquil bird sanctuaries, the Indian Courser is a species that brings joy to every bird lover. However, these swift, ground-dwelling birds are facing escalating threats to their survival.

The Indian Courser’s preferred habitats—dry, open areas often in the vicinity of bird shop near me listings—are increasingly under siege from human activities. Unchecked construction, whether for housing, commercial enterprises, or infrastructure, is rapidly eating into these open lands. These birds, which require low grassland or scrubland to forage for insects, find their habitats shrinking as construction encroaches upon them.

Agricultural intensification also poses a substantial threat to the Indian Courser. The conversion of uncultivated lands and fallow fields—often rich in insect life and thus an excellent feeding ground for these birds—into farmland reduces the availability of food for them. The increased use of pesticides in agriculture not only depletes their food resources but also exposes these birds to harmful chemicals, posing serious health risks.

Industrialization is another significant threat. With industries cropping up even in semi-arid regions, the Indian Courser’s habitats are undergoing rapid transformation. The introduction of pollutants into these environments can have dire consequences on the bird’s health and reproductive capabilities.

In some areas, vehicular activity has disturbed the bird’s natural behavior. The noise and pollution associated with heavy vehicular movement can disrupt the bird’s feeding and breeding patterns, leading to population decline.

Furthermore, climate change-induced alterations in weather patterns could potentially disrupt the bird’s migration patterns, breeding cycles, and food availability, further endangering this species.

The threats to the Indian Courser are manifold, and immediate actions are necessary to protect this bird from further decline. Recognizing the importance of conserving these birds is crucial not only for maintaining biodiversity but also for preserving the unique birdlife found in the plains between the Ganges and Indus rivers.

As bird lovers and stewards of our environment, it is our collective responsibility to ensure that future generations can witness the Indian Courser darting swiftly across the open fields, a captivating bird image against the setting sun.

IUCN Status and Conservation

The IUCN status of the Indian Courser is yet to be specified. However, with the increasing encroachment of human activities into their habitats, there is a pressing need for effective conservation strategies. Fostering awareness about this unique bird species and its ecological importance could be a crucial first step in preserving their population.

To conclude, the Indian Courser is a fascinating bird with impressive adaptations that allow it to survive in its challenging habitat. Despite the threats it faces, this resilient bird continues to charm birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts with its swift movements and striking appearance. It is a symbol of the rich and varied birdlife of India’s plains, and an enduring reminder of the importance of biodiversity.

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