Family Coursers, Pratincoles (Glareolidae)

Least Concern

Australian Pratincole (Stiltia isabella)


French: Glaréole isabelle German: Stelzenbrachschwalbe Spanish: Canastera patilarga
Other common names: Long-legged Pratincole

Glareola isabella


, 1816,



Sometimes included in genus Glareola, or at other extreme in its own subfamily Stiltiinae; recent molecular study favours first option, strongly supporting placement within Glareola#R, a step deferred here pending further evidence. Monotypic.


Drier regions of N & E Australia, spreading farther S in wetter years, but absent from SW; breeds sporadically throughout Australian range, but seldom N of 18° S; two breeding records in Trans-Fly, S New Guinea. Migrates to N Queensland and Northern Territory, New Guinea and E Indonesian archipelago as far NW as Sumatra.

Descriptive notes

21–24 cm; 54–75 g. Above light cinnamon-brown, with white rump; black lores, throat whitish shading to pinkish-cinnamon breast and deep chestnut across belly;... read more


Gives a tern-like trilling “quirree-quirree” or “quee-quee”, as well as a liquid “weetweet”, which... read more


Rather bare areas: black-soil country of Queensland with sparse grass, scrubby red-soil ridges,... read more

Food and feeding

Grasshoppers, beetles, dragonflies, termites and other large insects; also centipedes, spiders and seeds. Obtains most of prey on ground,... read more


Dependent on weather; Aug–Jan, but most breed Sept–Nov. Nests in small, loose colonies, nests spread thinly over as much as 2... read more


Movements influenced by rainfall patterns, with reports of greatly increased numbers arriving in S... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common to abundant, but sporadic in occurrence; probably not under threat in any part of range; total Australian, and therefore world... read more

Recommended citation

Maclean, G.L. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Australian Pratincole (Stiltia isabella). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 19 March 2019).