Family Coursers, Pratincoles (Glareolidae)

Least Concern

Cream-coloured Courser (Cursorius cursor)


French: Courvite isabelle German: Rennvogel Spanish: Corredor sahariano

Charadrius cursor


, 1787,

Kent, England


Closely related to C. rufus, C. temminckii and C. coromandelicus. Sometimes considered to include C. rufus. Until recently considered conspecific with C. somalensis (which see). Some intergradation between races exsul, cursor and bogolubovi. Canary Is population sometimes distinguished as race bannermani, but separation from nominate cursor dependent on size alone and this probably not significant; proposed race dahlakensis (described from Dahlak Is, in Red Sea off Eritrea) nowadays included in nominate. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. c. bogolubovi Zarudny, 1885 – S Turkey through E Iran to SW Afghanistan, S Pakistan and NW India.
  • C. c. cursor (Latham, 1787) – Canary Is, N Africa, Arabian Peninsula and Socotra; N populations winter S to Sahel and Saudi Arabia.
  • C. c. exsul E. J. O. Hartert, 1920 – Cape Verde Is.
  • Descriptive notes

    19–24 cm; 115–156 g (bogolubovi), 102–119 g (cursor); wingspan 51–57 cm. Above pale sandy buff or sandy rufous with striking black... read more


    Generally rather silent, but occasionally noisy; commonest call is a sharp piping, liquid-sounding... read more


    Arid, open, usually fairly flat, warm to hot desert and semi-desert, both stony and sandy,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly adult and larval insects, including beetles, grasshoppers, termites, cockroaches, maggots, ants, bugs, flies; also molluscs (... read more


    Season mainly late Feb–Jun in N Africa (but occasionally in autumn–winter too), Mauritania (once Oct), Israel and Iran, Feb... read more


    Nominate race makes extensive movements, much of N population apparently crossing Sahara for winter... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Perhaps increasing in W Africa due to southward march of Sahel; increased grazing pressure may lead to desertification which may be... read more

    Recommended citation

    Maclean, G.L. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Cream-coloured Courser (Cursorius cursor). 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 February 2020).