Family Coursers, Pratincoles (Glareolidae)

Least Concern

Double-banded Courser (Smutsornis africanus)


French: Courvite à double collier German: Doppelband-Rennvogel Spanish: Corredor escamoso chico
Other common names: Two-banded Courser

Cursorius africanus


, 1807,



Present species and Rhinoptilus cinctus have sometimes been placed in Hemerodromus. Birds from C Tanzania sometimes separated from gracilis as race illustris; described form sharpei is a synonym of nominate. Eight subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. a. raffertyi (Mearns, 1915) – E Ethiopia.
  • S. a. hartingi (Sharpe, 1893) – SE Ethiopia (Ogaden) and Somalia.
  • S. a. gracilis (G. A. Fischer & Reichenow, 1884) – S Kenya to C Tanzania.
  • S. a. bisignatus (Hartlaub, 1865) – SW Angola.
  • S. a. erlangeri (Niethammer & Wolters, 1966) – NW Namibia (Etosha region).
  • S. a. traylori (Irwin, 1963) – NE Botswana (Makgadikgadi system) and W Zimbabwe.
  • S. a. africanus (Temminck, 1807) – E, C & S Namibia, W & S Botswana, and NW South Africa (N Northern Cape).
  • S. a. granti (W. L. Sclater, 1921) – S, C & E South Africa.
  • Descriptive notes

    20–24 cm; 69–104 g. Overall buff-brown; crown and back have boldly scaled appearance because of dark brown centres and broad pale fringes to all feathers; neck... read more


    During courtship male gives a “trikritkrititkrik” and female a high, clear “peee-... read more


    Stony and gravelly semi-desert with scattered low shrubs, overgrazed grassland and karoo, edges of... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, especially harvester termites (Hodotermes mossambicus). Feeds by pursuing prey during fast run, stopping and pecking at... read more


    Lays Feb–Jul in Somalia (mainly May–Jun) and Apr and Jun in Ethiopia; in E Africa, season varies with rainfall; all months in S... read more


    Chiefly resident, but locally nomadic throughout range, perhaps in response to rainfall; movements... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). No overall estimate of population. Usually fairly common, but easily overlooked because of partly nocturnal habits; most populations... read more

    Recommended citation

    Maclean, G.L. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Double-banded Courser (Smutsornis africanus). 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 23 September 2019).