Family Coursers, Pratincoles (Glareolidae)

Least Concern

Little Pratincole (Glareola lactea)


French: Glaréole lactée German: Sandbrachschwalbe Spanish: Canastera chica
Other common names: Small Pratincole

Glareola lactea


, 1820,



Sometimes placed in Galachrysia with G. cinerea and G. nuchalis. Closely related to G. cinerea. Monotypic.


E Afghanistan and Pakistan, through India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to S China (S Yunnan), and thence S & SE through Myanmar to Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. Scarce non-breeding visitor in Arabian Gulf and Oman.

Descriptive notes

c. 15·5–19 cm; 37–44 g; wingspan 42–48 cm. Above pale sandy grey; forehead brownish; lores black; rump and base of tail white, with black subterminal... read more


Gives a raspy, strongly downslurred, short “chirrrt”, given at a rate of 1–2 notes/1–2 seconds, as... read more


Large rivers and streams with exposed sandbars, rocky islands and shingle banks, up to c. 1800 m in... read more

Food and feeding

Beetles, bugs, termites, flies and other insects, including dipterans, coleopterans and hemipterans. Crepuscular; forages in large flocks... read more


Lays Feb–Apr in India and Sri Lanka; from Mar in Pakistan; Apr–May in Laos (with copulation observed Dec and fledged young Jul... read more


Locally migratory, depending on water levels of rivers, but present in many breeding areas only Apr... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Total population estimated to be in range 10,000–100,000 birds. Species seems able to survive adequately in large numbers... read more

Recommended citation

Maclean, G.L. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Little Pratincole (Glareola lactea). 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 February 2019).