Temminck's courser

Temminck's courser, is a bird in the pratincole and courser family, Glareolidae. It is a wader which lives in sub-Saharan Africa. It is noted for laying its eggs in the burnt bushes and grass of the African savannah.


Distribution and habitat

Occupies much of sub-Saharan Africa, largely excluding the lowland forest of northern DRC and West Africa. Within southern Africa it is common in northern and central Namibia,  Botswana, Zimbabwe, southern and central Mozambique and north-eastern South Africa. It generally prefers clearings in miombo (Brachystegia) and Mopane (Colosphermum mopane) woodland, as well as short and burnt grassland, dry or grassy pans, stubble fields, fallow land, airfields, sports fields, overgrazed areas and cattle kraals.


Predators and parasites

  • Predators
    • Falco peregrinus (Peregrine falcon)


Movements and migrations

Its movements are exceedingly complex and not fully understood, however it generally moves to arid areas (such as in Botswana and Namibia) in the summer rainy season, while heading to moist areas (including the Mashonaland plateau of Zimbabwe) in the dry season, from June-December.



It mainly eats insects, doing most of its foraging by running and pausing repeatedly to pluck prey from the ground, often at the edge of a bushfire. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Invertebrates
    • insects
      • Hodotermes mossambicus (Northern harvester termite)
      • Coleoptera (beetles)
      • locusts and grasshoppers (Orthoptera)
    • molluscs
  • Seeds



  • Monogamous, solitary nester, performing courtship displays in which the male and female bob up and down and left to right.
  • It does not build a nest, instead laying its eggs on flat and bare ground with good visibility, such as in the photo below.
  • Egg-laying season is mainly in the middle to end of the dry season, from July-January.
  • It lays 1-2 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes in shifts of about 75-120 minutes.
  • The chicks are leave the nest within 7-8 hours of hatching, fed by both parents until they still start self-feeding after eight days. They are able to fly at 21 days old, fully fledging about a week later.


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