Cursorius rufus Gould, 1837, Potchefstroom, South Africa. Monotypic.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
French: Courvite de Burchell; German: Rostrennvogel; Spanish: Corredor Rufo.
7.8–8.7 in (20–22 cm); 2.7–3.4 oz (76–95 g). More or less uniform brown, paler and more rufous below, shading to dark brown bar on upper belly; lower belly white; eye-stripe blackand- white; hind-crown blue-gray. Legs long and white. Bill moderately long and decurved.
Southern Africa from Angola and Namibia to inland South Africa and southern Botswana.
Desert, semi-desert, open, short grassland.
Usually in pairs or small parties of up to 10 birds. Rather shy, running quickly away when disturbed. Takes flight when hard pressed.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Feeds mainly on insects caught by surface pecking or by digging with bill in soft soil or sand. Rarely takes seeds.
Breeds at almost any time of year, laying two blackish eggs on bare ground, often among antelope droppings. Incubation and fledging periods not known. Chicks highly precocial, but are fed by parents for a few weeks after hatching.
Formerly common over most of its range, Burchell’s courser has undergone a significant decline in numbers. Reasons for this are not known, but the species is sensitive to disturbance and possibly to overgrazing of semi-desert habitat.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
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