The bird who couldn’t perch!!! – Indian Courser

Binomial Name: Cursorius coromandelicus

The Indian Courser is a representative of one our most ignored and threatened habitats – the semi-arid, open scrublands and fallow lands. Though often termed as ‘waste lands’, these are the places where species like coursers, larks, lapwings and sandgrouse find enough food to dwell and breed!!!

An interesting aspect of the courser eggs is that they are seen in various color shades which match the color of the ground where they are laid making them pretty tough to detect. This serves as a fantastic camouflage and protection because the courser’s nest is just a shallow scrape on the ground amidst stones and pebbles with no added nesting material!!!

Indian Courser- juvenile
Indian Courser- juvenile

This beautiful bird has three toes in the front but its feet lack the hind toe!!! Thus it cannot grab on to a branch and perch on trees. The word cursorial means basically having limbs adapted for running. This is exactly what this ground dwelling bird does. The courser prefers to walk and run rather than fly, hence it is aptly called ‘Dhavik’ in Marathi.


Do visit the YouTube link given below to watch the beauties preen and run 🙂

The Indian Courser also demonstrates the classical diversionary display called ‘the broken-wing display,’ where it feigns an injury, for example a broken wing. It is a typically anti-predator behavior used to attract the attention of an enemy away from something, typically the nest or the young, that is being protected by the parent.  DSC_0076-indian-courser

The major man-made threats to the species dwelling in this habitat are attempts at converting semi-arid habitats into cropland by providing irrigation, road development, construction, etc.


– Until the next post…Ciao friends!!!