Pratincole with another group of birds "Coursers" are grouped together and comes under this family of Glareolidae. Some features they have in common, short legs, very long pointed wings and equally long forked tails. Pratincole too, stay mostly on the ground. Pratincole actually hunt their insect prey on wings like Swallows, then their short bills adapted for aerial feeding combined with their looks in flight similar to that of the Terns, this bird is often considered as a wader. Pratincole catches insect on their wings and also on the ground while Coursers do so on the ground.
They are crepuscular birds feeding at dawn and dusk while the warmer period of the day would be used for resting.
Pratincole is a ground bird with elongated wings that prefers arid country bird. Their preferred habitats is an open country with short-grass plains or deserts, often far from water. Pratincole moves in small flock of 60-70 birds most times. However, at certain times, the flock could get rather large like this one in the 2 pictures below where numbers ran into thousands.
Oriental Pratincole is a long distance migratory bird, breeding in northern Pakistan and wintering as far south as Australia. Gathering in large flock of tens of thousands of birds, their number was thought to be 75,000 birds. Not until February 2004, that about 2.5 million birds were recorded in the mudflats Eight Miles beach in Australia. The environment were conducive for all flocks to congregate at one single place, giving an impression as the numbers they had around the world..
With that incident of the huge numbers of Oriental Pratincole since in the mudflats, all the more that the bird Pratincole get more associated as a waders. Also confirms the habit that this birds do gather in great numbers.
|Australian Pratincole||Stiltia isabella|
|Oriental Pratincole||Glareola maldivarum|
|Little Pratincole||Glareola lactea|
From the Bird List for Malaysia, I have copied out the names of the 3 Pratincole that should be available in Malaysia. So far besides the Oriental Pratincole, I have not seen any report of the sightings of the other 2 Pratincoles, perhaps with good reasons.
The Little Pratincole measuring only 17 cm breeds in Western Pakistan, though migrates are likely found in good numbers in Thailand. In Malaysia, they do not appear in large flock and as individuals could be mistaken as a Swallow.
The Australian Pratincole is a nomadic birds that moves around the various mudflats in Australia. Only in southern winter that the birds leaves for warmer land. These would be the Islands to the north among them Sulawesi and even further to southern Borneo. Much left to be seen in future whether, the bird could be spotted in Peninsula Malaysia.