Racing bird

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Racing bird
Racing bird (Cursorius cursor)

Racing bird ( Cursorius cursor )

Class : Birds (aves)
Order : Plover-like (Charadriiformes)
Family : Curlews (Glareolidae)
Subfamily : Racing birds (Cursoriinae)
Genre : Racing birds ( Cursorius )
Type : Racing bird
Scientific name
Cursorius cursor
( Latham , 1787)

The racing bird ( Cursorius cursor ) is a Limikolenart from North Africa and Asia, which belongs to the family of the curlew-like (Glareolidae). The species, which occurs from northern Africa to Turkmenia, is a rare stray visitor, especially in southern Europe. There are only a few observations from Central Europe, most of which date from the 19th century.

There are usually five or six subspecies for this species.


The approximately 23 cm long racing bird is a gracefully built, plover-like bird with a strikingly upright posture. It has relatively long legs, a strikingly round head and a downward-curved beak. The plumage is monochrome, sand-colored, light brown to beige on the upper side (which the English name Cream-colored Courser makes clear), and clearly lighter on the underside. The white eye-stripe above and the black eye-stripe underneath stand out. These converge in the neck in a V-shape. The back half of the skull is bluish gray in color. The black wings are just as striking. In flight, the rather long, pointed wings are also noticeable, which - like the relaxed wing beats - clearly show the relationship with the curlew swallows. There is no difference between males and females.

There are several subspecies ( cursor , dahlakensis , bannermani , exsul , bogolubovi ). Today, the South African subspecies are mostly assigned to their own species - the rusty racing bird ( C. rufus ) - with the subspecies rufus and theresae .


Distribution areas of the racing bird:
  • Breeding areas
  • Year-round occurrence
  • migration
  • Wintering areas
  • Population probably extinct
  • Probably year-round occurrence
  • Probable wintering areas
  • The racing bird has a disjoint distribution area and is distributed in northern Africa, on the Canary Islands and Cape Verde, in the Middle East and southwest Asia to Turkmenistan. These are partial migrants , the northern and northwestern populations overwinter in India, Arabia, Turkey and along the southern edge of the Sahara.

    The worldwide stocks are classified as less threatened ( lower risk ).

    Way of life

    Unlike other wading birds, the racing bird prefers dry, open terrain. It inhabits desert steppes, semi-deserts, sand dunes and sandy-rocky plains. During the migration period, it also occurs on dry pastures as well as cultivated and fallow land. Its diet consists of arthropods such as beetles, grasshoppers, caterpillars, ants and spiders. To a lesser extent, it also eats land snails and lizards. Very fast running short distances is typical for him. He then suddenly stops and saves. If he is disturbed, he usually runs away. He uses raised ground for cover.

    Racing bird eggs, Toulouse Museum

    Racing birds reach sexual maturity in their first year of life. The nest is a shallow hollow that is scratched on dry ground. Laying begins in February in the Canary Islands and northwestern Africa. The clutch usually consists of two eggs. These are round-oval, pale brown to yellow and finely spotted brown. The breeding period is 18 to 19 days, both parent birds breed. The young birds are spotted on top with a weaker head markings than the adults. They can fledge at 26 to 28 days.

    Stock situation

    There is evidence that the population in Syria declined during the 20th century. The reduced number of wanderers in Central Europe is an indication of a decline in the population numbers of the nominate form Cursorius cursor cursor . The very small stocks of the subspecies Cursorius cursor bannermanni in the Canary Islands and Cursorius cursor exsul are potentially threatened. The subspecies Cursorius cursor bannermanni , which is still widespread on Fuerteventura, is now very rare on Lanzarote and seems to have disappeared as a breeding bird on Gran Canaria . However, breeding birds have been found again on Tenerife. On the other hand, the population is stable on the Cape Verde Islands.

    supporting documents


    • Hans-Günther Bauer, Einhard Bezzel and Wolfgang Fiedler (eds.): The compendium of birds in Central Europe: Everything about biology, endangerment and protection. Volume 1: Nonpasseriformes - non-sparrow birds. Aula-Verlag Wiebelsheim, Wiesbaden 2005, ISBN 3-89104-647-2 .
    • Peter Colston , Philip Burton: Limicolen - All European wader species, identifiers, flight images, biology, distribution. BlV Verlagsgesellschaft, Munich 1989, ISBN 3-405-13647-4
    • Simon Delany, Derek Scott, Tim Dodman, David Stroud (Eds.): An Atlas of Wader Populations in Africa and Western Eurasia. Wetlands International , Wageningen 2009, ISBN 978-90-5882-047-1 .

    Web links

    Commons : Rennvogel  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
    Wiktionary: Rennvogel  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

    Single receipts

    1. Bauer et al., P. 545
    2. Delany et al., P. 88
    3. Bauer et al., P. 546
    4. a b Delany et al., P. 90