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Rhinoptilus chalcopterus (Bronze-winged courser) 

Bronsvlerkdrawwertjie [Afrikaans]; Tshembyana [Tsonga]; Bronsvleugelrenvogel [Dutch]; Courvite ŕ ailes bronzées [French]; Bronzeflügel-Rennvogel, Amethystrennvogel [German]; Corredor-asa-de-bronze [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Charadriiformes > Family: Glareolidae

Rhinoptilus chalcopterus (Bronze-winged courser)  Rhinoptilus chalcopterus (Bronze-winged courser) 

Bronze-winged courser, Kruger National Park, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Bronze-winged courser. [photo Johann Grobbelaar ©]

Distribution and habitat

Occupies much of sub-Saharan Africa, largely excluding  the lowland forest of the DRC and west Africa. Within southern Africa it is generally uncommon in northern Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, north-central and southern Mozambique and north-eastern South Africa. It generally prefers Mopane (Colosphermum mopane) woodland with patches of open ground, as well as Okavango woodland and arid savanna.

Distribution of Bronze-winged courser in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Predators and parasites

Movements and migrations

It has a fairly large resident breeding population (breeding from July-December), which is supplemented by an influx of post-breeding migrants originating from the north, staying from November to about May-June.


Its diet probably consists of mainly insects, although it has hardly been studied. It is nocturnal, often sighted foraging along gravel roads.


  • Likely to be a monogamous solitary nester, probably with a long pair bond.
  • It often lays its eggs on bare ground (such as gravel patches in woodland), although it may also dig a simple scrape in the ground or use a natural depression, sometimes with a rim of twigs and clay.
Rhinoptilus chalcopterus (Bronze-winged courser)  

Bronze-winged courser with its chicks, Phabeni Gate area, Kruger Park, South Africa. [photo Warwick Tarboton ©]

  • Egg-laying season is from July-December, peaking from October-November.
  • It lays 2-3, usually two eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for about 25-27 days in shifts of 70-120 minutes.
  • The chicks are well camouflaged for burnt ground (as seen in the photo above) and are defended vigorously by their parents, who often feign injury to distract predators.


Status uncertain, although it is likely to have been negatively affected by the clearance of woodland in the lowveld.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.