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Cursorius temminckii (Temminck's courser) 

Trekdrawwertjie [Afrikaans]; Ucelithafa [Xhosa]; uNobulongwe (generic term for courser) [Zulu]; Temmincks renvogel [Dutch]; Courvite de Temminck [French]; Temminckrennvogel [German]; Corredor de Temminck [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

Cursorius temminckii (Temminck's courser)  Cursorius temminckii (Temminck's courser)

Temminck's courser. [photo Neil Gray ]

Temminck's courser, Kruger National Park, South Africa. [photo Callie de Wet ]

Distribution and habitat

Occupies much of sub-Saharan Africa, largely excluding the lowland forest of northern DRC and West Africa. Within southern Africa it is common in northern and central Namibia,  Botswana, Zimbabwe, southern and central Mozambique and north-eastern South Africa. It generally prefers clearings in miombo (Brachystegia) and Mopane (Colosphermum mopane) woodland, as well as short and burnt grassland, dry or grassy pans, stubble fields, fallow land, airfields, sports fields, overgrazed areas and cattle kraals.

Distribution of Temminck's 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

Its movements are exceedingly complex and not fully understood, however it generally moves to arid areas (such as in Botswana and Namibia) in the summer rainy season, while heading to moist areas (including the Mashonaland plateau of Zimbabwe) in the dry season, from June-December.


It mainly eats insects, doing most of its foraging by running and pausing repeatedly to pluck prey from the ground, often at the edge of a bushfire. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Invertebrates
    • insects
      • Hodotermes mossambicus (Northern harvester termite)
      • Coleoptera (beetles)
      • locusts and grasshoppers (Orthoptera)
    • molluscs
  • Seeds


  • Monogamous, solitary nester, performing courtship displays in which the male and female bob up and down and left to right.
  • It does not build a nest, instead laying its eggs on flat and bare ground with good visibility, such as in the photo below.
Cursorius temminckii (Temminck's courser)  

Temminck's courser at its nest with eggs, Sericea, South Africa. [photo Warwick Tarboton ]

  • Egg-laying season is mainly in the middle to end of the dry season, from July-January.
  • It lays 1-2 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes in shifts of about 75-120 minutes.
  • The chicks are leave the nest within 7-8 hours of hatching, fed by both parents until they still start self-feeding after eight days. They are able to fly at 21 days old, fully fledging about a week later.


Not threatened, in fact widespread, common and well-represented in protected areas, although it is sensitive to human disturbance.


  • 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.