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the web of life in southern Africa

Glareola nordmanni (Black-winged pratincole) 

Swartvlerksprinkaanvoël [Afrikaans]; Lehlakangoato [South Sotho]; Steppevorkstaartplevier [Dutch]; Glaréole à ailes noires [French]; Schwarzflügel-brachschwalbe [German]; Perdiz-do-mar-d'asa-preta [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

Glareola nordmanni (Black-winged pratincole)   

Black-winged pratincole, Spain. [photo Nigel Kendall ©]


Distribution and habitat

Breeds from northern Black Sea to eastern Kazakhstan, heading south in the non-breeding season to a narrow band of sub-Saharan Africa, from eastern Sudan and western Ethiopia south through eastern DRC, Uganda, western Zambia and eastern Angola to southern Africa. Within southern Africa it is uncommon in north-eastern Namibia, northern and south-eastern Botswana, western Zimbabwe and east-central South Africa. It generally prefers open seasonally wet grassland, edges of pans and cultivated land.

Distribution of Black-winged pratincole 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.  

Movements and migrations

Leaves its breeding grounds from August-October, moving over land and eventually reaching southern Africa in November, before departing in March.


It mainly eats insects, doing most of its foraging in the early morning and evening, hawking insects aerially and running in short dashes on the ground to catch prey. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


Status uncertain globally, but Near-threatened in southern Africa, where it has been increasingly scarce, thought to have been caused by habitat destruction at its Eurasian breeding grounds.


  • 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.