home   about   search

biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Glareola pratincola (Collared pratincole, Red-winged pratincole) 

Rooivlerksprinkaanvoël [Afrikaans]; iWamba [Zulu]; Vorkstaartplevier [Dutch]; Glaréole à collier [French]; Brachschwalbe [German]; Perdiz-do-mar-d'asa-vermelha [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 pratincola (Collared pratincole, Red-winged pratincole)  Glareola pratincola (Collared pratincole, Red-winged pratincole) 

Collared pratincole. [photo Hugh Chittenden ©]

Collared pratincole, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. [photo Hugh Chittenden ©]

For information about this species, see birdinfo.co.za.

Distribution and habitat

Mainly breeds discontinuously from the Iberian peninsula and Morocco east to Russia, also occupying much of sub-Saharan Africa, largely excluding the lowland forest of West Africa. In southern Africa it is locally common in northern Botswana, the Caprivi Strip (Namibia), northern Zimbabwe, central and southern Mozambique and eastern South Africa. It generally prefers sandbanks, mudflats, grassy flood plains, ploughed fields, burnt grass and overgrazed veld, especially if adjacent to coastal lakes, pans, large rivers, estuaries and dams.

Distribution of Collared 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

Mainly migratory, staying to breed in southern Africa from about July-February, although along the Zambezi River it is present from April-November.


It mainly eats insects, doing most of its foraging in the evening or on moonlight nights, catching prey aerially in a manner similar to swallows, or pouncing on small invertebrates on the ground. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • Monogamous and usually loosely colonial, although it may nest solitarily, and cooperative polyandry is rarely recorded (three adults sharing incubation and chick-rearing duties).
  • The nest (see images below) is a shallow depression or hoofprint in the ground, either in soil, gravel or dead vegetation, typically near water on open and flat expanses of mud.
Glareola pratincola (Collared pratincole, Red-winged pratincole)  Glareola pratincola (Collared pratincole, Red-winged pratincole) 
Collared pratincole incubating its egg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. [photo Hugh Chittenden ©] Collared pratincole chick and egg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. [photo Hugh Chittenden ©]
Glareola pratincola (Collared pratincole, Red-winged pratincole)  

Collared pratincole at its nest, Darwindale, Zimbabwe. [photo Warwick Tarboton ©]

  • Egg-laying season is from June-December, peaking from October-December.
  • It lays 1-2 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for about 17-18 days, often wetting their bellies on hot days to cool the eggs.
  • The chicks leave the nest within about 2-3 days of hatching and are cared for by both parents, fledging at about 25-30 days old.


Not threatened globally, but Rare and Near-threatened in South Africa, as its range in the country has contracted due to urbanisation and development. However in Zimbabwe and eastern Botswana it has benefited from the construction of large dams which have widened its breeding range.


  • 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.