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Cursorius cursor

warning Vulnerable
VU (A2c,C1,D1)

Contributed: Asaf Mayrose, Yoav Perlman, Lior Kislev, Noam Weiss, Nadav Israeli, Eyal Shochat, Ezra Hadad, Amir Balaban

The Cream-coloured Courser is classified as Vulnerable (VU) because of its small and declining population, which is currently estimated at less than 1,000 mature individuals. The rate of decline exceeds 30% over 3 generations (22 years). In the previous edition of the Red Book (2002), it was classified as Vulnerable (VU). The stability of its status reflects the continuing declining trend in its population size and range.
VU Current Regional Assessment | VU Previous Regional Assessment | LC World Assessment

Habitats Desert Plains, Inland Sand Dunes
Presence In Israel Summer Breeder
Nesting In Israel Breeder
Migration Types Short Range / Partial
Zoography Zones Irano-Turanian, Saharo-Arabian
Landscape Formations Plains & Valleys, Wide Wadis, Sand Dunes
Vegetation Formations Steppe, Herbaceous
Vegetation Densities Low
Nest Locations Ground
Diet Types Invertebrate
Foraging Grounds Ground
Body Sizes Small (up to 500g)
Threat Factors Plantations, Overgrazing, Habitat Fragmentation, Human Activity

The Cream-coloured Courser is a slim, long-legged Charadriform that inhabits arid habitats. When standing it is uniformly sandy colored, with a thin black eye-stripe, a bright white eyebrow and a bluish cap. The three stripes merge on the bird’s nape forming a downward-pointing triangle. Legs are silvery-white, its bill black, slender and a bit curved. Its posture is very erect, sometimes even bent backwards. When in flight its black underwing contrasts with its white belly. Wingbeats resemble those of doves, interspersed with short glides and longer glides as it lands.

The Cream-coloured Courser summers and breeds in the Negev, particularly in its western section (the Nitsana-Shivta area and the Western Negev sands), but also in the Eastern Negev and the Northern Arava, the Meishar and the Large Wadis. A few individuals also breed in the Jordan Valley, Eastern Galilee and Southern Golan Heights. A small portion of the breeding population overwinters in these areas as well. Until the 1980s, Cream-coloured Coursers also nested in the Judean Lowlands, the Jordan Valley, eastern Samaria and the Judean Desert plateau. It is now very rare in these areas and does not breed every year.

Cream-coloured Coursers inhabit broad wadi beds, and sandy, loess and rocky plains in the desert, and dry or sparsely vegetated fields in the steppe region.

No specific conservation measures have been taken for this species to date.

- Key breeding areas should be preserved, particularly in the Northern Negev.
Nature reserves and relevant protected areas (e.g. the Loess Park) should be managed specifically for ground-nesters, including dealing with invasive and eruptive species.
Grazing should be restricted during the breeding season in the main distribution areas of the species in the Northern Negev.
Afforestation in the Northern Negev loess plains should be stopped, and areas that were already planted should be rehabilitated.

  • פז, ע. 1986. עופות. מתוך אלון, ע. (עורך), החי והצומח של ארץ ישראל. כרך 6. הוצאת משרד הביטחון, ישראל.
  • פרלמן, י., אלתרמן, ש. וגרניט, ב. 2011. סקר עופות דוגרים בנחלים הפנימיים, אביב 2011. דו"ח מרכז הצפרות של החברה להגנת הטבע.
  • פרלמן, י., שוחט, א. ולבינגר, ז. 2009. סקר אטלס ציפורים בערבה סיכום שנת 2009. דו"ח מרכז הצפרות של החברה להגנת הטבע.
  • Perlman, Y., Shochat, E. and Labinger, Z. 2011. Developing Managment plan for important bird areas in southern Israel. second annual report, Nizzana region and Arava Valley.Israeli Ornithological center, SPNI.
  • Shirihai, H., 1996. The Birds of Israel. Academic Press, London.
  • Symes, A. 2013. Species generation lengths. Unpublished, BirdLife International.
  • Species page at Birdlife International
Contributed: Asaf Mayrose, Yoav Perlman, Lior Kislev, Noam Weiss, Nadav Israeli, Eyal Shochat, Ezra Hadad, Amir Balaban

Current Occupancy Map

Distribution maps

The maps presented here provide visual information on the distribution of species in Israel in the past and present, and the changes in occupancy and nesting density during the comparison period. For further reading

Relative Abundance 2010-2020

Breeding density values as calculated from observation records and expert opinions.

Relative Abundance 1980-1990

Breeding density values are based mainly on the book Birds of Israel (Shirihai 1996).

Occupancy difference 1990-2020

A map that expresses differences in the breeding distribution between the evaluation periods (1980-1990 versus 2010-2020). Negative value - species previously present but is currently absent, positive value - species has not been recorded previously and is currently present, zero - no change in occupancy.

Relative abundance difference 1990-2020

A map that reflects the changes in the relative abundance of the species between the evaluation periods (1980-1990 versus 2010-2020). Negative values - decline in abundance, positive values - increase in abundance, zero - no change in abundance.

Red number

IUCN category

() districts
% of protected sites

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