Juvenile Indian coursers Cursorius coromandelicus, photographed by Nikhil Devasar.

Belongs within: Charadriiformes.

The Glareolidae, pratincoles and coursers, are a small group of charadriiform birds found in tropical and subtropical, mostly arid, parts of the Old World. Glareolids are united by the possession of a short, strongly arched bill, but are morphologically disparate: pratincoles of the genus Glareola are long-winged birds that catch insects on the wing whereas coursers of the genera Rhinoptilus, Smutsornis and Cursorius are long-legged cursorial birds. Species of Rhinoptilus have a black band across the top of the breast in front of the wings.

<==Glareolidae [Cursoriinae, Glareoloidea, Tachydrominae]
    |  i. s.: Boutersemia Mayr & Smith 2001 M05
    |           |--B. belgica Mayr & Smith 2001 M09
    |           `--B. parvula Mayr & Smith 2001 M09
    |         Mioglareola Ballmann 1979 M02
    |           |--*M. gregaria Ballmann 1979 M02
    |           `--M. dolnicensis (Švec 1980) [=Larus dolnicensis] M02
    |         Paractiornis perpusillus Wetmore 1930 U93
    |--Rhinoptilus BKB15
    |    |--R. africanus JT12
    |    |--R. chalcopterus BKB15 (see below for synonymy) H66
    |    `--R. cinctus JT12
    `--+--Smutsornis africanus BKB15
       `--+--Cursorius Latham 1790 BKB15, M02 [incl. Tachydromus Illiger 1811 B94]
          |    |--C. bicinctus (see below for synonymy) H66
          |    |--C. bisignatus Hartl. 1865 H66
          |    |--C. bitorquatus [=Rhinoptilus bitorquatus] H66
          |    |--C. cinctus (Heuglin 1864) [=Hemerodromus cinctus] H66
          |    |--C. coromandelicus [incl. C. asiaticus, C. frenatus, Tachydromus orientalis] H66
          |    |--C. cursor JT12
          |    |--C. gallicus [incl. C. europaeus, C. isabellinus] H66
          |    |--C. rufus Gould 1836 [incl. Tachydromus burchelli] H66
          |    |--C. senegalensis [incl. Tachydromus temminckii] H66
          |    |--C. somalensis JT12
          |    `--C. temminckii JT12 [=Chalcopterus temminckii H66]
          `--Glareola Brisson 1760 BKB15, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
               |  i. s.: G. cinerea JT12
               |         G. lactea JT12
               |         G. neogena Ballmann 1979 M02
               |         G. ocularis JT12
               |--+--G. nuchalis JT12
               |  `--G. isabella Vieillot 1816 CC10 (see below for synonymy)
               `--+--G. maldivarum Forster 1795 JT12, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
                  `--+--G. nordmanni JT12
                     `--*G. pratincola (Linnaeus 1766) CC10, JT12, S05 [=Hirundo pratincola CC10]
                          |--G. p. pratincola [incl. G. limbata Rüppell 1845] S05
                          `--G. p. fuelleborni S05

Cursorius bicinctus [=Rhinoptilus bicinctus, incl. C. africanus Temm. 1807, Tachydromus collaris, Charadrius grallator] H66

Glareola Brisson 1760 BKB15, CC10 [incl. Stiltia Gray 1855 CC10, Trachelia Scolopi 1769 B94; Glareolinae, Tracheliinae]

Glareola isabella Vieillot 1816 CC10 [=*Stiltia isabella CC10, JT12; incl. G. grallaria Temminck 1820 CC10]

Glareola maldivarum Forster 1795 JT12, CC10 [=G. (Pratincola) maldivarum CC10; incl. G. orientalis Leach 1821 CC10, G. maldivarum orientalis CC10, G. pratincola parryi Mathews 1917 WS48]

Rhinoptilus chalcopterus BKB15 [=Cursorius chalcopterus H66, Tachydromus chalcopterus H66; incl. Cursorius superciliaris Heugl. 1865 H66]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B94] Bock, W. J. 1994. History and nomenclature of avian family-group names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 222: 1–281.

[BKB15] Burleigh, J. G., R. T. Kimball & E. L. Braun. 2015. Building the avian tree of life using a large-scale, sparse supermatrix. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 84: 53–63.

[CC10] Checklist Committee (OSNZ). 2010. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand, Norfolk and Macquarie Islands, and the Ross Dependency, Antarctica 4th ed. Ornithological Society of New Zealand and Te Papa Press: Wellington.

[H66] Hartlaub, G. 1866. Synopsis of the genus Cursorius. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 61–62.

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444–448.

[M05] Mayr, G. 2005. The Paleogene fossil record of birds in Europe. Biological Reviews 80: 515–542.

[M09] Mayr, G. 2009. Paleogene Fossil Birds. Springer.

[M02] Mlíkovský, J. 2002. Cenozoic Birds of the World. Part 1: Europe. Ninox Press: Praha.

[S05] Steinheimer, F. D. 2005. Eduard Rüppel’s avian types at the Natural History Museum, Tring (Aves). Senckenbergiana Biologica 85 (2): 233–264.

[U93] Unwin, D. M. 1993. Aves. In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Fossil Record 2 pp. 717–737. Chapman & Hall: London.

[WS48] Whittell, H. M., & D. L. Serventy. 1948. A systematic list of the birds of Western Australia. Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Special Publication 1: 1–126.

Last updated: 15 August 2019.

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