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Australian Pratincole

Australian Pratincole
Scanned image of medium format slide 
Australian Museum 
photographer: Unknown Photographer
 
Introduction:

The Australian Pratincole is also known as 'Roadrunner'. On the ground, it is like a plover, running and darting along on its long legs catching insects. However, in flight it is more like a tern, flying elegantly with long, narrow wings.

Identification:

The Australian Pratincole is a long-legged, slim-bodied bird with an upright stance and elegant posture when perched. It is sandy-olive with very long, narrow, pointed black wings, and has a deep chestnut brown and black patch on its flanks. When breeding, the bill is bright red at the base and on the gape, the legs and feet are dark grey, brownish or dark red. When not breeding, the plumage is duller, the bill mostly black, with blackish spotting on the throat and smaller flank-marks.

Size:

19 cm to 24 cm

Similar Species:

The Australian Pratincole is smaller and slimmer than the Oriental Pratincole, Glareola maldivarum.

Distribution:

The Australian Pratincole is mainly found in the north and eastern inland of Australia, as well as on Lord
Howe Island, Christmas Island, and in New Guinea, Borneo and Sulawesi.

Habitat:

The Australian Pratincole is most commonly found close to water, in open inland plains, sparsely wooded plains and tussock grasslands, usually in arid and semi-arid rainfall zones, and mainly in the lowlands. It is also found in areas of gibber (stony plains) and stony ground, and areas with sparse vegetation including claypans, stock-tanks, stock routes and airfields.

Feeding and Diet:

The Australian Pratincole is insectivorous, feeding at dawn and in the evening on insects, spiders and centipedes. It has active salt-glands, which enable it to drink both fresh and saline water. It dashes after insects and small prey and often bobs its head.

Communication:

Sweet whistling 'weeteet' or shrill 'quirriepeet'.

Breeding Behaviours:

The Australian Pratincole can breed in any month after suitable rain. It is probably monogamous, and pair- bonds are maintained during breeding. Both sexes incubate the eggs and brood the young. The female lays the eggs on bare ground, sometimes choosing a small hollow in the ground, or scraping out a circle on stony ground. The nest is sometimes lined with small pebbles, dry vegetation or rabbit dung.
Breeding season: September to December
Clutch size: Two, rarely one.
Incubation: 20 days
Time in nest: 45 days
Related Objects:

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O.49509 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, South Australia, Adelaide: Reedbeds, Near Fulham , (34 56' S , 138 31' E), 3 Sep 1906
O.49507 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, New South Wales, Broken Hill , (31 58' S , 141 27' E), 30 Nov 1911
O.49499 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Queensland, Noccundra - Bransby Rd , (27 48' S , 142 35' E), 8 Sep 1903
O.47892 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Western Australia, Ord River Irrigation Area: Kununnura , (15 46' S , 128 44' E), 3 Aug 1979
O.47891 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Western Australia, Ord River Irrigation Area: Kununnura , (15 46' S , 128 44' E), 3 Aug 1979
O.47822 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Western Australia, Ord River Irrigation Area, Near Kununurra , (15 46' S , 128 44' E), 3 Aug 1979
O.47821 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Western Australia, Ord River Irrigation Area, Near Kununurra , (15 46' S , 128 44' E), Aug 1979
O.47799 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Western Australia, Ord R Irrigation Area: Kununurra , (15 46' S , 128 44' E), 3 Aug 1979
O.49506 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, New South Wales, Broken Hill, Powder Magazines , (31 58' S , 141 27' E), 8 Nov 1912
O.47783 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, New South Wales, 130 Km W Of Wilcannia , (31 48' S , 142 6' E), 29 Nov 1978
O.46859 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, New South Wales, Noore-Nyrang, Wellington , (32 33' S , 148 57' E), 15 Feb 1978
O.46726 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Northern Territory, Borroloola Rd, 87Km N Of Barkly Hwy , (19 1' S , 136 5' E), 29 Jan 1978
O.46715 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Northern Territory, Borroloola Rd, 87Km N Of Barkly Hwy , (19 1' S , 136 5' E), 29 Jan 1978
O.46525 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, South Australia, Clifton Hills Hs, 147Km N On Outside Birdsville Track , (26 22' S , 139 30' E), 10 Sep 1977
O.46524 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, South Australia, Clifton Hills Hs, 147Km N On Outside Birdsville Track , (26 22' S , 139 30' E), 10 Sep 1977
O.46523 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, South Australia, Clifton Hills Hs, 147Km N On Outside Birdsville Track , (26 22' S , 139 30' E), 10 Sep 1977
O.46522 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, South Australia, Clifton Hills Hs, 147Km N On Outside Birdsville Track , (26 22' S , 139 30' E), 10 Sep 1977
O.46520 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Queensland, Lake Muncoonie , (25 12' S , 138 39' E), 20 Sep 1977

Australian Museum

O.51013 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Queensland, Hariman Park, Near Cunnamulla , (28 1' S , 145 49' E), 4 Nov 1909
O.46521 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, South Australia, Clifton Hills Hs, 147Km N On Outside Birdsville Track , (26 22' S , 139 30' E), 10 Sep 1977
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Australian Museum

O.46228 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Northern Territory, Darwin , (12 27' S , 130 50' E), 27 May 1977
O.46519 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Queensland, Lake Muncoonie , (25 12' S , 138 39' E), 20 Sep 1977
O.69611 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Queensland, Cunnamulla , (28 4' S , 145 40' E), 5 Nov 1954
O.69610 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Queensland, Lake Bullawarra Area, Via Thargomindah , (27 54' S , 143 36' E), 5 Dec 1954
O.69609 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Queensland, Dry Camp, Lake Bullawarra, Via Thargomindah , (28 1' S , 143 23' E), 5 Nov 1954
O.68044 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Queensland, Cunnamulla , (28 4' S , 145 40' E), 10 Nov 1956
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O.69612 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Queensland, Cunnamulla , (28 4' S , 145 40' E), 29 Oct 1954
O.64572 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Queensland, Noonbah Stn, 180Km S Of Longreach , (24 7' S , 143 11' E), 21 Oct 1990
O.51014 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Queensland, Hariman Park, Near Cunnamulla , (28 1' S , 145 49' E), 4 Nov 1909
O.62798 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, New South Wales, Glenella, Near Byng , (33 18' S , 149 16' E), 11 Oct 1896
O.62797 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, South Australia, Myrtle Springs Station, West Of Lyndhurst , (30 27' S , 138 13' E), 15 Oct 1973
O.62796 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, South Australia, Dulkaninna Station , (29 1' S , 138 27' E), Feb 1959
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O.62794 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Queensland, Cunnamulla, 12 Miles W , (28 4' S , 145 29' E), 30 Oct 1955
O.62793 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Queensland, Cunnamulla, 10 Miles W , (28 4' S , 145 31' E), 13 Nov 1955
O.62244 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Queensland, Noonbah Stn, 180Km S Of Longreach , (24 7' S , 143 11' E), 22 Oct 1990
O.52837 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, South Australia, Moolawatana Station, Near Lake Frome , (29 54' S , 139 44' E), 25 Sep 1920
O.51015 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Queensland, Hariman Park, Near Cunnamulla , (28 1' S , 145 49' E), 26 Nov 1909
O.64872 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Queensland, Arrilalah Rd , (23 41' S , 143 53' E), 14 Mar 1992
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O.18415 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, New South Wales, Lachlan District , (33 52' S , 144 52' E),

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O.18414 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, New South Wales, Lachlan District , (33 52' S , 144 52' E),

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O.16856 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, New South Wales, Nyngan To Warren , (31 35' S , 147 34' E),

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O.16089 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, New South Wales, Tibooburra , (29 26' S , 142 1' E),

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O.12423 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Queensland, Kensington Downs Stn, Via Muttaburra , (22 31' S , 144 10' E),
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A.2789 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, New South Wales, Dubbo , (32 15' S , 148 37' E),
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O.46516 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Queensland, Lake Muncoonie , (25 12' S , 138 39' E), 22 Sep 1977
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O.72291 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Queensland, Diamantina National Park , (23 43' S , 141 11' E), 8 Jan 2001
O.10472 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Western Australia, Derby , (17 18' S , 123 38' E),

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O.45868 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, New South Wales, Tibooburra, 25 Km Sw , (29 35' S , 141 54' E), 3 Oct 1976
O.46517 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Queensland, Lake Muncoonie , (25 12' S , 138 39' E), 22 Sep 1977
O.46515 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Queensland, Lake Muncoonie , (25 12' S , 138 39' E), 22 Sep 1977

Australian Museum

O.45867 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, New South Wales, Tibooburra, 25 Km Sw , (29 35' S , 141 54' E), 3 Oct 1976

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O.43097 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, New South Wales, 15 Miles N Of Lake Cargelligo , (33 10' S , 146 22' E), 22 Oct 1968

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O.40665 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Northern Territory, Camooweal, 20 Miles W, Just Over Nt Border , (20 S , 137 57' E), 14 Feb 1964

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O.3934 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, New South Wales, Yandembah Station, Nr Hillston, Lachlan District , (33 28' S , 144 59' E),

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O.39088 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Northern Territory, Alexandria Downs Stn, 30 Miles E , (19 4' S , 137 15' E), 1952

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O.39086 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Northern Territory, Alexandria Downs Stn, 30 Miles E , (19 4' S , 137 15' E), 1952

Australian Museum

O.19813 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, New South Wales, Lachlan R , (33 52' S , 144 52' E),

Australian Museum

O.37636 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Queensland, Horn Is, Torres Strait , (10 36' S , 142 17' E),

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O.34756 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Queensland, Camooweal , (19 55' S , 138 7' E),

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O.25205 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, New South Wales, Wilcannia , (31 34' S , 143 22' E), Oct 1881

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O.25204 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, New South Wales, One Tree Plain, Deniliquin , (35 32' S , 144 57' E), 4 Oct 1882

Australian Museum

O.21864 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, New South Wales, Forbes , (33 23' S , 148 1' E),

Australian Museum

O.19811 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, New South Wales, Lachlan R , (33 52' S , 144 52' E),

Australian Museum

O.19691 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, New South Wales, Lachlan District , (33 52' S , 144 52' E),

Australian Museum

O.19812 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, New South Wales, Lachlan R , (33 52' S , 144 52' E),

Australian Museum

O.37637 - Stiltia isabella (Vieillot, 1816) - Australia, Queensland, Horn Is, Torres Strait , (10 36' S , 142 17' E),