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Australian Pratincole - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Aleix Comas
Alice Springs, Northern Territories, Australia, January 2002
Stiltia isabella


In breeding plumage most of the bird is pale brown, with paler upper breast, throat, sides of neck, and white undertail coverts. Sides of lower breast/belly are dark, black to brown or chestnut. Primaries are black, as is underwing coverts, tail is white with black subterminal band seen from the upperside. When breeding, the bill is bright red on the proximal half, otherwise mostly black.
Non breeding plumage is duller and browner.

Similar Species

Photo by RMD
Nhulunbuy Northern Territory, Australia, August 2004

Australian Pratincole lacks the dark-rimmed white throat-patch of other pratincoles.


Breeds in Australia except south-western part and south-eastern-most coastal region; winters to southern New Guinea and Greater Sundas.

Vagrant in summer to New Zealand.


This is a monotypic species[2].


Open inland stony and sparsely wooded plains, tussock grasslands, wetlands, sewage ponds and lagoons.


Photo by tcollins
Darwin, Australia, April 2008


The diet includes mainly invertebrates.


The nest is sometimes lined with small pebbles, dry vegetation or rabbit dung or sometimes the eggs are laid on bare ground in a hollow. Both sexes incubate the eggs and brood the young.


  1. Pizzey, G. & Knight, F. 1997. Birds of Australia (Collins Field Guide). HarperCollins Publishers, London. ISBN 0-00-220132-1
  2. Clements, JF. 2008. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2008. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  3. Backyards
  4. BF Member observations

Recommended Citation

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