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Breeding ecology of the Cream-coloured Courser in Cape Verde

Romy Rice
José O. Valdebenito
Meinolf Ottensmann
Noémie Engel
Andreia Adrião
Tamás Székely


The Cream-coloured Courser Cursorius cursor exsul is a data-deficient shorebird distributed across Eurasia and Africa. The subspecies exsul is endemic to the Cape Verde archipelago. In contrast with their mainland breeding sites, where coursers appear to be nomadic and rare throughout their range, the Cape Verde population is year-round resident and locally abundant. Here we investigate the breeding ecology of Cream-coloured Coursers in Maio, Cape Verde, where they breed in rocky semi-desert habitat. Over four consecutive breeding seasons (2015–2018), we found 52 nests, and ringed 56 adults and 100 chicks. Forty eight percent of 52 nests produced at least one chick; the main nest predators were Brown-necked Ravens Corvus ruficollis and domestic dogs Canis familiaris. Although coursers were thought to be sexually monomorphic, we found that adult males had longer tarsi than adult females. Coursers appeared to be socially monogamous and both sexes incubated the eggs and reared the young. Maio is currently a rural island with little development; however, the island is faced with the threat of touristic development. Therefore, research is required to understand how the courser population will respond to anthropogenic pressures in the future.

Keywords: breeding success, Cursorius cursor exsul, mating system, parental care, sexual size dimorphism

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-947X
print ISSN: 0030-6525