Although difficult to classify, the evidence of declines in Europe, West Africa and Central Asia indicate that this species has experienced moderately rapid overall declines, and thus warrants Near Threatened status.
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: #http://www.aerc.eu/DOCS/Bird_taxa_of _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.
Distribution and populationGlareola nordmanni
23-26 cm. A large pratincole. Grey-brown neck, upper breast, and most of upperparts, with darker primaries and secondaries. Rump, uppertail-coverts, and lower breast to vent whitish. Chin coloured cream, encircled by black line. Non-breeding birds less distinctly patterned, and immatures lack clearly defined pattern on chin to breast. Similar spp. Collared Pratincole G. pratincola overlaps in range and is very similar, but has white trailing edge to secondaries and, as does Oriental Pratincole G. maldivarum, chestnut-wing linings. Voice High, harsh, tern-like kik or kirrik calls, sometimes a rolling kikki-kirrik-irrik.
has a very large range, breeding in Russia
and sporadically in Belarus
, Hungary and Azerbaijan
. It migrates to southern Africa, mainly Botswana
, Zimbabwe, South Africa
, and irregularly to West Africa. It is now rarely recorded in West Africa, possibly indicating a dwindling 'sub-population' of breeding birds from south-east Europe that once wintered in larger numbers (Dodman 2002)
. Some birds winter in Ethiopia, as the observation of 5,000 birds at river Baro in January 1973 indicates (Ash 1977)
. Passage birds are regularly recorded in Cyprus
, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia
, Sudan, South Sudan
, west Uganda
, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo
, west Zambia
. Non-breeding birds are also recorded in Libya
(rarely (S. Sklyarenko in litt
. The population was estimated at 29,000-45,000 birds following country expert interviews during the Single Species Action Plan Workshop (Moscow, 2002) (Belik and Lebedeva 2004). However, this seems to be an underestimate and was probably based on incomplete coverage: the current breeding population has been estimated at 76,000 to 95,000 breeding pairs, based on five large scale surveys across the whole breeding range (Kamp et al
. A flock of 250,000-800,000 birds in Orange Free State, South Africa
, in 1991 (du Plessis 1995)
and a flock of 76,500 birds at Vaal Dam, South Africa, in 2006
(University of Cape Town 2006)
support these substantially larger figures. Trends for the Asian population are poorly studied. There was a clear negative trend in eastern areas of the breeding range 1990-2000 going possibly along with a range contraction (e.g. Berezovikov 2002), but a slightly positive trend in some parts of South Asian Russia (Karyakin and Koslov 1999)
. At least since 2004, a positive trend has been observed in Akmola and Karaganda regions, Central Kazakhstan (J. Kamp et al
. in prep.)
. At least since 2000, numbers have been increasing in Pavlodar region, north-east Kazakhstan, with a 20-30% population increase between 1998 and 2007 (Kamp et al.
2009; A. O Solomatin pers. comm.)
. This increase coincides with the massive increase of fallow and abandoned land in north-east Kazakhstan and European Russia. The European population (2,500-5,100 pairs or more, occupying 25-49% of the global breeding range) declined by over 50% during 1990-2000, with steep declines in European Russia (A. Mischenko in litt
. 1999; Belik et al
. 2000) and Ukraine (BirdLife International 2004)
. This trend is probably halted now, mainly due to greater availability of suitable habitat (Kamp et al
. 2009). Surveys in 2006 of 65,000 km2
in the Stavropolskii Krai, south-east Russia found a total of 1,800 breeding pairs (L. Malovichko and M. Koshkin in litt.
in an area where only 100-200 pairs were estimated in 2004 (Belik and Lebedeva 2004). Recently, declines have been reported from the South African wintering grounds
. A count of 20,000 individuals in 2006 at Chagraiskoe reservoir, Manych, Stavropolskii Krai, south-west Russia represents one of the largest flocks in recent times recorded outside the wintering range (L. Malovichko and M. Koshkin in litt.
. It is clear that additional survey work visiting suitable habitat is required, especially in Kazakhstan and Asiatic Russia, but available evidence does not indicate that the global population is small or declining rapidly. Population justification
Survey work in Kazakhstan and subsequent re-calculation of bird numbers across the known range of the species would suggest a world population of 76,000-95,000 pairs, roughly equivalent to 220,000-290,000 individuals in total. This upward revision of breeding numbers is reasonable given the large flocks recently reported on the wintering grounds, e.g. a flock of 76,000 individuals recorded at Vaal Dam in South Africa on the wintering grounds. An even larger flock of 250,000-800,000 individuals in Orange Free State in South Africa in 1991 suggests the population may be (or might have been) even larger.Trend justification
The status of the European population (2,500-5,100 pairs, occupying 25-49% of the global breeding range) was recently reassessed in Birds in Europe (BirdLife International 2004). The most significant European population (in European Russia) declined steeply during 1990-2000, and overall the species declined by more than 50% over ten years (generation length: <3.3 years). This trend may have ceased since 2000, and the European population represents a fairly small proportion of the global population. The species is increasing in central and north-east Kazakhstan and south-east Russia. Trends in Central Asia are likely to determine the global status of the species, and there is evidence that some colonies have disappeared. Overall declines of approximately 20% are suspected.EcologyBehaviour
This species is migratory (del Hoyo et al.
. It nests in small to large colonies (5 to >500 pairs, occasionally thousands (del Hoyo et al.
) from May to July (del Hoyo et al.
. Birds gather to moult after breeding in July and August, and then apparently migrate rapidly overland at high altitude to non-breeding grounds (Belik and Lebedeva 2004;
Hayman et al
. They depart between August and early October (Belik and Lebedeva 2004;
Hayman et al
, and arrive on their wintering grounds in October-November (Hockey et al.
. Migrating flocks of several thousand individuals have been recorded
(Cramp and Simmons 1983)
. During the non-breeding season the species is constantly nomadic (del Hoyo et al.
Cramp and Simmons 1983) and highly congregatory, occurring regularly in flocks of 10-100
(Cramp and Simmons 1983)
, and occasionally in foraging flocks of thousands
(Cramp and Simmons 1983), often in association with Collared Pratincoles Glareola praticola
(Hockey et al.
. It roosts at night in loose concentrations (Hockey et al.
. The return migration begins in March, with birds arriving on the breeding grounds from the end of April through May (Hockey et al.
2005). Habitat Breeding
It breeds on grazed short-grass steppe, fallow and ploughed fields as well as on alkaline flats, sandspits, shell ridges and sparsely vegetated Solonchaks
(saltpans) in lake depressions and river valleys (Belik and Lebedeva 2004; Hayman et al
. 1986; J. Kamp et al
. in prep.;Hockey et al.
Cramp and Simmons 1983). Large colonies always occur near water and damp meadows, or marshes overgrown with dense grass
(Cramp and Simmons 1983). A study on habitat selection in Central Kazakhstan in 2006 revealed presence of livestock, vegetation height and the availability of water as key habitat features whereas vegetation type and topography had no influence (J. Kamp et al
. (in prep.)
. Nonbreeding birds frequent open high-altitude glassland and mudflats (del Hoyo et al.
During the non-breeding season it occupies seasonally wet grasslands, savannas, and sandbanks along large rivers (Belik and Lebedeva 2004; Hayman et al
. It is also found at the edges of salt pans (Hockey et al.
It feeds on epigeic and airborne insects, particularly swarming species (Hockey et al.
2005). It takes locusts, orthopterans and coleopterans as well as wasps, bees, dragonflies, ants, termites, flies, ichneumons and cockroaches (Hockey et al.
2005; del Hoyo et al.
Cramp and Simmons 1983)
. It responds quickly to insect emergence after storms (Hockey et al.
2005). Breeding site
This species nests on open ground, usually near water
(Cramp and Simmons 1983). The nest consists of a shallow depression of about 10cm diameter lined with small pieces of available vegetation
(Cramp and Simmons 1983)
. Mortality of eggs and chicks strongly fluctuates and may reach 60-100% annually (Belik and Lebedeva 2004). Recent quantitative data from Kazakhstan indicate higher fledging rates with a mean of 0.5 fledged chicks per nesting pair in 2006-2007 (Akmola, Karaganda and Pavlodar regions) (J. Kamp et al
. in prep.)
Threats are poorly understood. Where declines are occurring the key factors probably relate to changing land-use practices such as conversion of steppe to arable agriculture in some areas (although much former agricultural land in Central Asia is now becoming fallow and grazed areas provide new breeding habitat), shifts in arable land versus livestock grazing on semi-natural steppe in others, and agricultural operations, such as harrowing. A recent study in Kazakhstan by Kamp et al
. (2009) reported that the species is largely dependent on the presence of large grazers and declines occurring from the end of the 19th century in Ukraine and European Russia have been associated with the increase in ploughed areas and the loss of grazed steppe (Kamp et al
. 2009). Nest trampling by livestock might influence breeding success at the Kazakhstan strongholds (Kamp et al
. In some areas, predation by corvids may affect breeding success. In the wintering grounds, agricultural practices and grassland degradation may have reduced the area of available habitat, and locust control measures may also have negative impacts (Hockey and Douie 1995)
both in terms of loss of a food source and the impact of pesticides (del Hoyo et al.
. Whether regional climate change, as proved for Pavlodar region in northern Kazakhstan, affects the species negatively or positively, is largely unknown (A. O Solomatin pers. comm.)
but it is likely to influence distribution and abundance. Conservation Actions Underway
CMS Appendix II. An international single species action plan has been published for this species (Belik and Lebedeva 2004)
. A national action plan for the stronghold country Kazakhstan is at the stage of preparation. Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct further surveys to clarify its population status and trends in Kazakhstan and Russia. Research population development on breeding and wintering grounds also by the means of a literature review (Belik and Lebedeva 2004)
. Research breeding success and adult mortality. Target promotion of low-disturbance agriculture around nesting colonies, and manage grazing and other disturbance (Belik and Lebedeva 2004). Ensure development and implementation of appropriate regulations on pesticides and hunting in key range states (Belik and Lebedeva 2004).
Ash, J. S. 1977. Four species of birds new to Ethiopia and other notes. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 97: 4-9.
Barnes, K. N. 2000. The Eskom Red Data Book of birds of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. BirdLife South Africa, Johannesburg.
Belik, V. P.; Lebedeva, E. A. 2004. International single-species action plan for the conservation of the Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni. AEWA Secretariat, Bonn, Germany.
Belik, V.; Babich, M. V.; Korneev, PI. 2000. [Catastrophic declines of Black-winged Pratincole (Glareola nordmanni) numbers north of the Caucasus]. Information Materials of the Russian Wader Study Group 13: 36-38.
Berezovikov, N. N. 2002. [Decline in numbers of the Black-winged Pratincole in Eastern Kazakhstan]. Information Materials of the Russian Wader Study Group 15: 46-49.
BirdLife International. 2004. Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.
Cramp, S.; Simmons, K. E. L. 1983. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic vol. III: waders to gulls. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., and Sargatal, J. 1996. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 3: Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Dodman, T. 2002. Waterbird population estimates in Africa.
du Plessis, G. J. 1995. Large aggregation of Black-winged Pratincoles Glareola nordmanni in the northern Orange Free State. Ostrich 66: 40-41.
Hayman, P.; Marchant, J.; Prater, A. J. 1986. Shorebirds. Croom Helm, London.
Hockey, P. and Douie, C. 1995. Struik Winchester, Cape Town, South Africa.
Hockey, P.A.R., Dean, W.R.J. and Ryan, P.G. 2005. Roberts birds of southern Africa. Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town, South Africa.
IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 19 November 2015).
Kamp, J.; Koshkin, M. A.; Sheldon, R. D. 2009. Population size, breeding performance and habitat use of the Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni. Bird Conservation International 19(2): 149-163.
Kamp, J.; Koshkin, M.; Sheldon, R. D. in prep. Population numbers, conservation status and habitat selection of the Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni in Kazakhstan.
Karyakin, I. V.; Koslov, A. A. 1999. Stepnaya tirkushka (Glareola nordmanni).
Tucker, G.M. and Heath, M.F. 1994. Birds in Europe: their conservation status. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.
University of Cape Town. 2006. Citisen science, again...: coordinated waterbird counts in South Africa. University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.
Further web sources of information
Detailed regional assessment and species account from the European Red List of Birds (BirdLife International, 2015)
African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) International Action Plan 2004
Detailed species account from Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status (BirdLife International 2004)
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species
View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection
Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Butchart, S., Derhé, M., Harding, M. & Pilgrim, J.
Bragin, E., Kamp, J., Koshkin, M., Malovichko, L., Mischenko, A., Sheldon, R. & Sklyarenko, S.
IUCN Red List evaluators
Symes, A. & Butchart, S.
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Glareola nordmanni. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 28/11/2015.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 28/11/2015.
This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000)
Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004)
Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.
To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife
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Additional resources for this species