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Grey Pratincole Glareola cinerea
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This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Taxonomic source(s)
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.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 11,000-35,000 individuals, roughly equating to 7,300-23,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Although Wetlands International consider the current population trend to be unknown, it is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

Behaviour This species is an intra-African migrant, dispersing during the rainy season to Lake Chad, small rivers and coastal estuaries when rivers flood (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996). It breeds during the dry season in loose colonies, with nests a few metres apart (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and is very gregarious when not breeding (Urban et al. 1986). It forages on the wing during the evening over water (del Hoyo et al. 1996), grassland or woodland (Hayman et al. 1986). Habitat This species shows a preference for the sandbanks of large slow-flowing rivers (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996) and lakes in both forested and open country (Urban et al. 1986), but also frequents reservoirs and coastal habitats (occasionally mangroves and estuaries (Urban et al. 1986)) in times of river flooding or high water (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Diet The species is insectivorous, its diet consisting of flies, beetles, small grasshoppers and spiders (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest is a shallow scrape in the sand of a sandbar or on shingle (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996), usually within 100 m of water (Urban et al. 1986).

This species is threatened by habitat destruction through the building of dams (the creation of Lake Volta in Ghana removed much suitable habitat and caused an exodus of the species from the country) (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species is also subject to human disturbance (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1996. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 3: Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Delany, S.; Scott, D. 2006. Waterbird population estimates. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Hayman, P.; Marchant, J.; Prater, A. J. 1986. Shorebirds. Croom Helm, London.

Urban, E. K.; Fry, C. H.; Keith, S. 1986. The birds of Africa vol. II. Academic Press, London.

Further web sources of information
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
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Malpas, L.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Glareola cinerea. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016.

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

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Glareolidae (Coursers, Pratincoles)
Species name author Fraser, 1843
Population size 7300-23000 mature individuals
Population trend Unknown
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 3,440,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change