Classified as Waders, along with Coursers and Plovers, Pratincoles are part of the Glareolidae family and get their name from two Latin words prātum, which means Meadow, and incola, meaning Resident.
Forked tails, short legs and very long, pointed wings are the characteristics of these cute and cuddly birds, which are extremely dexterous flyers. Fast and furious in the air, they are nimble, highly maneuverable and their short beaks assist them in plucking their meal (mostly insects) from the air. Though they also feed on the ground, their short beaks help them feed in the air as well.
These cuddly little birds are often sighted during boat safaris, and are normally found on patches of ground on the receding river, nesting amongst River Terns and Kingfishers. Fiercely defending their territories, they even stand up to humans, venturing very close to the banks. This picture was framed from quite a distance away (500 mm lens with a 2X teleconverter), yet the little bird seemed furious regarding the intrusion into its personal space. These red mustached, ‘migratory wonders’ are often found in river banks during the winter months.