November 6, 2011: Heuglin’s Courser

Hello birders and twitters,
The bird of the week this Sunday is:
Heuglin’s Courser (Rhinoptilus cinctus)
Tree-banded Courser, as it is also referred to, is secretive and seldom kind of a bird. It is widespread and sometimes common in bush-land and bush grassland in low rainfall areas but sometimes extending into miambo woodland where it normally breeds during the dry season when the grasses are burned to give room for the  growth of the fresh ones.
When breeding, the pair always establish their nest in a bare ground, where most nests are partially buried and partially exposed, with their colour matching the ground perfectly.
This fairly large, cryptically patterned bird has a broad mottled brown breast band bordered below by narrow black, white and chestnut bands; chestnut stripes, one from each side of the neck, converge in a point on the white breast, and the rest of the belly is white. Long pale superciliary stripes contrast with scaly brown crown and buffy-brown face patch.
Heuglins courser is largely nocturnal and roosts under bushes during the day. Two types occur: the nominate and emini. The nominate race is widespread and generally uncommon in semi-arid bush and scrub. While emini is found in Nyanza and  the Maasai Mara National game reserve.
Despite the fact I have seen several, I have never had enough of this beautiful bird.
Enjoy your week.
Heuglin's Courser
Heuglin's Courser

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