Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Small pratincole

Thai: นกแอ่นทุ่งเล็ก, nok aen thung lek

Binomial name: Glareola lactea, Coenraad Jacob Temminck, 1820

The small pratincole, little pratincole, or small Indian pratincole (Glareola lactea), is a small wader in the pratincole family, Glareolidae.

The small pratincole is a resident breeder in India, Western Pakistan and southeast Asia. It breeds from December to March on gravel or sand banks in rivers, laying 2-4 eggs in a ground scrape. Breeding areas include small areas in northern Karnataka (along the Hemavathi river) and northern Kerala near Kannur.

This species is only 16.5-18.5 cm in length, with a 15–16 cm wingspan. Because of its small size, the small pratincole can be briefly confused in flight with swifts or swallows.

This bird has short legs, long pointed wings and a short tail. Its short bill is an adaptation to aerial feeding. On the ground, it looks mainly pale grey (hence lactea, milky). The crown of the head is brown.

The wings are grey above with black primaries and black and white bars at the rear edge of the inner flight feathers. The underwings are mainly black. The tail is white with a black terminal triangle. The belly is white.

The most unusual feature of the pratincoles is that although classed as waders they typically hunt their insect prey on the wing like swallows, although they can also feed on the ground.

The small pratincole is a species of open country, and is often seen near water in the evening, hawking for insects.

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Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Charadriiformes
Family
Glareolidae
Genus
Glareola
Species
Glareola lactea

Common names

  • English: Little pratincole
  • French: Glaréole lactée
  • Thai: นกแอ่นทุ่งเล็ก, nok aen thung lek

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Distribution map of Small pratincole, Glareola lactea in Thailand
  • Ban Phai District, Khon Kaen
  • Borabue District, Maha Sarakham
  • Chiang Khan District, Loei
  • Chiang Khong District, Chiang Rai
  • Chiang Saen District, Chiang Rai
  • Doi Lo District, Chiang Mai
  • Doi Tao District, Chiang Mai
  • Fang District, Chiang Mai
  • Kabin Buri District, Prachinburi
  • Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
  • Khao Yoi District, Phetchaburi
  • Khemarat District, Ubon Ratchathani
  • Kumphawapi District, Udon Thani
  • Kut Thing Non-hunting Area
  • Laem Pak Bia
  • Mae Ai District, Chiang Mai
  • Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai
  • Mueang Chonburi District, Chonburi
  • Mueang Ratchaburi District, Ratchaburi
  • Mueang Suphanburi District, Suphan Buri
  • Mueang Uttaradit District, Uttaradit
  • Nong Bong Khai Non-hunting Area
  • Nong Ya Plong District, Phetchaburi
  • Pak Thale
  • Pak Thong Chai District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Pha Taem National Park
  • Tha Takiap District, Chachoengsao
  • Thanyaburi District, Pathum Thani
  • Thap Than District, Uthai Thani
  • Wiang Chai District, Chiang Rai
  • Wiang Kaen District, Chiang Rai

Range map of Glareola lactea in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

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