The oriental pratincole (Glareola maldivarum), also known as the grasshopper-bird or swallow-plover is a wader in the pratincole family, Glareolidae. The genus name is a diminutive of Latin glarea, "gravel", referring to a typical nesting habitat for pratincoles. The species name maldivarum refers to the type locality, the ocean near the Maldive Islands; the type specimen, caught alive at sea, survived for a month on flies.

An 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.

These are birds of open country, and are often seen near water in the evening, hawking for insects. These pratincoles are found in warmer parts of south and east Asia, breeding from North Pakistan and the Kashmir region across into China and south west. Their 2–3 eggs are laid on the ground. They are migratory, wintering in both India and Pakistan, Indonesia and Australasia. They are rare north or west of the breeding range, but, amazingly, this species has occurred as far away as Great Britain more than once. The first record for the Western Palearctic was in Suffolk, England in June 1981.

These birds have short legs, long pointed wings and long forked tails. They have short bills, which is an adaptation to aerial feeding. The back and head are brown, and the wings are brown with black flight feathers. The belly is white. The underwings are chestnut.

Very good views are needed to distinguish this species from other pratincoles, such as the very similar collared pratincole, which also has a chestnut underwing, and black-winged pratincole which shares the black upperwing flight feathers and lack of a white trailing edge to the wing. These features are not always readily seen in the field, especially as the chestnut underwing appears black unless excellent views are obtained.



On the 7th of February 2004, 2.5 million oriental pratincoles were recorded on Eighty Mile Beach in Australia's north-west by the Australasian Wader Studies Group. There had previously been no record of this magnitude and it is supposed that weather conditions caused much of the world's population of this species to congregate in one area.
Oriental Pratincole
Date Location Count
2020-11-09 08:53Gogte saltpans vasai2
2020-11-11 07:45Gavdevi Mandir, Kharad-Malang1
2020-11-16 07:20Kuttanad Wetlands--Melpadam1
2020-11-04 06:30Periya Kulam, Udumalpet1
2020-11-11 06:00Vijayanarayanam Tank1
2020-11-28 06:53Kiliyur Tank3
2020-11-28 07:15Adayaru Estuary1
2020-11-11 06:30Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary--Saltpans1
2020-11-14 07:00Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary--Mudflats1
2020-11-19 08:00Mundali2
2020-11-05 07:00Land for Tata Project, Singur12
2020-11-06 06:30Diara7
2020-11-15 19:34Bortibeel14
2020-11-29 07:28Padma River & Chars (Rajshahi)2
2020-11-22 08:40Dora Beel (Wetland)13
2020-11-01 09:12Wang Man paddies1
2020-11-14 06:11The Legacy River Kwai Resort headquarters2
2020-11-08 13:28Thung Thale Kaew paddies1
2020-11-08 06:50Lat Krabang--Thap Yao paddies & aquaculture ponds3
2020-11-16 07:34Bung Nam Rak--Hwy. 3002 paddies and reedbeds1
2020-11-01 09:00Khlong Tamru salt pans1
2020-11-16 06:11Eco Eyes Village1
2020-11-07 07:15Chuping Sugar Cane Plantation20
2020-11-01 07:00Air Hitam Dalam Forest Reserve2
2020-11-08 12:56Pang Rad--Recreation Area1
2020-11-06 06:23Vientiane--That Luang Lake & fields10
2020-11-01 06:50Vientiane--That Luang swamp south1
2020-11-02 11:30Ban Pha Pong Wetland100
2020-11-07 09:23Tha Phrik--paddies in Thetsaban 22 Alley80
2020-11-07 06:21Takang paddies29
2020-11-17 07:30Kapar Power Station5
2020-11-14 07:03Tuas South (Tuas South Avenue 16 and surrounds)2
2020-11-27 07:38Neo Tiew Harvest Lane3
2020-11-13 09:15SkyVille@Dawson1
2020-11-12 10:21Henderson Waves6
2020-11-27 07:30Sentosa Island32
2020-11-26 07:20Pulau Ubin12
2020-11-12 14:11Flying Fish Cove1
2020-11-23 15:45Christmas Island Airport3
2020-11-06 21:56台南--歸仁台糖沙崙農場南部牧草區(Tainan--Guiren TSC Shalun Farm Southern Pasture))1
2020-11-06 13:15桃園--大園沙崙海湖埤(Taoyuan--Dayuan Shalun Haihu Pond)8
2020-11-15 09:46桃園--大園沙崙(Taoyuan--Dayuan Shalun)1
2020-11-15 06:33花蓮--大農大富平地森林園區(Hualien--Danongdafu Forest Park)3
2020-11-14 13:03宜蘭蘭陽溪口IBA--新南(Lanyang River Estuary IBA--Xinnan)19
2020-11-15 12:00宜蘭蘭陽溪口IBA--國道以東河床(Lanyang River Estuary IBA--Eastern Riverbed)1
2020-11-14 15:42宜蘭利澤簡IBA--五十二甲溼地(Lizejian IBA--52-Jia Wetland)20
2020-11-09 05:13West Island2
2020-11-07 13:06Middle Island (Ashmore Reef)40
2020-11-07 14:20Horseshoe Cay (Ashmore Reef)27
2020-11-06 11:37East Island (Ashmore Reef)1
2020-11-06 10:48Splittgerber Cay (Ashmore Reef)1
2020-11-14 14:48BRAC Sports Fields (Broome)1
2020-11-10 09:05Broome North Wastewater Treatment Plant--Irrigation area33
2020-11-10 05:07Browse Island (Timor Sea)3
2020-11-27 12:22Great Northern Highway (Roebuck Plains)3
2020-11-15 06:30Halls Creek2
2020-11-15 07:15Halls Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant8
2020-11-07 07:15Holmes Jungle Nature Reserve1
2020-11-12 16:30Pine Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant500
2020-11-27 17:27Katherine Wastewater Treatment Plant60
2020-11-28 18:15Tennant Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant3
2020-11-21 07:32Alice Springs Sewage Ponds1
2020-11-19 06:45Normanton8