The ‘runner’ is back

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In a heart-warming news for nature lovers, especially birdwatchers, the migratory, cream-coloured courser has returned to the Wildlife Reserve in the Governorate of Al Wusta

two years after it was last spotted in the sanctuary.

The Office for Conservation Environment (OCE) at the Diwan of Royal Court registered the return of the cream-coloured courser, scientifically known as ‘Cursorius cursor’ and locally as Darraj (Ad’Darraj, or runner), is one of the species of birds that are widely prevalent in the Arabian Peninsula.

This cream-coloured courser is a wader in the pratincole and courser family, Glareolidae. The scientific name is derived from the Latin cursor, ‘runner’, from currere, ‘to run’, which describes the bird’s usual habit as they hunt their insect prey on the ground in dry open semi-desert regions of Western Asia, northern Africa and Arabia.

These species of birds live in semi-desert, pebbled and sandy lands with little vegetation, near cultivated lands, or in dry or grassy plains. The birds are also found in the southern parts of the sultanate in Jidda area of Al Wusta, a sanctuary for many animals and birds.

The OCE calls for the preservation of national natural wealth and wildlife in the sultanate by raising public awareness about environment protection.

The birds are recognised from their long legs and long wings. They have slightly downcurved bills. The body plumage is sandy in colour, fading to whitish on the lower belly. The upperwing primary feathers and the underwings are black. The crown and nape are grey and there is a black eyestripe and white supercilium.

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