Friday, May 28, 2010

Portrait of a Wetland II

Continuing with our exploration of special species that breed in the marismas (marshes), today I post photographs of the Collared Pratincole. This species is a trans-Saharan migrant which winters in the Sahel and semi-arid areas south of the Sahara Desert's edge. The birds that breed in the marismas arrive during the course of March. These photographs have been taken between March and May this year.

Collared Pratincoles nest in colonies, usually between 20 and 30 pairs but sometimes more. They are scattered across the vast steppes, dry salt marshes and other arid open areas on the edge of the marismas. They are never far from water. They nest on the ground and feed by catching insects in the air.

Collared Pratincoles are highly social and noisy. Watching a breeding colony is an exhilarating experience as birds to and fro noisily. The arrival of the male back to the nest is marked by a posturing display (below) which reveals the spectacular chestnut underwing.

When seen on their own, male and female may seem indistinguishable from each other. But when together at the nest (below) the larger male (back) is clearly distinguishable from the smaller female.

The Collared Pratincole remains an abundant and colourful bird of the marismas. Let us hope that they continue to grace its skies for a long time.


  1. It´s a pleasure to observe the andalusian birds in these amazing images. Congratulations !.

    Best wishes,
    Francisco J. Hernández