|Habitat and Ecology:
Behaviour This species is fully migratory (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It migrates to winter in African between August and October, and once within Africa moves south in a nomadic fashion following the dry season (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species departs from southern Africa in late-February to early March, and from East and south-east Africa in late-March to early-April, frequenting stop-over sites in Iran, Iraq, the Arabian Peninsula and the Red Sea (it over-flies this Middle Eastern region during the Autumn migration), arriving in the breeding grounds again from late-March to early-May (del Hoyo et al. 1996). On migration the species usually moves in flocks of 5-12 (and sometimes up to 30) individuals, and whilst over-wintering in Africa it moves in Nomadic flocks of 5-20 individuals (del Hoyo et al. 1996). When breeding this species may nest singly or in small loose colonies of 10-25 pairs spaced at least 50-60 m apart (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Habitat Breeding This species breeds in desert and desert steppe near water amongst sparse shrub vegetation (del Hoyo et al. 1996) up to about 800 m (Snow and Perrins 1998). It is primarily associated with saline habitats such as salt-pans, saline soils subject to seasonal flooding (del Hoyo et al. 1996), inland saltmarshes (Johnsgard 1981) and alkali flats (Flint et al. 1984). The species concentrates in flocks after breeding but whilst still in its breeding range on the banks of lakes, rivers, water-holes trampled by cattle (del Hoyo et al. 1996), and cultivated land (Hayman et al. 1986). Non-breeding In its non-breeding range (Africa) the species is often found far from water on recently burnt or heavily grazed grassland, dry floodplains, ploughed cultivated land, coastal dunes (Somalia) (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996, Hockey et al. 2005), the dried mud of lake shores (Hayman et al. 1986), salt-pans, saltmarshes, (Hockey et al. 2005) airfields and golf courses (where it is attracted by insects on animal droppings) (del Hoyo et al. 1996). During migration the species has been recorded on damp sandbanks and pebble beds along the Zambezi River, Zimbabwe (Hockey et al. 2005). Diet The species is primarily carnivorous throughout both the breeding and non-breeding seasons. Breeding Whilst breeding the species takes mainly adult and larval insects (Johnsgard 1981, del Hoyo et al. 1996) such as beetles, ants, grasshoppers, bugs, caterpillars and flies, although it will occasionally take plant material (e.g. grass seeds) (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Non-breeding During the non-breeding season beetles, termites, grasshoppers and small snails are the main contributors to this species diet, and it is often observed hunting for insects in town refuse heaps and cattle dung (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest of this species is a shallow scrape on open ground or amongst low vegetation (del Hoyo et al. 1996).