|Temminck's Courser pair, Tarangire NP, Aug 2011. Male behind|
|Male Temminck's Courser feeding chick|
As a little background information on the birds, it's good to remember that coursers are actually wading birds - order Charadriiformes, just like plovers, lapwings and sandpipers, but they below to a specialised family Glareolidae within that order, including the pratincoles and other coursers. Most coursers are nocturnal, and Temminck's is also active at night, but easily found during the day (unlike some other species). That's quite handy, as they mainly feed on termites, and most of them are mainly active at night too. (Just one more of the very many termite predators around the savannah!)
|Temminck's Courser, Male|
As a final little snippet, the name comes from Coenraad Jacob Temminck, a Dutch zoologist (and aristocrat) who has a pretty long list of birds named for him, including the Temminck's Stint that will be familiar to many birders from Europe and Asia, and which winters in very small numbers in East Africa. (He's also got a pangolin named for him, which is rather cool!) He lived in an interesting time for zoology - when he took up his final job as first director of the National Natural History Museum in Holland in 1820 zoology was essentially the preserve of a few rich people like himself, who occupied all the important positions. But within a few years other, ordinary people without long family histories were starting to get involved in zoology, and started challenging the authority of the established aristocrats. Temminck couldn't handle the competion and wanted things to remain as they were - poor people should be happy being poor and not have anything to say about science. And eventually, in about 1940 he stopped being involved in ornithology at all as he couldn't handle his views on taxonomy being challenged by people he didn't consider to be his peers - and consequently lost all the authority he once had. All in all, this 'democratization' of science can only be seen as a good thing - all the more reason not to leave science to the scientists and contribute your own observations and thoughts whereever you can!
|Temminck's Courser Chick - 1 or 2 days old. Note 'egg tooth' on tip of bill to cut through the egg shell.|