They hunt the prey while chasing it on the ground, a rare sight in birds

These birds are adapted to life in arid environments such as deserts and semi-deserts, where their sandy-brown plumage provides excellent camouflage against the sparse vegetation and sandy soils.

Rhinoptilus species are easily identifiable by the distinctive black and white stripes that extend from behind their eyes to the nape, contrasting with the lighter color of their heads. This pattern is not merely for show; it can disrupt the bird’s outline, making it less conspicuous to predators and prey.

These birds have a tall and slender build, with long legs that enable them to move across the ground with surprising speed and agility. They are adept runners, capable of covering large distances in search of food. Their slightly down-curved blackish beak is another adaptation to their foraging lifestyle, allowing them to pick insects and other small creatures from the ground precisely.

The flight of Rhinoptilus species is characterized by rapid wing beats, which reveal a striking contrast between the black flight feathers and their predominantly sandy-colored body. This not only adds to their visual appeal but may also play a role in social signaling or may help startle predators during escape.

Within the genus, some coloration variability can help distinguish between different subspecies or races. These differences in plumage are often subtle and may reflect the specific environments in which the birds live, as well as genetic divergence over time.

Cream-colored coursers, like other Rhinoptilus species, tend to be solitary or found in small groups. They prefer open terrain where they can spot and run down their prey and where their nests—simple scrapes in the ground—are less likely to be discovered.