The black-bellied sandgrouse (Pterocles orientalis) belongs to the family of sandgrouses, Pteroclididae.
These sandgrouse species are distributed in the Iberian Peninsula, northwest Africa, the Canary Islands, Turkey, Iran, Cyprus, Israel, Kazakhstan, western China, northern Pakistan, northern India. These black-bellied sandgrouse species are ground-dwelling birds. There are two recognized subspecies of these sandgrouses.
Black-bellied sandgrouse - Overview
- Scientific name: Pterocles orientalis
- Species author: (Linnaeus, 1758)
- Synonyms/Protonym: Tetrao orientalis Linnaeus, 1758
- Family: Pteroclididae › Pteroclidiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
- Vernacular names: English: Black-bellied sandgrouse, Chinese: 黑腹沙鸡, French: Ganga unibande, German: Sandflughuhn, Spanish: Ganga ortega, Russian: Чернобрюхий рябок, Japanese: クロハラサケイ, Arabic: القطاة الجونية بيضاء الجناح
- Other names: Imperial Sandgrouse, Large Sandgrouse, Oriental Sandgrouse
- Distribution: Iberian Peninsula, northwest Africa, the Canary Islands, Turkey, Iran, Cyprus, Israel, Kazakhstan, western China, northern Pakistan, northern India
- Diet and feeding habits: seeds, grains, cereals, legumes
- IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)
The two recognized subspecies of Pterocles orientalis are: Pterocles orientalis orientalis (Linnaeus, 1758) and Pterocles orientalis arenarius (Pallas, 1775).
Appearance, physical description and identificationThe black-bellied sandgrouse (Pterocles orientalis) is a bulky sandgrouse, measuring 30 to 40 cm in length. The male bird is larger and weighs about 400 to 550 grams. The female sandgrouse weighs 300 to 460 grams. The wingspan is 70 to 75 cm. These black-bellied sandgrouse have small, pigeon-like heads and necks. The legs are covered by feathers up to the toes. But the toes are not feathered. The belly region is blackish.
The central tail feathers are short giving a wedge-shape. The wings are long and pointed. The underwings are whitish. There is a thin blackish band around the lower breast. Their call is a soft "chowrrr rrrr" sound.
The male black-bellied sandgrouse is slightly larger and has gray head, neck, and breast. The upperparts are brown and have dark markings. There is a chestnut throat patch in males. The female is pale brown with fine dark markings on upperparts, head and breast.
|Birds of India - Image of Black-bellied sandgrouse - Pterocles orientalis by Joaquim Coelho|
|Indian birds - Picture of Black-bellied sandgrouse - Pterocles orientalis by Ron Knight|
|Birds of India - Photo of Black-bellied sandgrouse - Pterocles orientalis by Sergey Yeliseev|
Origin, geographical range and distributionThe black-bellied sandgrouse species are distributed in the Spain, Portugal, northwest Africa, the Canary Islands, Turkey, Iran, Cyprus, Israel, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Russia, western China, northern Pakistan and northern India.
The Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) of the black-bellied sandgrouse species in Portugal are Castro Verde plains, Évora plains, Mourão, Moura e Barrancos, Reguengos de Monsaraz, River Guadiana and Serra de Penha Garcia e Campina de Toulões.
Some of the IBA of the black-bellied sandgrouse in Spain are Obruk Plateau, Hodulbaba Mountain, Villafáfila, Ballobar-Candasnos, Bardenas Reales, Belchite-Mediana, Brozas-Membrío, Campo de Montiel, Campo Visiedo, Hoya de Guadix, La Serena, Layna high moors, Lerida steppes, Peninsula of Jandía and Pétrola-Almansa-Yecla.
Ecosystem and habitatThese black-bellied sandgrouse species do not normally occur in forests. These species occur in altitudes from 0 to 100 meters. They inhabit various artificial, desert, shrubland and grassland ecosystems.
The black-bellied sandgrouse inhabit terrestrial, artificial habitats like agricultural lands, dry cereal cultivation, pastoral scrubland and fallow lands.
In nature, the black-bellied sandgrouses inhabit hot deserts, semi-arid plains, semi-desert vegetation, temperate grasslands, dry tropical and subtropical shrublands and Mediterranean shrub vegetations.
Diet and feeding behaviorThe diet of these black-bellied sandgrouse species is mostly wild seeds. Wild seeds, cereals, grains, wild legumes and cultivated legumes are their primary food. They form gregarious flocks and fly to watering holes in the mornings and the evenings.
Reproduction and breeding habitsThe breeding season of the black-bellied sandgrouse species is from March to August in most of its breeding grounds. The nest is a bare ground scrape in stony areas. The clutch may contain two to three eggs. The egg is pale buff with gray and brown spots. Both the sandgrouse parents incubate the eggs.
Migration and movement patternsThe black-bellied sandgrouse is a partially migrant bird. These sandgrouse populations in Spain, Portugal and northern Africa are resident and sedentary. The populations in Turkey, Mediterranean and the Middle East are nomadic or partially migratory. The populations in Central Asia are migratory, wintering in northern India and Pakistan.
Conservation and survivalThe global population size of the black-bellied sandgrouse (Pterocles orientalis) is estimated to be around 130,000-260,000 mature individual birds. The overall population size of these sandgrouse species is considered to be decreasing. Throughout its range it is reported to be rare to nearly common. The generation length is 5.6 years. Their distribution size is about 17,400,000 sq.km.
The black-bellied sandgrouse (Pterocles orientalis) does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable either under the range size criterion or under the population trend criterion or under the population size criterion. Agricultural expansion, habitat loss and hunting are the main threats that may endanger the survival of these sandgrouse species.
IUCN and CITES statusThe IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the sandgrouse species and has listed it as of "Least Concern". CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for the black-bellied sandgrouse (Pterocles orientalis).
1.Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jcoelho2000/565129915/in/photolist-aepjdt-83ZcqZ-bz8tML-87q6SL-83ZcqV-87q6SS-87q6Su-87q6SA-heuvZk-hetsoY-hetsBy-RWrre-diXePW-8kSDBA-8kSDGw/
Image author: Joaquim Coelho | License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (as on 11/02/17)
2.Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pterocles_orientalis_(Charyn).jpg
Image author: Ron Knight | License: CC BY 2.0 (as on 11/02/17)
3.Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/yeliseev/4628290201/in/photolist-diXePW-87q6SS-87q6SA-83ZcqV-83ZcqZ-hetsoY-87q6SL-heuvZk-bz8tML-hetsBy-aepjdt-87q6Su-KAu8nd-JPhbHh/
Image author: Sergey Yeliseev | License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (as on 11/02/17)
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