The Black-bellied Sandgrouse is a robust bird with a head similar to pigeons and long, broad wings. Measures 30 to 39 cm in length and weighs between 300 and 615.
It presents a clear sexual dimorphism, although both sexes have black belly and wings and tail flight feathers, this feature in flight is very evident. The male has the head, the neck and the upper part of the chest in gray, except for a black patch on the throat, framed by a cinnamon, orange tone that extend over the sides of the neck and the bottom of the cheeks. The rest of the upper parts are grayish Brown with yellowish speckles. The lower part of the chest is a wide strip of pink ochre framed by a blacklist in the upper part and black belly. On the other hand, the female has the upper parts of ochre-colored, with a dense and fine grained black even in piles, neck and chest, operate in the lower part of the chest, it also has the black line and a pink ochre band, and they have a small blacklist at the front of the neck, where males have the base of the triangle Negro.
Her singing is a ‘char ‘are’ are’re – ka” slightly downward, and that from a distance resembles a cable.
The only present in Asia subspecies is larger and lighter shades, which are also present in Europe, Africa. Their males have the upper parts more yellow and more grayish than the Western subspecies. Females may be clearer in the lower parts, but are often indistinguishable.
The Black-bellied Sandgrouse easily differs from the “Iberian Ganga” (Pterocles alchata) by its larger size, its belly black, and by the absence of feathers elongated tail and eye blacklists.
Taxonomy and etymology
The Black-bellied Sandgrouse is a bird adapted to the arid lands, with heads like pigeons, but with more robust and stubby bodies. Its taxonomy has been controversial. They were initially classified within Galliformes, but their similarities are due to the Adaptive convergence terrestrial media. They were subsequently included in the Columbiformes, but are now considered a separate family.
Black-bellied Sandgrouse was described scientifically by in 1758 in the tenth edition of his work Systema Natural, named Tetraoorientalis. It was later transferred to the genus Pterocles, created by Conrad Jacob Temminck in 1815.
The etymology of the name of its genus Pterocles comes from the Greek word term meaning “wing”, and the ending – klēs ‘ remarkable by». In change, the name of his species, orientalis in Latin means «Eastern».
Two subspecies are recognized:
- o. arenarius (Pallas, 1775) – extends over Central Asia.
- o. orientalis (Linnaeus, 1758) – despite its contradictory name the nominal subspecies occupies the western part of its area of distribution: the Iberian peninsula, Fuerteventura and the North Africa and Middle East to the West of Iran.
Distribution and habitat
It has a scattered distribution, is present in the Iberian Peninsula, and in North Africa, reappears in Anatolia, and Middle East, as well as Fuerteventura and Chipre. Also extend the steppes of Asia Central of Kazakhstan to the South of Iran, Afghanistan and Northwest of China (Xinjiang) and Northwest of the India.
It lives in arid areas and plains with little vegetation, as plain steppes and the little rough semi-deserts. It is not threatened globally, and its population is estimated between 500, 000-4, 000, 000 individuals. Their populations are declining due mainly to the abuse of herbicides and insecticides.
They are gregarious birds that are found in Plains with vegetation low and dispersed, but avoid areas that lack full of vegetation, unlike the Iberian bargains. They feed mainly on seeds. They are partially migratory and nomadic, and sturdy wings allow flight quick and direct. They tend to focus on watering holes at dawn.
They nest in a slight depression in the ground. Its implementation is usually composed of three greenish eggs with brown spots that camouflage them on the ground. Both members of the couple incubate the eggs and care for them, but only the males are responsible for bringing water, soaking specialized feathers from his chest in the troughs, and so the chicks aren’t risking approaching the water where it is more likely the presence of predators.