The Sand-Grouse are well represented in India, where no less than eight species are met with.
They are essentially birds of large bare plains and deserts, and frequently occur in flocks of immense size, but more usually in small companies. They are birds of very strong and rapid flight. Their wings are long and pointed. Their legs are short, but they nevertheless run with ease. Their plumage is handsome, and the colours harmonise well with the soil, sand and stones, of the localities they frequent.
The Sand-Grouse make no nest, but deposit their eggs on the bare ground in any small depression. The eggs are elliptical in shape and much spotted. The young can run as soon as they are hatched.
All the species have the tarsus covered with short downy feathers. Some have the toes feathered in addition. A hind toe of minute size is present in some species, absent in others.
The Indian Sand-Grouse may be divided into three groups. In the first group (Syrrhaptes) the toes as well as the tarsus are feathered, and there is no hind toe. The Tibetan Pin-tailed Sand-Grouse is the only representative of this group.
The second group (Pteroclurus) contains three species. These have bare toes, a minute hindtoe, and the middle pair of tail-feathers prolonged to a narrow point. To this group belong the Eastern Pin-tailed, the Common Pin-tailed, and the Spotted Pin-tailed, Sand-Grouse.
The third group (Pterocles) contains four species. These have bare toes, a minute hindtoe, and the middle pair of tail-feathers of the ordinary shape, not prolonged to a narrow point. To this group belong the Black-bellied, the Coronetted, the Indian Painted, and the Close barred, Sand-Grouse.