Pterocles alchata, Lin.
801. :- Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. II, p. 500; Murray's Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 210; Game Birds of India, Vol. I, p. 77.
THE LARGE PIN-TAILED SAND GROUSE.
Length, 13.5 to 15.5; expanse, 24 to 26; wings, 7.5 to 8.5 ; tail, 5 to 7, 3.75 to 6 ; tarsus, 1; weight, 8 1/4 to 12 ounces.
Bill dusky-green to slate color; irides brown; feet dirty or dusky-green.
Forehead and supercilia rusty-fulvous, with a black stripe behind the eye ; top of the head and nape fulvous with black bands ; the general hue above, including the scapulars and shoulders of the wings, is fulvous or greyish-olive, shaded with fuscous ; the scapulars with a few black spots; rump and upper tail-coverts bright pale fulvous with narrow black bars; lesser and median wing-coverts maroon, white tipped; secondary-coverts fulvous with black lunules ; greater-coverts and primaries slaty-blue on their outer webs, brown internally ; tail banded yellow and black ; the median pair blackish on their attenuated portion ; the outer feathers greyish white, tipped and edged ; beneath, the chin and throat are black, edged with rusty; lores and face rufous-yellow, with a blackish space round the eyes ; breast pale fulvous, with a double black band, each of them narrow ; abdomen, vent, and lower tail-coverts white, the latter slightly black barred ; tarsal plumes whitish.
The female differs in having the upper plumage barred with black and fulvous, with some dusky-ashy spots on the back and scapulars; the lesser and median wing-coverts ashy, with oblique rufous and black lunules; the throat white; a broad blackish demi-collar on the neck, followed by an ashy band tinged with rufous; the median tail-feathers are nearly as long as in the male bird.
It is only in the trans-indus portion of Sind that the Pin-tailed Grouse occurs in any numbers, although stragglers are occasionally procured much further south.
It is only a cold weather visitant.