(1890) Pterocles lichtensteinii arabicus.
THE ARABIAN CLOSE-BARRED SAND-GROUSE.
Pterocles lichtensteinii arabicus Neum., Orn. Monatsb., p. 152 (1909) (Lahadj, S, Arabia), Pterocles lichtensteinii Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 57.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description.— Adult male. Forehead with three bands as in indicus but V-shaped instead of straight across; a broad short supercilium white with a black eyebrow over the eye; a fine black line from the black band under the eye and over the ear-coverts ; chin and throat unspotted buff; rest of head isabelline-buff, streaked above, spotted below with black; remaining upper plumage and wing-coverts pale buff closely barred with wavy black lines, broader on the tail-feathers, scapulars and inner coverts; tail-feathers broadly tipped with rich buff; secondary and median wing-coverts pale clear buff barred black and tipped yellow; winglet, primary coverts and primaries brown, edged paler ; upper breast barred buff and black ; lower breast rich yellow-buff with a chocolate-chestnut to black band across the middle and a second lower band much broken and mixed with white; abdomen, vent and flanks white, each feather with a moon-shaped bar of black and a second terminal bar of chocolate; under tail-coverts pale buff with arrow-shaped marks of black or deep chocolate ; feathers of tarsi white to pale buff; under wing-coverts and axillaries pale grey.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown; orbital skin yellow; bill fleshy-brown to orange-brown ; feet orange-yellow, claws dusky.
Measurements. Wing 166 to 186 mm.; tail 72 to 77 mm.; tarsus about 22 to 27 mm.; culmen 11.6 to 13.9 mm. Tail of 14 feathers.
Female. Has no black or white bars on the forehead and the whole lower surface is barred buff or buffy-white and black; the barring on both upper and lower plumage finer and clearer than in the male. The female averages a little smaller than the male.
Distribution. South Arabia. Mesopotamia, South Persia, Afghanistan, Baluchistan and Sind. In the latter Province it is found from Grid Mahomed, Mehar, Upper Sind to Karachi in the South.
Nidification. Nothing recorded but it probably is resident and breeds wherever it occurs. If so it would certainly breed within our limits in Sind, where Ticehurst records it as common in the hills and occurring casually over a great area.
Habits. This Sand-Grouse is said to very closely resemble the preceding bird in its habits, keeping much to thin bush- and scrub-jungle in ravines or on broken hillsides. Like that bird it drinks very late at night and Ticehurst records that in the Daruni Pass he found these birds coming to water at the tail of the pool in the pass. He says : " All the afterglow had gone before the first flock arrived, so that seeing them was a difficult matter." Their flight when undisturbed has been likened to that of a butterfly or nightjar but when frightened their speed is great. The note is said to be a low chirrup and their food to be almost entirely seeds.