Pteroclurus senegallus

Spotted Sand-grouse.

Pteroclurus senegallus.

Nandu katinga, Sindi.

It is not often that a bird is named from a peculiarity in the hen's plumage alone, but that is the case with the present one, in which only the hen is spotted, the spots being small round black ones on a buff ground, and taking the place of the more or less transverse black pencilling usual in female sand-grouse. Except for this, she is very like the common sand-grouse, and has a similar pin tail; the cock has a corresponding likeness to that of the common Bhut-titar, but is easily distinguishable by his grey eye-streaks and chocolate mottling on the wings.

This species, though numerous where it occurs, is very local, being a regular visitor only to Sind and Jeysulmere; it also occurs near the Runn of Cutch and in the Shahpur district in the Punjab. Although for the most part a winter visitor, some individuals undoubtedly breed in Sind, but the main haunts of the species are in Northern Africa, though it is also found in South-west Asia.

The spotted sand-grouse assembles in flocks up to fifty in number and has a strong preference for the desert, though it comes to the edge of cultivation for food. The food includes more insects than is usually the case with sand-grouse, though seeds form the main portion of it; but Hume was no doubt right in thinking that to this more insectivorous tendency the greater succulence of the present bird's flesh is due, though he had a poor opinion of any sort of sand-grouse as food, except when "baked in a ball of clay, gipsy fashion." I should think that wrapped in a thin rasher of bacon, civilized fashion, they might go just as well.

The note of this species is characteristic, being, according to Hume and Dresser, a gurgling sound like " quiddle, quiddle, quiddle" ; but James, quoted by Hume, says it is very like that of the common sand-grouse, though he admits it is less harsh,, and easily distinguishable.

It is not so wary as the black-bellied sand-grouse, and the cocks are less quarrelsome than in that species. The eggs are laid in March and April, and number two or three; one extracted from a hen shot in Upper Sind is described as pale yellowish stone colour, spotted with olive-brown and grey. The weight of the bird is about nine ounces or more in cocks and less in hens.

BookTitle: 
Indian Sporting Birds
Reference: 
Finn, Frank. Indian Sporting Birds. Edwards, 1915.
Title in Book: 
Pteroclurus senegallus
Book Author: 
Frank Finn
Year: 
1915
Page No: 
147
Common name: 
Spotted Sand Grouse
M_ID: 
4781
M_CN: 
Spotted Sandgrouse
M_SN: 
Pterocles senegallus
id: 
12348

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