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.

Indian Sporting Birds
Finn, Frank. Indian Sporting Birds. Edwards, 1915.
Title in Book: 
Pteroclurus senegallus
Book Author: 
Frank Finn
Page No: 
Common name: 
Spotted Sand Grouse
Spotted Sandgrouse
Pterocles senegallus

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