(1895) Syrrhaptes paradoxus.
Tetrao paradoxus Pall., Reise versch. Russ. Reich., ii, p. 712 (1773) (Tartary).
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description.— Adult male. Forehead, supercilium, chin, throat and sides of head rusty-yellow, paler on the chin, deepest at the base of the throat; hinder crown and nape grey; sides of neck grey; a collar, broken at the sides of the neck, of rusty yellow; upper plumage and wing-coverts buff, the former barred with black and with chocolate-grey spots on the outer webs below the bars ; longer tail-coverts with longitudinal grey markings ; the tail buff barred with greyish-black, the lengthened portions blackish; lateral feathers rich buff and black on the inner webs, grey on the outer, with broad white tips and white on the outer web of the outermost pair; the edge of the shoulder of wing and sometimes the median coverts boldly spotted with black ; median primary coverts tipped chestnut, forming a broad wing-bar; primaries grey, with black shafts and black outer web to the first; greater primary coverts buff with broad blackish centres ; secondaries grey, more black on the inner webs with broad buff edges; breast grey, often tinged with vinous; across lower breast to back a band of almost white feathers with narrow subterminal bars of black ; abdomen black, more or less patched with white; remainder of lower parts grey or vinous-grey, paling to pure white on the under tail-coverts and axillaries, the latter sometimes with black tips.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown ; bill very pale bluish; claws black.
Measurements. Wing, 227 to 267 mm., 213 to 237 mm.; tail 185 to 225 mm.; the central pair of feathers 80 to 118 mm. longer than the next; tarsus about 25 mm.; culmen 9 to 10.5 mm. (Hartert).
Female. Crown and nape, hind-neck and sides of breast spotted or streaked with black; a narrow black line between the yellow throat and grey breast. No black and white band across lower breast; the median and lesser coverts are more or less spotted with black; otherwise as in the male.
Distribution. Prom the South Russian Steppes to Transbaikalia and Mongolia. In Winter it wanders very far West and birds have frequently reached England and many parts of Western Europe. Its only record for India is that of the Nawab of Dhar,. who shot a single specimen.
Nidification. Pallas's Sand-Grouse breeds in Siberia from March to August and is said to have two or more broods in the year. The nest, like that of other Sand-Grouse, is just a shallow scratching in the bare soil of deserts but is said to be sometimes lined with a little grass. The eggs, three in number, are perfect ellipses; the ground-colour is yellowish- or brownish-stone, rather sparsely marked ail over with reddish- or purplish-brown blotches and spots and secondary marks of purplish-grey. Jourdain gives the average of seventy-one eggs as 42.1 x 29.6 mm.
Habits. Very similar to that of other Sand-Grouse. They collect in large or small flocks and often in the Spring migrate in vast numbers, apparently more in an East to West movement than North to South. In their abnormal irruptions into Western Europe the birds seem to stay and breed until wiped out by various causes and do not attempt a return migration.