Syrrhaptes paradoxus , Photo: Michael Lahanas
Syrrhaptes paradoxus (Pallas, 1773)
Reise durch verschiedene Provinzen des Russischen Reichs 2 p.712
The Pallas's Sandgrouse (Syrrhaptes paradoxus) is a medium large bird in the sandgrouse family.
This species breeds across middle latitudes of central Asia on dry steppes and similar habitats. Its nest is a ground scrape into which 2-3 greenish eggs with cryptic markings are laid. It is a partial migrant, especially from the northern parts of its range in Kazakhstan and Mongolia, but the extent and distance of the southerly winter movement depends on the amount of snowfall.
Pallas's Sandgrouse occasionally erupts from its regular breeding and wintering range across Europe as far west as Great Britain, where it has bred, and Ireland. The reasons for these remarkable movements are not fully understood, but they have become less frequent, probably due to contraction of the western Siberian range as the steppes become more agricultural.
Pallas's Sandgrouse is 30-41 cm long, with buff plumage, barred above, a black belly patch and pale underwings. The male has a grey head and breast, orange face and grey breast band. The female lacks the breast band, has more barring on the upperparts and is duller.
The black belly and pale underwing distinguish this species from the related Tibetan Sandgrouse.
This sandgrouse has a small, pigeon-like head and neck, but sturdy compact body. It has long pointed wings and tail and a fast direct flight. Flocks fly to watering holes at dawn and dusk. The legs and toes are feathered.
This bird is named after the German zoologist Peter Simon Pallas.
Marco Polo mentions a bird called Bargherlac in The Travels of Marco Polo. This is probably Syrrhaptes paradoxus (s. Pallasii).
* BirdLife International (2004). Syrrhaptes paradoxus. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
Source: Wikispecies, Wikipedia: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License