Black-bellied Sandgrouse

The Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Pterocles orientalis), is a member of the Pteroclididae family of birds. The nominate race breeds in Iberia, northwest Africa, the Canary Islands, Turkey Cyprus and Israel. The eastern form of this species is found in Kazakhstan, western China and northern Pakistan. It is a partial migrant, with central Asian birds moving to the Pakistan and northern India in winter.

Black-bellied Sandgrouse is 13 to 15.40 inches long. The male has a gray head neck and breast. The underparts are black and the upperparts are golden-brown with darker markings. There is a thin black border to the lower breast, and a chestnut throat patch. The female has browner, more finely marked upperparts, and this general coloration includes the head and breast. The eastern race is paler and heavier than the nominate. Males have yellowier upperparts and grayer underparts than the western form. Females are whiter below, but often inseparable.

This gregarious species breeds on dry open plains and similar habitats, but unlike Pin-tailed Sandgrouse it avoids areas completely lacking in vegetation. Its nest is a ground scrape into which three greenish eggs with cryptic markings are laid. Both sexes incubate, but only the male brings water.