Pallas's Sandgrouse

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Pallas’s Sandgrouse

 

(Syrrhaptes paradoxus), a bird of the suborder Pterocletes. The body is about 42 cm long and weighs about 250 g. The feet are tridactyl and webbed; the digits are feathered to the claws and merge to form a solid sole. The plumage is sandyochre with mottling; the belly is black.

Pallas’s sandgrouse is distributed in the deserts of Central Asia. In the USSR it is encountered in Kazakhstan, on Issyk-Kul, and in the southeastern Altai and the Tuva basin. The bird settles in clayey and rocky deserts. Like other sandgrouse, Pallas’s sandgrouse flies great distances to watering places. A clutch contains two or, more commonly, three eggs, which are incubated for about a month. Nesting occurs between April and June. Pallas’s sandgrouse feeds on seeds, shoots, and flowers; less frequently it eats berries (Nitraria). On several occasions (for example, in 1863, 1888, 1908, 1913, 1922, and 1944) vast numbers of the birds have settled in the West (as far as Italy and England) and in the East (to the Primor’e). Pallas’s sandgrouse is often hunted, primarily at its watering places.