Pterocles Orientalis  large heavy-bodied sandgrouse with relatively short tail and rather broad wings. Combination of long and broad black belly and blackish flight feathers with white under wing-coverts diagnostic. Mainly grey head and chest of male interrupted by black and chestnut throat and terminated by bold black transverse line. Female spotted on chest and irregularly barred above.

Pterocles orientalis breeds in Iberia, the Canary Islands and parts of south-east Europe, which together account for less than a quarter of its global breeding range. Its European breeding population is relatively small (62,000 pairs), and underwent a large decline between 1970-1990. The species continued to decline across most of its European range including its Turkish stronghold during 1990-2000, and underwent a moderate decline (10%) overall. Consequently, it is provisionally evaluated as Declining.

Accordingly adapted to somewhat cooler and less arid conditions than most congeners and to greater climatic variety. Differs from nearest geographic counterpart Pin-tailed Sandgrouse in ascending to higher altitudes and in greater attraction to vegetation cover, and from Lichtenstein‘s Sandgrouse in dislike of trees and scrub, and generally of rough rocky terrain. Chiefly on flat plains, saltflats, and sandy, loamy, clay, or gravelly soils or dusty patches and tracks, sometimes covered with stones or varied by hummocks, hillocks, eroded slopes, or worn-down rocky outcrops. Saline or alkaline flats with scattered patches of vegetation are attractive. Occasionally occupies artificial sites such as airfields.

Mostly seeds. Forages in flocks of 3-25 birds; larger flocks sometimes in winter. Food mainly picked up from ground but will also pluck off vegetative parts and flower heads from growing herbs or bushes.

On the Canary Islands eggs are laid from mid-March, with most in April, but also found June. In Spain eggs are found from mid-May to late June. In Algeria and Tunisia eggs are found from early April to mid-July, in Cyprus in May. In Turkey eggs are found May-June, but in central Turkey also young chicks can be spotted as late as August. The nest is on the ground in the open, consisting of a shallow depression, unlined or with a few pieces of dried grass; sometimes in circle of small stones. Clutch size 2-3 eggs which are incubated 23-28 days in captivity. The checks fledge after 22-27 days.

Resident in Iberia; also largely so in North Africa, though southernmost birds move northwards away from most arid zone about July, as breeding finishes. Largely migratory from north Caspian eastwards, wintering mainly in Pakistan and north-west India.

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