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Black-bellied sandgrouse


Common name Black-bellied sandgrouse
Scientific name Pterocles orientalis
Type Farmland birds
Status Resident

Medium sized terrestrial bird (approx 36 cm or 14 in) with a very cryptic colouration in earth tones. Males with grey head and neck; orange throat with black spot at the bottom. Salmon breast, without spots and with black border. Black underparts (distinctive feature). Grey upperparts and wings with golden ocelli (circles that look like eyes) and a dark striate. Short white tail in the lower area. Grey bill and legs, very short and with white feathered tarsi. Less showy females. Striated breast instead of salmon. In flight its most remarkable characteristics are: white wings with black tips, black spot on the breast, short white tail with black edges and orange throat.


Cultivated areas

Where it lives

Steppe species and linked to semi-arid areas and extensive rainfed crops, regardless of their cold or warm character. It tolerates fairly abrupt zones and with the presence of scattered trees and shrubs (the Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse does not), although it prefers fallow land, dry grassland and wasteland. It avoids sowings which are at a certain height.

How it lives

Bird resident in the province all year round. Gregarious except during its breeding season, which is from April. One laying of 2 to 3 eggs. Exclusively granivorous diet. Preference for legumes. Presence conditioned by the existence of water points during the summer season.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Very scarce species and difficult to watch, both because this bird is not abundant in Malaga, and because it blends perfectly when it is perched. The Black-Bellied Sandgrouse betrays itself once it takes off, something it does very quickly. Few couples live in the interior of the province, in the regions of Antequera and Guadalteba. In the Great Path it can be observed in stage 16.

Curious facts

The Latin name of the black-bellied sandgrouses comes from the Greek "Pteron", which means “wings”, and "kles" which means “outstanding”. They are birds that in flight stand out for their wings, both in size and colour. Popularly this sandgrouse is known in Spain as "churra" or "turra", onomatopoeia of its call, that sounds like the snort of a horse.

Similar birds
Wintering Summer Resident Migration