Concentration of Spotted Sandgrouse
Spotted Sandgrouse is found in arid regions of northern and eastern Africa and across the Middle East and parts of Asia as far east as northwest India.
Behaviour of Spotted Sandgrouse
Spotted Sandgrouse is a gregarious, diurnal bird and small flocks forage for seed and other vegetable matter on the ground, flying once a day to a waterhole for water. In the breeding season pairs nest apart from one another, the eggs being laid in a depression on the stony ground.
Behaviours of the Chicks of Spotted Sandgrouse
The chicks of Spotted Sandgrouse leave the nest soon after hatching and eat dry seed, the water they need being provided by the male which saturates its belly feathers with water at the waterhole.
Size of Spotted Sandgrouse
Spotted Sandgrouse reaches a length of about 33 centimetres. The male has a small reddish-brown nape surrounded by a band of pale grey that extends to the bill and round the neck in a collar. The chin, neck and throat are orange and the breast grey. The upper parts are pinkish-grey with dark flight feathers and dark patches on the wings, tail and lower belly. The primaries are pale with dark trailing edges, a fact that distinguishes this species from the crowned Sandgrouse which has completely dark primaries. The female also has an orange throat region but is generally duller in plumage than the male. The body colour is greyish-brown liberally spotted with small dark markings and with dark patches on the wings, tail and lower belly. The central tail feathers in both sexes are elongated but not to the extent that they are in the pin-tailed sandgrouse. When flying overhead, a dark belly stripe is visible.
Habitats of Spotted Sandgrouse
Spotted Sandgrouse is found in North Africa and the Middle East. In Africa its range extends through Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Sudan, Egypt, Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Mali, Mauritania, Chad and Niger. In the Middle East it is native to Oman, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan and its range extends as far as Pakistan and North West Indian states like Maharashtra, Goa and Rajasthan. It has also been recorded as a vagrant in Italy, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey.
Spotted Sandgrouse inhabits deserts and semi-arid countryside and is largely resident although there is some local movement of flocks. The Spotted Sandgrouse has a rapid wing beat and flies swiftly.
Nests of Spotted Sandgrouse
Spotted Sandgrouse is a ground-dwelling bird and feeds on seeds and other plant material that it finds among the scrubby vegetation of its dry habitat. During the breeding season it is solitary but at other times of year it is gregarious. Flocks move in to a new feeding ground after a storm has stimulated new green growth. In the Sahara the spotted Sandgrouse is particularly fond of a species of spurge and concentrate on this until the foliage begins to parch, after which the birds return to their normal diet of seeds. These are abundant on the desert floor, remaining in a dormant state until rain occurs.
Breeding Season of Spotted Sandgrouse
Spotted Sandgrouse breeds in the hottest part of the summer on a stony desert plain like Saharan Desert and the Thar Desert in India. When choosing a nest site, the female scrapes several trial hollows before selecting one of them. The main criterion for selection seems to be the porous nature of the underlying rock. Spongy rock heats up less in the sun and provides a cool spot to nest. Also desirable are one or two "cover stones" close by, chosen because their dense structure attracts dew at night, moisture which drains into the soil and gets absorbed by the porous rock which helps keep the nest cool by day. The nest is made in a shallow depression in the ground without any bedding material and two, occasionally three, eggs are laid. The eggs are elongated ovals in shape, buff with grey and brown blotches and speckles. Their colour and shape makes them difficult to distinguish from the pebbles lying around them. Both parents incubate the eggs and their cryptic colouration makes them almost invisible when sitting on the nest. The eggs hatch after about 20 days.