Black-bellied Sandgrouse

Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Zwartbuikzandhoen, Sandflughuhn, Cortiçol-de-barriga-preta, Ganga Ortega

Spotted in the Alentejo region of Portugal     Black-bellied Sandgrouse sound    

The Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Pterocles orientalis) is a medium large bird in the sandgrouse family.

Black-bellied Sandgrouse Birding Portugal
Black-bellied Sandgrouse

The nominate race breeds in Iberia, northwest Africa, the Canary Islands, Turkey, Iran, Cyprus and Israel. The eastern form P. o. arenarius (Pallas, 1775) 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.

This gregarious species breeds on dry open plains and similar habitats, but unlike the 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.

The Black-bellied Sandgrouse is 33–39 cm (13–15 in) long and weighs 300–615 g (11–21.7 oz).[2] The male has a grey head, neck, and breast. The underparts are black and the upperparts are golden-brown with darker markings. There is a thin black border around the lower breast, and a chestnut throat patch.

The female has browner, more finely marked upperparts, including the head and the breast. The underparts and breast band are identical to the male.

The eastern race is paler and heavier than orientalis. Males have yellower upperparts and greyer underparts than the western form. Females are whiter below, but often inseparable.

This sandgrouse has a small, pigeon like head and neck, but a stocky compact body. It has long pointed wings and a fast direct flight. The white underwings and black belly make this species easy to identify while in flight. Flocks fly to watering holes at dawn.

The call is a soft chowrrr rrrr-rrrr

Other synonyms:

Catalan: Xurra
Danish: Sortbuget Sandhøne
German: Sandflughuhn
English: Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Imperial Sandgrouse, Large Sandgrouse, Oriental Sandgrouse
Spanish: Ganga Ortega, Ganga Ortgea, Ortega
Estonian: mustkõht-vuril
Basque: Ganga azpibeltza, Xurra
Finnish: Hietakyyhky
French: Ganga unibande
Galician: Cortizol común, Xurra
Icelandic: Sandspjátra
Italian: Ganga
Japanese: kuroharasakei, oosakei
Latin: Pterocles orientalis
Maltese: Ganga
Dutch: Zwartbuik zandhoen, Zwartbuikzandhoen
Norwegian: Svartbuksandhøne
Polish: Stepówka ciemnobrzucha, stepówka czarnobrzucha
Portuguese: cortiçol de barriga preta, Cortiçol-de-barriga-preta
Swedish: Svartbukad flyghöna, Svartbukig flyghöna

Birdwatching Alentejo Portugal

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Guided Birdwatching in the Alentejo region of Portugal