Pterocles orientalis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Pterocliformes Pteroclidae

Scientific Name: Pterocles orientalis (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Black-bellied Sandgrouse
Taxonomic Source(s): Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2017-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Krishnan, A., Jayadevan, P., Isfendiyaroglu, S., Ayé, R., Kashkarov, R., Cavalieri, R., Azafzaf, H., Cherkaoui, I. & Smart, M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Ashpole, J, Symes, A.
This species has an extremely large range, and a very large global population, however the population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and hunting pressure. In Europe declines have been very rapid, however this only represents c.15 % of the global range and trends in Asia and north Africa are more difficult to determine. It remains classified as Least Concern because the overall rate of decline is not yet suspected to be moderately rapid, however better information from across the range could lead to its uplisting to a higher category of threat in the near future.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species breeds in Iberia and NW Africa (including the Canary Islands), and from Turkey east through southern Central Asia to NW China, and south to Iran and Pakistan, with some birds wintering further south in the Middle East and NW India (de Juana & Boesman 2016).
Countries occurrence:
Afghanistan; Algeria; Azerbaijan; China; Cyprus; Egypt; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Israel; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kuwait; Kyrgyzstan; Libya; Morocco; Pakistan; Portugal; Russian Federation (Central Asian Russia - Vagrant, European Russia); Saudi Arabia; Spain; Syrian Arab Republic; Tajikistan; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Uzbekistan
Bahrain; Belgium; Germany; Greece; Lebanon; Malta; Nepal
Present - origin uncertain:
United Arab Emirates
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:14700000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The European population is estimated at 10,400-19,100 pairs, which equates to 20,800-38,200 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.15% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 138,000-255,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.

Trend Justification:  The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and hunting pressure. In Europe the population size is estimated to be decreasing by 50-79% in 16.8 years (three generations) (BirdLife International 2015). The global rate of decline is difficult to determine, but is not currently thought to be moderately rapid.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:130000-259999Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species inhabits semi-arid plains with steppe to semi-desert vegetation, including pastoral scrubland and dry cereal cultivation with associated fallow ground (de Juana and Boesman 2016). It lays between March and August with timing dependent on latitude, generally laying in April in the Canary Islands and mostly June in Spain and the former USSR with replacement clutches until September (de Juana and Boesman 2016). It normally lays three eggs. The nest is an uncovered, bare scrape in bare, stony areas such as those found on the edges of ploughed fields (Tucker and Heath 1994). It often feeds on small or very small seeds apparently preferring Leguminosae, as well as cereal grain and cultivated legumes. It is sedentary in Iberia and North Africa and nomadic or partially migratory in Turkey and the Middle East and largely migratory in Kazakhstan (de Juana and Boesman 2016).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):5.6
Movement patterns:Full Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Within Europe the main threat to this species is the intensification of agriculture. Ploughing of pasture and irrigation have reduced available habitat while the removal of marginal areas of semi-natural vegetation and the increased application of agro-chemicals has reduced food availability and these practices have probably been responsible for the extinctions in some areas. On the remaining grasslands, overgrazing affects the vegetation composition and structure, reducing both food availability and cover for nesting. Conversely, land abandonment is also a major threat, as the open, treeless steppe habitat is quickly lost when grazing is removed.

Hunting, which is legal in Turkey during the breeding season, may be a significant threat in parts of the range; the species's habit of concentrating in large numbers at traditional drinking sites throughout the year means that it forms an attractive and relatively easy target (Tucker and Heath 1994).In Morocco it remains by far the commonest sandgrouse but there are local declines owing to hunting pressure (I. Cherkaoui in litt. 2017). In Tunisia hunting remains legal during the breeding season, and loss of wetlands has led to birds becoming more concentrated where water remains and hence more vulnerable to hunting pressure (H. Azafzaf in litt. 2017).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
EU Birds Directive Annex I. Bern Convention Appendix II. Several EU LIFE programmes have focused on its steppe habitat and the species occurs in some SPAs in Spain. It is listed in the Spanish Red Book as 'vulnerable' (Madroño et al. 2004).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Within Europe suitable habitats should be maintained through the continuation of long-established, low-intensity farming systems. These can be maintained through agri-environment schemes. In addition restrictions on grazing rates and the use of herbicides should be implemented and the maintenance of fallow land should be encouraged (Tucker and Heath 1994).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2017. Pterocles orientalis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22693002A119397259. . Downloaded on 19 September 2018.
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