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Sandgrouse


Sandgrouse
Photo Information
Copyright: Natley Prinsloo (Mamagolo2) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 158 W: 1 N: 636] (3124)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-05-14
Categories: Birds
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/125 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2010-11-07 9:42
Viewed: 3141
Points: 18
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Sandgrouse
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I was so proud of this photo when I saw it as I’m not that good at bird photography yet. All though I’m working hard at it they don’t want to stand still and pose for me but this one certainly did even though there was a huge elephant on the way to it.

Enjoy and comments are welcome.

Sandgrouse is also the name of the journal of the Ornithological Society of the Middle East - see Sandgrouse
The sandgrouse are a family, Pteroclididae, of 16 bird species, the only living members of the order Pteroclidiformes. They are restricted to treeless open country in the Old World, such as plains and semi-deserts. They are distributed across northern, southern and eastern Africa as well as Madagascar; the Middle East, India through to central Asia; and the Iberian Peninsula. Sandgrouse are traditionally placed in two genera. Two central Asian species in Syrrhaptes, and the rest in Pterocles, but recent research casts some doubt on this division.
Appearance
Sandgrouse have small, pigeon-like heads and necks, but sturdy compact bodies. They range in size from 24-40 cm in length and in weight between 150-500 g. There is little sexual dimorphism in size, although the males are slightly larger. They have long pointed wings and sometimes tails and a fast direct flight. The muscles of the wings are strong and capable of a rapid takeoff if needed. Their short legs are feathered down to the toes, and genus Syrrhaptes has the toes feathered as well. The plumage is cryptic, an adaptation to feeding on the ground for long hours in open terrain. The plumage varies considerably amongst the sexes. The feathers of the belly are specially adapted to absorbing water and retaining it, allowing adult birds, particularly males, to carry water to chicks that may be many miles away from watering holes.
Behaviour
Diet and feeding
Sandgrouse are principally seed eaters. A number of other food items have been found in the stomachs of sandgrouse that have been shot, but the numbers are so small that they could be accounted as incidentally swallowed material. The diet of many species is highly specialised, with the seeds of a small number of plant species dominating the diets. This may sometimes reflect the local availability, but in other circumstances this reflects actual prey selection by the sandgrouse. Species in the family Leguminosae are often favoured for their diet. Inagricultural areas oats and grains are readily taken. Seeds are either collected from the ground or directly from the plants. Foraging techniques vary amongst species that coexist in order to reduce competition; in Namibia Double-banded Sandgrouse feed slowly and methodically whilst Namaqua Sandgrouse feed rapidly.
Sandgrouse are gregarious, feeding in flocks up to 100 birds. Their diet is dry and as a consequence they need to regularly visit water in order to drink. As they travel to water holes or lakes they call to others members of their species and many hundreds or thousands of birds may visit a drinking site at once. Not all species need to drink every day, and one species, the Tibetan Sandgrouse, does not travel to drink, presumably because of the relative abundance of water in its habitat. Most species are resident, but Pallas's Sandgrouse is eruptive.
Breeding
Sandgrouse are monogamous. As the breeding season approaches, usually timed to coincide with a crop of seeds after the local rainy season, the feeding flocks tend to break up into pairs. The nesting site is nothing more than a slight depression in the ground; occasionally this can take the form of a footprint. Most typically three cryptic eggs are laid, occasionally there may be two and rarely four. Incubation duties are shared, with the males incubating at night and during the early morning and the females during the day. The chicks usually hatch after 20–25 days. The precocial chicks leave the nest as soon as the last one to hatch is dry. They are capable of feeding themselves from hatching, but need to learn feeding skills from their parents, and remain closely with their parents for several months. At first the chicks are too small and young to thermoregulate, and are provided with shade during the hottest part of the day and are brooded at night.
Relations with humans
Sandgrouse have little interactions with people, primarily because most species live in arid unpopulated areas and at low densities. They are not generally sought after as game birds as they are not especially palatable, although they have on occasion been taken in great numbers at water holes. An attempt to introduce them into Nevada failed but they have been introduced to Hawaii. No species is considered to be threatened although there have been some localised range contractions, particularly in Europe.
Taxonomy
Pteroclidae were formerly included in the Columbiformes largely due to their reported ability to drink by the "sucking" or "pumping" action of peristalsis of the esophagus ("The only other group, however, which shows the same behavior, the Pteroclidae, is placed near the doves just by this doubtlessly very old characteristic. More recently, it has been reported that they cannot,and they are now treated separately in the order Pteroclidiformes. They have been considered near passerine birds and are considered by some to be closer to the shorebirds. In the DNA-study by Fain and Houde (2004) they were included in the Metaves, together with the Columbiformes. In the larger study by Hackett et al. (2008) they were once again positioned close to the Columbiformes but also the Mesites. The intricately-patterned, precocial downy young and egg colouration (though not shape) closely resemble those of many shorebirds - charadriformes. Eggs are near elliptical.
Convergent evolution
Sandgrouse and true Grouse are not at all closely related as Grouse belong to the Order Galliformes while Sandgrouse are Pteroclidiformes. Superficial similarities with the true Grouse are the result of Convergent evolution.
Source: Wikepedia, the free encyclopedia.

mwmod99, cirano, oscarromulus, jusninasirun, Pitoncle has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-11-07 9:51]

Hello Natley,
Nice photo of this Sandgrouse in beautiful camouflaged colours. Maybe a bit more contrast in colours is possible. Excellent sharpness, details and composition. Taken from a very good low POV.
Regards,
Peter

You can be very proud of yourself with this shot Natley. Good capture of this beautiful Sandgrouse, with perfect clarity and dept of field. Seems that you have taken this shot from a very low point of view which is great element in a successful image. Bravo!
Regards,
George Veltchev

great camouflage, TFS Ori

hello Natley
very nice Camouflage bird with good details and nice colours
great shot
greeting lou

  • Great 
  • cirano Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 997 W: 0 N: 944] (13609)
  • [2010-11-07 12:46]

Hi Natley,
What a beautiful bird in great colours and sharpness.An excellent camouflage.TFS.
Dûrzan

Natley,Mamagolo,
What a lovely register.
This one can certainly get lost in the bush!!! I mean CAMOUFLAGE.
Excellent focusing and clarity.
A DETAILED IMAGE showing the true colours distinctly.
BRAVOS are in order.
Greetings from Canada from,
Mario.

Hi Natley. This is such a fine capture with details that are so good. I like the sharpness around the head with the curious look. Plumage is well defined and framing is pleasing. Well done - Jusni

There is nothing wrong with this photo, Natley! Fantastic sharpness and feather detail, nice work!

Bonjour Natley,
Exercice difficile, compte tenu du mimétisme du sujet, que tu as honorablement résolu dans une lumière bien maitrisé et sous une excellente profondeur de champ.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.
Gérard

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