The New International Encyclopædia/Sand-grouse

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SAND-GROUSE. A game bird of the family Pteroclidæ, related more nearly to the pigeons than to the grouse. There are rather more than sixteen species, chiefly African, but five are Asiatic and two of these occur also in Europe. They are in all important respects terrestrial pigeons, modified for a grouse-like life. The genus Syrrhaptes contains the three-toed forms, of which there are two species. They have the feet feathered. The tail is long and pointed, the middle feathers filamentous and long-exserted. Both species occur in Asia, but occasionally migrate into Europe, even as far as England, in great numbers. The genus Pterocles contains the four-toed forms, of which the best known is the common or ‘banded’ sand-grouse (Pterocles arenaria), abundant in Southeastern Europe. Another species (Pterocles alchata) also occurs in Europe and is sometimes called ganga, a name occasionally extended to the whole family. Consult: Morris, British Game Birds (London, 1891); Bryden, Nature and Sport in South Africa (London, 1897); Elliot, “A Study of the Pteroclidæ,” in Proceedings of the Zoölogical Society of London (London, 1878). See Plate of Partridges, etc.