Pallas’s Sandgrouse Syrrhaptes paradoxus   [Pallas, 1773]

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Date created: 23-January-2017

Order: Pteroclidiformes Family: Pteroclidae
BTO Codes: , PALSA EURING No: 6630
Number in Britain: Fewer than 20 records
Conservation Status:
UK: Not Assessed
European: Endangered
Global: Least Concern (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Accidental, Has Bred
Subspecies: Monotypic
Length: 36 cm Wingspan: 70 cm Weight: M/F: 270 g    
Scientific name from: Gr.: surrhaptos=sewn together and L.: paradoxus=unexpected
World Distribution: c Asia
Habitat: Arid sandy steppe
Diet: Seeds, some shoots and green leaves
TitBit: This has one of the strangest histories of any British breeding bird, occurring in large numbers in 1863 and 1888 (and in smaller numbers in 7 other years around this time), when it subsequently bred; before and since it is an extremely rare visitor and the reasons for the irruptions are not really understood.  
Identification Tips:
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Records and Distribution

First Record: Caernarfon, 1859 (Palmer, P. 2000. First for Britain & Ireland, Arlequin Press. [502.74 PAL])
Total Number of Records (1950-2007): 7 Most Likely to Occur in: Too few records
Most Recent County Records:
   Scotland: Argyll (1888), Angus & Dundee (1863), Ayrshire (1888), Borders (1888), Clyde (1865), Dumfries & Galloway (1891), Fife (1975), Upper Forth (1888), Highland (1888), Lothian (1889), Moray & Nairn (1889), Northeast (1888), Outer Hebrides (1888), Orkney (1888), Perth & Kinross (1888), Shetland (1990),
   North-east England: Cleveland (1909), Durham (1890), Northumberland (1969), East Yorkshire (1906), North Yorkshire (1908), South Yorkshire (1863), West Yorkshire (1908),
   North-west England: Cheshire (1908), Cumbria (1888), Lancashire (1888),
   English Midlands: Derbyshire (1888), Leicestershire (1889), Northamptonshire (1889), Nottinghamshire (1889), Shropshire (1888), Staffordshire (1888), Warwickshire (1888), West Midlands (1888), Worcestershire (1888),
   Eastern England: Bedfordshire (1888), Cambridgeshire (1888), Essex (1908), Hertfordshire (1908), Lincolnshire (1899), Norfolk (1908), Suffolk (1890),
   South-east England: Berkshire (1908), Buckinghamshire (1908), Hampshire (1908), Kent (1964), Greater London (1907), Oxfordshire (1888), Surrey (1908), East Sussex (1888), West Sussex (1889),
   South-west England: Cornwall (1889), Devon (1888), Dorset (1889), Gloucestershire (1888), Somerset (1888), Wiltshire (1888), Isles of Scilly (1888),
   Wales: Caernarfonshire (1859), Gower (1888), Pembrokeshire (1888),

Information provided by BirdGuides and BBRC

Other Names

Gaelic: Welsh: Iâr y Diffeithwch
Danish: Steppehøne Dutch: Steppehoen
Finnish: Arokana French: Syrrhapte paradoxal
German: Steppenhuhn Hungarian: Talpastyúk
Icelandic: Steppuspjátra Irish: Gaineamhchearc Pallas
Italian: Sirratte Norwegian: Steppehøne
Polish: Pustynnik zwyczajny Portuguese: Cortiçol de Pallas
Spanish: Ganga de Pallas Swedish: Stäpphöna

For More Information...

Books and Monographs:
   Madge, S. & MacGowan, P. 2002 Pheasants, partridges and grouse Pica Press, Sussex [598.544 MAD]
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See Also:
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Wikipedia entry
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BirdLife species page
Recent sightings and information from BirdGuides