Female Namaqua sandgrouse Pterocles namaqua, copyright Johann Grobbelaar.

Belongs within: Columbaves.

The Pteroclidae, sandgrouse, are pigeon-like birds with long, pointed wings and tails found in arid regions of Eurasia and Africa. Sandgrouse have thick skins and very short legs that are feathered right down to the toes (Austin 1961). Flocks of sandgrouse can often be found at waterholes, where they often drink after wading into the water. The feathers on their underside absorb water that they carry away for their young. Living species have usually been divided between the genera Syrrhaptes and Pterocles based on whether the toes themselves are feathered or not, respectively, but the monophyly of the latter genus is uncertain.

Pteroclidae [Pterocleidae, Pterocleiformes, Pterocletes, Pterocletidae, Pteroclididae, Pterocliformes]
    |--Leptoganga Mourer-Chauviré 1993 M05
    |    `--*L. sepultus (Milne-Edwards 1869) [=Pterocles sepultus] M02
    |--Gerandia Lambrecht 1933 M02
    |    `--*G. calcaria (Milne-Edwards 1869) [=Columba calcaria] M02
    |--Archaeoganga Mourer-Chauviré 1992 M05
    |    |--*A. pinguis Mourer-Chauviré 1992 M02
    |    |--A. larvatus (Milne-Edwards 1892) [=Pterocles larvatus] M02
    |    `--A. validus (Milne-Edwards 1892) [=Pterocles validus] M02
    `--Pterocles Temminck 1815 B94
         |  i. s.: P. alchata (Linnaeus 1766) [=Tetrao alchata, Pterochlurus alchatus] CC10
         |           |--P. a. alchata RN72
         |           `--P. a. caudacutus RN72
         |         P. burchelli JT12 [incl. P. burchelli delabati Winterbottom 1964 B93]
         |         P. decoratus JT12
         |         P. exustus JT12
         |           |--P. e. exustus L81
         |           `--P. e. hindustan L81
         |         P. indicus JT12
         |         P. lichtensteinii JT12
         |         P. personatus JT12
         |         P. quadricinctus JT12
         |         P. senegallus JT12
         |--P. coronatus BKB15
         `--+--P. namaqua BKB15
            `--+--P. bicinctus BKB15
               `--+--+--P. gutturalis Smith 1836 JT12, ME04
                  |  `--P. orientalis JT12
                  `--Syrrhaptes Illiger 1811 JT12, B94 [Syrrhaptidae]
                       |--S. paradoxus JT12
                       `--S. tibetanus JT12

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B94] Bock, W. J. 1994. History and nomenclature of avian family-group names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 222: 1–281.

[B93] Brooke, R. K. 1993. Annotated catalogue of the Aves type specimens in the South African Museum. Annals of the South African Museum 102 (10): 327–349.

[BKB15] Burleigh, J. G., R. T. Kimball & E. L. Braun. 2015. Building the avian tree of life using a large-scale, sparse supermatrix. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 84: 53–63.

[CC10] Checklist Committee (OSNZ). 2010. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand, Norfolk and Macquarie Islands, and the Ross Dependency, Antarctica 4th ed. Ornithological Society of New Zealand and Te Papa Press: Wellington.

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444–448.

[L81] Long, J. L. 1981. Introduced Birds of the World: The worldwide history, distribution and influence of birds introduced to new environments. Reed: Sydney.

[M05] Mayr, G. 2005. The Paleogene fossil record of birds in Europe. Biological Reviews 80: 515–542.

[ME04] Mayr, G., & P. G. P. Ericson. 2004. Evidence for a sister group relationship between the Madagascan mesites (Mesitornithidae) and the cuckoos (Cuculidae). Senckenbergiana Biologica 84 (1–2): 1–17.

[M02] Mlíkovský, J. 2002. Cenozoic Birds of the World. Part 1: Europe. Ninox Press: Praha.

[RN72] Rutgers, A., & K. A. Norris (eds) 1972. Encyclopaedia of Aviculture vol. 1. London, Blandford Press.

Last updated: 23 August 2019.

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