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Drinking schedule of four sandgrouse species (Pterocles spp.) in relation to sunrise and season

Abstract

Sandgrouse (Pterocles spp.) are adapted to extreme desert environments. One such adaptation is that males transport water in their abdominal feathers to water the nesting female and hatchlings. Hence, understanding sandgrouse drinking regime and regularly used water holes is of great conservation importance. We studied the arrival of four sandgrouse species at a single water hole in the western Negev Desert, Israel. During our visits, the most numerous species was the Spotted Sandgrouse, and in decreasing abundance, we found Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Crowned Sandgrouse, and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse. Black-bellied Sandgrouse arrived significantly earlier than Spotted Sandgrouse and Crowned Sandgrouse. Spotted Sandgrouse arrival peaked later in the morning than Black-bellied Sandgrouse and Crowned Sandgrouse. The data suggest that this is connected to the absolute number of birds for each of the species which influences their synchronous arrival. Also, we find that the amount of time a species spends at the water hole is influenced by the number of birds present, i.e., the species that stay the longest are also the most numerous. The mean temperature when Spotted Sandgrouse peaked was marginally higher (21.2°C) than recorded for Black-bellied (19.5°C) and Crowned Sandgrouse (19.3°C).

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Acknowledgments

We thank Susan Craig, two anonymous reviewers, and the editor for improving an earlier version of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Reuven Yosef.

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Yosef, R., Zduniak, P. Drinking schedule of four sandgrouse species (Pterocles spp.) in relation to sunrise and season. acta ethol 14, 35–41 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10211-010-0088-z

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Keywords

  • Drinking
  • Pterocles
  • Sandgrouse
  • Sunrise
  • Timing