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Pterocles lichtensteinii

warning Critically Endangered
CR (D1)

Contributed: Itay Shanni, Yoav Perlman, Lior Kislev

Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse is classified as Critically Endangered (CR) because of its extremely small population, currently estimated at 50 adult birds and limited range. In the previous edition of the Red Book (2002), it was classified as Near threatened (NT). The change in threat category reflects an actual deterioration in the species population and range.
CR Current Regional Assessment | NT Previous Regional Assessment | LC World Assessment

Habitats Desert Plains, Salt Marsh
Presence In Israel Resident
Nesting In Israel Breeder
Migration Types Resident
Zoography Zones Sudano-Zambezian
Landscape Formations Plains & Valleys, Wide Wadis, Rural Area
Vegetation Densities Low
Nest Locations Ground
Diet Types Herbivore
Foraging Grounds Ground
Body Sizes Small (up to 500g)
Threat Factors Plantations, Habitat Fragmentation, Unknown

Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse is the smallest sandgrouse in Israel. Both sexes have a dark brown barred plumage, which gives them a generally dark appearance. The male has a patchy black-white pattern on its crown and forehead and a yellow eye-ring. It forms small flocks throughout the year and breeds in sparse scattered colonies. It gathers at regular drinking sites at dusk, unlike other sandgrouse in Israel that fly to drinking sites in the morning.

Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse is a resident species and rare breeder in the southern Arava, in the triangle between Eilat, Lotan and Neot Smadar.

Hill slopes, broad wadis with low vegetation and rocky desert flats in the extreme desert. Also nests at the edges of settlements and is dependent on water sources for drinking.

Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse is apparently affected by the accelerated development in the southern Arava in recent years, which modifies and disturbs its natural habitats, and by invasive and eruptive species, which apparently affect the breeding success of ground nesters in general, and of sandgrouse in particular.

No specific conservation measures have been taken for this species to date.

Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse is a resident species with an extremely restricted range in Israel, limited to the southern Arava. The Israeli population has always been small, but in recent years there has been a significant decrease in the number of observed birds, and the current population is estimated at less than 50 adult birds. There is a need for research to understand the factors behind this decrease.

The population should be monitored and studied to clarify the factors threatening it.

  • פז, ע. 1986. עופות. מתוך אלון, ע. (עורך), החי והצומח של ארץ ישראל. כרך 6. הוצאת משרד הביטחון, ישראל.
  • פרלמן, י., שוחט, א. ולבינגר, ז. 2009. סקר אטלס ציפורים בערבה סיכום שנת 2009. דו"ח מרכז הצפרות של החברה להגנת הטבע.
  • Perlman, Y., Shochat, E. and Labinger, Z. 2011. Developing Managment plan for important bird areas in southern Israel. second annual report, Nizzana region and Arava Valley.Israeli Ornithological center, SPNI.
  • Shirihai, H., 1996. The Birds of Israel. Academic Press, London.
  • Symes, A. 2013. Species generation lengths. Unpublished, BirdLife International.
  • Species page at Birdlife International
Contributed: Itay Shanni, Yoav Perlman, Lior Kislev

Current Occupancy Map

Distribution maps

The maps presented here provide visual information on the distribution of species in Israel in the past and present, and the changes in occupancy and nesting density during the comparison period. For further reading

Relative Abundance 2010-2020

Breeding density values as calculated from observation records and expert opinions.

Relative Abundance 1980-1990

Breeding density values are based mainly on the book Birds of Israel (Shirihai 1996).

Occupancy difference 1990-2020

A map that expresses differences in the breeding distribution between the evaluation periods (1980-1990 versus 2010-2020). Negative value - species previously present but is currently absent, positive value - species has not been recorded previously and is currently present, zero - no change in occupancy.

Relative abundance difference 1990-2020

A map that reflects the changes in the relative abundance of the species between the evaluation periods (1980-1990 versus 2010-2020). Negative values - decline in abundance, positive values - increase in abundance, zero - no change in abundance.

Red number

IUCN category

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% of protected sites

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