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Caucasian Snowcock

Tetraogallus caucasicus

The Caucasian snowcock, a member of the pheasant family Phasianidae, is a gallinaceous bird that presents a striking figure in its mountainous habitat. This robust bird measures between 50 to 60 centimeters in length. Its plumage is a mosaic of grey, brown, white, and black, creating an overall grey appearance when viewed from a distance. The breast is notably darker, and the flanks are tinged with a ruddier hue compared to the body. A distinctive white throat and a white patch on the side of the neck are characteristic, while the nape boasts a rust color.

Identification Tips

When observing the Caucasian snowcock, one can discern the white flight feathers and undertail during flight, along with the reddish sides of the tail. Both sexes exhibit similar plumage, though the juvenile can be identified by its slightly smaller size and a duller plumage compared to the adults.

Habitat

The Caucasian snowcock is native to the Caucasus Mountains, particularly thriving in the Western Caucasus. It favors altitudes ranging from 2000 to 4000 meters, where it resides on bare, stony mountain terrains.

Distribution

This species is endemic to the Caucasus region, where it is well adapted to the high-altitude environment it calls home.

Behaviour

Outside of the breeding season, the Caucasian snowcock is known to form small flocks. It is a wary bird, often difficult to approach in its natural setting.

Song & Calls

The song of the Caucasian snowcock is a desolate, whistling tune, reminiscent of the Eurasian curlew, articulated as "sooo-looo-leeee." Its vocal repertoire also includes loud cackles and a bubbled "buck-buck-buck-buck-burrrrrr."

Breeding

Breeding takes place at high altitudes where the female lays a clutch of typically 5-6 greenish eggs in a bare ground scrape. Incubation duties fall solely to the female.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Caucasian snowcock consists primarily of seeds and vegetable matter, which it forages from its rugged environment.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List classifies the Caucasian snowcock as Least Concern, indicating that, currently, there are no immediate threats to its population numbers that would warrant a higher level of concern.

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Caucasian Snowcocks on Birda

Sightings
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Profile picture for Grigory Evtukh
Grigory Evtukh
14 Feb 2023 - 12:57pm
Azerbaijan

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