Alectoris barbara Bonnaterre, 1792
Class: Aves – Order: Galliformes - Family: Phasianidae
Status: Natura 2000 Code: A111. This species is listed in Annexes I, II, and III-a-b of the Wild Birds Directive (2009/147/EC) and in Appendix III of the Bern Convention.
There is not sufficient data about the current population size, so it is classified as “Data Deficient” (DD) on the Italian Red List.
Distribution: This species can be found in Sardinia, Gibraltar, the Canary Islands, and North Africa.
Morphology: It is a medium-sized bird (32 -33 centimeters long). Its wingspan is about 45-50 centimeters, and its average weight is approximately 450 grams. Its red or reddish-orange beak is slightly curved downward. Its back is gray-brown, and it also has a very distinctive brown or reddish-brown collar. The underside is gray on the chest and beige on the belly. The plumage of young individuals is similar to that of the adults, but with a less marked coloration, especially in regard to the collar, which is largely absent. It does not like flying, but it can move to the ground with great speed.
Habitat and ecology: It frequents areas covered with sparse woods, alternating with stones, shrubland, and cultivated land, located in both plains and mountains. It also lives in the shores of the rivers and semi-arid areas in the Mediterranean region. It is a monogamous species. The female lays only once a year, producing 8-16 whitish eggs with reddish-brown spots. The chicks are born 23-24 days after the eggs are laid. After a few weeks, they are already able to fly. The family group remains united to form a scarcely territorial brigade. Many brigades may come together, resulting in large groups. They mainly feed on plants (seeds, sprouts, herbs, and fruit), but they also eat insects, spiders, and molluscs.
It nests within this Site of Community Importance, where it mainly frequents agricultural areas, Mediterranean maquis, garrigues, and areas of natural recolonization.
Photo Frits van der Meer CC-BY-SA