Thursday, 20 June 2013

66. Caspian Snowcock (Tetraogallus caspius)

Similarly to the Caucasian Snowcock, the Caspian Snowcock is another endemic species, this time to mountainous parts of Turkey, Armenia, Iran and Azerbaijan. It has a very similar appearance and habits to the Caucasian Snowcock, however there is no overlap in their ranges, so not likely to be any risk of confusion. The main differences are that where the Caucasian Snowcock is finely vermiculated on its breast and mantle, the Caspian is a much more uniform pale grey, with sparse mottling on its breast, and also has weaker, paler flank stripes. Its nape is grey, where the Caucasian Snowcock's has a rusty tinge. It is also found at lower altitudes, typically 1800 - 3000 m.

Caspian Snowcock, ©Soner Bekir, via The Inked Naturalist.
Caspian Snowcock sketch.
I'm a bit happier with this one compared to my Caucasian Snowcock drawing, I think the shape is slightly better, still struggled with the intricate plumage and it took quite a long time, but overall, not too bad.

Thanks to Soner Bekir for giving me permission to use his awesome picture of this seldom-photographed bird! I came across it on The Inked Naturalist, if you don't already know of him please take a minute to check out his excellent website and consider supporting his Walking for Turkish Wildlife appeal. He will be walking the length of Turkey(!) to raise funds for Birdlife International's Turkish partner Doğa Derneği, and to raise awareness of the destruction of Turkey's natural heritage - something that has gained somewhat wider attention lately with the recent Turkish protests sparked by plans to build over the last green space in Istanbul.

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