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Systematic classification and distribution
Species: T. tetrax
Lotarda minor, known in Italy with the name of prataiola hen, is a large bird of the bustard family. It nests in southern and central Europe and in western and central Asia. Birds that live in southern Europe are mostly sedentary, but other populations migrate further south in winter.
Field hen - Tetrax tetrax
Male of Field Hen - Tetrax tetrax (photo www.avesibericas.es)
Female of Field Hen - Tetrax tetrax (photo http://tassidermiadidattica.blogspot.it)
It has the upper part and the vertex in sand color while the lower part is white. The face is gray tending to blue. In bridal livery the male has a characteristic black and white collar. Gray-horny beak with black apex, pale yellow legs. The plumage of the female is streaked with black bars, underneath white, hips and chest in bars.
It feeds on seeds, herbs, insects and other invertebrates.
The male performs a courtship parade by inflating the plumage of the neck and head, bending over his legs and then jumping in the air. Females lay between 3 and 5 eggs in small holes in the ground. The brooding lasts about 20 days during which the male is on guard near the nest. The female, if discovered, in order to protect the brood, a low flight stands out pretending to be injured. The young are covered with a thick and fine white plumage with brown specks and are able to leave the nest shortly after hatching.
The habitat of this bird consists of open grasslands, steppes and undisturbed agricultural areas, with herbaceous vegetation high enough to conceal its presence. Walk with a slow majestic step and if disturbed, rather than flying, it tends to run. It is a gregarious species, especially in winter.