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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Burchell's Sandgrouse

Afrikaans name: Gevlekte sandpatrys

Burchell's Sandgrouse at a waterhole

Burchell's Sandgrouse

Photo © EcoView -

Pterocles burchelli

Burchell's Sandgrouse behaviour

The Burchell’s Sandgrouse is also known as the Spotted Sandgrouse and the reason for that is clear when you glance at the photos. They can be found in pairs or small flocks. Interestingly these birds don’t always take to the air when disturbed. Often, they creep away from the source of possible danger or just crouch down and rely on their camouflage to keep them safe.

Burchell's Sandgrouse appearance

The sandgrouse are around 25 cm in length with males being slightly bigger than females. They have longer legs, than the other species of sandgrouse in the region. Male and female look the same other than the colour of the feathers on their faces: females are yellowish while males are greyer.

Burchell's Sandgrouse diet

Seeds form the major portion of their diet, particularly those from legumes such as the Red Pea.

Burchell's Sandgrouse breeding

Pairs make a simple nest, which is a scrape on the ground, next to some vegetation. The nest is lined with dry plant material. Nesting takes place in winter and normally three eggs are laid. Both parents tend to the eggs and chicks.

Burchell's Sandgrouse distribution and habitat

Burchell's Sandgrouse is found in the drier areas of Botswana and South Africa, but it is absent from the really arid areas along the west coast. They tend to be found in areas where there is food and water present and may stay there until these become unavailable. They lead a nomadic life following the availability of food and water.

Burchell's Sandgrouse at a waterhole

Photo © EcoView -


References and further reading

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 118

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 38

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 299

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 295

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 220

List of South African Birds

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