Tag Archives: Double-Banded Sandgrouse

Double-banded Sandgrouse

Pterocles bicinctus

Double-banded Sandgrouse inhabit open, dry woodlands, savannas and arid grasslands, often in association with low, rocky hills, and is especially fond of mopane savanna. These rather plump birds (26cm long, weigh up to 270g) are often seen on or beside gravel roads, freezing in their tracks in the hope that they’ll escape detection. They feed exclusively on seeds, and drink daily, usually just before sunset. They are usually encountered in family groups numbering 2 to 5 and only rarely in bigger groups of up to 10.

Breeding in this species peaks during the dry season, though breeding attempts have been recorded throughout the year. Pairs are monogamous and use a shallow scrape in soil, gravel or sand, lined with dry grass and leaves, as a nest. The nest is usually hidden among tufts of grass or under bushes, but is often quite exposed. Clutches contain 2-3 eggs and are incubated by both parents for little over 3 weeks.

Despite being common and widespread over southern Africa, and considered of least concern by the IUCN, the Double-banded Sandgrouse population is at risk of decreasing due to habitat loss. In South Africa, this species can be found in the Lowveld, western Limpopo, and parts of the North West and Northern Cape Provinces.