Burchell's sandgrouse

Burchell's sandgrouse (Pterocles burchelli) is a species of bird in the family Pteroclidae. It is found in arid and semi-arid regions of southern Africa. The name of this bird commemorates the English naturalist William John Burchell.[2]

Burchell's sandgrouse
Burchell's Sandgrouse - Etosha 0010.jpg
Burchell's sandgrouse, Pterocles burchelli, at Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape, South Africa (35283376452).jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Pterocliformes
Family: Pteroclidae
Genus: Pterocles
P. burchelli
Binomial name
Pterocles burchelli
Sclater, 1922


Burchell's sandgrouse is a plump bird about the size of a pigeon with a small head and short legs. The body is light brown, mottled with darker shades and white speckles. In males, the eye is surrounded by bare yellow skin and the cheeks and throat are pale grey. The male grows to about 25 cm (10 in) long and the female is a little smaller.[3]

Distribution and habitatEdit

Burchell's sandgrouse is found in Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. It is normally resident but moves about to a limited extent depending on the availability of water and the seeds it mainly eats. It is widespread and common in much of its range.[4] It frequents areas of rough grass and scrub, especially on red Kalahari sand and has been able to extend its range because of the greater availability of water after the sinking of boreholes by farmers.[5]


Burchell's sandgrouse is monogamous and breeds during the dry season between April and October. The nest is formed in a shallow depression in the ground often concealed among grass tussocks or under a bush. It is lined with a few fragments of dry vegetation and two or usually three eggs are laid. Both parents incubate the eggs and the chicks are precocial when they hatch, covered in down and soon able to run after the adult birds. Both parents care for the young and, as in other sandgrouse species, water is brought to them absorbed in the specially adapted feathers that line the parents' breasts.[5]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Pterocles burchelli". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2013.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  2. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael (2003). Whose Bird? Men and Women Commemorated in the Common Names of Birds. London: Christopher Helm. p. 72.
  3. ^ "Burchell's Sandgrouse". BirdForum. Retrieved 2012-06-05. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ BirdLife International 2004. Pterocles burchelli[dead link]. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Archived June 27, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Downloaded on 24 July 2007.
  5. ^ a b "Pterocles burchelli (Burchell's sandgrouse)". Biodiversity Explorer. Archived from the original on 2014-05-04. Retrieved 2012-06-05. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External linksEdit