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A photo of a Double-banded Sandgrouse (Pterocles bicinctus), male
Double-banded Sandgrouse, Male

Double-banded Sandgrouse

Pterocles bicinctus

The double-banded sandgrouse, Pterocles bicinctus, presents itself as a moderately-sized bird with a quail-like appearance. Its plump body is adorned with light brown plumage, featuring darker mottling and rows of whitish specks. The species is characterized by a small, pigeon-like head, elongated wings, and a lengthy tail.

Identification Tips

Males can be readily identified by a striking black-and-white band across the forehead and a chestnut throat bordered by another black-and-white band. Both sexes boast an area of bare, yellow skin encircling the eye, while the male's beak is tinged with orange. Females are generally smaller and exhibit a more subdued brown coloration. Juveniles resemble the female in appearance.

Habitat

These birds show a preference for habitats with short, trampled grass beside roads and tracks, gravel patches, tussocky grasslands, and recently burned scrub areas with emerging green shoots. They are also found beneath scattered Terminalia sericea and Burkea africana trees and within scrubby mopane woodlands.

Distribution

The double-banded sandgrouse is native to southern Africa, with sightings in Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Behaviour

Typically observed in small groups, these monogamous birds often form pairs or family units. They forage in dry areas during the morning and congregate near water sources in the afternoon and after dark. Their presence fluctuates seasonally, with absences noted during wetter periods.

Song & calls

Unfortunately, this guide does not provide information on the song and calls of the double-banded sandgrouse.

Breeding

Breeding occurs from February to September, with a peak that varies geographically. The male's courtship display involves circling with a lowered beak and an elevated tail. Nests are simple depressions in the soil, concealed by grass or shrubbery. Both parents incubate the 2-3 eggs, which hatch after about 24 days. Chicks are precocial and able to move and feed shortly after hatching, achieving flight approximately one month later.

Similar Species

The double-banded sandgrouse can be distinguished from similar species, such as Burchell's and Namaqua sandgrouse, by its unique banding and habitat preferences.

Diet and Feeding

Their diet primarily consists of seeds from various plants, including acacia, red pea, Tephrosia, Cyperus, blackjack, and hairy thorn-apple.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List classifies the double-banded sandgrouse as Least Concern, indicating a stable population without significant threats at present.

Double-banded Sandgrouse Sounds


Recorded by: © 
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Double-banded Sandgrouse on Birda

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