Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse

Pterocles exustus




Sandgrouse (Pteroclididae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Tan with brown blotches.

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:


Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

Shallow depression in the ground.

Nest Material:

Sticks, feathers, grass and leaves.





Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse: One of the most common sandgrouse in Africa and India; a relatively small species. Upperparts are buff to light brown, underparts and face are chestnut; narrow breast band is black. Back and wings are mottled, primaries are darker brown. Tail has elongated central feathers. Female is more mottled, buff with heavy streaks and bars overall, lacks long tail feathers and single black breast band. Juvenile has a short tail; upperparts more densely barred; underparts are less contrasting.

Range and Habitat

Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse: Within North America, this species is found only on the big island of Hawaii. It is a native resident in India, the southern Arabian Peninsula, and parts of Africa. This bird prefers desert and semi-desert habitats, and is also found in arid scrub, dry steppe, and fallow fields.

Breeding and Nesting

Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse: Nesting occurs in the late winter and early spring. Three tan eggs heavily marked with brown blotches are laid in a shallow depression and are incubated for about 23 days by both parents. The female incubates during the day, and the male at night. Precocial chicks leave the nest shortly after hatching and learn feeding techniques from their parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse: This semi-desert species prefers to eat legumes such as beans, but their diet also includes grasses, herbs, mustard leaves, shoots and insects. They are dependent on water, so their small flocks may fly up to 50 miles a day to reach a watering hole two to three hours after sunrise, or occasionally just before sunset.


Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse: A two note whistle.

Similar Species

Not likely to be confused with any other species in its range.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The upper front part of a bird.
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
The primaries are the flight feathers specialized for flight. They are attached to the "hand" equivalent part of the wing.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X