The Black-Faced Sandgrouse (Pterocles decoratus) is an east African bird. The sub-species Pterocles decoratus decoratus is found in southeast Kenya and eastern Tanzania.
The Black-Faced Sandgrouse has a small, pigeon-like head and neck, and a sturdy compact body. Its has long pointed wings and tail feathers, and short cream-coloured legs. It is chestnut-brown with black markings. It has a brown chest with a white belly separated by a black band. Its head is chestnut with a black eyebrow, a white line above the eyebrow, round dark eyes with a white eye-ring, and a short orange beak.
It grows to about 24-40 centimetres (9-15 inches) long.
The Black-Faced Sandgrouse prefers semi-arid tropical regions and open savannahs. It is a ground-dwelling bird.
It is mainly a seed eater, but it also eats plant shoots, leaves, ants, and termites.
The Black-Faced Sandgrouse mates for life. It makes a nest in a slight depression in the ground. Females lay 2-4 eggs, which hatch after 20-25 days. Females sit on the eggs during the day and the males sit on the eggs at night.
The chicks are born precocial, covered with down feathers, and eyes open. The parents do not feed their chicks – they must look after themselves.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM