The Chestnut-Bellied Sandgrouse (Pterocles exustus) is a terrestrial bird from Africa. The photographed sub-species Pterocles exustus olivascens is from eastern Africa.
The Chestnut-Bellied Sandgrouse is the only east African sandgrouse with long, fine-pointed tail feathers. It has a small, pigeon-like buff-coloured, streaky brown head and neck, and a sturdy compact body. It has dark wing linings and a dark belly, with lighter brown upperparts. It has short cream-coloured legs, and a grey beak. It has a white line above its eyes, and round dark eyes with a cream-yellow eye-ring.
It grows to about 28 centimetres (11 inches) long.
The Chestnut-Bellied Sandgrouse is found in sparse, bushy, arid land in central, eastern and northern Africa. It lives in hot, dry climates, but it is highly reliant on water. It has been known to travel up to 80 kilometres (50 miles) in one day in search of water.
It is a ground-dwelling (terrestrial) bird. It feeds on vegetation and seeds, and sometimes ants and termites.
The Chestnut-Bellied Sandgrouse mates for life. It makes a slight depression in the ground to lay its eggs. Females lay 2-4 eggs, which hatch after 20-25 days. The female sits on the eggs during the day and the male sits 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