Fun Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse Facts For Kids

Arpitha Rajendra
Oct 20, 2022 By Arpitha Rajendra
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.6 Min

The chestnut-bellied sandgrouse (Pterocles exustus), also called the common sandgrouse, is a sandgrouse species of the family Pteroclidae. There are six described subspecies of chestnut-bellied sandgrouse. The plumage colors vary from one subspecies to another. Their feathers are mostly colored in shades of brown, gray, orange-buff, and olive with different color patterns. This species is native to barren semi-deserts. These birds are closely related to doves and pigeons as all these species are of the same order. There are 14 described species in this genus. The birds of this genus fly to watering holes in flocks and have a direct, fast flight. The Pteroclidae has 16 species of sandgrouse birds that are usually placed in two genera, Syrrhaptes and Pterocles. These species were previously placed with Colubriformes because it was reported that these birds could drink water by a 'pumping' or 'sucking' action. This was later changed as it reported that cannot drink water this way.

If you find these sandgrouse facts interesting, then you may also click here for rainbow bee-eater and myna facts on Kidadl.

Chestnut-Bellied Sandgrouse Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a chestnut-bellied sandgrouse?

The chestnut-bellied sandgrouse (Pterocles exustus) is a sandgrouse species of the order Pterocliformes and phylum Chordata. This bird is terrestrial, sedentary, and migratory. They need a lot of water even though they prefer arid climates, which is why they migrate to a nearby range of habitats in search of water.

What class of animal does a chestnut-bellied sandgrouse belong to?

The chestnut-bellied sandgrouse (Pterocles exustus) belongs to the class Aves of animals.

How many chestnut-bellied sandgrouses are there in the world?

The population number of chestnut-bellied sandgrouse (Pterocles exustus) in the world has not yet been calculated.

Where does a chestnut-bellied sandgrouse live?

The distribution range of the chestnut-bellied sandgrouse (Pterocles exustus) population is across central and northern Africa extends towards the east to southern and western Asia. This range extends to Indomalayan and Afrotropic biogeographic realms. They can also be found in Sindh or Thar desert in India and Egypt.

The different subspecies have different distribution ranges. The distribution range of P. e. exustus subspecies is across Senegal, Mauritania, Sudan, and the Gambia. The distribution range of P. e. floweri subspecies is across the Nile valley, Egypt and was considered Extinct until 2012. The distribution range of P. e. ellioti subspecies is across eastern Eritrea, southeastern Sudan, Somalia, and northern Ethiopia. The distribution range of P. e. olivascens subspecies is across Kenya, southeastern South Sudan, Northern Tanzania, and southwestern Ethiopia. The distribution range of P. e. erlangeri subspecies is across Yemen, Oman, southwestern Saudi Arabia. The distribution range of P. e. Hindustan subspecies are across southeastern eastern Iran, India, and Pakistan.

What is a chestnut-bellied sandgrouse's habitat?

The Pterocles exustus (chestnut-bellied sandgrouse) habitat range is across regions with arid climates. Their range also extends to sandy plains, deserts, fallow fields, arid scrub, and dry steppe.

Who do chestnut-bellied sandgrouses live with?

The chestnut-bellied sandgrouse (Pterocles exustus) lives in flocks and pairs.

How long does a chestnut-bellied sandgrouse live?

It is not known for how long the chestnut-bellied sandgrouse (Pterocles exustus) lives in the wild, however, they have lived for three years in captivity, captured in Nevada.

How do they reproduce?

This chestnut-bellied sandgrouse species reaches their sexuality at the age of one after they hatch. In the breeding season, males grow fresh bright-colored plumage feathers and will also have characteristic elongated central tail feathers. Males court the females using low vocalization and short chases and are usually courted by many several males and only after a short period will be chased by one quick male. This species builds their nests in shallow scrapings in the ground as observed in captivity. Female birds lay around three to six eggs after breeding. The birds in Sindh and Thar deserts also nest in a shallow scraped out of the ground, however, with three eggs per nest.  These nests do not have any means of protection as they are built in the open.

The eggs of this species are usually yellowish-stone or pale gray-stone in color with small spots and blotches of brown, lavender, or gray markings. Incubation is only done by females in captivity and eggs hatch right after incubation. It has been observed that males incubate the eggs at night. The hatchlings will remain close to the nest for a few days and leave the nest shortly after. There were breeding attempts made in the state of Nevada between 1959-1961 but they failed.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of chestnut-bellied sandgrouse birds is Least Concern. This bird faces the threat of predation, hunting, and infestations. They are highly resilient against diseases.

Chestnut-Bellied Sandgrouse Fun Facts

What do chestnut-bellied sandgrouses look like?

Chestnut-bellied sandgrouse birds are a medium-sized species of sandgrouse. This mostly brown-colored species has an elongated central tail that looks pointed in flight. Also, they appear to have small heads and short legs when on the ground. Overall plumage feathers vary among the subspecies.The  P. e. floweri population of the Nile valley have grayer and darker colors on the breast, mantle, and head. They also have yellowish color on the scapulars and upper wing coverts than the nominate P. e. exustus population.

P. e. ellioti (Sudan to Somalia), P. e. Hindustan (eastern Iran, India, and Pakistan), and P. e. erlangeri (Yemen, Oman, southwestern Saudi Arabia) are grayer and paler than the nominate population. The P. e. olivascens population has gray-olive colors on their wings and upper parts, with females having more streaks and barred underparts than the nominate population. One can distinguish the species found in India from other chestnut-sandgrouse birds because the male has isabelline-gray or brown upper parts and dull yellow-ochre chin, cheeks, throat, and lores with orange buff extending to the neck. They have ocherous-buff or buff wings shading to olive towards their inner bottom wing. They have vinous-buff upper breast with a black band that has a white border. The yellow-buff lower breast changes gradually into chocolate color with the center of the abdomen black-colored.

The tail sections consist of cream-buff, isabelline gray or brown, and black colors. The female has dull-buff streaked upper plumage with dark brown blotches and marks. Their wing feathers match the color of their back feathers but have buff tips with brown covert edges. They have pale ocherous buff lower breast with the dark brown barred abdomen and creamy buff under-tail covert feathers.

Chestnut-bellied sandgrouse birds carry water in their breast feathers from a water source back to the nest for their young ones.

How cute are they?

These birds are considered cute.

How do they communicate?

They communicate by calls and body language.

How big is a chestnut-bellied sandgrouse?

The chestnut-bellied sandgrouse size range is around 11.5-12.5 in (29-32 cm). These birds are almost twice as long as common ground doves.

How fast can a chestnut-bellied sandgrouse fly?

These sandgrouses can fly pretty fast but their flight speed is not known.

How much does a chestnut-bellied sandgrouse weigh?

These birds weigh around 0.62 lb (283 g). This species is almost nine times heavier than doves.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name given to the female and male chestnut-bellied sandgrouse species.

What would you call a baby chestnut-bellied sandgrouse?

There is no specific name given to the baby chestnut-bellied sandgrouse species.

What do they eat?

This species of sandgrouse, like all their relatives in the family, feed on seeds, fallen berries, and small insects. However, their primary diet is consuming small seeds in large amounts, usually from leguminous plants. The habitats that they inhabit are mostly arid, however, the population will travel in flocks every day in search of water bodies.

Are they dangerous?

No, they are not dangerous to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

No, these wild birds of the sandgrouse family would not make great pets.

Did you know...

A relative of chestnut-bellied sandgrouses, the pin-tailed sandgrouse species call is a loud 'katta kattar'.

Some common names of this sandgrouse species in India and Africa include chestnut sandgrouse and Indian sandgrouse.

Predators of these birds are falcons in India and eagles.

How did the chestnut-bellied sandgrouse get its name?

As the name suggests, they are a chestnut-bellied species with a black breast band.

How big are the chestnut-bellied sandgrouse's wings?

The wingspan of these birds is 18.8-20 in (48-51 cm).

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these cliff swallow facts and common kingfisher facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring on one of our free printable chestnut bellied rock thrush coloring pages.

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Written by Arpitha Rajendra

Bachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

Arpitha Rajendra picture

Arpitha RajendraBachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

With a background in Aeronautical Engineering and practical experience in various technical areas, Arpitha is a valuable member of the Kidadl content writing team. She did her Bachelor's degree in Engineering, specializing in Aeronautical Engineering, at Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology in 2020. Arpitha has honed her skills through her work with leading companies in Bangalore, where she contributed to several noteworthy projects, including the development of high-performance aircraft using morphing technology and the analysis of crack propagation using Abaqus XFEM.

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