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Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse - BirdForum Opus

Subspecies olivascens
Photo © by Mustafa Adamjee
Tsavo East National Park, Kenya, June 2020
Pterocles exustus


Subspecies hindustan
Photo © by Jugal Tiwari
Banni, Kutch, Gujarat, India, July 2008

31–33 cm (12¼-13 in)

  • Buffy beige overall plumage
  • Unmarked head
  • Heavily mottle upperparts
  • Dark underwing
  • Dark chestnut-brown belly
  • Barred, elongated central tail feathers


Female, Subspecies hindustan
Photo © by Shantilal Varu
Kutch, Gujarat, India, June 2016

Central and northern Africa and southern Asia.
Northern Africa: occurs only in Egypt
Western Africa: Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea
Eastern Africa: Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania
Middle East: Arabian Peninsula, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Iran
Asia: Pakistan, India and Bangladesh

Introduced on the Island of Hawaii, and persistent in the thoroughly ranched area between the town of Waimea, the west slope of Mauna Kea and Hualalai.



Female, Ethiopian subspecies
Photo © by volker sthamer
Bilen, Ethiopia, February 2016

Pterocles exustus has six subspecies:[1]

  • P. e. exustus
  • P. e. floweri
  • Egypt - thought extinct but recently rediscovered
  • P. e. ellioti
  • P. e. olivascens
  • P. e. erlangeri
  • P. e. hindustan


Arid semi-desert, usually with thorny scrub and trees.



Their diet consists mostly of small hard seeds, with the probable addition of shoots and insects occasionally.


The clutch usually contains 3 eggs which are laid into a ground scape, which may or may not be lined. Incubation takes 22-23 days, the male sitting overnight.


Click images to see larger version


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved June 2016)
  3. de Juana, E. and P. F. D. Boesman (2020). Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse (Pterocles exustus), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, D. A. Christie, and E. de Juana, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.chbsan.01

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