Family Sandgrouse (Pteroclidae)

Least Concern

Burchell's Sandgrouse (Pterocles burchelli)


French: Ganga de Burchell German: Fleckenflughuhn Spanish: Ganga goteada
Other common names: Variegated Sandgrouse

Pterocles (Eremialector) burchelli

W. L. Sclater

, 1922,

near Griquatown, Griqualand West, Northern Cape Province, South Africa


Affinities uncertain, and no apparent close relatives#R. In the past, sometimes included in genus Eremialector, or even in monotypic Calopterocles, mainly on grounds of being a rather isolated species. Subspecies makarikari is paler than nominate, but difference often considered not sufficient to warrant retention of geographical races. Proposed race delabati (N Namibia) is synonymized with makarikari. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. b. makarikari (Roberts, 1932) – SE Angola, SW Zambia and NW Zimbabwe S to Namibia and N & W Botswana.
  • P. b. burchelli W. L. Sclater, 1922 – SE Botswana and N South Africa (N Northern Cape, N North West Province, NW Limpopo).
  • Descriptive notes

    25 cm; male c. 180–200 g, female c. 160–185 g. Small, relatively long-legged; short although pointed central rectrices; reddish general colour, with diagnostic... read more


    Flight call a fairly high-pitched, mellow, double-noted “chow-wheep”, the second note upslurred.... read more


    Mostly in open, semi-arid short-grass plains; also open acaciaveld; less desertic habitat than... read more

    Food and feeding

    Seeds; in Kalahari most important Lophiocarpus burchelli (Chenopo­diaceae). Drinks in the morning, 2 to 4 hours after sunrise. read more


    Lays Apr–Oct, after rains, during winter dry season. Nest, shallow scrape on ground, often in short grass or among stunted scrub,... read more


    Sedentary and nomadic.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally regarded as common; widespread and fairly common in Botswana; fairly common at some localities in W Transvaal. Usually seen single or in... read more

    Recommended citation

    de Juana, E. & Boesman, P. (2020). Burchell's Sandgrouse (Pterocles burchelli). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 January 2020).