Family Sandgrouse (Pteroclidae)

Least Concern

Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse (Pterocles lichtensteinii)


French: Ganga de Lichtenstein German: Wellenflughuhn Spanish: Ganga de Lichtenstein
Other common names: Close-barred Sandgrouse (arabicus)

Pterocles lichtensteinii


, 1825,

Nubia, south Egypt–north Sudan


In the past, sometimes included in genus Eremialector. Recent study#R suggests that this species may form a clade with P. decoratus, P. bicinctus, P. quadricinctus and P. indicus. Formerly considered conspecific with P. bicinctus and P. indicus. Proposed races abessinicus (Ethiopia), nigricans (S Ethiopia) and hyperythrus (S Somalia and NE Kenya) all synonymized with nominate. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. l. targius Geyr von Schweppenburg, 1916 – Sahara and Sahel from S Morocco and Mauritania E to Chad.
  • P. l. lichtensteinii Temminck, 1825 – S Israel, Jordan, Sinai, SE Egypt and Sudan S to Eritrea, N Ethiopia, N Somalia and Socotra I.
  • P. l. sukensis Neumann, 1909 – SE South Sudan and S Ethiopia S to C Kenya.
  • P. l. ingramsi Bates & Kinnear, 1937 – EC Yemen (Hadhramaut).
  • P. l. arabicus Neumann, 1909 – S Arabia (except EC Yemen) E to S Iran and S Pakistan (Baluchistan, Sind).
  • Descriptive notes

    22–26 cm; male c. 175–250 g, female c. 190–230 g; wingspan 48–52 cm. As P. quadricinctus, P. bicinctus and P. indicus,... read more


    Rarely vocalizes during day. Gives repeated, liquid “wheet-wheet-wheet” or “quitoo” in flight,... read more


    Deserts, semi-deserts and arid bushveld in rocky and scrubby areas, as wooded dry wadis and bare... read more

    Food and feeding

    Predominantly seeds, perhaps mostly of Acacia (Leguminosae), e.g. perhaps exclusively on A. ehrenbergiana during breeding... read more


    Eggs, Feb–Sept, mostly May–Jul, but once Jan in Ethiopia; in Morocco, mainly nests mid-Mar to mid-Jun, sometimes with second... read more


    Sedentary, perhaps nomadic in places, e.g. in Morocco, where sometimes reported from Saharan... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Usually in pairs or small parties of up to c. 30 birds, although flocks of up to 300 observed in Oman and 200 in Ethiopia. Sparsely distributed, but... read more

    Recommended citation

    de Juana, E. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse (Pterocles lichtensteinii). 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 27 February 2020).