Family Sandgrouse (Pteroclidae)

Least Concern

Namaqua Sandgrouse (Pterocles namaqua)


French: Ganga namaqua German: Namaflughuhn Spanish: Ganga namaqua

Tetrao Namaqua

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

Hantams Berg, north of Calvinia, western Cape Province, South Africa


May be closely related to P. exustus. Recent study#R suggests that these two together with P. orientalis may belong in a clade that includes also the two Syrrhaptes species; or, alternatively, that all five of these may form a group with P. gutturalis, P. personatus, P. coronatus, and possibly including also P. alchata and P. burchelli; further study needed. Birds from N part of range formerly separated as race ngami, those of S & SE as furva. Monotypic.


SW Angola and Namibia E to SW Zimbabwe, and S through Botswana and W & C South Africa (W Limpopo and Free State S to S Western Cape).

Descriptive notes

c. 28 cm; male c. 170–190 g, female c. 150–190 g. Small sandgrouse; like P. senegallus, combines long tail and dark underparts with pale underwing. Male... read more


Flight call a trisyllabic nasal yelping “kwel-kee-weeen” and similar variations. In group, birds... read more


Sub-desert and fringes of desert, in a variety of habitats; commoner in flat or rolling country... read more

Food and feeding

Eats small, dry seeds, showing a strong preference for certain plants, notably Tephrosia dregeana (Leguminosae) and Cleome... read more


Period is extended, probably dependent on rainfall: in S Africa in general, all months except Mar and May, with peaks during cooler months... read more


Sedentary and locally nomadic; southern populations migratory, those breeding in Karoo moving N to... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common to locally abundant in much of range. Usually occurs in pairs or small parties, but sometimes in fairly large flocks. Now absent from former... read more

Recommended citation

de Juana, E. & Boesman, P. (2020). Namaqua Sandgrouse (Pterocles namaqua). 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 28 February 2020).