Black-faced Sandgrouse (Pterocles decoratus)
The Black-faced Sandgrouse male is buff above, barred with black. It has a bold black, white and buff head pattern, with yellow orbital skin and an orange bill. His breast is circled with a thin black ring, below which, is a broad white band, merging with his black belly.
The female Black-faced Sandgrouse is buff coloured, spotted and streaked with black, except on her face, white breast band and black belly. Her bill is black.
These small, 9" (23cm) birds look a little like Pigeons, with short legs, feathered to their toes. They waddle, like Ducks and walk off into long grass when threatened, or fly away, with a clattering of wings.
The Black-faced Sandgrouse is a ground bird, of open areas.
The Black-faced Sandgrouse is a seed eater, making for a dry diet, requiring a trip to a water source twice a day. Even if it means flying there. Like Pigeons, they drink in one go, rather than having to lift their heads.
Black-faced Sandgrouse are found in the West of Kenya, apart from along the Somalia border.
The male has special feathers, that absorb water. He wades into water, then flies back to the nest, to give his chicks a drink. Both parents regurgitate food, to feed the young, whose nest is simply the hard ground.
Photographed in Tsavo East.
Keywords:bird, black-faced sandgrouse, kenya, sandgrouse, wildlife