Black-faced Sandgrouse

The Black-faced Sandgrouse (Pterocles decoratus) occur naturally in the African countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda.


Three subspecies are currently recognized:

  • Pterocles decoratus decoratus – Nominate form found in southeastern Kenya and eastern Tanzania
  • Pterocles decoratus ellenbecki – Northeastern Uganda, northern Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia
  • Pterocles decoratus loveridgei – Western Kenya and western Tanzania

Black-faced Sandgrouse, Pterocles decoratus, Samburu National Reserve, Kenya, Africa


The Black-faced Grouse have compact bodies, except for the small, pigeon-like heads and necks. Both genders look alike, except females tend to be slighty smaller.

Diet and feeding

Their diet mostly consists of seed.


Sandgrouse are monogamous (form life-long pair bonds). The nest is made on a slight depression in the ground. The average clutch consists of 2 eggs. The parents share the incubation duties. The male incubates during the night and early mornings, and the female takes over during the day.

The hatchlings emerge after about 20 – 25 days; and are able soon able to leave the nest. Even though the chicks are able to feed themselves within hours of hatching, they remain with their parents for severals months both for protection as well as to learn foraging skills from them.

Photo of author

Team Beauty of Birds's team of experts includes veterinarians, biologists, environmentalists and active bird watchers. All put together, we have over half a century of experience in the birding space.

You can meet our team here.