Namaqua Sandgrouse (Pterocles namaqua)
The Namaqua Sandgrouse, also known as the Ganga Namaqua, is a species of ground-dwelling bird in the sandgrouse family. It is found in arid regions of south-western Africa, especially Kalahari Gemsbok Park.
The sandgrouse is a medium-sized bird with a plump body, small head and short legs. It grows to a length of about 28 centimetres (11 in). The male has an orange type buff head, throat and chest and has a conspicuous narrow band of white and dark brown. The colouring of the female and juvenile is more of generally various shades of brown patterned with white specks.
The birds converge on watering holes in the early morning and several dozens or even hundreds of individuals may congregate in one place. They also tend to spend the night in groups, congregating about an hour before dusk. They split up during the day into much smaller groups to feed.
Their principal diet is seeds but they also eat leaves, flowers, small fruit, insects and molluscs. They forage by exploring loose soil with their beaks and flicking it away sideways.
The nest is a scrape in the earth, lined with dried plant material. Incubation lasts about 22 days. The female does the incubation by day and the male does a longer shift at night, starting about two hours before sunset and finishing two hours after dawn. The chicks are able to leave the nest on the day they are hatched. The male brings them water absorbed on the specially adapted feathers of his breast. The chicks grow rapidly; they are fully feathered at three weeks and able to fly at six.
These birds were photographed early morning at a water hole in the Kalahari Gemsbok Park….
Gorgeous photos & what a sweet looking little bird!
Molto belli questi uccelli, mi fai conoscere sempre tante specie animali che non conosco.
Thanks Pat glad you’re enjoying..
Imagine that the male brings water on his specially equipped feathers…just amazing and their markings are so unusual and beautiful!
The males necklace fascinates me…
What cute little birds, and it’s interesting to know that they also participate in that human custom of ‘happy hour’. 🙂
Yes… good comment… thank you..
A sweet little bird … that melts in great against the environment – just like the ground and the rocks. Love that yellow and orange shades that the males carry. Like that the male brings water …. seams like a hard working bird.
They are lovely to watch when they fly in and out…
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They’re very plump, healthy looking birds. It’s amazing the chicks can leave the nest on the day they are hatched 😀 Great pics here!
Much like the plovers or lapwings as they call them now… out the egg and on the way.. or you become food for something else…
These are really cute little birds… and so kind to each other! 🙂
These are beautiful and they blend right in so nicely, it always amazes me.
Thanks for the comment..
You can’t hardly see them in the sand, they’re very well camouflaged.
They are that…
The males ares really pretty, Bulldog. Good shots.
I love their necklace they wear…
I enjoyed these shots, bulldog. I wondered abou the light gray birds but saw info about them in the comments.
The common Cape Turtle dove.. I have as post up coming on them…
I like that the man does his part and then some in the sandgrouse family. I noticed that you have some collared doves in the photos too. These birds were introduced in the Bahamas in the 1970s and now we see them here on Vancouver Island, the west coast of Canada. And I read that they don’t migrate but they disperse easily. They certainly are spreading out. We never used to see these birds here; only in the last few years.
The Cape Turtle Dove is spread in all four corners of SA and probably most of the southern part of Africa… (Streptopelia capicola) ..the collard dove or Eurasian collard dove (Streptopelia decaocto) is the one that was introduced to the Americas.. although I have no idea why… and they do spread as does the Cape Turtle dove…
We have the Indian Myna that was introduced here years back and is now almost as prolific as the doves… it has adapted to all areas from dense bush to the hottest deserts…
One’s mind boggles at the reason for them introducing birds to different areas not natural to them… it’s not as though they are endangered of extinction..
I marvel at the adaptations animals and plants make to survive in their niches in the ecosystem.
Thanks Alex… this is definitely one that has had to adapt… but its speed of flight is unbelievable… there was a jackal continually harassing them … I never managed one decent photo when they took to flight…
I love the shots with the blue water reflections best – nice set!
Thank you.. there was a jackal running in and out trying to catch one whilst at the water hole… in all the times that happened I never managed to get one good flying photo… they all just scattered far too fast…
Birds are tough – they change directions so quickly. The colors on these were really rich against that water.