Yellow throated Sand Grouse

The past weekend delivered a magnificent sighting of a 6 sandgrouse displaying mating behaviour.

To see these birds on Black Rhino is quite a rare sighting as the reserve is on the edge of their preferred region, but they are nomadic and migratory. These birds are terrestrial, usually occurring far from water in arid habitats where they feed virtually exclusive on dry seeds, and occasionally weeds. They do not scratch for food with their feet but flick sand with their beaks.  Grit is ingested to assist with grinding the tough seeds in the gizzard.

But what makes these birds so unique is their ability to carry water to their chicks nest. They have specially adapted feathers on the belly and lower breasts that hold water in the inner surface by capillary action.

These birds are reliant on water and can fly vast distances (daily) to get water.

Different sexes will fly to the water at different times especially during incubating of eggs. When not breeding they will spend more time at water drinking and in much larger flocks.

As they are found in vey arid dry areas they have a water saving mechanism – a salt gland that they use to purge extra salt.

These birds are defiantly a bonus on any birders list visiting Buffalo Thorn Lodge.


Sandgrouse female Sandgrouse Web 2 Sandgrouse Web