Doublebanded Sandgrouse - Pterocles bicinctus - Dubbelbandzandhoen
The Double-banded Sandgrouse, Dubbelbandzandhoen (Pterocles bicinctus) is a plump, small-headed, pigeon-like bird. At close range the male is identified by a combination of black-and-white bands just above bill and by a strong yellow eye-ring; the female is mottled with black, brown, and white. It prefers using patches of recently-burnt grassland near rocky areas in savanna. Largely inactive by day; large numbers synchronously gather at waterholes to drink, call, and socialize briefly at dusk before dispersing to forage throughout the night. Its distinctive calls are squeaky and bubbling: “oh NO, he’s gone and done it AGAIN!”.
The Double-banded Sandgrouse, Dubbelbandzandhoen measures 25 cm; male c. 215–250 g, female c. 210–280 g. Among the small sandgrouse species of rounded tail and black and white design on forehead of males (subgenus Nyctiperdix) recalls especially P. quadricinctus and P. indicus, but male has only one black and white pectoral band, without chestnut, and broad white tips on dorsal feathers. Orbital ring yellow; bill orange. Female as P. indicus, with crescent-shaped dorsal mark and paler belly. Juvenile Double-banded Sandgrouse, Dubbelbandzandhoen similar to adult female, less barred and with most feathers edged with buff.
Double-banded Sandgrouse, Dubbelbandzandhoen has a wide range of habitats, from sub-deserts to thick Brachystegia woodland; perhaps mostly acaciaveld and lightly wooded savannas, also bushveld; may prefer stony or rocky ground.
Double-banded Sandgrouse, Dubbelbandzandhoen is reputed as sedentary. However, at Borakalalo NP, North West province, South Africa, mainly present during two relatively dry periods: Feb–Mar and Jul–Sept, and absent during the wet summer period."
Diet and Foraging
Double-banded Sandgrouse, Dubbelbandzandhoen eats mostly seeds. Mostly inactive by day, usually feeds during early morning and late afternoon, and drinks at night.
Sounds and Vocal Behavior
Double-banded Sandgrouse’s, Dubbelbandzandhoen primary call a complex phrase of mellow over-slurred notes, “pup…pup…kwe-kwee-ko-kwe-kwe-kweh-whew”, which has been rendered as “oh no he's gone and done it again”. Sometimes shortened to “kwe-kwee-ko-kwe-kwe”. In groups at waterholes, birds call simultaneously, resulting in a nervous squabbling sound. On take-off, a series of grunts “grrr-grr-grr-grr”.
Double-banded Sandgrouse, Dubbelbandzandhoen breeds in winter dry season, Apr–Oct throughout range, mainly May and Oct in Namibia, May–Aug in Botswana, Jul–Aug in Transvaal. Nest, scrape on ground, sometimes scantly lined, among grasses or under shrub or tree. Clutch, 2–3 eggs, average 2·6 in Namibia. Against normal sandgrouse pattern, females in captivity incubated by night. Incubation, 23–24 days. Chick buff colouredphoto with brown areas on top of headphoto and back, crossed and bordered by dark-edged white lines .
Conservation status of Double-banded Sandgrouse, Dubbelbandzandhoen on Birdlife LC Least Concern
Double-banded Sandgrouse, Dubbelbandzandhoen is not globally threatened. Widespread and fairly common to common throughout range. In C Transvaal bushveld formerly quite common but now only rare vagrant. During breeding season in scattered pairs, at other seasons in flocks of up to 50 birds. Double-banded Sandgrouse, Dubbelbandzandhoen has been captive bred in the University of Wales, Cardiff, UK.