Temporal and spatial patterns of abundance and breeding activity of Namaqua sandgrouse in South Africa

  • G Malan
  • R.M. Little
  • T.M. Crowe


We examined various measures of temporal and spatial patterns of abundance and breeding activity of Namaqua sandgrouse Pterocles namaqua (presumably mostly for P. n. furvus) in South Africa. Bird-atlas maps indicating reporting-rates and extensive-counts showed that the majority of Namaqua sandgrouse concentrate in Bushmanland, in the north-western Cape Province, from December to March. From April to July the sandgrouse move north and east of Bushmanland and apparently return to Bushmanland from August to November. This west-east movement occurs at a relatively constant rate of 30-50 km per month. Only 15% of the sandgrouse ringed at an estate within the eastern part of this species range returned the following winter. Follicle diameter and brood-patch measurements increased significantly from July to August, at the time when the majority of birds leave the estate. Belly-soaking was more prevalent in early summer in Bushmanland than in any season in the east. South African populations of Namaqua sandgrouse are partial migrants which breed primarily in early summer (October - November) in Bushmanland.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2224-073X
print ISSN: 1562-7020