Of all the species of Sandgrouse, Burchells, or Pterocles burchelli, abound in the area while the Namaqua, Pterocles namaqua, are much less prevalent.
Sandgrouse are misnamed, as they are not a true grouse, but half way between a grouse and a pigeon. They do however possess the feathered feet and parts of the legs that true grouse have. These wonderful little birds are magnificently adapted to their desert environment, having absorbent breast feathers with which they soak up moisture while drinking, and then carry the resultant water payload back to their nests. The Namaqua in particular, are a very handsome bird, easily identified even in flight, due to the pointed tail feathers. There is no doubt, the man that has one well mounted for his trophy room will own a beautiful piece of bragging rights.
Still, these wonderful little birds, [which are also incredibly good eating] by virtue of their predictable bi-daily drinking regimen, can be extremely vulnerable to over hunting. Several methods of decreasing the danger of over hunting are utilized while further methods are under consideration. Schalk Pienaar Safaris Namibia is determined to leading the charge in Namibia when it comes to initiating these conservation procedures. Education of shooters before they are in the field is our first initiative. All shooters have it explained to them to aim for the single or double birds and not simply spray the centre of the flock. Skilled shot gunners make this their prerogative. It is after all a gentleman’s pastime, to have a pleasant day’s sport, and not an exercise in competitive one-upmanship as to who can kill the most birds.