The timing of breeding in the chestnut-bellied sandgrouse is heavily influenced by the level of local rainfall, but generally occurs sometime between January and July, except in Kenya and Tanzania where the breeding season is more lengthy, ranging from February until November (2). The chestnut-bellied sandgrouse may produce two clutches a year, the nest being a simple scrape in the ground, holding three eggs per clutch (4), with both the male and female birds incubating the eggs (5). The chicks are active from hatching, soon foraging for food with the adult birds (4), but are unable to fly large distances and so must rely on the adults for water. At a water hole, the adult birds soak up water in the breast feathers before returning to the nest to “water” the chicks - a unique feature of the sandgrouse family. Adult birds can fly distances of up to 16 kilometres per day to find water, gathering in large flocks to drink a couple of hours after sunrise, and on very hot days at sundown (6).
The chestnut-bellied sandgrouse prefers to eat legumes such as beans, but also eats shoots and insects on rare occasions (2).
When a predator is detected, rather than fleeing and risk giving away its location, the chestnut-bellied sandgrouse sits still and relies on its wonderfully camouflaged plumage to conceal itself. It tends to live in small, scattered groups to reduce its visibility except for times when it gathers in often large numbers around watering holes (4).