Small, shy sandgrouse of harsh deserts. Heavily vermiculated, but overall dark. Rather compact with a short rear. Male has black-and-white forehead pattern and broad sandy and black horizontal bars across its breast. Female is camouflaged, lacking any prominent patterns and has a pale eyering. Inhabits stony, mountainous deserts. Unlike most other sandgrouse drinks at dusk. In flight utters odd, urgent squeaks.