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Partridges and Spurfowls, Genus Francolin

Hildebrandt's Francolin, Pternistis hildebrandti
Black Francolin, Pternistis francolinus
Handsome Francolin, Pternistis nobilis
Erckel's Francolin, Pternistis erckelii
Chestnut-naped Francolin, Pternistis castaneicollis
Red-billed Spurfowl, Pternistis adspersus
Cape Francolin, Pternistis capensis
Natal Francolin, Pternistis natalensis
Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Pternistis leucoscepus
Grey-breasted Spurfowl, Pternistis rufopictus
Red-necked Francolin, Pternistis afer
Swainson's Francolin, Pternistis swainsonii

Handsome Francolin, Pternistis nobilis, at Ishasha, Uganda
Photo: Mickey Samuni-Blank

Francolins are birds that traditionally have been placed in the genus Francolinus, but now commonly are divided into multiple genera, although some of the major taxonomic listing sources have yet to divide them. They are members of the pheasant family, Phasianidae. When all are maintained in a single genus, it is the most diverse of the Galliformes, having by far the most members. Francolins are terrestrial (though not flightless) birds that feed on insects, vegetable matter and seeds. Most of the members have
a hooked upper beak, tails with fourteen feathers and in many of them the male has spurs on the tarsi.

Francolinus were divided into 4 new genera: Francolin for the Asian species, and the African species divided into Peliperdix,
Scleroptila and Pternistis.

Twelve of the species which occur in Africa are found in the subcontinental region of southern Africa; of these, seven occur in
varying proportions within the political boundaries of Namibia. Six southern African francolins are considered endemic to the
subcontinent, of which three are found in Namibia (Hartlaub's Francolin, Pternistis hartlaubi, Red-billed Spurfowl, Pternistis
and Orange River Francolin, Scleroptila levaillantoides ). The Cape Francolin, Pternistis capensis, endemic to the
Cape Province of South Africa occurs marginally in southern Namibia. Several species have been introduced to other parts of the
world, notably Hawaii.

Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Subfamily Perdicinae

Genus Pternistis - Spurfowl - African Francolin
Scaly Francolin, Pternistis squamatus
Ahanta Francolin, Pternistis ahantensis
Grey-striped Francolin, Pternistis griseostriatus
Hartlaub's Francolin, Pternistis hartlaubi
Double-spurred Francolin, Pternistis bicalcaratus
Heuglin's Francolin, Pternistis icterorhynchus
Clapperton's Francolin, Pternistis clappertoni
Harwood's Francolin, Pternistis harwoodi
Hildebrandt's Francolin, Pternistis hildebrandti
Jackson's Francolin, Pternistis jacksoni
Handsome Francolin, Pternistis nobilis
Mount Cameroon Francolin, Pternistis camerunensis
Swierstra's Francolin, Pternistis swierstrai
Chestnut-naped Francolin, Pternistis castaneicollis
Erckel's Francolin, Pternistis erckelii
Djibouti Francolin, Pternistis ochropectus
Red-billed Spurfowl, Pternistis adspersus
Cape Spurfowl, Pternistis capensis
Natal Spurfowl, Pternistis natalensis
Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Pternistis leucoscepus
Grey-breasted Spurfowl, Pternistis rufopictus
Red-necked Spurfowl, Pternistis afer
Swainson's Spurfowl, Pternistis swainsonii

Collected from GBWF.org "Francolin & Partridge) in addition
to generas found on Wikipedia.

Hildebrandt's Francolin, Pternistis hildebrandti

Hildebrandt's Francolin, Pternistis hildebrandti, Tanzania

Photo: Nevit Dilmen

The Hildebrandt's Francolin, Pternistis hildebrandti, is a species of bird in the Phasianidae family. It is found in Burundi,
Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia. The species is named for
Johannes Hildebrandt, who collected the first specimens in Kenya.

Black Francolin, Francolinus francolinus

Black Francolin, Francolinus francolinus
Photo © Dan Cowell


Handsome Francolin, Pternistis nobilis

Handsome Francolin, Pternistis nobilis, at Ishasha, Uganda
Photo: Mickey Samuni-Blank

The Handsome Francolin, Pternistis nobilis, is a large, up to 35 cm long, terrestrial forest francolin with a dark reddish brown
plumage, grey head, red bill and legs, brown iris, bare red orbital skin and rufous grey below. Both sexes are similar. The female is
slightly smaller than male. The young has duller plumage.

The Handsome Francolin is distributed in mountain forests of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, southwest Uganda and
borders between Burundi and Rwanda. It is a shy and elusive bird, more often heard than seen. The diet consists mainly of seeds.

Although locally common across much of its range, recent surveys for the species in prime habitat in southwestern Uganda detected
its presence at only 1 in 10 survey points. The research concluded that a reanalysis of the status of Handsome Francolin could be
justified in the light of its apparent strong preference for montane bamboo forest, which is a rare and patchy habitat

montane bamboo forest
Left: Eroded landscape - Right: 4 year old Bamboo wood
From a NatureUganda (NU) presentation on the Web.
NU is the Ugandan Branch of East African Natural History Society (EANHS), the oldest conservation
organization in East Africa, set up in 1990 as a scientific organization with the primary aim of
documenting the diversity of wildlife in East Africa.

Erckel's Francolin, Pternistis erckelii

Erckel's Francolin near Waimea Canyon on the island of Kaua'i, Hawaii
Photo: Mirko Raner

The Erckel's Francolin, Pternistis erckelii, is a species of bird in the Phasianidae family. It is native to Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Sudan.
In 1957 the species was also introduced to the Hawaiian islands. It prefers grasslands, scrub and brushy areas.

The sexes are alike; males are large and stocky birds, usually with two sets of spurs. The females much smaller and lack spurs.
They are very recognizable in aviaries and rarely confused with other species. The forehead is black as is the stripe above the eye that
separates the chestnut crown from the dark gray cheeks; the throat is light buff to white; neck, breast, back, flanks grayish brown
streaked with dark chestnut in varying sizes. The bill is black, legs and feet dark grayish yellow.

Chestnut-naped Francolin, Pternistis castaneicollis

Chestnut-naped Francolin
Photo: Allan L Drewitt

The Chestnut-naped Francolin, Pternistis castaneicollis, is a species of bird in the Phasianidae family. At 33–37 cm and 550–1,200 g,
it is a large species of francolin. It is found in Ethiopia, Somalia, and possibly Kenya.

Red-billed Spurfowl, Pternistis adspersus

A Red-billed Francolin in Etosha, Namibia
Photo: Hans Hillewaert

The Red-billed Spurfowl, Pternistis adspersus, also known as the Red-billed Francolin, is a species of bird in the Phasianidae family. It is found in Angola, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Cape Francolin, Pternistis capensis

A Cape Francolin at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, South Africa
Photo: Wayne de Villiers

The Cape Spurfowl, or Cape Francolin, Pternistis capensis, is a gamebird in the pheasant family Phasianidae. This francolin is
endemic to the southwestern Cape of South Africa.

The Cape Francolin is a bird of scrubby open areas, preferably close to running water. Its nest is a grass-lined scrape under a bush,
and six to eight eggs are laid (but sometimes two females will lay in one nest). This species can become very tame if disturbance is limited,
and will feed in gardens, by roadsides, or with farmyard chickens. It will run rather than fly if disturbed.

The Cape Spurfowl is 40–42 cm in length. The male, at 600–915 g, averages larger than the female, at 435–659 g. This large francolin
appears all dark from a distance, apart from the red legs, but when seen closer the plumage is finely vermiculated in grey and white,
with a plainer crown and nape.

The sexes are similar in plumage, but the male has two leg spurs whereas the female has at best one short spur The juvenile is similar to the adults, but has duller legs and clearer vermiculations. This large dark francolin is unlikely to be confused with any other species in its range.

Natal Francolin, Pternistis natalensis

Natal Francolin, Pternistis natalensis
Photo: Dick Daniels

The Natal Spurfowl or Natal Francolin, Pternistis natalensis, is a species of bird in the Phasianidae family. It is found in Botswana,
Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Pternistis leucoscepus

Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Pternistis leucoscepus
Photo: Lip Kee Yap

The Yellow-necked Spurfowl or Yellow-necked Francolin, Pternistis leucoscepus, is a species of bird in the Phasianidae family.
It is found in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda

Subspecies: The races and geograpical variation of this species is debated. In the past, a number of races have been described,
but recent data eliminates those and places this species into monotypic status. It prefers Arid Grasslands

Both sexes share the bare yellow throat-patch for which the species is named; the plumage of neck, breast and lower abdomen steaked
with white, buff and brown; backside and tail mostly brown; red facial skin; legs brownish-black. Males are slightly larger and carry two
spurs (females mostly spurless).

Locally common and perhaps the most often seen francolin in east Africa.

Grey-breasted Spurfowl, Pternistis rufopictus

Grey-breasted Spurfowl, Pternistis rufopictus, taken in Serengeti Park, Tanzania
Photo: D. Gordon E. Robertson

The Grey-breasted Spurfowl or Grey-breasted Francolin, Pternistis rufopictus, is a species of bird in the Phasianidae family.
It is found only in Tanzania.

Red-necked francolin, Pternistis afer

Red-necked francolin roaming in Mikumi
Photo: IlSaggiatore

The Red-necked Spurfowl or Red-necked Francolin, Bare-throated Francolin, Cranch's Spurfowl, Pternistis afer, is a gamebird in the
pheasant family Phasianidae of the order Galliformes, gallinaceous birds. The Red-necked Spurfowl breeds across the central belt of
Africa and down the east coast to Tanzania, prefer plains and open woodlands.

It is 25–38 cm in length, with a significant size difference between the subspecies, of which there are seven. It is a generally dark
francolin, brown above and black-streaked grey or white underparts. The bill, bare facial skin, neck and legs are bright red.

The Red-necked Spurfowl is a wary species, keeping to deep cover, although it sometimes feeds in open scrub or cultivation if
disturbance is limited and there are thickets nearby. The nest is a bare scrape, and three to nine eggs are laid.

Swainson's Francolin, Pternistis swainsonii

Swainson's Spurfowl in Kruger National Park, South Africa.
The spurs on its legs indicate that it is a male

Photo: Chris Eason

The Swainson's Spurfowl or Swainson's Francolin, Pternistis swainsonii, is a species of bird in the Phasianidae family. It is found in
Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Nine eggs are laid.
Source for the above information from Wikipedia and www.gbwf.org

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