Rooivlerkpatrys [Afrikaans]; Intendele (generic
term for francolin), Isakhwatsha [Xhosa]; iNtendele (generic term
for francolin) [Zulu]; Khoale (generic term for francolins and
spurfowls) [South Sotho]; Roodvleugel-frankolijn [Dutch]; Francolin
de Levaillant [French]; Rotflügelfrankolin [German];
For information about this species, see
The 'grassland francolins' (genus Scleroptila),
which include the Orange River,
Grey-winged, Red-winged and
Shelley's francolins, are quite similar
to one another. It is most similar to the Orange River francolin but can be
distinguished by having a broad black-and-white speckled breast band, not the
thin black band found in the latter species. In
addition, it can be distinguished from Grey-winged by the white, not
grey-speckled, throat and by the much greater proportion of russet on the
outstretched wings. Unlike the Shelley's francolin, it does not have
black-and-white patterning on the lower breast and belly.
Plumage of male and female is the same. Male has a short,
blunt leg spur.
Distribution and habitat
There are about seven separate populations distributed
through African countries. The southern-most population has a distribution
extending from Swellendam in the Western Cape, up the east coast, round Lesotho
and into the highveld. In the Western Cape it is found in high altitude
mountain fynbos and elsewhere it is found mainly in grasslands dominated by the
grass Themeda triandra.
Kwa-Zulu-Natal and Mpumalanga: August to March (peak November to
Eastern and Western Cape: March to July
Four to 10 eggs are laid and after the clutch is completed, the female
incubates them for about 22 days.
Chicks are precocial and leave the nest soon after hatching.
In some regions, suitable habitat for this species has become reduced
through overgrazing and and too frequent burning (annual burning is too
frequent; biennial - every two years - is all right). This species has
become locally extinct over large areas of the former homelands of Transkei
and Ciskei (now in the Eastern Cape) largely as a result of these two factors.
Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG (eds) 2005. Roberts
- Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker
Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.
Sinclair, I, Hockey, P. and Tarboton, W. 2002. Sasol
Birds of Southern Africa. 3rd edition. Struik, Cape Town.
Text by Hamish Robertson
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