The 'grassland francolins' (genus Scleroptila),
which include the Orange River,
Grey-winged, Red-winged and
Shelley's francolins, are quite similar
to one another. The Orange River francolin is highly variable in plumage pattern
and is most easily confused with the Red-winged francolin from which it can be
distinguished by having a thin, not broad, breast band. It differs from
Shelley's francolin in lacking bold black and white markings on the lower breast
and belly and by only one of the facial stripes (the moustachial stripe) meeting
on the breast to form the breast band. It differs from Grey-winged francolin in having a white, not grey-freckled,
Male and female have the same plumage. The male can be
distinguished by having leg spurs.
Distribution and habitat
Found in grasslands and arid savannas. Near endemic to
southern Africa with a distribution extending from southern Angola, through
northern Namibia and Botswana and into the Free State and adjacent regions.
Archer's francolin Scleroptila lorti, which is found in Ethiopia and
vicinity, was considered a subspecies of the Scleroptila levaillantoides but
is now generally given full species status.