Dendroperdix sephaena (Crested
Bospatrys [Afrikaans]; isiKhwehle (also
applied to Natal spurfowl) [Zulu]; Sitjindakarare [Kwangali]; Hwerekwere [Shona];
Ingwenyane [Swazi]; Nghwari (generic term for francolin) [Tsonga];
Kuiffrankolijn [Dutch]; Francolin huppé [French]; Schopffrankolin [German];
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Crested francolin male with characteristic cocked tail. [photo
Callie de Wet ©]
Crested francolin. [photo
Paul Zaayman ©].
The individual on the left is a male because of the long upcurved leg
Can be distinguished from other francolins by the broad
white eye-stripe contrasting with the dark head, combined with the white throat. Its habit of cocking its tail
(see image above) is also a useful distinguishing feature.
Female and juvenile are less boldly marked than the male
and lack the long, upcurved leg spur of the male.
Distribution and habitat
Found in woodland and wooded savanna in a distribution
extending from Ethiopia down to the northern regions of southern Africa.
Distribution of Crested francolin in southern Africa,
based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas
, University of
Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range
from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common).
Animal Demography unit
for the latest distribution
from the SABAP2. See here Call
Click for call
Recorded by June Stannard, Ndumu Game Reserve,
[© Transvaal Museum]
Predators and parasites
In summer feeds mainly on insects while in winter it is
mainly herbivorous (underground corms and bulbs, above ground shoots, leaves,
fruits and berries).
Form breeding pairs (monogamous) that can last for up
to 10 months.
Males compete and fight over females (see images below).
Copulation follows a ritual display.
Nest is hidden among grass and/or shrubs and consists of a scrape
in the ground lined with grass and leaves.
Breeding season coincides with rain:
March to May peak in N Namibia, Botswana and
October to March in South Africa.
3-7 eggs are laid and after the clutch has been
completed, it is incubated for 19-26 days, exclusively by the female.
Crested francolin clutch,
South Africa. [photo Warwick Tarboton ©]
Meanwhile the male guards the general area around the
nest and uses a warning call to alert the female to any approaching danger.
Chicks leave the nest about 2 hours after hatching and
are looked after by their parents.
Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG (eds) 2005.
- 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.
Birds of Southern Africa. 3rd edition. Struik, Cape Town.