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the web of life in southern Africa

Peliperdix coqui (Coqui francolin) 

[= Francolinus coqui

Swempie [Afrikaans]; iNswempe [Zulu]; Sitentu [Kwangali]; Lebudiane [North Sotho]; Chimutowatsva, Gokwe, Horgwe [Shona]; Mantsentse [Tsonga]; Lesogo (also applied to Orange river francolin), Letsiakarana, Mmamolangwane [Tswana]; Coqui-frankolijn [Dutch]; Francolin coqui [French]; Coquifrankolin [German]; Francolim-das-pedras [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Galliformes > Family: Phasianidae

Peliperdix coqui (Coqui francolin)   

Coqui francolin male. [photo Johann Grobbelaar ]



The male is easily distinguished from other francolins by the plane reddish-brown head contrasting with the barred underparts. The female can be distinguished from other francolins (Shelley's francolin in particular) by the white eye stripe and lack of chestnut stripes on breast and flanks.

The Coqui francolin is arguably the smallest francolins in southern Africa, averaging 260 g and 240 g in weight for male and female respectively. The only other francolin species that can compete with it in terms of low weight is Hartlaub's francolin, which averages 270 g and 230 g for male and female respectively.


Widespread in savanna and woodland regions of Africa.

Distribution of Coqui Francolin in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project ( Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  



Recorded by Clem Hagner, Atlantica Ecological Research Station 1963, [ Transvaal Museum]


Predators and parasites


Feeds mainly on above ground food such as seeds, shoots and small fruits. To a lesser extent feeds on underground corms and bulbs, using mainly its bill rather than scratching the soil with its legs as in most other francolins. In the warmer months also feeds in invertebrates. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • Breeds towards the end of the rainy season or early in the dry season when grass is long and unburnt and seed supply is hence at a peak. 
Peliperdix coqui (Coqui francolin)   

Coqui francolin nest with eggs, Nylsvley, South Africa. [photo Warwick Tarboton ]

  • Egg-laying season is almost year-round, peaking from December-May.
  • Lays clutch of 3-6 eggs, incubation period unknown, only the female incubates the eggs. The chick can fly after 7-10 days. 


  • 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