Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Red-necked francolin

Francolinus afer

Photo by Ian White (Flickr)

Common name:
red-necked francolin (en); francolim-de-gola-vermelha (pt); francolin à gorge rouge (fr); francolín gorgirrojo (es); rotkehlfrankolin (de)

Order Galliformes
Family Phasianidae

This African species is found in the southern half of the continent, from Kenya, Uganda, D.R. Congo, Congo and Gabon in the north, and all the way down to South Africa.

The red-necked francolin is 25-38 cm long. They have a wingspan of 39-42 cm. Males tend to be larger than females, females weigh around 500 g while the males can weigh up to 700 g.

The red-necked francolin is mostly found in tropical and sub-tropical lowland moist forests and in tropical and sub-tropical dry grasslands. They are also found in dry savannas.

Their diet consists mainly of seeds, tubers, bulbs, roots, berries and grass stalks. They can also eat molluscs, and insects and their larvae, namely termites and ticks.

The timing of breeding varies with rainfall, but tends to occur mostly in November-April. The red-necked francolin nests on a bare scrape in the ground, where the female lays 3-9 eggs. The eggs are incubated for 23 days by the female. The young are fully grown after 3-4 months.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This is a very widespread and abundant species. Although some populations have declined locally, especially in Zimbabwe due to over-hunting, the species is not threatened at present.

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