Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Black francolin

Francolinus francolinus

Photo by Ahmet Karatash (Trek Nature)

Common name:
black francolin (en); francolim-escuro (pt); francolin noir (fr); francolín común (es); halsbandfrankolin (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Galliformes
Family Phasianidae

Range:
This species is found from Turkey and Israel, through Syria, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan, and into northern India, Nepal, south-western China and Bangladesh.

Size:
These birds are 31-36 cm long and weigh 420-550 g.

Habitat:
The black francolin is found in cultivated areas, such as arable land, irrigated fields and plantations, as well as in grasslands and scrublands. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.500 m.

Diet:
They feed mainly on the seeds of various grasses, weeds and agricultural crops, but also take
shoots, leaves, tubers, berries, figs, insects and their larvae, spiders, earthworms, and occasionally even amphibians and reptiles.


Breeding:
Black francolins are monogamous and the breeding season varies according to the range, but is associated to the rains. The nest is built by the female, consisting of a shallow scrape on the ground, concealed amongst the vegetation, in tall grasses or cultivated areas. It is lined with grasses, twigs and leaves. The female lays 7-14 eggs pale brown or greenish eggs with white spots, which she incubates alone for 18-21 days. The chicks leave the nest soon after hatching and are raised by both parents. Each pair produces 2 clutches per year.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as rare in some parts of its range, but common to widespread in other areas. The black francolin suffered heavy declines in some areas due to over-hunting, but hunting bans have halted this problem and the population in now suspected to be stable.

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