Orange River Francolin

Introduction: There are 3 species of Orange River francolin with 2 subspecies found in Namibia (Scleroptila levaillantoides jugularis) and (Scleroptila levaillantoides pallidor). The differences are mainly confined to neck and underpart markings. They prefer habitats of open grassland, hilly and mountainous Namibian terrain and Kalahari sweet grasslands. Calling birds will usually perch on a rock or anthill, mainly in the early morning and evening.

Distribution: Scattered populations can be found in central and north-eastern Namibia extending south-east to Botswana.

Diet: Corns, berries, bulbs, flowers, seeds, fallen grain and green shoots are eaten in winter, with insect supplements taken in summer. Leaf bugs, dung beetles, ants and termites, grasshoppers and locust hoppers are also included in the diet. Food is dug up using the bill.

Description: Birds of this genus are fairly small in size with characteristic yellow legs and quail-like back feathers. Their call can be described as musical and whistled. The name Scleroptila means stiff feathers.

Breeding: Only females dig the nest, a scrape in the ground in dense grass, lined with dry grass. Between 3 and 8 eggs are laid in February to June and the young are cared for by both male and female.

Size: 32 to 35cm.

Weight: 440g.

Birds of Namibia Wildlife of Namibia

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