Swainson's Spurfowl

Introduction: Swainson's spurfowl (Pternistis swainsonii) used to go by the name of Swainson's francolin (Francolinus swainsonii). This species is named after the English naturalist, artist, author and collector, William Swainson (1789-1855). Their preferred habitat is tall grass and they are usually seen in pairs in open country of woodland close to water. They are not known for venturing too far from natural cover and co-occur in Namibia with the red-billed spurfowl.

Distribution: Northern Namibia including Etosha National Park, Rundu, Bwabwata National Park extending east to Victoria Falls.

Diet: A winter diet includes bulbs, roots, seeds, berries and grass leaves. In summer they eat insects, locusts, beetles and grasshoppers, as well as spiders, ticks and small snails. They are particularly partial to maize, barley, sorghum, cereals and crop seedlings are dug out with the bill. They can be seen on midsummer nights feeding on open lands under a full moon.

Description: This is a widespread and common species that are overall dark brown in colour with back feathers and associated spots and streaks. Their legs and feet are black and the belly is white. They have similar markings to the red-necked spurfowl.

Breeding: Nests are scraped in the ground and lined with leaves and grass. Females lay between 3 to 12 eggs with an incubation period of around 21 to 24 days. Monitor lizards, mongooses, snakes and the chacma baboon prey on chicks.

Size: 33 to 38cm.

Weight: 700g.

Birds of Namibia Wildlife of Namibia

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