restricted access Francolins
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Coqui Francolin L: 20–28 cm (8–11") The Coqui Francolin is small, males having a distinctive rusty head and black and white bars on the breast and belly; females are duller, with a small black crescent extending from the eyebrow to the upper neck, and a black-bordered white throat. The rare Shelley’s Francolin (not illustrated) looks similar to the female Coqui Francolin but has strong rufous streaking on the underparts. An uncommon and secretive resident, the Coqui Francolin prefers to remain hidden in tall grass, where it is most often detected by its characteristic calls: a disyllabic , repetitive “ko-kwi, ko-kwi” and an accelerating “ter-ink, tara-tara-tara”. Crested Francolin L: 30–35 cm (12–14") A medium-sized, buff-brown francolin with a bushy crest that is sometimes raised, and a broad, ‘string-of-pearls’ collar around the white throat. It is a common and widespread resident, often found at picnic areas and in riverine woodland, walking confidently with a cocked tail – giving it a chickenlike gait. Birds herald dawn and dusk with a repeated series of rapid, cheery “cheer kirk-kik” calls, usually given as a synchronised duet between a pair – one of Kruger’s most distinctive and characteristic wild sounds. Around their dens, African Wild Dogs have developed a surprising tolerance of Crested Francolins – perhaps because the birds’alarm calls provide the dogs with early warning of dangerous predators such as Spotted Hyenas and Lions. Francolins female male 78 Natal Spurfowl L: 30–38 cm (12–15") A medium-sized, brownish francolin with distinctive yellow nostrils and bright orangered bill and legs . The back is mottled brown, and the underparts are finely barred brown and white, giving a marbled appearance . Juveniles have a similar plumage to adults, but the legs and bill are duller . This is a common resident in Kruger, and although it prefers thick undergrowth some birds have become bold scroungers at various camps and picnic areas . The call is a loud, raucous “kak-kreek” that variably accelerates and decelerates . Natal Spurfowl feed mainly on plants during the winter (June–August), but at other times of the year their diet is supplemented with invertebrates. Natal Spurfowl tend to be most active at dawn and dusk, usually retiring to dense cover during the heat of the day. They are sometimes seen dust bathing in open areas close to thickets. BIRDS OF BROADLEAVED WOODLAND AND CAMPS 79 ...