Appearance There are 8 species of Francolin regularly found in Kenya. Francolin share their family name (Phasianidae) with Spurfowl and Quail. The difference between Francolin and Spurfowl is minimal. In East Africa the name Spurfowl was given to those species with bare throat skin and Francolin to those that do not. In South Africa, Scaly Francolin and Hildebrandt's Francolin are named Spurfowl. Francolin are multi-patterned, round bodied birds with short tails and small, rounded wings.
Habits Francolin are sedentary birds, usually seen in pairs or small groups. They prefer to run on strong legs, rather than fly, although flight is fast, using rapid wing-beats, albeit not for any distance. They all have stout bills. Most Francolin species have spurs on the rear of their lower legs. They all roost in trees. Males are generally larger than females and, except in Hildebrandt's Francolin and Cocqui Francolin, the sexes are similar. All Francolin are noisy birds, when flushed. None like getting their feathers wet in long grass, after it has rained and can be found out on paths and tracks, where they also like to dust-bathe.
Diet Francolin are omnivorous, eating both insects and plant matter. Scratch marks in dirt are often a sign of the prescence of Francolin, where they scratch at the ground, looking for food.
Resident Francolin are, between all the species, found all over Kenya. Most prefer woodlands and heavily bushed areas. Not seen above 3,500 metres.
Extra Francolin Facts Francolin have been hunted by man, both historically and presently, for both sport and meat. Hunting dogs are used to run them to ground, allowing the hunter to get close, where they are then flushed with shrieks from the Francolin, flying rapidly on whirling, short, rounded wings. In areas they are hunted, Francolin become very shy and secretive.
Photographs Photographed at Kenya's Olare Orok Conservancy.