Hildebrandt's Francolin (Francolinus hildebrandti
Hildebrandt's Francolin are medium-sized, 16" (41cm) well-rounded birds.
The male is dark brown above, with a pattern. The underparts are off-white, heavily spotted and streaked with black. His neck and face are grey, with white speckles. His forehead is black and the crown and ear-coverts are brown. The upperpart of his bill is black, with red below and yellow behind. A slight 'ridge' over the nostrils. The legs and feet are red, with black toes. A bony 'spur' on the back of the lower leg.
The female is a smaller bird. Her underparts, neck and head are reddish-brown and unspotted. Habits
Hildebrandt's Francolin are shy birds, generally found in pairs or small groups (coveys) in deep cover. Their colouration and pattern, in the surroundings they reside in, provides excellent camoflage. If flushed, they explode from the grass making an unforgetable noise "kik~kerek~Kerek~Kik~Kik
", getting louder and louder. Often, the female joins in, making an even louder combined sound. If a predator chases them, they prefer to run and hide in the grass, before flying. During wet weather, they can be found on the road, not wanting to get their feathers wet in the grass. They are also known to like dust-bathing.
Hildebrandt's Francolin nest in a scrape in the ground under long grass or bushes. Diet
Hildebrandt's Francolin are omnivourous, eating both insects and plant matter; seeds, grass, tubers and fruit. Resident
Hildebrandt's Francolin are commonly seen in the Rift Valley. Also seen occasionally in Mara GR, Amboseli NP and Tsavo NP. Extra Hildebrandt's Francolin Facts
Hildebrandt's Francolin are named Hildebrandt's Spurfowl in South Africa.
This bird was named after Johann Maria Hildebrandt (1847 - 1881), a German explorer, who made several expeditions to Kenya, in particular the Great Rift Valley lakes. The other notable bird named after him is the Hildebrandt's Starling
Photographed at Kenya's Olare Orok Conservancy.