Shelley's francolin

Francolinus shelleyi
Photo by Achim Mittler (Flickr)

Common name:
Shelley’s francolin (en); francolim-de-Shelley (pt); francolin de Shelley (fr); francolín de Shelley (es); Shelley-frankolin (de)

Order Galliformes
Family Phasianidae

This African species is found in in the south-eastern portion of the continent, from Kenya and Tanzania, through Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique and down to eastern South Africa.

The Shelley’s francolin is 30-35 cm long and weighs 480-500 g.

These birds are found in dry savannas, woodlands and dry grasslands, particularly in areas of rocky ground. They are mainly found at altitudes of 700-3.000 m.

Shelley’s francolins mainly eat corms, bulbs, seeds and grains, but will also take insects during the summer.

They can breed all year round, varying between different parts of their range. The nest is a scape in the ground, lined with grasses and roots and placed among grass or bushes. There the female lays 3-8 white eggs, which she incubates alone for 20-22 days. The chicks leave the nest soon after hatching and are able to fly short distances after 12 days, but only become fully independent 5 weeks after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
The Shelley’s francolin has a very large breeding range and is reported to be generally common to locally rare. The population is declining owing to habitat degradation caused by over-grazing and burning.

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