Double-spurred francolin

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Double-spurred francolin
Francolinus bicalcaratus (cropped).jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Subfamily: Perdicinae
Genus: Pternistis
Species: P. bicalcaratus
Binomial name
Pternistis bicalcaratus
(Linnaeus, 1766)
Synonyms

Francolinus bicalcaratus

The double-spurred francolin (Pternistis bicalcaratus) is a gamebird in the pheasant family Phasianidae of the order Galliformes, gallinaceous birds.

Like most francolins, it is restricted to Africa. It is a resident breeder in tropical west Africa, but there is a small and declining isolated population in Morocco.

This bird is found in open habitats with trees. It nests in a lined ground scrape laying 5-7 eggs. Double-spurred francolin takes a wide variety of plant and insect food.

The male is mainly brown, sparingly streaked and spotted darker and cream above, chest and flank feathers are dark brown edged and centrally spotted cream. The face is pale cream finely flecked with dark brown, and the head features a chestnut crown and white supercilium. It has a chestnut neck collar, white cheek patches and brown wings. The male usually has two spurs on each leg, the upper one being blunt. The female is similar, but usually lacks spurs and is slightly smaller and less robustly built. Young birds are almost indistinguishable from adult females after the post juvenile moult at several weeks old, males take several months to develop any spurs. Breeding is unlikely until the birds are in their second year.

This is a very unobtrusive species, best seen in spring when the male sings a mechanical krak-krak-krak from a mound. It has a Pheasant's explosive flight, but prefers to creep away unseen.

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