Cape spurfowl

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Cape spurfowl
Francolinus capensis -Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, South Africa-8.jpg
At Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, South Africa
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Genus: Pternistis
Species: P. capensis
Binomial name
Pternistis capensis
(Gmelin, 1789)
  • Francolinus capensis

The Cape spurfowl, or Cape francolin (Pternistis capensis) is a gamebird in the pheasant family Phasianidae. This francolin is endemic to the southwestern Cape of South Africa.

The Cape francolin is a bird of scrubby open areas, preferably close to running water. Its nest is a grass-lined scrape under a bush, and six to eight eggs are laid (but sometimes two females will lay in one nest). This species can become very tame if disturbance is limited, and will feed in gardens, by roadsides, or with farmyard chickens. It will run rather than fly if disturbed, but even while quite small, just a few weeks old, it flies readily and strongly if startled or pressed.

The call is a loud cackalac-cackalac-cackalac.


The Cape spurfowl is 40–42 cm (16–17 in) in length. The male, at 600–915 g (1.323–2.017 lb), averages larger than the female, at 435–659 g (0.959–1.453 lb).[2] This large francolin appears all dark from a distance, apart from the red legs, but when seen closer the plumage is finely vermiculated in grey and white, with a plainer crown and nape.

The sexes are similar in plumage, but the male has two leg spurs, whereas the female has at best one short spur. The juvenile is similar to the adults, but has duller legs and clearer vermiculations. The large, dark francolin is unlikely to be confused with any other species in its range.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Pternistis capensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 9 September 2014. 
  2. ^ CRC Handbook of Avian Body Masses by John B. Dunning Jr. (Editor). CRC Press (1992), ISBN 978-0-8493-4258-5.

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