We were really surprised at all the Swainson’s and Natal Spurfowl (both formerly known as francolins) families with tiny chicks that we encountered during our recent visits to the Kruger National Park in May and June, supposedly well into our austral winter (and dry) season.
An inhabitant of woodland, savanna, riverine thickets, wooded hills and coastal forests, the Natal Spurfowl subsists on an omnivorous diet of seeds, bulbs, roots, fruit and insects, often pecking undigested items from the dung of large herbivores. They’ll also exploit agricultural fields adjacent to their preferred habitats. Natal Spurfowl weigh in at around 400g.
Natal Spurfowl move around in pairs or family groups. Nests are scraped in the ground among dense vegetation, and lined with soft plant material and feathers. Clutches contain up to 7 eggs, incubated by the female for 3 weeks. Breeding has been recorded throughout the year, with a peak in summer and autumn.
The Natal Spurfowl occurs in Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland and South Africa, where they can be found in the provinces of Kwazulu-Natal, Free State, North West, Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. They are common throughout their range and listed as “least concern” by the IUCN.