The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Natal Spurfowl / Natal Francolin

Afrikaans name: Natalse Fisant

Natal Spurfowl in Kruger National Park

Natal Spurfowl previously known as Natal Francolin

Photo © Steven Herbert

Pternistis natalensis

The Natal Spurfowl has, for many years, been called the Natal Francolin in South Africa. It is found across most of the eastern regions of South Africa. Beyond our borders it is found in most southern African countries except for Namibia. They are found in a variety of habitats including bushveld, hilly slopes, coastal dune forests and forest edges. They often give their presence away with their raucous call. In protected areas, such as game reserves, they can become quite tame and are often seen on the dirt roads or in camp or picnic sites.

Although male and female Natal Spurfowl have similar plumage the male is a fair bit bigger. Males weigh around 500 grams while females weigh less than 400 grams. They feed on seeds, grain, fruit, termites, caterpillars and other insects.

These gamebirds make a good meal for a bird of prey, so it is no surprise that raptors such as Peregrine and Lanner Falcons, Wahlberg’s Eagle, Spotted Eagle Owl and Bateleurs hunt it.

The breeding season is from December to May. Their nest is merely a scrape in the ground where up to 7 eggs are laid. The eggs take around 3 weeks to hatch during which time they are incubated by the female. It takes less than 2 weeks for the chicks to be able to fly for short distances.

References and further reading

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 68

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 2011 - Page: 138

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Published: 1989 - Page: 62

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 74

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 1993 - Page: 132

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1985 - Page: 175

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1993 - Page: 172

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1981 - Page: 130

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1975 - Page: 121

Ian Sinclairs Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Published: 1988 - Page: 94

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 2000 - Page: 146

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1984 - Page: 146

Gamebirds and Waterfowl of Southern Africa - Author: CG Finch-Davies, Dr Alan Kemp - Published: 1986 - Page: 101

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Published: 1991 - Page: 74

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Published: 1999 - Page: 23

Common Birds of the North Coast - Author: Bing Comrie - Published: 2005 - Page: 19

Birds of the Transkei - Author: C.D. Quickelberge - Published: 1989 - Page: 49

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Published: 1987 - Page: 70

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Published: 1992 - Page: 26

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Published: 1987 - Page: 71

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 91

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Published: 1985 - Page: 58

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1975 - Page: 158

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1959 - Page: 158

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Published: 1983 - Page: 88


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List of South African Birds

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