Welcome to the 23rd edition of Shakati’s Bush Facts. In this edition we will be focusing on the Coqui Francolin. If you stand still for long enough in the bush, you will see the bush come alive. And if you are really lucky, you will see the elusive Coqui Francolin.
The Coqui Francolin (Peliperdix coqui) is identified in Robert’s 7th edition as bird number 188 and commonly known by the following names:
Swempie [Afrikaans]; iNswempe [Zulu]; Sitentu [Kwangali]; Lebudiane [North Sotho]; Chimutowatsva, Gokwe, Horgwe [Shona]; Mantsentse [Tsonga]; Lesogo (also applied to Orange River Francolin), Letsiakarana, Mmamolangwane [Tswana]; Coqui-frankolijn [Dutch]; Francolin coqui [French]; Coquifrankolin [German]; Francolim-das-pedras [Portuguese].
The male and female Coqui Francolins look different from each other. The male is easily identified by plain reddish-brown head contrasting with the barred (or striped) underparts. The female can be distinguished by the white stripes around the eyes and lack of chestnut stripes on breast and flanks.
- Head: Yellow/ Brown
- Eyes: Reddish Brown
- Bill: Grey and Yellow
- Throat: Black and White
- Back: Black/White/Brown
- Legs: Yellow
- Underparts: White and black stripes
Habitat and Diet
The Coqui Francolin is mainly found in Africa’s Southern half but is also sparsely present in the Western Sahel and Ethiopia. It is believed to be the most widespread francolin in Africa.
The preferred habitats for Coqui Francolin are grasslands and savannahs. The Coqui Francolin is also at home in wetland and bushveld areas.
The Coqui Francolin is usually seen hunting for food on the ground or at the base of trees, and low down in the shrubs. Their diet primarily consists of seeds, shoots, small fruit, corms, bulbs, insects, beetles, grasshoppers, ants, moths, worms, spiders and frogs.
The Coqui Francolin is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying the Coqui Francolin will seek out a new mate.
The nesting habit of the Coqui Francolin is to create the nest in a hole in the ground. The bird lays eggs which are cream in colour and number between 4 to 6 eggs towards the end of the rainy season or early in the dry season when grass is long and unburnt and seed supply is hence at a peak.
The Coqui Francolin has several predators which include: Bateleur, Wahlberg’s eagle, Tawny eagle, African hawk-eagle, Martial eagle, Black sparrowhawk, Peregrine falcon and the Lanner falcon.
According the UCN list the Coqui Francolin is a non-threatened bird.
Take the time to sit and listen to the sounds and the sights of the bush, and when you sit long enough the special gems of the bush will start showing itself, like the Coqui Francolin. There is not a lot of information available on the Coqui Francolin, even though it is a common bird. Thus we invite you to come and explore Shakati Private Game Reserve to learn more about the Coqui Francolin.
See you next time!