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I Dream Africa

I Dream Africa

Francolin

   

Francolins are birds that traditionally have been placed in the genus Francolinus, but now commonly are divided into multiple genera (see Taxonomy). They are members of the pheasant family, Phasianidae. When all are maintained in a single genus, it is the most diverse of the Galliformes, having by far the most members. Francolins are terrestrial (though not flightless) birds of that feed on insects, vegetable matter and seeds. Most of the members have a hooked upper beak, tails with fourteen feathers and in many of them the male has spurs on the tarsi. Of the approximately 40 extant species, 5 are restricted to Asia, while the remaining are restricted to Africa.

Twelve of the species which occur in Africa are found in the subcontinental region of southern Africa; of these, seven occur in varying proportions within the political boundaries of Namibia. Six southern African francolins are considered endemic to the subcontinent, of which three are found in Namibia (Hartlaub's, Red-billed Francolin F. adspersus and Orange River Francolin F. levaillantoides ). The Cape Francolin Francolinus capensis, endemic to the Cape Province of South Africa occurs marginally in southern Namibia. A fossil francolin, Francolinus capeki, has been described from Late Pliocene deposits of Hungary; the contemporary fossil galliforms "Francolinus" minor and "F." subfrancolinus are now placed in Palaeocryptonyx.

   
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