Red-necked Spurfowl (Pternistis afer)

Red-necked Spurfowl

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Conservation status
Least Concern
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Subfamily: Perdicinae
Genus: Pternistis
Species: P. afer
Subspecies: P.a. ssp. castaneiventer
Binomial name
Pternistis afer castaneiventer
Gunning & Roberts, 1911
Multinational names
Afrikaans: Rooikeelfisant
French: Francolin à gorge rouge
Portuguese: Francolim-de-gola-vermelha
German: Nacktkehlfrankolin / Rotkehlfrankolin
Zulu: iNkwali
Xhosa: Inkwali
Tsonga: Makokwe / N’hwarimakokwe / N’warimakokwe
Shona: Gorwe / Hwari
Kwangali: Sigwali
Roberts #

Identification. The Red-necked Spurfowl (Pternistes afer) grows to between 33 – 38 cm in height and weighs between 520 and 570 g. It is a generally dark spurfowl, brown above and black-streaked grey or white underparts. The bill, bare facial skin, neck and legs are bright red. The bare red throat is distinctive. Females are similar but smaller and lack the spurs.

Juveniles lack the red throat and have chestnut edging on the feathers.

Habitat. The Red-necked Spurfowl is a terrestrial bird found in wooded gorges, edges of upland evergreen forests, riverine scrub, savanna and grassland areas.

Diet. The Red-necked Spurfowl feeds mainly on roots, bulbs, insects, snails and seeds.

Call. The Red-necked Spurfowl has a rather loud tjoor, tjoor tjirr call heard mostly at dawn and dusk. When disturbed and taking flight the call is a very loud kêk, kêk, kêk.

Breeding. The Red-necked Spurfowl, in the Eastern Cape area, breed from April to August. In the rest of the country the breeding season is from November to February. The female lays 4 – 7 eggs which are yellowish in colour. Incubation time is about 23 days with the male playing no role. Chick can fly about 10 days after hatching.

South African Distribution. The Red-necked Spurfowl is a common resident along the east- and south coast of South Africa ranging from George to the Mozambique border. Also in the south eastern corner of Mpumalanga.

Port Elizabeth Area. May be found in grassland areas adjoining river systems. Abundant in Baakens Valley and the Gamtoos Valley.

Conservation Status – LC (Least Concern)1 This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Red-necked Spurfowl
  1. IUCN Redlist – Red-necked Spurfowl Fact Sheet