Hunting Grey-Wing Partridge

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GREY-WING PARTRIDGE  (Scleroptila africanus)

Key Characteristics

The distinguishing characteristics are the broad black-spotted collar, grey throat and grey wings in flight.  The belly is finely barred and the bill is black, while the feet appear yellowish.  Flushing is distinctly noisy.

Habitat

Predominantly a high altitude montane grassland species.  Grey-wing Partridge typically occur above 1800 metres above sea level.  However, in the Karoo the Fynbos vegetation areas they may also be found down to sea level. They prefer medium-to-short perennial grass of medium density on shallow soils, thus benefiting from areas subject to moderate grazing.  Although Grey-wing Partridge appear to be more tolerant of overgrazed conditions than Red-wing Partridge, they nevertheless avoid areas which are either severely overgrazed, frequently burnt, or areas with rant grass.

Sub-surface monocotyledonous bulbs form the bulk of their diet and an abundant availability of these bulbs is essential to sustain large numbers. Rock slabs, which generally typify their habitat, provide a suitable micro-environment for these bulb-producing plants.

The Hunt

This is a walk up shoot over pointing dogs and has been described as champagne shooting with the “Rolls Royce” of the African gamebirds. English Pointers are used to hunt, point and retrieve the birds. Greywing are found in covies of between five and twenty birds, sit tight for pointers and flush in singles, pairs, or at once. The hunt takes place in the pristine highlands of the Sneeuberg mountain range north of the historic town of Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, at altitudes of between 1600 and 2100 meters above sea level. An average level of fitness is an advantage. It can be described as challenging by some, but it is extremely rewarding to the enthusiastic wingshooter. You can expect to walk in excess of 7 miles or 10 kilometres per day. You will experience classic shooting to bag the fastest upland game bird in the world, while observing endless vistas and breath-taking mountain topographies few travellers will ever lay eyes on. Karoo Wingshooting has exclusive partridge concessions in excess of 75,000 hectares (185,000 acres).

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