Hunting Swainson's Francolin


SWAINSON’S FRANCOLIN (Pternistis swainsonii)

Key Characteristics:

The distinguishing characteristics are a red or pink throat and face, and black legs. In common with most of our other francolin species, Swainson’s Francolin appear brown at a distance but closer examination reveals each feather is streaked with black or dark brown. Feathers on the belly have chesnut markings. These birds are restricted to the northern areas of South Africa.


Originally predominantly a savanna species, Swainson’s Francolin have adapted to a wide variety of habitat types which have been modified by agricultural practices. Not dependent on open water, they can be found in virtually any habitat type throughout their range. They prefer long grass for nesting purposes especially in areas with low-growing shrubs and medium-length grass for roosting and escape. They never roost in trees or shrubs as it often reported in relevant literature. They may, however perch in trees in the early mornings when the grass is wet. Displaying cocks also often perch in trees or on fence posts. Swainson’s Francolin occur in large numbers on grain farms that have wide dense headlands for breeding and an adequate supply of winter feed. The abound on farms with old lands with an abundance of weeds.

The Hunt

This is a walk up shoot over pointing dogs in the Freestate province. English Pointers and German Shorthairs are used to hunt, point and retrieve the birds. Swainson’s Francolin are found in covies of between three and eight birds and flush in singles, and pairs. The hunt takes place in the roaming grasslands of South Africa’s central plateau. An average level of fitness is an advantage. It is extremely rewarding to the enthusiastic wingshooter. You will experience classic shooting to bag one of the prettiest upland gamebirds in in South Africa. Guns can expect to bag Guineafowl, Orange River Partridge & Natal Francolin on the same shoot. Karoo Wingshooting has Francolin concessions in excess of 15,000 hectares (37,000 acres).

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