Greywing Partridge (Scleroptila africanus)
Greywing Partridge is regarded as one of the finest sporting birds in the world, offering a classic hunt for the dedicated wingshooter in pristine environments. The coveys range in size of four to twenty birds, usually more than five, and are widespread over a large area. They sit tight for pointing dogs only to flush with an explosive action and loud squealing notes once flushed. Their flights are extremely fast. Wild Greywing shooting is offered exclusively.
Greywing is normally shot at high altitude (5000+f) and the use of ranging pointing dogs is essential. It is also essential that the gun is fit and in good condition as it is not uncommon to do more than 13 km (8 miles) of walking in a day in order to bag a couple of birds. Only experienced dogs are used to find Greywing, with the necessary discipline to point and hold the birds as guns often have to walk up long distances before catching up with the dogs.
The distinguishing characteristics are the grey throat with a broad black-spotted collar around it together with the grey wings in flight. The belly is finely barred and the bill is black while the feet appear yellowish. It can be easily distinguished from our other grassland francolin species by the lack of a white throat and the grey appearance of the wings in flight.
DISTRIBUTION AND HABITAT
Predominantly a high altitude montane grassland species, the Greywing normally occurs from about 1600 meters above sea level on open grasslands. It prefers medium to short perennial grass of medium density, avoiding areas which are either overgrazed or which are frequently burned in the early summer. Underground monocotyledonous bulbs form a large bulk of the Greywing Fracolin’s diet and the presence of these bulb producing plants, which are often associated with rock slabs, is therefore essential for sustaining large numbers of Greywing Francolin.
Not threatened. The Greywing is generally common resident throughout most of their present distribution range. However, since they occur in widely scattered coveys in relatively remote areas, they are seldom seen except when pointing dogs are used to find them. Their status appears to be little changed since historical times except in areas of severe habitat degeneration.
They breed between August and March with peak breeding between the months of September and December. Breeding normally coincides with the summer rains. The nest is normally a relatively deep scrape in the ground usually under grass tufts or shrubs. The clutch is usually 5 eggs but can vary between four and ten eggs.
Hunting Greywing on foot behind a brace of English Pointers is not for the weak and you will earn every bird you get.