oa African Zoology - The breeding biology of the greywing francolin Francolinus africanus and its implications for hunting and management

Volume 28, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



We studied the breeding biology of the greywing francolin Francolinus africanus on the Stormberg Plateau of the eastern Cape Province, South Africa during 1988-1991. Timing of breeding, nesting behaviour, clutch size, egg size, and clutch survival rates were recorded and compared with published and unpublished information from Natal, the eastern Orange Free State and south-western Cape Province. The greywing breeds during the austral summer throughout its range, with peak laying activity during August-November. However, the nesting period is contracted in the south-western Cape, where it starts about one month earlier and ends three months earlier than in the eastern Orange Free State and the eastern Cape, where laying was recorded from August to March. The greywing's breeding season is more consistently positively correlated with measures of environmental variation in the summer rainfall region than in the winter rainfall region. Flushed single birds were the best indicators of nesting sites. Clutches were incubated by hens only. Mean clutch size was 5,5 (SD = 1,2) and mean egg dimensions were 39,9 mm x 30,1 mm (SD = 1,9 and 0,9). Incubation period was 21,7 days (SD = 0,5), hatching success (the probability that eggs present at hatching time actually produced living young) was 90% and clutch survival rate (the probability that a clutch will survive 21,7 days of incubation) was 31%. Hunting seasons for the greywing should be from 15 April to 31 July in the summer rainfall region and from 1 April to 30 June in the winter rainfall region. Veld burning should cease at the end of August throughout the greywing's range so that disturbance of breeding birds is minimized

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