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Shelley's Francolin

Shelley's Francolin
Photo Information
Copyright: Loot Eksteen (loot) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-10-11
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 450D, Sigma 170-500mm f/5-6.3 AF APO Ultra DG, Digital ISO 400, UV 86mm Kenko
Exposure: f/5.0, 1/3000 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Kruger NP & Mpumalanga - 2008
Theme(s): Wildlife of Africa, Birds of Africa, A study in Ornithology (birds) 1, 80-89 Points I, Kruger National Park 2, Karatash's other favorite -II-, RARE or SIGNIFICANT contributions to TN 4, Birds of South Africa 3, Anna's Favourites 1 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-11-05 2:25
Viewed: 10262
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 84
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Shelley's Francolin - Scleroptila shelleyi

Hi everyone. I am back home from hospital after the surgery I had on an incisional hernia in my abdominal wall and everything went perfect. Thanks to all of you who wished me well and who enquired about my health.

Please allow me today to introduce you to a new species on TrekNature. I have done a thorough search of Francolins found on the site (which, for the sake of interest, you can see below) and without any doubt this is a TrekNature 1st. This one was captured on the H2-2 near Afsaal picnic spot. While we had a quick stop at the Renoster Pan, about 5km from Afsaal, a friendly tour-operator informed us about 6 lions that were sighted on the H2-2, ±1km east of the H3 main road, on route between Malelane gate and Skukuza camp. After we saw the lions and while returning to the H3 we stumbled upon this beauty sitting on a mount right next to the road. It was the 1st time I saw this bird in the Kruger National Park (me thinks). Actually (in hindsight) I cannot say this with 100% certainty and the reason for that is because I was never aware of this bird before. So, I might have seen it previously but possibly had it confused with some of the other Francolins found in the park (more about this in the list down below).

Francolins found in the Kruger National Park on TrekNature
Natal Spurfowl (Francolin) - Pternistes natalensis (synonym: Francolinus natalensis). Posted by: Vivian Droog (viv), Paul van Slooten (pvs), Mike Rolfe (fiftysomething), Annick Vanderschelden (vanderschelden), Gerhard Theron (gerhardt) and Willem Botha (whjb).
Swainson's Spurfowl (Francolin) - Pternistes swainsonii (synonym: Francolinus swainsonii). Posted by: Jan Hendrik van Rooyen (janhendrik), Willem Botha (whjb), Vivian Droog (viv) and Carl Armitage (FromElsewhere).
Crested Francolin - Dendroperdix sephaena (synonym: Francolinus sephaena). Posted by: Annick Vanderschelden (vanderschelden) and Philip Raggett (twosixbw).

Other Francolins found in the Kruger National Park, but not yet on TrekNature.
Coqui FrancolinPeliperdix coqui. (Uncommon).
Red-necked Spurfowl (Francolin) - Pternistes afer. (Extreme vagrant).

Other Francolins found in Southern Africa on TrekNature.
Cape Spurfowl (Francolin) - Pternistes capensis. Posted by: Anton Prinsloo (Anton).

Francolins found outside Africa on TrekNature.
Black Francolin - Francolinus francolinus. Posted by: Eyal Bartov (bartove), Ahmet Karatash (rousettus), Fatih Izler (izler) and Ivan Kruys (Argus).

Taxonomic Classification
: Animalia (animals)
SUBPHYLUM: Vertebrata (fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, & mammals)
CLASS: Aves (birds)
ORDER: Galliformes (rather weak-flying or flightless game birds & domestic poultry)
FAMILY: Phasianidae (turkeys, pheasants, junglefowl, francolins, partridges, quails, monals, peafowl & chickens)
- Terrestrial, ground living birds and very variable in size. They are generally plump, with broad relatively short wings and strong legs and males tending to be larger than females.
SUBFAMILY: Perdicinae (short-tailed galliformes - francolins & partridges)
- They inhabit a variety of habitats from the high mountains of the Himalayas and the savannahs of Africa to the dense rainforests of Southeast Asia. Within their range they occupy almost every available habitat except for boreal forest and tundra.

Francolins are "partridges with leg spurs" (visible on the photo) and they form the largest genus of the family Phasianidae, with 5 Asian species and 36 African species. The African species are divided into three genera - Peliperdix, Scleroptila and Pternistis. The bill is short and generally strong, particularly in species that dig in order to obtain food.

Other Names
Laeveldpatrys (Afrikaans), iNtendele (Zulu), Njenjele (Tsonga), Shelleyfrankolin (German), Francolim de Shelley (Portuguese), Francolin de Shelley (French) and Shelley-Frankolijn (Dutch).

The chestnut-stripped upper breast and flanks and the boldly marked black-and-white lower breast and belly are diagnostic. The throat is white, edged with black. The head is yellowish-brown, the bill is grey, the normally proportioned legs are yellow, the back is mottled black-and-brown streaked in white and the eyes are brown. The male and female have the same plumage and colours.

Height: 33cm
Weight: ±500g

Patchy and broken: Rwanda, Uganda, central Kenya, northern Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South-eastern DROC (Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire), eastern South Africa and Swaziland.

Savanna grasslands and open woodlands, especially associated with rocky ground.

They are usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks.

They forage for food on the ground which includes corms, bulbs, seeds and grains. Insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants in the summer. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

A monogamous bird which means that it finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life (unless its mate dies). In the event of a partner dying it will seek out a new mate. The nest consists of a hole in the ground, lined with grass and roots and placed among grass or bushes. After the 3-8 eggs have been laid, they are incubated by the female for 20-22 days. Chicks leave the nest soon after hatching. After 12 days they are able to fly short distances and after 5 weeks they can fly strongly.

A rhythmic 'tilitileeo', repeated many times at dawn and dusk.

Predators and parasites
Preyed on by the following birds-of-prey: African hawk-eagle, Bateleur, Tawny eagle and Wahlberg's eagle.

Conservation status
Least concern. Widespread and locally common.
Too frequent burning (i.e. annual burning) in regions such as Matabeleland, Zimbabwe, results in the grassland becoming degregated and unsuitable for their survival. Burning during the breeding season results in the destruction of nests and chicks being burnt up or through being exposed to destruction by hail storms. Source.

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop CS2.

ramthakur, sandpiper2, Miss_Piggy, pvs, anel, eng55, Aaltjie, ellis49, MMM, rousettus, haraprasan, matatur, Pearl, michal, Alex99, albert, gannu, betsie, bobcat08, manyee, janhendrik, sranjan, fiftysomething, marhowie, boreocypriensis, saguzar, Argus, Adanac, Rehanna has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To vanderschelden: Crooked eyedloot 2 11-21 16:55
To boreocypriensis: Brothers in painloot 1 11-20 18:43
To FunkyMunky: ISO settings etc.loot 2 11-06 05:37
To uleko: Black Francolinloot 1 11-05 05:01
To cuckooroller: Possible vagrantloot 1 11-05 04:49
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Critiques [Translate]

First of all, I must congratulate you on your full recovery from your ailment, Loot.
Secondly I must congratulate you for posting the maiden image of this species of Francolins on TN.
Thirdly, I must congratulate you for shooting this image to perfection.
We have missed you direly here on TN and we are pleased to have you back, quite hale and hearty, and with your penchant for nature photography sharpened manifold, as this remarkable capture proves.
Keep well and best regards.

Hi Loot

What a brilliant shot. On my monitor it has a 3-D effect with blurred background. Stunning sharpness, plumage details and composition. The big Sigma has really worked well here. Cars make great hides sometimes even if forced to out of the predators path :).

Great to hear your recovering from your ailment, hernias are horribly inconvenient.


Hi there Loot
You came back with a "bang"" - I have never seen this Francolin before - so well done for capturing it so clearly! You do us South Africans proud with all the pictures and information that you bring back from the Kruger National Park. Glad to hear that you are so strong after such a big operation - trust that you wil get stronger by the day.

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  • pvs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1127 W: 254 N: 3161] (14464)
  • [2008-11-05 3:16]

Hi Loot,

Welcome back and I hope your recovery will go good as well,this is a nice capture of this indeed new one on TN,he poses really good for you so I guess he wanted to be pictured and shown on this website,the colors are great and it stands really of against the BG,great camerawork and as always a pleasure to read the note next to the upload,thanks


Hello Loot
When I saw this image while you were busy preparing it for uploading, I just knew it was going to be a winner. This is a beauty. The patterns and colours of this bird’s plumage are exceptional. I am really stunned by its magnificence. The variety of colours ranging from black, white, maroon, grey, beige, charcoal, brown, tip bits of yellow and odd bits of rusted brown is a super combination and indeed a feast to the eye. It is like I remember my grandma’s “lappies kombers” or in English a quilt made from patchwork. This guy also seems to have not been bothered by your camera and played the role of the model perfectly well. I am sure the charm of the photographer inspired him to stand still and give his best. I thank you for sharing this 1st of its kind to Trek Nature. I also thank you for the time and effort you have put into comparing the notes on this one. It is much appreciated.

Great shot! Even the glint in the eye is present. Very sharp, great POV. I see you are shooting with the 170-500. Next time try setting the ISO to 800.It increases your shutter speed and over long distances can assist in getting a sharper picture. With 10 megapixels on hand I have not noticed any additional "noise". I got this tip from professional photographers while in the Kgalagadi. I now always shoot on ISO 800 in the Parks

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  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-11-05 3:48]
  • [+]

Hello Loot,
Nice to see you back and fully recovered from your operation. I was fascinated by the Francolin (Black) we saw and heard on Cyprus. So you have five species of this bird in Kruger, how wonderful! You're showing Shelley's Francolin here in a lovely pose and I like the sharp details and beautiful colours of its plumage.
Many thanks and best wishes, Ulla

Hi Loot,
Nice one. Only one additional comment. I do not know if it has yet been recorded from Kruger, but I would not be surprised to hear of an eventual vagrant in the southwest portion of the Park of Scleroptila africanus (Grey-winged Francolin).

Might I add, and I did not know, that I am happy to hear that you succeeded in overcoming your medical problem.

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  • cako Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 485 W: 0 N: 772] (3395)
  • [2008-11-05 4:55]

Hi Loot
exellent image
very well done.

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  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2008-11-05 5:18]

hello Loot,
Happy to read that you recovered well. And I must congratulate you for this wonderful Francolin-picture. I'm always very sensitive to colours and patterns and here my eyes are just happy to see all these fine color-tones of the marvellous plumage of this bird. Of course you show it with perfect sharpness and the ideal light on it.
Very well done. Thanks a lot

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  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2008-11-05 5:49]

Hi Loot,
It's an artistic capture.Harmonious pattern and colors between bird and BG are wonderful.Vivid colors,sharpness,contrast,framing,eye contact,expression on face and composition are perfect.Masterpiece!
Thanks for posting.

striking portrait, TFS Ori

Dear Loot
I am sorry I have to contact you this way to send my regards and well wishes with the recovery after your operation. I really feel like a traitor, but my time is no longer my own. I am just glad to hear that all is going well. I am sure the old girl (Miss Piggy) is taking good care of you. (Ha-ha).
My friend I can only encore what all my processors said about this image. It is beautiful. Once again you have outdone yourself with your photographic skills. It is truly beautiful. The Lord created such wonderful things for us to see and admire, and I thank him for that, but I thank you for bringing it so much closer to us. Some of us would never have the opportunity to witness it so close and with perfection. Your notes are like always very entertaining and educating. Take care of yourself and give the old gal a hug.
Warmest regards
Aaltjie and Hettie ( my old gal)

Hi Loot,
it nice that you are doing well after the surgery, it's great to have you back.
The picture is great, it standout well from the blurred BG, sharpness and details are on top. As mention almost a 3D effect and it's a beatiful.
It's a always great to come up with something new as I did with my Bearded Tit.
Beautiful work, my friend.

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  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2008-11-05 7:09]

Hi Loot
I glad to hear that your healt problem are resolved.Excellent closed up image.Good POV and sharp image.Fantactic plumage detail and excelelnt colors.
TFS Michel

Hello Loot,
I hope you get better now after surgery.
welcome again.
excellent capture for this beautiful colored francolin. congratulations indeed.
everything wonderful, from sharp details, POV to lighting and composition. excellent work with good informative notes. Many thanks for sharing this beauty, well done.

Hi Loot,
Welcome back and CONGRATULATIONS on recovery from hernia surgery. My grandfather is a specialist in these type of surgeries. Even now at the age of 84+ he manages to do operations. A lovely capture of this beautiful bird. Very well composed with sharp details and very good and informative notes as always. Wishing you a healthy life after surgery.
Thanks a lot for sharing.

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  • Pearl Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 105 W: 25 N: 76] (321)
  • [2008-11-05 8:15]

Hello Loot,

A very nice capture.. The details are lovely, Excellent focus and lighting. Lovely composition, POV, BG and tones. TFS.


A beautifully patterned and coloured Francolin shown in a perfect composition Loot, the lateral viewpoint demonstrates the salient characteristics of this bird perfectly in this sharp capture. TFS this fine image my friend. Hope you are recuperating as expected from your hernia operation.

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  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-11-05 8:43]

Hello Loot,
First of all I'm very happy to hear it's going better with your health.
In my opinion you were right with the ID. Although the colour of the plumage is grey, it hasn't a well spotted throat like the Grey-winged Frankolin. Shelley's Frankolin differs from the Grey-winged in a clear white throat with black surround, a clear white stripe over the eye and ear-coverts.
It's the best photo of this Frankolin I've ever seen! Great quality!

Hi, Loot:
I am glad to hear about your health.
This Francolin is perfect, very sharp details and colors. It is complicated to see in open areas, they always are behind bush or walking into the grass.
Very good shot.

Hi Loot,
Very good capture of this Shelley's Francolin with great POV, pose and composition, sharp details and bright natural colours.

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  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-11-05 21:04]

Hi Loot.
I am glad that your health is OK now and I'm am very pleased to watch this rare beauty. You have represented here by the best way. Lights amazing as well as the all details and features of the bird. I like wonderful scene at whole, blameless framing and composition of the shot. I do not know if the BG is natural (without PP) by it looks greatly and very suitable for this presentation. Well done and compliments.

Hello Loot,
Nice to see you back with this stunning shot
Perfect focus giving superb details on the plumage and wonderful colours
Bravo and take care

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  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2008-11-06 4:57]

Hello Loot, So beautiful and no word to describe. Excellent shot. Ganesh

Hello Loot,

First of all, My congrats to you on your full recovery from your ailment. Let's we hope the best for many, many years.

What a beauty Loo this Laevelpatrys. The clarity is magnificent, and what a details and colors.The patterns and colours of this bird’s plumage are exceptional. Just what Sandpiper2 said: What a brilliant shot. On my monitor it has a 3-D effect with blurred background. And so much info again. Well done.

Thanks for sharing. TFS BOB

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  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-11-06 14:09]

Hi Loot,
I'm very glad to hear the operation went well!
This is an excellent photo.
You've captured the patterns on this bird's intricately detailed plumage very well.
Excellent composition.
Very sharp.

Well done!

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  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2008-11-08 13:22]

What a pretty bird, Loot.
I know that all those patterns on his plumage help him camouflage,
and can render him almost invisible against certain BGs.
But the DOF you have managed in this shot isolates him and brings out the rich colors and intricate designs on his feathers.
Very sharp and perfectly exposed.
TFS. : )

Hallo Loot,

Baie baie geluk, hierdie is 'n fantastiese foto, Jy is seker baie trots daarop. Baie goeie lig, mooi agtergrond, baie mooi "pose". Goeie DOF, mooi in fokus en super, super skerp.

Sover ek kan onthou, is dit ongetwyfeld jou beste foto wat ek al gesien het. 'n Juweel!

Ek sien in jou nota dat jy onder die mes was. Ek is bly alles het goedgegaan, en dat jy weer op die been is.


Dear Loot,
Welcome back home. This Shelley's Francolin has amazing sharpness, POV with 3D effect on the existing BG & superb details of the plumage. TFS.

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  • Tabib Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 160 W: 5 N: 167] (859)
  • [2008-11-18 6:58]

Hi Loot,

Amazing bird (Francolin) picture with all the detail and in photo and note.
Best regards,


Hi Loot,
Beautiful bird, it's colors are amazing, and up this close a sight to see.
Very good detail/DOF, POV, and exposure - Really stands out well with this blurred BG also.
Best wishes for a speedy recovery, I didn't know about your surgery until now.
Sometimes are own personel problems narrow our vision, and the rest of the world gets the hind tit..so to speak :)

Hello Loot,
Great you are back home.
Secondly you uploaded a superb image.
No doubt. I agree with Chris concerning the 3D; you almost have the illusion it's right in front of you and you can touch it.
The colours are amazing. The perching and background couldn't be better.
My nose was close to the screen to verify whether there was some kind of sharpening halo around the bill. 'Unfortunately' no success..
So, congrats!

Hi Loot,
Sorry i missed this lovely shot my friend! I like all the colours and your composition in this picture. How lucky you are, to be able to see and photograph this beauty.
Hope you are feel beter after your surgical operation.
All the best my friend!


it's a pleasure Loot,
to see you photo's after a while. Technical a super capture here, marvelous dof, good composition, a pleasure for the eyes, good photojob Loot and thank you.
regard jaap

Hi Loot,
You´ve portraited perfectly a nice gamebird, its feathers has nice mimic patterns with likeable colours. Sharpness is very good, the same with light. I think you´ve blurred the BG, but in this occasion I see a bit artificial, maybe a less of gaussian distortiion could be better. I like to see the original picture, could be possible?

I don´t knew your hernia problem. I´m very glad knowing you recovering well after surgery.
My best wishes for you


Hello Loot,

Splendid sharp portrait of this bird. Excellent composition. Splendid detail of the plumage. Excellent exposure. Superb colours.

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  • wuta Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 855 W: 2 N: 617] (2142)
  • [2008-11-22 12:14]

Hoi Loot , Ah Sweet one ,marvelous to see this capture very good shot with great details and perfect expose , I like it ,tfs , thank for you comments , Greetings Teunie .

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  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-11-25 11:38]

Hello Loot,
Glad to see that you had a successful operation and that you are fully recovered.
Congratulations on this first for TN, a Shelly's Francolin! Not only a first but captured with such technical excellence in fine lighting to show the plumage in minutest detail and presented from a great POV against a busy but sufficiently OOF bg to let the francolin stand out.
A superb shot Loot and thanks for sharing it!

Hello Loot

Glad to see you are back home and feeling better.
You have posted another TN first which is always exciting.
Excellent low POV and close up shot.
The detail is very good showing excellent plumage detail and colouration.
Very good DOF,the bird stands out sharply focused from the lovely natural OOF BG.


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  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-11-26 19:24]

Hello Loot,
This image is incredible sharp, and well exposed with wonderful light. The color of the plumage looks almost like our grey partridge. Thanks very much for both the great image and notes Loot.

great capture ,beautiful colours , details and sharp,
Happy New Year 2009!

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