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Specially for Gannu

Specially for Gannu
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: 2007-10-05
Categories: Birds, Bushveld
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Sigma 170-500mm f/5-6.3 AF APO Ultra DG, Digital ISO 400, UV 86mm Kenko
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Kruger National Park - 2007
Theme(s): Wildlife of Africa, Birds of Africa, A study in Ornithology (birds) 1, Kruger National Park 2, Birds of South Africa 3, Dedications at treknature: Part Five, My Dedications ;o) [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-11-29 20:20
Viewed: 7157
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 56
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Swainson's Spurfowl (Francolin) - Pternistes swainsonii (male)

(Synonym or old name: Swainson's Francolin - Francolinus swainsonii Source)

For the next couple of postings I want to remain with the topic of Spurfowls / Francolins so I am posting a shot I captured during our 2007 visit to the Kruger National Park. For more information on Spurfowl (or Francolins) in this region, please see my previous posting of Shelley's Francolin.

I want to dedicate this one to Ganesh Narayanan (gannu) for the fine gentleman, the excellent photographer and the great TrekNature contributor he is. You are a valued friend. Of course the biggest surprise was when my telephone rang and on the other side of the line was Ganesh, all the way from India, phoning just to wish me well. A wonderful act of going the extra mile when it was not asked for, but I can assure you that it was appreciated with a warm and deeply touched heart.

I also have to thank so many other TrekNature members for their delightful words of encouragement and well wishes expressed within the critiques and e-mails I received after my recent hernia operation. I truly appreciate all your encouragements to wish me well during the period of my recovery. You are a great bunch of people.

I captured this bird at the Duke Water Hole situated off the S137 link road connecting the S28 and S130 between the Lower Sabie and Crocodile Bridge camps. Cheetah, white rhino, hyena, giraffe, zebra and an assortment of other game and birds are often seen at this water hole.

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, spurfowls, 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, spurfowls & 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.

Spurfowl (or 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
Bosveldfisant (Afrikaans), Intsendzele (Zulu), Nghwari ya xidhaka (Tsonga), Swainsonfrankolin (German), Frankolin brunatny (Polish), Francolim de Swainson (Portuguese), Francolin de Swainson (French), Gråbrun Sporehøne (Danish), Kosteikkofrankoliini (Finish), Swainson-frankolijn (Dutch) and クロアシアカノドシャコ (Japanese).

The only large brown francolin with black-brown legs. The combination of bare red face and throat, black bill and blackish brown legs differentiates this species from all other spurfowl and francolins in the region. It closely resembles the Cape Spurfowl, but confusion is unlikely because their ranges never overlap.

Height: 38cm.
Weight: ±700g (males) & ±500g (females).

Females: Lacks the spurs of the males.
Juveniles: The red on the face is less extensive and paler.

It ranges across south and central Africa: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa (north and eastern Cape Province, northern KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Orange Free State), Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Dry thornveld and agricultural farmlands. They are also at home in wetland and bushveld areas.

Gather in small groups of 3-5 birds. Swainson's Francolin and the Natal Francolin are the most abundant and wide spread of the species in the Kruger Park. They are often seen at the roadside, calmly pecking away at old elephant dung in search of insects, and regularly casting a wary eye at the visitor until they scuttle into the under growth if they feel threatened.

Bulbs, tubers, roots, seeds, berries and grass; supplemented in summer by insects (e.g. grasshoppers, beetles), ticks, spiders and small molluscs (snails and slugs).

- The Swainson's Spurfowl is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying it will seek out a new mate.
- Nest a scrape in the ground lined with grass and leaves, hidden among vegetation.
- Breeding dates (laying dates): All months, with peak from February to May.
- After laying 3-12 eggs, the female incubates them for 21-24 days before they hatch.
- Chicks are able to fly short distances after 10-14 days and are near adult size after 3 months.

A raucous "krraae-kraae-kraae", given by males at dawn and dusk.

Predators and parasites
- Preyed on by the following birds-of-prey: Martial eagle, African hawk-eagle, Black sparrowhawk, Tawny eagle, Bateleur and Southern pale chanting goshawk.
- Chicks have been recorded as prey of: minitor lizards, snakes, mongooses, Chacma baboon and Southern ground-hornbill.
- Blood parasites: Leucocytozoon peaolopesi, Hepatozoon sp., Aegyptianella sp. and microfilariae (nematodes).

Conservation status
Common, near-endemic. This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 1,300,000km². The global population size has not been quantified, but it is believed to be large as the species is described as 'abundant' in at least parts of its range. Populations appear to be stable so the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List.

Source: Various bits and pieces from numerous sites and I also used information from "The Larger Illustrated Guide to Birds of Southern Africa" by Ian Sinclair & Phil Hockey, published by Struik Publishers. And just when I was about to give up on the Internet I found some more information from this Source.

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop CS2.

banaei_nikon, pankajbajpai, boreocypriensis, ferranjlloret, Miss_Piggy, uleko, ellis49, Argus, SelenE, Alex99, eng55, Juyona, nglen, Evelynn, sandpiper2, Aaltjie, bobcat08, betsie, manyee, marhowie, soccer, peter_stoeckl, Athila, Rehanna has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To ellis49: Gone withe the windloot 1 11-30 03:01
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Loot
Excellent capture of this male Whinchat with good pose and composition, sharp details and bright natural colours.

hello loot,

ganesan is a fine human being and a dear friend, he always keeps in touch. this is a well deserved dedication and i am sure he will be happy to see this beautiful picture dedicated to him,

looks like your new sigma lens is working good in your deft hands, i liked the details of the plumage, the colors and the pov very much, a pleasing composition,

well done,
tfs & regards

Hello Loot

The plumage markings and details are well defined and beautiful.
Excellent low POV,the focus is sharp with lovely detail.
Wonderful vibrant,natural colours.
This is a beautiful image to dedicate to Ganesan.


Hi My Big Brother Loot!

What a self-respecting posture of this beautiful Swainson's Spurfowl, as if he is presenting a speech:) May be he is talking on behalf of you that you wrote. Perfectly composed and focussed providing great details on his plummages and face, also great DOF that he stand out of the frame. Your notes are excellent as usual. BTW it a pleasant dedication to our heartfelt friend Ganesh.
TFS this fine image MF!
All the best!


Hi Loot,
A very good photograph of this one beautiful species. Appropriate dedication. Greetings.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-11-30 1:05]

Hello Loot,
What a superb close-up of this beautiful Francolin in a fine pose. Details are most impressive and the colours very beautiful. I like your framing and the fine natural background too. Well done!
Many thanks adn all the best wishes, Ulla

Hallo Loot
A sharply captured image with lots of detail to admire and observe. The whole image is captured in good light, displaying beautiful rich colours. The detail of the bird is nice and sharp showing good feather and head detail. The red around the neck and nose area is really eye-catching, and I cannot but not also note its attention-grabbing almost funny feet. Your story and explanation are wonderful, and I appreciate your extensive research for your notes that accompanies all your postings. Thanks for sharing and I am looking forward to see and read about the rest of the Francolin’s clan.

HI Loot,
tell this chick it don't has to be at the sun so long - such a red face, o my god!
I love the shot, what a wonderful bird - and the pose is so magestically, seems to look down to you, I like it, thanks
Sabine - wishnugaruda

Hi Loot,
it's great to see you are posting again, all well I hope.
A nice dedication to Gannu.
You have captured a beautiful bird, a bit fat maybe;-) but lovely.
The sharpness and details are on top and the bird standout very nicely from the BG.
But it hard to see the Whinchat.:-)
Great work, my friend.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-11-30 3:12]

Hello Loot,
Another fine francolin shot! This capture of a Swaison's Spurfowl is in a great statuesque pose from a superb POV to show this bird at its best with excellent sharpness.
I like the composition om the log and the OOf natural BG sets it off nicely.
A very nice portrait of the species and thanks for sharing it.
Kind regards,

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2008-11-30 8:44]

Hi Loot,
Very nice portrait. I like your frontal POV and the pose you captured. Good details on the plumage too. TFS
Best wishes,

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-11-30 8:55]

Hi Loot.
Huge touching and sensitive note for your next outstanding picture of a nice bird. I am impressed a lot with both of them. As you health would be so brilliant as your works you would be the most healthy man. I wish you this. Fantastic by subject, composition and details image. Terrific details and wonderful BG. Bravo.

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2008-11-30 9:00]

Hi Loot,
Very nice capture.I liked low level POV,clear details,sharpness,colors,BG and pose of bird a lot.Excellent work!
Thanks for posting.

  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2008-11-30 10:29]

Hola amigo,
good capture and frame,
beautiful plumage and focus,
with colors well-defined ...
saludos Loot.

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-11-30 12:26]

Hi Loot. What a fantastic looking bird . I like the shapes in the feathers which you have taken with fine detail and natural colours. Your PIcture shows its very sturdy legs and bright red face. A nice head on POV. All with interesting notes . well done TFS.

I am glad that you are on the mend.

This is a beautiful photo of this spurfowl. The sharpness and details are outstanding. I love the rich saturated color.

Evelynn ; )

Mooi foto Loot. Nog nooit voorheen gesien nie.Groete Betsie

Hi Loot

Another brilliant shot from your African playground.
Stunning sharpness and plumage details, the big lens has done a great job for the artist.
Great composition and background.
Excellent work.


Hello my friend
Yet another delighful image as part of this Francolin family. This is very interesting reading material and I enjoy each moment of it. I am not sure if I am right but these birds make terrible screaming sounds. It almost sounds if a murder is being taken place. But I think I'll also shout like that if I see my fellow Francolin "brother or sister" and they are as red as I'm in the face. The detail of the eye, fluffy feathers and the strange paws is captured excellently.
Thanks for sharing and I am looking forward to the next episode in the series. Just hope I do not have to wait so long next time.
Warmest regards.
Aaltjie and Hettie.

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-12-01 15:30]

Hi Loot,
what an excellent photo!
The sharpness is superb.
Very well composed.
Superb DOF.
A really nice dedication to Ganesh.

I hope you are feeling better.

Well done,

Hello Loot,

First of all, I'm happy to learn that your operation went well :-). I imagine that you got plenty of time to classify your pictures then!

This Francolin is very well presented with this vertical composition respecting the 1/3 rule. I like the bg showing us the environment but I would say that I would have removed the clear branch starting from the right shoulder of the bird. The colors are remarkable natural and you got a great POV letting us see this impressive look toward you from the Francolin.

Great job and TFS :-)


  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1001 W: 4 N: 3276] (14759)
  • [2008-12-04 19:44]

Hello Loot,
When my wife saw your name "Loot" and she was asking what does that mean. In India it means "sort of robbery" and you indeed robbed our heart. I am sorry I am not spending much time now a days in Treknature due to my preoccupation and need to put ERP system live by end of this month. Moreover exams of vignesh also kept me from not moving for photographs and not opening computer at home. This is a superb shot and excellent with lovely view. It has a big belly like Lord Ganesh and I am honored to be in your list. I strongly believe in love and friendship in this world filled with uncertainity. I wish you a speedy recovery and hope to see you somewhere sometime in this small world. Lovingly Ganesh

The moment you've captured here is very interesting! I like it. Well done.
Best wishes,

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2008-12-06 22:34]

Hello Loot,
Is your Swainson's Spurfowl (quite a mouthful) aspiring to be a turkey destined for the Christmas table? I dare say he is rather on the... plump side.
Very handsome bird, with an attitude, no less!
What beautiful rich colors he has!
And I say he is displaying clearly his spurs... for all to see.
Great pose and POV, with lovely details that are sharp and well exposed.
Having been rather sporadic in my visits to TN, it seems that I have missed the news of your recent surgery. I am sorry that I was not there to send you get-well wishes in a timely manner, but I am glad to see that you are well and seem to have recovered quite well. : )
All the best, my friend. : )

Hi Loot,
Hope you're faring well these days.
Lovely image of this spurfowl. Excellent color, exposure, details, POV, and erect pose.
The bird stands out famously in your well composed frame also.
So there's only praise from these lips..
Maybe someday day in the not so distant future, you too will have a waterhole named after ya. If Thomas can do it, well why not? You could always take a second job as a park ranger ;-}

What a lovely photo! I have never managed to get one to stand still for long enough to get a good photo. This one is just perfect, well done


Another high quality pic. The composition, sharpness and clarity of the image are excellent. The DOF and OOF BG allow the subject to be appreciated in its natural detail and beauty.

Dear Loot,
a bird's portrait that looks very charming in its clear and simple frontal approach.
Lovely structures of feathers, beautiful rich pallette of brown, grey, drab green in the pleasantly soft light with the hen's red head as a highlight.
Clearly one of Loot's masterly presentations, showing an animal character portrait taken with love and deep empathy.
Thank you! With all my best wishes to you.

  • Great 
  • Athila Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 335 W: 239 N: 493] (1982)
  • [2009-02-08 18:54]

Hi Loot,

Nice portrait, shallow DOF makes the bird stand out against the blured BG. Perfect exposure and focus. Excellent work and TFS.


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