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Swainson's Spurfowl

Swainson's Spurfowl
Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-10-17
Categories: Birds
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H9, Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 15x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 100
Exposure: f/4, 1/160 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Kruger NP 2009
Date Submitted: 2011-07-28 9:54
Viewed: 4693
Points: 74
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Swainson's Spurfowl / Pternistes swainsonii

The Swainson's Spurfowl is number 47 in the series of the birds of the Kruger National Park which I am still sharing. Enjoy!

This image was taken in the Shingwedzi area during our 2009 annual vacation.

Spurfowl (or Francolins) are "partridges with leg spurs" 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.

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.

Chicken-sized, brownish francolins and spurfowls are quite common. Vaguely similar in size and build, closer examination quickly divides them up into several different species. The Swainson's spurfowl distinguishes itself from its relatives by being brown overall, streaked with black, its bill dark above, red below; its face and throat red; its legs black. Sexes are alike in plumage, although the males are bigger than the females.

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

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

They are found in grass and thickets, on cultivated lands, in riverine bush, and around ponds and dams, in pairs or in small coveys of up to 8 birds. Generally the Swainson’s feed in open fields on seeds, berries, shoots, roots, bulbs, insects, snails and slugs and will seek cover in dense vegetation when disturbed. They usually drink in both the morning and the evening. In spite of spending most of their time on the ground, they fly strongly and are quite agile in flight.

Swainson's is a very common near-endemic resident of Southern Africa, and one that has managed to expand its range through its tolerance of humans and by adapting to areas under cultivation; it is now to be found in Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Angola and Malawi. In Namibia it is found mainly in the northern half of the country, and prefers the highlands. Usually found in pairs or small groups, they are bold and quite conspicuous. The male calls very loudly, especially at dawn and at dusk; a harsh crowing, krrraa krrraa krrraa, repeated 6-7 times and reducing in volume towards end of the series. He often calls while perched conspicuously on a fence post, tree stump or other elevated spot.

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.

Swainson's spurfowl are monogamous and territorial. The females lay a clutch of 4-12 eggs in a hollow in the ground in the grassveld or bushveld that is lined with dry grass and leaves. The eggs hatch after an incubation period of about 24 days. The scientific name for the Swainson's spurfowl is Pternistis swainsonii; pternistis from the Greek meaning "one who trips from the heel", perhaps referring to the spurs of the male; and swainsonii after William Swainson (1789-1855), the British naturalist, artist, and author. Main Source but also various bits and pieces from numerous sites.

I hope you enjoyed looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.

jurek1951, Mamagolo2, cobra112, Jakkals, maaciejka, corjan3, bungbing, ellis49, buscape, PaulLees, Dis. Ac., maurydv, cirano, ramthakur, Adanac, Pitoncle, Argus, mikou, Alex99, tuslaw has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

hello Anna
very good picture with great details and beautiful colours
special the bleu colours on his feet and head
thanks greeting lou

Excellent photo, good details, nicely composed. Good to see the species. regards yiannis

Hi Anna,
Very nice shot and superb focus. The POV is perfect and also the composition. Excellently presented.

  • Great 
  • ana974 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 477 W: 48 N: 968] (4857)
  • [2011-07-28 10:31]

Hello Anna,
As usually a very sharp and interesting pic with so many good detaisl and excellent control of lightness.The DOF is also amazing! Well done, bravo!TFS
Regards from,

Hello Anna,
I see we are neighbours tonight on the South African site. All I can say is it is a stunning image of this beautiful bird with fantastic clarity and sharpness. Beautiful red color around the black shinny eye that reminds me of a beautiful shiny black bead. Fantastic plumage. Very well done my friend and thanks for sharing.

Ciao Anna, beauttiful bird in nice walking pose, splendid light, fine details, wonderful natural colors and excellent sharpness, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

Ciao Anna. Great taken here. Excellent DOF and stunning details with faolouse light and colours.


Hello Anna,
Yes, it must have been a pleasure taking this shot. This photograph illustrates natural environment/habitat of this beautiful bird. Great focus, feather detail and colours. The DOF is perfect in my opinion. Well done again.

Hi Anna, my neighbour.
Very nice shot of this interesting bird. Great sharpness. Nice natural colours. Very good point of view and composition. Excellent use of light,
thanks for sharing,

Hello Anna,
As usual a very informative and meticulously prepared note. And the image? ...... Outstanding also! Once again you have not compromised your very high standard. I really think you should publish your series on the birds of the Kruger National Park...why not make it available to a wider circle of admirers? Well done once again...very well done indeed.

Hello Anna,
Beautiful picture of The Swainson's Spurfowl, very nice sharpness, lovely eye-contact, lighting and colours are beautiful, an excellent captured,
Thanks for sharing and have a nice evening,
Best Regards,

Hallo Miss Piggy,
I hope you are doing well, my friend,
you have post a fine picture of this beautiful Swainson's Spurfowl.
Fin sharpness with lots of details, nice natural colours.
The picture is also well exposed, we can see all details in the dark plumage.
Well done Anna.

Best Regards

Hi Anne,
Nice capture for this bird.
Dinamic pose is perfect, the sharpness is excellent and the composition is good.
Thanks for sharing

Hello Anna,
fine capture of this Spurfowl with a nice walking pose and good eye contact. I also like the good sharpness, the fine light and the beautiful colours. Well done.
Best wishes,

Hi Anna,

Very nice capture of this Swainsons superfowel Anne, lovely and captivating image with superb lighting and beautiful colours, I just love our low South African lighting that gives us these lovely rich colours, great work here my friend and well done,
Best regards,


PS Brilliant note!.

Hello Anna,

you have here good light on this Spurfowl.
Good low pov and suburp sharpness with great details.
Fine warm colors.


Hello Anna,
Beautiful capture taken with fine details, excellent sharpness and nice colours. I also like the "walking" motion and composition. Well done!

Hallo Anna,
another fantastic capture from the Kruger National Park, superb sharpness and marvellous warm colours, excellent point of view and very nice composition with a splendid walking posture and a great eye contact.
Best regards

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2011-07-28 14:26]

Hi Anna,magnificent new entry in the bird serie of the park,a beautiful specie and a magnificent pose,great quality of details,sharpness and colors and impressive light balance too.Thanks for share,have a nice day,Luciano

nice makeup, TFS Ori

  • Great 
  • cirano Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 997 W: 0 N: 944] (13609)
  • [2011-07-28 15:53]

Hello Anna,
Very good photo with excellent light,colors and sharpness.Great POV,details and composition.
Have a nice day!...

A perfect picture with your compact camera, Anna. Your archives hide precious gems from the past. Thanks for taking this one out.
I am particularly drawn to that lovely eye of this gentle looking bird. The light conditions were ideal and you made the best of them in this picture.
Thanks and regards.

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2011-07-28 18:47]

Hello Anna,
I can definitely see how it got it's name just look at that spur, I won't want it mad at me. Your superb image and quality notes always teach this old guy new things. For that I am eternally grateful.

Hello Anna
Fantastic bird and fantastic photo. The composition, the colours and the sharpness are excellent.

Hi Anna!
The birdlady strikes again!
Excellent photo, the sharpness and detail are up to your normal high standards. As a bird photo, it can't be improved, as a true nature photo the vehicle tracks should be removed.
Well done on a great effort.
You should create a photo book with all your bird photos!

Hello Anna , very nice on this spectacular composition and the general sharpness of the shot. All the best, Paolo

Bonjour Anna,
C'est avant tout une superbe lumière permettant d'apprécier les détails procurés par une excellente profondeur de champ et qui fait resplendir de sompteuses couleurs.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2011-07-29 9:43]

Hello Anna,
A superb capture of Swainson's Spurfowl taken in what looks like early morning or evening, as the lighting is mellow.
Excellent sharpness and colours, a fine pose and excellent POV. Nice OOF stony BG and composition too.
Amazing that you kept this beauty in your archives fo long but it's nice thatyou are sharing it now.
Thanks and have a good weekend,

Hello Anna,
Great shot, nice colors, interesting light angle, nice bird with perfect textures an details. Well done!
Regards, TFS

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2011-07-30 7:01]

Hello Anna,
a very pretty bird with an attractive colour featur as well as smooth pattern. Thaks for such a lively composition that gives a beauty of the nature.
I like the feathers so much, very diferent and it is a definite that I never see it before.


  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2011-07-30 8:48]

Hello Anna,
What a fantastic photo! This Swainson's Spurfowl is a beauty! Great sharpness, details in the feathers and beautiful natural colours. Excellent low POV, DOF and composition. The most beautiful photo of this species I've ever seen.

  • Great 
  • mikou Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 869 W: 68 N: 1479] (6093)
  • [2011-07-31 10:28]

Hi Anna.
Very beautiful picture from your archive. Excellent capture with fine sharp details on plumage. Very good exposure, pleasant light and wonderful colors. Very well done this presentation of this very interesting and beautiful bird.
TFS and also from more interesting information in note.
Best regards

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2011-07-31 11:50]

Hello Anna
superb image with the markings of this Swainson's against such a natural background. Great clarity and superb composition too, very well done.Best regards Siggi

Hi Anna,
A very fantastic bird. I looks very much like a brown Helmeted Guineafowl. Nice eye contact. You musht have shot this in the evening, the light is marvelous.
Well done.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2011-08-01 2:19]

Hi Anna.
Thanks for visit to my page and nice comments. It is a pleasant reason to get more pleasure watching your new shots. This one is simply stunning. Superb 3D-presentation of an attractive species in all its beauties. Pose, feathers, eyes, other details are reproduced fantastically. Sunlight and shadows, sharpness and blurriness, vivid colours reinforces initial powerful esthetic impression. Bravo. Great job.

Publicas poco, aunque generalmente merece la pena la espera.
Muy buen trabajo. El camino te sirvió de buen fodo. Supongo que
los ornitólogos de aquí estarás contesntos al ver este trabajo.

Un abrazo Anna: Josep Ignasi.

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2011-08-04 19:01]

Hello Anna,
What a unique looking bird. It has the spurs of a turkey, body shape of a guinea, head of a pheasant and coloring of a chicken.
A beautifully marked bird with attractive plumage and wicked looking spurs. You have done a remarkable job of capturing many of the awesome looking birds from your area of the world. This particular fellow or lady (whichever it may be) has posed just right for you, and deserves an applause. Great work!!

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