The Natal Spurfowl, also known as the Natal Francolin or Natal Partridge, is a species of bird found in Southern Africa. Its scientific name is Pternistis natalensis, and it belongs to the family Phasianidae. This bird is a resident breeder in grasslands, savannas and woodlands in parts of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Mozambique.
The Natal Spurfowl is a small bird that measures around 26-28 cm in length and weighs approximately 350-450 grams. The males have grey-brown plumage with a black belly and black-and-white spotted wings, while the females have a dull grey-brown body with brownish spots on the back and wing coverts. Both sexes have a short, curved spur on the back of their legs, which is used for defense during fights with other birds.
This species is diurnal, meaning that it is active during the day, and it feeds on insects, seeds, and small fruits. They are also known to eat the seeds of crop plants such as sunflowers and wheat, making them an occasional pest to farmers. The Natal Spurfowl is usually found in small groups or pairs and is known for its loud calls that can be heard from a distance. Males make a loud "kwa-kwa-kwa-kwaa" call, while females make a softer, higher-pitched "tee-tee-tee-tee" call.
Breeding season for the Natal Spurfowl takes place from October to April, and the female usually lays a clutch of 5-10 eggs in a shallow depression on the ground lined with grass or leaves. The male assists in incubating the eggs, which hatch after about 21 days. The chicks are precocial, which means that they are able to feed themselves shortly after hatching, but they remain with the parents for several weeks until they are independent.
The Natal Spurfowl is not considered to be a threatened species, and its populations are stable. However, habitat loss and hunting for food or sport can be a threat in some areas. Overall, this bird is an important part of the ecosystem in Southern Africa and is appreciated for its beauty and unique behaviors.