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Francolin

Francolins are birds that traditionally have been placed in the genus Francolinus, but now commonly are divided into multiple genera (see Taxonomy), although some of the major taxonomic listing sources have yet to divide them. The francolins' closest relatives are the junglefowl, Long-billed Partridge, Alectoris and Coturnix. Together this monophyletic clade may warrant family status as the Gallusinidae or in a sub-family Gallusininae. The pheasant Phasianidae and partridge Perdicinidae families have been established as paraphyletic.

When all are maintained in a single genus, it is the most diverse of the Galliformes, having by far the most members. Francolins are terrestrial (though not flightless) birds that feed on insects, vegetable matter and seeds. Most of the members have a hooked upper beak, well-suited for digging at the bases of grass tussocks and rootballs. They have wide tails with fourteen retrice feathers. Most species exhibit spurs on the tarsi.[1]

Distribution[edit]

Of the approximately 40 extant species, the natural range of five (comprising the genus Francolinus) are restricted to Asia, while the remaining genera are restricted to Africa.[2] Several species have been introduced to other parts of the world, notably Hawaii.

Twelve of the species which occur in Africa are found in the subcontinental region of southern Africa; of these, seven occur in varying proportions within the political boundaries of Namibia. Six southern African francolins are considered endemic to the subcontinent, of which three are found in Namibia (the Hartlaub's, Red-billed and Orange River Francolins. The Cape Spurfowl, endemic to the Cape Province of South Africa, occurs marginally in southern Namibia. A fossil francolin, Francolinus capeki, has been described from Late Pliocene deposits of Hungary; the contemporary fossil galliforms "Francolinus" minor and "F." subfrancolinus are now placed in Palaeocryptonyx.

Taxonomy[edit]

Until the early 1990s, major authorities placed all francolins in the genus Francolinus.[2] In 1992 it was suggested that this treatment was problematic, and the francolins should be split into four genera: Francolinus for the Asian species, and the African species divided into Peliperdix, Scleroptila and Pternistis.[3] The Crested Francolin and Nahan's Francolin were considered possibly quite distinct, but still maintained in Peliperdix and Pternistis respectively.[3] Based on further evidence, the Crested Francolin was moved to the monotypic genus Dendroperdix in 1998,[4] and the Nahan's Francolin was moved to Ptilopachus in 2006.[5] Though some still maintain all these in Francolinus,[6][7] the split into multiple genera is becoming more widespread.[8][9] When split, the English name "francolin" is generally restricted to the members of the genera Francolinus, Peliperdix, Dendroperdix and Scleroptila,[8][9] while the name "spurfowl" is used for Pternistis ("spurfowl" is also used for Galloperdix of the Indian subcontinent).[8][9] As the Nahan's "Francolin" is related to the Stone Partridge rather than the true francolins and spurfowl,[5][10] its name is sometimes modified to Nahan's Partridge.[9]

In addition to the major changes proposed at genus level, the species level taxonomy among several francolins/spurfowl is disputed. For example, the distribution of the Orange River Francolin (F. (S.) levaillantoides) is highly disjunct, leading some authorities to split the northern taxa (from Kenya and northwards) into a separate species, the Acacia/Archer's Francolin (F. (S.) gutturalis, with subspecies lorti), while maintaining the southern taxa (from Angola and southwards) in the Orange River Francolin.[2] Most authorities treat the Elgon Francolin (F. (S.) psilolaema elgonensis) as a subspecies of the Moorland Francolin,[2][6][7][8] but others have suggested it is a species (F. (S.) elgonensis), a subspecies of the Shelley's Francolin,[2] or even a hybrid between the Moorland and Red-winged Francolins.[11]

Species[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ B P Hall (1963) The Francolins, a study in speciation. Bulletin of the British Museum 10(2):105-204 Scan
  2. ^ a b c d e McGowan, P. J. K. (1994). Francolins (genus Francolinus). Pp. 489-504 in: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., & Sargatal, J. eds. (1994). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 2. New World Vultures to Guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelon. ISBN 84-87334-15-6
  3. ^ a b Crowe, T. M., Harley, E. H.,Jakutowic, M. B., Komen, J., & Crowe, A. A. (1992). Phylogenetic, taxonomic and biogeographical implications of genetic, morphological, and behavioral variation in Francolins (Phasianidae: Francolinus). Auk 109(1): 24-42.
  4. ^ Bloomer, P, & Crowe, T. M. (1998). Francolin phylogenetics: molecular, morphobehavioral, and combined evidence. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 9(2): 236-54.
  5. ^ a b Crowe, T. M., Bowie, R.C.K., Bloomer, P., Mandiwana, T.G., Hedderson, T.A.J., Randi, E., Pereira, S., & Wakeling, J. (2006). Phylogenetics, biogeography and classification of, and character evolution in, gamebirds (Aves: Galliformes): Effects of character exclusion, data partitioning and missing data. Cladistics 22: 495-532.
  6. ^ a b Dickinson, E. C. eds. (2003). The Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World. 3rd edition. ISBN 0-7136-6536-X
  7. ^ a b Clements, J. F. (2007). The Clements Checklist of the Birds of the World. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 978-0-7136-8695-1
  8. ^ a b c d Sinclair, I., & Ryan, P. (2003). Birds of Africa south of the Sahara. Struik Publishers, Cape Town. ISBN 1-86872-857-9
  9. ^ a b c d Gill, F, & Donsker, D. eds. (2010). IOC World Bird Names. Version 2.7. Accessed 15 January 2011.
  10. ^ Crowe, T. (2010). Phylogenetic affinities of enigmatic African galliforms: the Stone Partridge Ptilopachus petrosus and Latham's and Nahan's 'Francolins' Francolinus lathami and F. nahani. Cladistics 26: 206-206. (Abstract).
  11. ^ McCarthy, Eugene M. (2006). Handbook of avian hybrids of the world. Oxford University Press US. p. 50. ISBN 978-0-19-518323-8. 

A Molecular Phylogeny of the Pheasants and Partridges Suggests That These Lineages Are Not Monophyletic R. T. Kimball,* E. L. Braun,*,† P. W. Zwartjes,* T. M. Crowe,‡,§ and J. D. Ligon*

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Perdicinae

Perdicinae is a subfamily of birds in the pheasant family, Phasianidae. They are a non-migratory Old World group. These are medium-sized birds, and are native to Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. They are ground-nesting seed-eaters. The subfamily includes the partridges, the snowcocks, the francolins, the spurfowl and the Old World quail.

Species list in taxonomic order[edit]

References[edit]

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Partridge

For other uses, see Partridge (disambiguation).
Birds of Persia luchas, called būqalamūn (بوقلمون turkey in Persian), and partridges

Partridges are birds in the pheasant family, Phasianidae. They are a non-migratory Old World group.

These are medium-sized birds, intermediate between the larger pheasants and the smaller quails. Partridges are native to Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Partridges are ground-nesting seed-eaters.[citation needed]

According to Greek legend, the first partridge appeared when Daedalus threw his nephew, Perdix, off the sacred hill of Athena in a fit of jealous rage. Supposedly mindful of his fall, the bird does not build its nest in the trees, nor take lofty flights and avoids high places.[1]

Partridges appear as part of the first gift listed in the Christmas carol, "The 12 Days of Christmas".[2] As such, "A partridge in a pear tree" is sung as the last line of each verse.

Species list in taxonomic order[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Holmes, Richard (2013). Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air. HarperCollins. p. 1760. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  2. ^ The Associated Press (November 26, 2012). "'12 days of Christmas' cost: How much is a partridge in a pear tree?". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
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