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Breeding Season: I have noticed that Erckel's have a rather unusual egg laying pattern here in Missouri. The hens will begin laying their clutch of 5 to 10 spotted eggs in March. I have seen hens stop in April and May and begin again in September and October.
Breeding Age: First year.
Clutch Size: 4 to 10
Incubation Period:: 21 to 23 days.
Description - Male: The sexes are alike; males are large and stocky birds, usually with two sets of spurs. The females much smaller and lack spurs. They are very recognizable in aviaries and rarely confused with other species. The forehead is black as is the stripe above the eye that separates the chestnut crown from the dark gray cheeks; the throat is light buff to white; neck, breast, back, flanks grayish brown streaked with dark chestnut in varying sizes. The bill is black, legs and feet dark grayish yellow.
Description - Female:
Status in Captivity: The most commonly seen species of Francolin in North American aviculture. Concerned about existing bloodlines and how often new lines are brought into the US.
Misc Notes: Erckel's Francolin adapt readily in captivity and are great aviary birds with charming personalities. They are known to become quite tame with their keepers and very curious of their surroundings. An aviary with a minimum of 120 sq. ft. is recommended, provided enrichment items such as logs, rocks and vegetation are included. Vegetation can be challenge to keep in their aviary; the birds with their powerful bills are great diggers and soon devour most plant life. We have found that covering the ground at the base of the shrub with hardware cloth and river rock help save the roots from damage. The males will seek out logs and stumps to perch on to perform their raucous call.
This species can handle cold winters, just ensure that the birds have access away from elements. I have only rarely seen these birds perch like pheasants, most often they covey on the straw in the barn. Access to a heat lamp is also granted on the coldest days
Erckel's Francolin present no special requirements for captive breeding and if allowed to do so, are great parents. Watching the family bond and natural rearing is a great experience and recommended. The incubation period is 21 to 23 days. This species is monogamous, as most species of this genus, and will be breed their first year. I have found this species to have two laying cycles here in the Midwest, the hen will begin laying her clutch of 4 to 10 eggs in late March and once the chicks fledge, will clutch again in September.
Bibliography and Further Reading
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