Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology

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Age categories and corresponding gender characteristics of five Crested Francolin subspecies (genus Dendroperdix)

Johann H. van Niekerk


Fifty-five Crested Francolins, Dendroperdix sephaena sephaena, were trapped, marked, retrapped and observed from 1984 to 1988 to assess and describe gender and age criteria based on morphological measurements and plumage characteristics on the farm La Boheme (Rustenburg, North West province, South Africa). The measurements and characteristics were compared with skin specimens of the other recognied subspecies endemic to Africa, namely D. s. zambesiae, D. s. grantii, D. s. spilogaster and D. s. rovuma. Selected biometric parameters of specimens were measured at the Ditsong Museum of Natural History and the American Museum of Natural History in 2014. The purpose of this study was to describe age categories (excluding chicks) with corresponding gender characteristics based on morphology and plumage features. This study revealed six definitive age/gender categories. A combination of spur length (or absence of long spurs in the case of females) and feather colouration patterns on the back, tail coverts, wing coverts and mantle are reliable indicators of different gender/age categories in all D. sephaena subspecies in Africa.

Keywords: biometrics, Dendroperdix spp., gender/age criteria, mass, plumage, spurs

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