The Erckel's Francolin is a type of partridge and is one of many game birds brought to Hawai'i. There are three varieties of Francolin in the islands, the Grey Francolin, the Black Francolin and the Erckel's Francolin we show here.
The Erckel's Francolin is easy to identify. Both the male and female are similar and sport a bright chestnut colored cap. Both the male and female also have spurs on the backs of their legs (see the picture to the right). We can tell that the Francolin we have pictured here is a male because it has two distinct spurs, whereas the slightly smaller female will only have one spur. While the birds are generally tame, their spurs can be used as a defensive weapon when sufficiently provoked.
The Erckel's Francolin mates monogamously and the female lays 7 to 12 spotted eggs which hatch about 22 days after being laid.
The Francolin are native to Ethiopia and the Northern Sudan where their population is threatened. The birds, however, do well in Hawai'i and can be found many places where it is grassy and brushy. This particular Francolin we photographed was hanging around the picnic table at the Mauna Kea Visitors Center at 9,000 ft on Mauna Kea. He was quite tame and let us approach pretty closely and even showed interest in us by circling around closer to us while we were photographing.