Upland Birds

The upland species that we may hunt are the following:

The helmeted guineafowl, francolin, partridges, quail and sandgrouse. Please contact the outfitter about the availability of some species.

Season : May through to August in general is our wintertime and the best time for helmeted guineafowl, francolin, partridges and quail shooting.
Sandgrouse hunting season is during the summer months and it change from year to year and from area to another area. Please contact the outfitter in this matter.

Bag limit : 10 Birds per hunter per day.

Clothing : Early morning temperatures and late afternoon can be below 32°F and do not forget the wind chill factor. Midday temperatures can be in the balmy 70°F. Sturdy well-worn boots with a khaki shirt and a warm jacket and long trousers will do. Hunter’s orange not compulsory.

Helmeted Guineafowl – is our most famous and widespread game birds in South Africa. It is about the size of a chicken, black/grey with fine white spots, a bare head and colorful neck. A gregarious bird that moves about in large flocks of up to 500 birds or more, when not breeding, usually in pairs when breeding. Likes open grassland habitats and agricultural land. They feed on sunflower, corn, wheat, grass seeds, insects, etc. by scratching for the food with their feet. These birds are flushed out of long grass and corn fields, with dogs or by beaters driving them towards the shooters.

Swainson francolin – This is a large brown francolin with a red head. It looks a lot like the Cape Francolin, but they don’t occur in the same area. It is a very sought after and challenging bird to hunt, because it is a strong and fast flying bird. It is best to use dogs to point and retrieve the birds. They prefer thorn lands, grassland and agricultural lands. Coveys of up to eight birds are not uncommon.

Greywing francolin – It is one of the most challenging birds of South Africa to hunt, because they are the fastest in flight. Shooters need to be relevantly fit especially when hunting greywing francolin which inhabits areas of ± 5 000 feet and higher. In some areas horses are used to get as near as possible to places where coveys keep. Dogs are used to flush and retrieve these birds. Coveys of up to 25 birds can be found in mountain areas in the Eastern Cape and Natal.

Orange River francolin – This francolin prefers grain fields and grassland areas. The Orange River francolin occurs throughout the Free State province, some part of Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape. This bird is very similar to the redwing francolin but a bit smaller in body size. The covey size is between two and six. Dogs are used to flush and retrieve these birds.

Common quail – This is the smallest huntable upland bird specie in South Africa. In its own right, it is very challenging specie to hunt, because it waits until you nearly step on it before it takes of out of the grass right under your feet. The best way to hunt them, are with dogs to flush and retrieve them.

Double-banded sandgrouse – Preferring wooded areas, the double-banded sandgrouse are usually nocturnal. They are usually found in dry bushveld areas normally moving about in pairs. They eat grass seeds.

Namaqua sandgrouse – Got named for the desert area that they inhabit. The Namaqua sandgrouse forms large flocks in the non-breeding season.

The Natal Francolin, Cape Francolin, Rednecked Francolin, Redbilled Francolin, Redwinged Francolin, Shelley’s Francolin and Crested Francolin do not occur in the Free State Province but can be legally hunted in other provinces in South Africa.