I have recently returned from a trip to South Africa and specifically Cape Town, an exciting and interesting place for all sorts of reasons. The wildlife opportunities are immense and varied with a vast variety of birdlife. One bird that I found interesting and very approachable was the Cape Spurfowl or Cape Francolin Pternistis capensis. From a distance this chicken-size bird appeares all dark but in good light and close up you can appreciate the beautiful vermiculated markings in each feather.
I was struck that this may in some way have influenced African native dress because it is very remeniscent of native patterns in both clothing and decoration. I had seen a small group of birds feeding together and decided to go back later in the day when the sun was lower in the sky. I quickly located the “covey” and defying my age, lay myself down on the ground to get down to the birds level.
The Spurfowl continued to feed and quickly become oblivious, or uncaring of my presence. Suddenly one of the birds shook it’s feathers and gave me a magnificent photo opportunity. The result was the image above which shows the vermiculated pattern on the feathers perfectly.