INTRODUCTION & DESCRIPTION:
The Black Francolin, Francolinus francolinus, is a game bird in the
pheasant family Phasianidae of the order Galliformes, gallinaceous birds.
It was formerly known as the Black Partridge. Black Francolin had earlier
been hunted and netted extensively thus resulting in considerable decrease
in population. Now, with hunting ban in force, they are making a gradual
comeback. This is a very unobstrusive species, best seen in spring when
the male sings a mechanical kik-kik-kik from a mound. The Black Francolins
are usually seen in pairs or small droves of up to five birds. They
leave the undergrowth early and late in the day to feed in the fields,
never staying too far from the thicket cover. These birds are secretive,
shy and suspicious of humans, and thus hard to observe and photograph.
They are Fast runners and move along the ground when approached and
fly only when the end of cover is reached. They fly strong, fast and
low to the next thicket patch. Erckel, Black, and Gray Francolins were
all imported and released in several states during the 1950s and 1960s.
The mainland populations did not survive, while all three francolin
species thrived in Hawaii. Black Francolin are rare among most Francolinus
species in that there is pronounced sexual dimorphism. The males have
black faces, chin and breast separated by a chestnut collar; white cheek
patches are the most noted feature, these oval-like patches are behind
and slightly below the eye. Females are brown with black and white barring;
the most noted feature is the rust colored half-collar on the napeolor
is found mainly on the back of the neck.
The head of the Black Francolin is curved with brown iris eyes color
and unique pattern of brown color crown and the throat color is black.
It has a length range of 33 to 36cm and weight approximate about 453
g (16 oz) and the size of Black francolin is 9 to 16 inches. The primary
color is black with black breast rufous belly, white spots on flanks
and golden brown spots at the back of body. The flight pattern of Black
Francolin is short, direct flight punctuated by glides with rounded
wings, rounded tail narrow black and white bars.
BLACK FRANCOLIN MALE:
The male Black Francolin is black with white patch on the cheek, a chestnut
collar and white spots on the flanks. The back and wings are scalloped
with shades of golden brown with sub-terminal tawny-buff bands and pale
edges. Tail is black with narrow white or greyish bars. Legs are reddish-brown
BLACK FRANCOLIN FEMALE:
The female is mainly brown, but has a chestnut hind neck. The extent
of the white spotting on the flanks varies substantially across the
species' range and the depth of colour of the females similarly varies.
The female has the upper plumage, wings and tail as in the male but
the black is replaced by mottled brown and the brown bars on the lower
back and tail are wider. Female is similar but dull with no cheek patch,
and collar is replaced with a nuchal patch. Head and under parts are
buff where the male shows black. Rump and upper tail coverts light brown.
Black francolins appear to be found in scrubby habitats with plenty
of cultivated crops tall enough to offer shelter and open beneath to
provide escape routes and easy travel. They prefer the areas of thick
vegetation, usually near water. They are not forest birds but will frequent
brush land and wood edges associated with grass land. They appear to
be more closely associated to water than chukars are, and in drier areas.
BREEDING & NESTING:
Francolins normally nests in a bare ground scrape from late March to
May. The male may be seen standing on a rock or low tree attracting
attention with its extraordinary creaking call. It may be heard all
day long in April, during nesting, and less persistently in March and
May as well as the summer months. Both parents tend chicks after hatching.
Young stay with parents through their first winter. The most likely
breeding locations Savanna, Grasslands, Scrub vegetation areas under
the cultivated crops. They have a loud call during the breeding season.
Males may also become aggressive during the breeding season, make sure
there is plenty of cover and escape routes for the hen and it maybe
necessary to house her separate and allow limited access for breeding
only. They are generally monogamous in the wild and it is best to house
only pair per aviary. Well planted aviaries with little surrounding
traffic would be best for breeding. They are fairly winter hardy, but
always provide some shelter during the coldest months breeds from late
March to September depending on the
The normal Clutch size between 10 to 14 eggs and only the hen incubates
the eggs, the incubation period is 18 to 19 days and the breeding season
is April to June and the young ones will appear in April through October.
FORAGING & FEEDING:
Forages (plant, leaves, and stem) on the ground and eats a wide variety
of seeds and insects. May also eat small mealworms and wax worms, but
be careful when feeding to chicks as they are prone to toe-picking.
Food consists mainly of grain, grass seeds, fallen berries, shoots,
tubers, termites, ants and insects.
The color of the egg is white-spotted Olive or pale brown.
The black francolin only flies when disturbed. It has a Pheasants
explosive flight, but prefers to creep away unseen.
Monogamous (The condition of having only one mate during a breeding
season or during the breeding life of a pair)
The call of the Black Francolin, described as a loud ringing klik cheek-cheek-cheerakik
or "kik-kik-kik"," kwee-kweeeee-kwee" can be heard
in the mornings and evenings and almost all day during the breeding
season. The male calls standing on a earth mound, bund, rock or a low
tree branch and is soon joined by other birds answering from all directions.
Gray Francolin has grey-brown and buff body, buff instead of black throat,
and lacks rufous collar.
It is a resident breeder from Kashmir, Cyprus and south-eastern Turkey
eastwards through Iran to southwest Turkmenistan and northeast India.
Its range was formerly more extensive, but over-hunting has reduced
its distribution and numbers.
Middle East to Bangladesh;
Fragmented populations in the w. part of its range; [1,000,000km2];
(1) Cyprus. S. Turkey (Amik Golu). Syria and Israel (Hula Valley). Asia
Minor e. to n. Iraq and n. Iran (Caucasus) and Transcaucasia.
(2) S. Iraq and w. Iran.
(3) S. Iran e. to s. Pakistan.
(4) S. Pakistan e. to w. India (Kutch, Gujarat). The Kutch population
may be introduced. S. Afghanistan?
(5) N. India e. to w. Bihar and Orissa.
(6) The e. Himalayas to ne. India (Assam and Manipur), Sikkim to Bangladesh.
Introduced to the Caucasus, Marianas Is. (Guam), and Hawaiian Is. (Hawaii,
Kauai, Maui). Formerly in the se. United States (sw. Louisiana and s.
Florida) and sw. Europe.
Copyright © 2009 by Junaid Siraj. All rights reserved.
Last updated: 06 JANUARY 2010