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A photo of a Painted Francolin (Francolinus pictus)
Painted Francolin

Painted Francolin

Francolinus pictus

The Painted Francolin, or Painted Partridge (Francolinus pictus), is a bird endemic to the Indian subcontinent, with a presence in central and southern India as well as southeastern Sri Lanka. It is a species that thrives in grassy areas and is known for its conspicuous vocalizations, particularly during the breeding season.

Identification Tips

Distinguishable from the similar Black Francolin by its lack of a rufous hind collar, the Painted Francolin features a bright rufous face and throat. The underside is adorned with white spots, and the legs are a striking orange-yellow to red. Both sexes lack spurs on their legs, and the species is more arboreal in its habits compared to the Black Francolin.


The Painted Francolin favors semi-dry, undulating grasslands interspersed with scrub or cultivation. It prefers drier environments than the Black Francolin but more moisture than the habitat of the Grey Francolin.


This species is distributed patchily from Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh south into peninsular India, avoiding the Malabar coast and being rare south of Coimbatore. In Sri Lanka, its distribution is restricted and found from the Uvala patinas east to the low-country of Nilgala and Bibile.


The Painted Francolin is not easily spotted but becomes quite vocal from June to October, after the monsoons. It often calls from an elevated position such as a mound, bush, or tree stump. When disturbed, it tends to freeze and only flushes when approached very closely. It roosts in trees and occasionally on the ground.

Song & Calls

The call, a guttural "chee-kee-kerray- Chee-kee-kerray," is most often heard in the early morning. A preliminary click may be audible at close range. During the non-breeding season, calls may also occur at dusk.


The nest is a simple scrape in the ground, where six or seven smoky white eggs are laid.

Diet and Feeding

The Painted Francolin's diet consists of grass seeds, including those of Brachiaria ramosa, grains of cultivated rice, beetles, other insects, and the tuberous roots of Cyperus rotundus.

Conservation status

The Painted Francolin is currently listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, indicating that it is not at immediate risk of widespread decline.

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Painted Francolins on Birda

A map showing the sighting location
Murari Varma
25 Sep 2023 - 12:59am

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