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The Black Francolin

Updated on February 23, 2013

Francolinus Francolinus

The Black Francolin is a beautiful bird that belongs the to family of phasianidae. It's range is now restricted mostly to Asian countries from India and Pakistan to Turkey. Once it could be found in many parts of Europe as well from Spain until Greece. The only remaining European country that the Black Francolin can be still found is Cyprus. I decided to build this lens once I figured out that there wasn't too much too much information available on-line for this amazing bird. I hope you will enjoy reading it !

Image Credit:

Flickr user koshyk under Flickr Creative Commons


How do they look ?

The Black Francolin is a dimorphic bird, meaning that the appearance of the adult birds is different between males and females. The male Black Francolin justifies the species name as black is the dominant colour, mainly in the chest, with chestnut-red collar with golden brown wings at the back.

The female Black Francolin, has a more modest appearance - as it it is with most of the Phasianidae birds - with brown being the dominant colour.

A male Black Francolin

Image Credit:

By USDA NRCS (English Wikipedia) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A female Black Francolin

Image Credit:

By Mahesh Iyer (Own work Inkscape diagram) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

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Facts about Black Francolins

  • Although is a bird capable of flying, it only flies when it is absolutely necessary.Black francolins prefer to slip away unnoticed.
  • They nest on bare ground. The breeding season is between late February to the end of June.
  • During the breeding season the male francolin can be heard continually from sun up to sun down with it's amazing creaking call. They usually sit of elevated places up to a couple of meters above ground and if you follow their cry you can easily spot them.
  • The clutch averages between 10 and 14 eggs. When the eggs hutch after 21 days both parents take care of the youngs.

The Call of the Black Francolin

A male singing !

The Black Francolin in Cyprus

The only remaining European population

The Mediterranean island of Cyprus is the only remaining European country with Black Francolin populations. In the past, and according to travellers during the Middle Ages and the 1700's the bird could be found in great numbers and was considered as one of the commonest birds of Cyprus.

Later,hunting and restriction it's breeding zones lead to a decline in its populations. To my surprise though, in the past few years and as per my observation,Black Francolin populations are on the rise ! The last few years this majestic black pheasant has returned to the coastal areas of the island and it is very common where I reside. In addition, it seems that the bird has no problem with establishing populations near residential areas or where human presence is very intense,despite the fact that it is still a game bird in Cyprus (a quota of 1 bird per hunting session per hunter applies - from October to January).

A bold bird !

Black Francolins have established a population in the University of Cyprus main campus in the last few years ! The males can be heard and seen all day long from February to July !

Even more Black Francolin videos !

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      othellos 4 years ago

      Excellent lens. I wasn't aware that this bird still exists in Cyprus. I thought it disappeared after the vigorous hunting mania of the inhabitants. Thanks for sharing this valuable info:-)