Family Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse (Phasianidae)

Least Concern

Grey Francolin (Francolinus pondicerianus)


French: Francolin gris German: Wachtelfrankolin Spanish: Francolín gris

Tetrao pondicerianus

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

Pondicherry, India


Has been placed in genus Ortygornis. Population of Sri Lanka has been awarded separate race, ceylonensis, but usually included within nominate. Proposed Indian forms prepositus (from Punjab), paganus (Saurashtra region of Gujarat) and titar (Surguja district of Chhattisgarh) all synonymized with interpositus. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • F. p. mecranensis Zarudny & Härms, 1913 – SE Iran and S Pakistan. Oman population not certainly natural#R.
  • F. p. interpositus E. J. O. Hartert, 1917 – S Pakistan (E Sind) E through Nepal to NE India (Bihar and W Bengal).
  • F. p. pondicerianus (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – S India and NW coast of Sri Lanka.
  • Introduced into Amirante Is, Mauritius, Reunion, Seychelles, Rodrigues and Hawaiian Is (interpositus); introduced populations of Andaman Is and Diego Garcia I now extinct. Several subspecies have been introduced into parts of E Arabian Peninsula.

    Descriptive notes

    30–35 cm; male 255–418 g, female 200–365 g. Most uniformly and finely patterned Asian francolin; throat pattern, buffy throat fringed with black... read more


    Noisy, especially in breeding season. Advertising call of male is a loud, metallic, strident and... read more


    Grassland and semi-thorny scrub; dry rolling plains and plateaux, especially in areas near village... read more

    Food and feeding

    Seeds of weeds and cereals, grass and crop shoots, berries and drupes (Zizyphus jujuba, Z. oenopia, Lantana,... read more


    Eggs reported in every month in S Asia, but mostly Mar–Apr in Pakistan; nesting from Jan in Oman; adults with young in Apr–May... read more


    Sedentary. Flies only when very hard pressed, preferring to escape by running from bush to bush;... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Mace Lande: Safe. Very widely distributed, occurring in suitable habitat within an area of c. 3,380,000 km². Perhaps better... read more

    Recommended citation

    McGowan, P.J.K. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Grey Francolin (Francolinus pondicerianus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 10 December 2019).