Family Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse (Phasianidae)

Least Concern

Grey-winged Francolin (Scleroptila afra)


French: Francolin à ailes grises German: Grauflügelfrankolin Spanish: Francolín aligrís

Francolinus africanus


, 1819,

Cape Province, South Africa


When placed in genus Francolinus present species was known as F. africanus, as name afer there preoccupied by taxon now known as Pternistis afer; with recent reorganization of genera#R, afer/afra becomes available for present species. Closely related to S. streptophora, S. levaillantii and S. finschi. S. psilolaema is sometimes treated as a race of present species, as also are N races (nominate and lorti) of S. gutturalis. E South African population described as race proxima, but doubtfully distinct. Monotypic.


South Africa from Western Cape NE to N Mpumalanga, Lesotho and Swaziland.

Descriptive notes

30–33 cm; male 345–539 g, female 354–410 g. Few obvious field marks, but differs from other red-winged francolins by relatively small amount of chestnut in... read more


Mainly calls early morning and evening, typically from slightly elevated ground-level perch, e.g.... read more


Montane grassland from c. 1800 m to 2750 m in hills, occurring in patches of short grass and... read more

Food and feeding

Predominantly bulbs and roots, especially of Amaryllidaceae, Cyperaceae and Iridaceae, for which digs with bill; small amounts of plant... read more


Lays Jul–Dec in Cape Province, Aug–Mar (peak Nov–Dec) in Natal, peak Oct–Dec in E Orange Free State; believed to... read more


Sedentary. One covey in same area for four years. Flushes relatively easily.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Mace Lande: safe. Occurs in suitable habitat throughout an area of c. 438,000 km². In general, locally distributed and uncommon... read more

Recommended citation

McGowan, P.J.K. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Grey-winged Francolin (Scleroptila afra). 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).