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Grey-winged Francolin - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Mybs
Blouvlei, near Cape Town, South Africa
Scleroptila afra


Length 30-33 cm (11¾-13 in), mass 354-539 g, males slightly larger than females.

Similar Species

Similar to other Francolins; range overlaps with Red-winged Francolin, Orange River Francolin, and (marginally) Shelley's Francolin. However, the red on the wings is confined to the outer wings (wings greyer than other species), and the throat is grey and freckled (white or buff in other species). Also differs from Shelley's Francolin in having narrow rather than bold barring on the belly.


South Africa and Lesotho.

Photo by Alan Manson
Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, South Africa, June 2008


This is a monotypic species[1].
Was considered conspecific with Moorland Francolin and Elgon Francolin, but molecular studies indicate that more closely related to Orange River Francolin, Shelley's Francolin and Finsch's Francolin.
Formerly placed in genus Francolinus.


Upland grassland, Karoo shrubland, and fynbos. Frequents shorter grassland on plateux, ridge tops and shelves rather than steep slopes or valley bottoms; displaced by Red-winged Francolin in tall grassland.


Generally in pairs in breeding season, and in coveys of up to 20 individuals in winter.

Usually located by call (in the early morning) or when flushed.


Food is mainly small bulbs, with invertebrates being more important when rearing chicks.


Monogamous and territorial. The nest is a scrape in the ground, lined with grass and well concealed under a grass tuft. Four to eight eggs are laid July-December (winter rainfall areas in Western Cape) or August-March (summer rainfall areas).


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2015. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2015, with updates to August 2015. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Hockey, PAR, WRJ Dean, and PG Ryan, eds. 2005. Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa. 7th ed. Cape Town: John Voelcker Bird Book Fund. ISBN 978-0620340533

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