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Red-winged Francolin - BirdForum Opus

Scleroptila levaillantii


Length 33-38 cm, mass 400-460 g Males are larger than females, but otherwise the sexes are similar.
Upper parts are mostly brown with black blotches, buffy barring and whitish feather shafts. The throat is white with tawny edges, and a broad black-and-white collar which extends up the sides of the neck to below the eyes. Another black-and-white stripe extends from the mantle, up the back of the neck, to the sides of the crown. The remainder of the back of the neck and face are rufous. The belly is buff, streaked chestnut and the breast is almost solid chestnut. The large bill is decurved and black with a yellow base. The eyes are brown and the legs and feet are dull yellow.
In flight, the wings are mostly rufous, more so than for the Grey-winged Francolin, Shelley's Francolin, and Orange River Francolin.

Similar Species

The Grey-winged Francolin has a grey throat without tawny edges, is generally paler, and is less rufous below. Shelley's Francolin has a white throat bordered with black, and the lower breast and belly have heavy black markings. The Orange River Francolin lacks the broad black-and-white collar and the tawny edges to the white throat.


The distribution is patchy in central, eastern and southern Africa.
Western Africa: Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola
Eastern Africa: Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi
Southern Africa: Zimbabwe, South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho and eSwatini.



There are 2 subspecies[1]:

  • S. l. kikuyuensis:
  • S. l. levaillantii:

Formerly placed in genus Francolinus.


Grasslands, bracken slopes and associated agricultural lands preferring rank vegetation.


Localised and uncommon. In pairs or small coveys of up to ten birds. Flushes reluctantly, and will seldom flush more than once, preferring to remain immobile in thick cover. Food is mainly bulbs and insects.


  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. Avibase
  3. Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ & Ryan PG (eds) 2005. Robert's Birds of Southern Africa, 7th edition. Cape Town: John Voelcker Bird Book Fund. ISBN 0620340533

Recommended Citation

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