Erckel's Francolin

Pternistis erckelii




Partridges, Grouse, Turkeys, Old World Quail (Phasianidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Off-white to light brown.

Number of Eggs:

4 - 10

Incubation Days:

21 - 23

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

On the ground, hidden in dense thickets.

Nest Material:

Scrape lined with grass, stems, feathers, leaves.





Erckel's Francolin: Introduced to Hawaii in 1957. It is gray-brown overall with heavy streaks. Upperparts are more olive brown overall. Chestnut cap, black eye-stripe and forehead, gray cheeks, light buff to white throat. Gray back, tail and wings have fine brown bars; black bill; yellow-gray legs and feet. Males have two sets of spurs on each leg. Sexes are similar, females are smaller and spurs are much smaller or have only one set. Juveniles are lighter gray above with buff streaks on their back.

Range and Habitat

Erckel's Francolin: A native, non-migratory resident of Ethiopia, Eritrea, and a small area in Northern Sudan. Also successfully introduced to parts of Italy and the Hawaiian Islands of Lanai, Kauai, Oahu, and Hawaii. Throughout its range, this terrestrial species occurs in grasslands and brushy habitats. Prefers grasslands, scrub and brush.

Breeding and Nesting

Erckel's Francolin: These francolins breed in their first year and are monogamous. Four to ten off-white to light brown eggs are laid in a shallow scrape or depression which may be lined with leaves, feathers or grass. Eggs are incubated for 21 to 23 days by the female. Precocial chicks may stay with parents until the next breeding season.

Foraging and Feeding

Erckel's Francolin: These birds feed on an assortment of plants and animals, especially seeds and insects. Plant materials include grass and weed seeds, cultivated grains, buds, flowers, leaves, rhizomes, tubers, shoots, fruits and berries. The animal matter consists mainly of insects. They forage on the ground at the edges of forests and cultivated fields and in scrub and brush.


Erckel's Francolin: Male gives a loud and long series of cackling and croaking notes to advertise his territory. Both sexes use a "cak-cak-cak" barking call during breeding season.

Similar Species

Erckel's Francolin: Female Black Francolin lacks chestnut cap. Gray Francolin has an orange-brown face and brown crown. 

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The area on top of the head of the bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X