Birds Of The World:
California Quail And Relatives
Snow Partridges, Pheasant-grouse, And Snow Cocks
The Tree Partridges
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( Originally Published Early 1900's )
Passing over the little Seesee Partridges (Ammoperdix), the three species of which are known from the last by their smaller size and twelve-feathered tail, we come to the large genus of Francolins (Francolinus), of which there are upwards of fifty forms, ranging over southern Europe and Asia and the whole of Africa, being most abundant in the latter country. They have a tail of fourteen feathers which is half, or a little more than half, the length of the wing, while the feet are with or without one or more pairs of spurs; the sexes are usually similar in plumage, though in a few it is quite different. As it will be quite impossible to mention all of the many of the Francolins, we may select the type species (F. francolinus) which is found in Cyprus, Palestine, Asia Minor, and thence through Persia to India. It is about thirteen inches long, the male having the upper back black spotted with white, the lower back barred with white, and the under parts black spotted along the sides with white, while thé throat is deep black and the neck encircled with a wide band of dark chestnut; the female is paler and duller. This pretty little species, also called the Black Partridge, is found in grassy places and cultivated ground, where it feeds on grain, seeds, and insects. It runs well on the ground and when flushed affords excellent sport; but as it is far from a prolific breeder, it has been exterminated in parts of its range and much reduced in others by excessive shooting. It lays from six to ten brownish buff eggs in a well-concealed nest. The Indian natives often keep it as a cage bird, as it soon becomes perfectly tame, often using it as a lure for trapping wild birds.
Closely related to the last are the Bare-throated Francolins (Pternistes) of east and south Africa, which do not differ essentially except in possessing a naked throat and a large naked patch around the eye, while the Long-billed Francolins (Rhizothera) differ in having only twelve tail-feathers and a long, curved bill; the two species of the latter range from the southern part of the Malay Peninsula to Sumatra and Borneo.