The Grey Francolin is a medium-sized bird. Males average 11.6 to 13.4 in (29 to 34 cm) and females average 10.2 to 11.9 in (26 to 30 cm). The males weigh 260-340g while the females weigh 200-310 g. The francolin is barred throughout, its face is pale with a thin black border on the pale throat. The only similar species is the Painted Francolin, which has a rufous vent. In flight the bird shows a chestnut tail and dark primaries. They are weak fliers and fly short distances, escaping into undergrowth.

Habitat and Distribution

The Grey Francolin is found in open cultivated lands as well as scrub forest. It is found rarely, above an altitude of 500 m above sea level in India, and 1200 m in Pakistan. The distribution is south of the foothills of the Himalayas westwards to the Indus valley and eastwards to Bengal. It is also occurs in north-western Sri Lanka.


Food includes seeds, grains as well as insects, particularly termites and beetles (especially Tenebrionidae and Carabidae). They may occasionally take larger prey such as snakes.


The main breeding season is April to September and the nest is a hidden scrape on the ground. The nest may sometimes be made above ground level in a niche in a wall or rock. The clutch is six to eight eggs but larger clutches have been noted.

Calls and Songs

The female call is a tee...tee...tee repeated and sometimes a kila..kila..kila and the challenge call kateela..kateela..kateela is a duet.