Black Partridge (Melanoperdix niger)

Black Partridge

[order] GALLIFORMES | [family] Phasianidae | [latin] Melanoperdix niger | [UK] Black Partridge | [FR] Francolin noir | [DE] Halsband-Frankolin | [ES] Perdiz Negra | [NL] Zwarte Frankolijn


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Coturnix niger
Melanoperdix niger OR Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Borneo
Melanoperdix niger borneensis Borneo
Melanoperdix niger niger Malay Peninsula, Sumatra

Physical charateristics

The male is black with white patch on the cheek, a chestnut collar and white spots on the flanks. The back and wings are scalloped with shades of golden brown with sub-terminal tawny-buff bands and pale edges. Tail is black with narrow white bars. Legs are reddish-brown to red. Female similar to the male, but is paler, with wider brown bars on the lower back, the white cheek patch is missing and the chestnut collar replaced by a nuchal patch.

wingspan min.: cm wingspan max.: cm
size min.: 34 cm size max.: 36 cm
incubation min.: 18 days incubation max.: 19 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 19 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 8  
      eggs max.: 12  


Oriental Region : Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Borneo


Black francolins appear to be well adapted to cultivated crops, tall enough to offer shelter and open beneath to provide escape routes and easy travel. Their southwestern habitat includes cereals, vegetables, vineyards. They are not forest birds but will frequent brush land and wood edges associated with grass land. They appear to be more closely associated to water than chukars are, and in drier areas they frequent stream banks and adjacent tall grasses and weeds.


It nests in a bare ground scrape laying 8-18 white-spotted pale brown/greenish eggs

Feeding habits

Black Francolin take a wide variety of plant and insect food.


The continuing rapid reduction in extent and quality of habitat across much of this partridge’s range is suspected to be causing a rapid population decline, qualifying it as Vulnerable.
Southern Asia, from Cyprus and the Caspian region east through India; once found in southern Europe west into Spain, has now been re-established in central Italy. Has been introduced and established on four of the Hawaiian Islands and Guam. Has also been introduced into Louisiana and southern Florida, but their numbers are very low. A plump, fast running bird which keeps to the undergrowth, the black francolin only flies when disturbed. Then, “exploding” from cover, it flies fast whirring low. The male may be seen standing on a rock or low tree attracting attention with its extraordinary creaking call. It may be heard all day long in April, during nesting, and less persistently in March and May as well as the summer months.
Black Partridge status Vulnerable


Resident, but wandering bird. The Black Francolin once had a broad range from Spain east to India, now has been eliminated from most of Europe and is threatened in Russia and in Cyprus. The status in Asia has not been well documented. Where it has been introduced on Hawaii, it is now thriving and is a game species; the status in Louisiana and Florida is not known at this time.

Distribution map

Black Partridge distribution range map

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