This section is from "The American Cyclopaedia", by George Ripley And Charles A. Dana. Also available from Amazon: The New American Cyclopędia. 16 volumes complete..
Francolin, a gallinaceous bird of the grouse family, subfamily perdicinoe or partridges, and genus francolinus (Steph.). There are about 30 species found in the warm parts of the eastern hemisphere, especially in Africa; some prefer open plains, where they roost in trees, and others woody places; when alarmed, they conceal themselves in the brushwood, or run with considerable speed, taking wing only when hard pressed; their food consists of bulbous roots, grains, and insects, and they feed in early morning and at evening. The bill is longer than in the common partridge; the wings are moderate and rounded, the third, fourth, and fifth quills the longest; the tarsi are strong and spurred; the feet four-toed. The francolin of Europe (F. vulgaris, Steph.), in the male, has the plumage of a general yellowish brown color, each feather with a dark centre; the ear coverts white; circle round the eyes, cheeks, and sides of head, and the throat, deep black, below which is a broad chestnut collar extending around the neck; the rump and tail white barred with black, the outer feather of the latter entirely black; breast and lower parts black; sides blotched with black and white; under tail coverts chestnut; bill black. The female is without the black markings and chestnut collar, and her bill is brown.
This is the only species indigenous in Europe, where it is found in the southern parts; it also occurs in northern Africa and the greater part of Asia. The flesh is delicate, and much esteemed in India. According to Gould, this genus seems to form a connecting link between the brilliant pheasants and tragopans of the East and the sober-colored partridges of Europe; to the splendid colors of the former it unites the form and habits of the latter.