Chasing Grey Francolins till one finally posed

Grey Francolin is a widespread resident found in most open habitats across India. It prefers dry grass, thorn-scurb, avoiding humid tracts, and is more common in the neighborhood of farms and villages. The population of Grey Francolin has been steadily declining due to extensive hunting and trapping. But in recent years, with hunting ban more strictly enforced, these birds are staging a comeback.

Grey Francolins are about 33cms in size and are fast runners. They prefer to run when approached or disturbed and take to wings only when surprised. We adopted the birding tips mentioned in my previous post and were rewarded with frame filling compositions.

Here is a collection of images from our recent encounters with this shy bird. As usual all images are taken with the Nikon D300, Nikon 300mm f2.8 lens with 2x teleconvertor. To avoid camera shake, we used the car window for support. Post processing has been done to the extent of cropping for composition, levels, saturation and sharpness.
Our first ever image of the Grey Francolin was this back-lit full frame image taken on a misty morning. It was as though this fella was sun bathing. Tech specs – 600mm, f5.6, 1/400s, 0EV, ISO 800. This image and all subsequent images were taken in a single sighting (7mins). At about 15-20 feet, after deciding that our car was not a threat, the bird got up from its crouching stance allowing us to took this image. Tech specs – 600mm, f5.6, 1/320s, +0.3EV, ISO 200. This extreme closeup image was taken when the Grey Francolin came under 10 feet of my car assuming it to be some kind of a hiding place. Tech specs – 600mm, f5.6, 1/400s, 0EV, ISO 200.

This next image was taken when the bird was evaluating using my car as a shelter from about 10 feet. Image specs – 600mm, f5.6, 1/500s, 0EV, ISO 200.
This is another extreme closeup taken at 600mm, f5.6, 1/320s, 0EV, ISO 200.

This image was taken when the bird was cautiously approaching the car from about 15 feet. Tech specs – 600mm, f5.6, 1/400s, 0EV, ISO 200.


  1. He is a good looking bird – reminds me of a chukar (not sure if I spelled that right!) Your lighting is always perfect in your photos!

  2. How fortunate you were to get so close. Your patience in approaching paid off. Great stuff!

  3. Superb. Thanks to you it doesn’t look shy at all.

  4. Thomas! You are really amazing! Master, Your pictures they are fascinating, elegant, exquisite…

  5. Better than visiting a zoo !

  6. Muy buen trabajo de observación y captura. Saludos.

  7. Hi Thomas,
    A wonderful trust in this bird, that realized bird photographers are not a threat :-) You got very lucky with this behavior, and you got as usually stunning shots of this guy. Well done my friend!!

  8. Fantastic job my friend.

  9. I’ll admit many times I go looking for shots of lions and tigers and bears, but not birds, but these are beautiful. I have no photographic talent, and I don’t have access to birds like this either ;-), but it is lovely to come here for a peek and to find out a bit about them as well.~Mary

  10. Beautiful shots of an handsome bird. I love how well the color of Grey Francolin matches with the background of the some of the photos.

  11. Another excellent series, T&S;!

    Thanks for your recent visit and comment. Come visit again soon!

  12. Very beautiful Thomas! I believe I may have seen a type of Franklin in Hawaii in the high country. They have birds from all over the world there.

  13. Lovely shots. The bird appears so unafraid and seems to pose naturally! Where was this?

  14. Amazing pictures, the details, clarity all top notch, beautiful

  15. What a beautiful little bird.

  16. Fantastic shots Thomas we have Francolin’s here but I have never this one this multi coloured Great shot’s again as always :)

  17. Hi there, what a nice series of detailed pics of this francolin you made !
    But the one below, of the lizard is intriguing. I feel that in your series it is clear that this animal is left unchanged ever since prehistory. Awesome.

  18. To me it looks like this beautiful bird is always on the guard. Nevertheless, you succeeded to capture the Grey Francolin exceptionally well. Great work, Thomas!

  19. Birds are so elegant, and this one too. Splendid photographs. Colors are magic. Thank you much.

  20. Wow ! A yellow-orangish bird against a yellow-orangish background and you have managed to make it perfectly visible ! It’s great as usual ! 😉

  21. Nice shots. Beautiful bird.

  22. Amazing, beautiful pictures.

  23. Beautiful pictures and amazing closeups! Excellent work for one more time!

  24. that’s a totally camouflaged bird en’it? the colors in the first one — the saturated greens in the foliage in the front and the dark tones in the back is really quite lovely.

  25. What a beautiful game bird. I’m glad to hear that it is on the rebound. Thanks for showing us.

  26. I’m also glad to hear it’s staging a comeback. You’ve captured it beautifully!

  27. A very smart bird! Thanks for the share.

  28. All are excellent shots! Enjoyed them all! Your work is really praiseworthy! TFS

  29. fine quality on your shots. i really like the bird’s expressions here!

  30. Excellent serie again, well done!

  31. Thomas, your birding technique is perfect. What a big difference between the first and second shot. It’s a great series. #2 ad #5 are my favs, exceptionally not the last one 😉

  32. What a handsome looking bird. I love the warm colors he is encompassed in..lovely lighting just makes him pop!
    Great series!

  33. Another beautiful bird! Sharpness and details are great as usual! We love the close ups!!

  34. Wonderful captures – shot in beautiful light with great detail!
    Bravo, Thomas!
    Cheers, Klaus

  35. Wonderful capture !

  36. Wow!! beautiful pics again…. i am learning a lot about birds thanks to you…. keep going!!!

  37. Beautiful shot as usualll…:) I like the lighting conditions and the compose…:)

  38. a good looking bird and gr8 frames. the bird’s color looks more natural in the 1st shot. isnt it? i thought the next images are a li’l more bright

  39. The bird stands out so beautifully in your pictures even though the background has the same shades as he does … or maybe that’s why his markings and coloration (especially of his feet) are so striking.

  40. I saw this bird for a quick sec in Corbett, but I am seeing the details much better in your pictures.

    Great shots as well.

  41. It seems like red partridge here in Spain. Great set

  42. Il a de superbes couleurs de camouflage !

  43. Thomas: What a beautiful bird, you got some great poses. It reminds me of a female ringneck pheasent or ruffled grouse.

  44. These are delightful, Thomas! You do have a special gift with nature photography.

    As for the bird, I don’t think pheasants get their share of time in the spotlight. They’re quite handsome and very intriguing. You’ve captured that well.

  45. Hi Thomas,
    que bien has pillado el ave en toda la serie , muy buen trabajo con el campo de enfoque y una nitidez extraordinaria, no entiendo mucho de aves, ésta se parece a la perdiz.
    buen trabajo
    Un saludo

  46. What beautiful light and detail. Whatever you are doing to get this close, keep it up! Great job!

  47. Do you spray some sedative on your subjects before you shoot them ? They pose for you so obediently !!! Awesome !

  48. beautiful bird shots! thanks for sharing

  49. I love its red legs! Seriously. It’s like it has so carefully camouflaged itself and then when it finally reached its legs, it decided to throw caution to the winds and voila!… flamboyant, eye-catching red legs! 😀

  50. beautiful warm colours

  51. Hello Thomas!

    The orange and brown hues are amazing on this bird in how you captured every different shade! Just beautiful!

  52. Magnifiques captures !

  53. For obtains these exif you use a lens de la mort qui tue! This bird looks like a ruffed grouse (gélinotte huppée in French) common in Canada forest and easy to hunt and to domesticate.

  54. Splendid capture!

  55. These birds really blend in with their environment. Great job capturing that.

  56. im going to learn all abt birdwatching just reading your posts..

  57. Love the first one. 600mm is nice! :)

  58. Very interesting bird. I really liked the the earthy colors and feather patterns on the wings and back. Also like the way you captured the angles with the hooked beak.

  59. This reminds me of our quail, Thomas. I wonder if it’s in the same family?

  60. Nice series. Great eye contact with all your shots. You had a fantastic session. Blue Skies.

  61. Una muy buena coleccion de fotografias, me gustan las diferentes poses de estos animales.

  62. Amazing shots and what a beautiful bird. I got some bird shots today that I’ll post later. Not sure they’re as good as yours.

  63. Superb photograph of a rarely photographed species even though it’s widespread.

    The camouflage is so perfect. The background, being blur, is superimposing the bird. But the bird must be a perfect blend for the background.

    Very nicely photographed.

    Silhouette of a Temple of Dwarka

  64. beautiful bird shots, great light

  65. The set is amazing. I love that all the photos were taken during the “golden hour” that light add much appeal to the photos.
    Great work!

  66. As always, marvellous photography and such interesting information. A pleasure to view

  67. It is curious to see how this bird blend with the colors of the environment. Good catch!

  68. I thing this bird has such a wonderful subtle blend of muted color! It gives him perfect camo – yet when caught in the light – outstanding beauty in the feather detail! Reminds me of our grouse – or female pheasant. Awesome work as always, Thomas!

  69. Absolutely amazing work — although I’ve become accustomed to that here. Just phenomenal!

  70. Fantastic shots.
    I understand You are confused about my last post.
    Shooting date : 3 april 2009 !!
    It’s not an oil painting.
    Many thanks for your comment.
    Have a nice day.

  71. Great Grey Francolin series, with stunning lighting in natural habitat and head & shoulder shots.
    Well done T and S.

  72. Love the details, impressive stuff!

  73. That is a handsome bird. You always amaze me with your shots.

  74. Anonymous

    a very hi quality work – bravo

  75. Amazing photographs as usual.
    They certainly prove that the 300 f2.8 and 2x extender is a formidable combination. (Of course the photographer has a lot to do with it too!)

  76. harmonie of tones !!! great.. as usual

  77. What beautiful plumage. You can see how it blends in with the background colours of the grasses.

  78. You never cease to amaze me! These are awesome indeed! Love this unusual bird!

  79. Wow love all the orange/golden colors on this bird! Great job getting so close up!

  80. You have some really great shots here. The first jumps out.

  81. These portraits are wonderful. You have captured the beauty of this critter!

  82. Your patience sure paid off, such fantastic shots of this amazing golden bird the clarity and detail is fantastic

  83. The glimmer and shine of his feathers are exquisitely captured. What marvelous photos. Thank you for your wonderful work! You are surely the best of the best!

  84. very nice captures.. i really like how you explained how these shots were captured.. nice work.. :)

  85. A wonderful photo essay on the virtues of patience. We have francolins here in Kenya but I only seem to get pix of them running away!

  86. Wonderfully observed Thomas. Colours and details are superb!

  87. Encore une magnifique série. Où l’on voit que la nature est bien faites : l’oiseau se font parfaitement dans son environnement grâce à son plumage couleur sable.

  88. Anonymous

    Very beautiful Thomas.
    Nice en claer as always!!
    All image have beautiful colors
    I like it,a nice bird and so close.

    Grz Sien

  89. Francolin is surely an interesting bird to look at. Striking images here

    It looks like some kind of dove!

  90. Thomas, we looked at all the wonders that you have posted on your blog during our absence, as usual is a delight!
    We are happy to find you and thank you for your comments.

    François et Marie-Thé.

  91. I love your blog and I vote for you!

  92. what do you mean the title was too good for the picture??? did you think i was comparing myself to davinci???????? sheesh, btw i usually delete negative comments lol nice bird shots, and the bird is too good for this lol

  93. Awesome shots again Thomas. I`ve never seen one of these myself.

  94. A great series

  95. I admire the qualié of your photo reports on animals.

  96. An excellent series of this remarkable bird. Fine work indeed!

  97. Fantastic coloring and detail I like the way the birds stand out form their backgrounds.

  98. Great shots! The last picture is the winner for me; the background colours are wonderful.

  99. Great photos, nothing like seeing clear photos close up…

  100. Excellent serie again, Thomas!
    well done!

    I also believe that HDR would emphasize more detail in these old cars. Now, I have used a filter in Photoshop called Topaz Adjust.

  101. fabulous shots and detail!

  102. As always, just wonderful photos of a beautiful bird…The lighting in the first one is breath-taking!

  103. It is a beautiful bird and your photos are fantastic. Thank you for sharing them.

  104. Always a pleasure to visit your site and view your stunning and beautiful nature image. Excellent work as usual.

  105. Beautiful photos, nice sharpness and colours!

  106. Beautiful series of photos of the francolin.

  107. it is amazing how the colours of this bird (as with so much wildlife) is so similar to the background. lovely shots!

  108. great shots and great work. thany you Thomas for this series

  109. Great shots. Looks like a very curious yet cautious bird.

  110. Some beautiful color and detail in this set.

  111. Nice series! Love the color tones.

  112. Great series of photos Thomas. She has such a sweet look about her. :)

  113. Hey Thomas, another great bird photo series. What a nice bird, thanks for the update. And that is one big bird, lol, and fast runner, you must be too, lol. Hey Thomas thanks for sharing good stuff, you got a treasure box here. Anna :)

  114. The first shot is wonderful. The lighting is beautiful.

  115. Wonderful images of the bird…again this is a new variety for me. Reminded me of a grouse.

  116. Lovely clarity and detail in these photos!

  117. Such great photos, every feather is to be seen in detail. And the bright watchful eye is very expressive.

  118. The Gray Francolin is a wonderful-looking bird. Your photographs bring out the beautiful details of this bird. Again, fabulous photos!!

  119. Beautiful photos, I love everything about these.

  120. Love the close ups… this is so educative and informative blog..

    Write poetry

  121. A great camouflage of this bird – superb serie.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *