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This species is endemic to the Indian Subcontinent. It is distributed patchily from Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh south into peninsular India (but not along the Malabar coast and rare south of Coimbatore) and in Sri Lanka. The species interbreeds with the black francolin along its northern and appears similar to the female of that species but has no rufous hindcollar, instead having a bright rufous face and throat. The underside has white spots while the legs are orange-yellow to red. It is more arboreal in its habits than the black francolin. The legs of both sexes have no spurs.

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