It is one of the few francolins to have a range outside Africa. It is a resident breeder from Kashmir, Cyprus and south-eastern Turkey eastwards through Iran to southwest Turkmenistan and northeast India. Its range was formally more extensive, but over-hunting has reduced its distribution and numbers. There have been a number of introductions, but most have failed to take root although some populations still persist in the USA and elsewhere.
This bird is found in scrubby habitats with plenty of low cover and cultivation. It nests in a bare ground scrape laying 8-18 white-spotted pale brown/greenish eggs. Black Francolin take a wide variety of plant and insect food.
The Grey Partridge-sized male is mainly black, with white spotting on the back and flanks. It has a chestnut neck collar, white cheek patches and brown wings. The legs are red. The female is mainly brown, but has a chestnut hind neck. The extent of the white spotting on the flanks varies substantially across the species' range and the depth of colour of the females similarly varies.
This is a very unobstrusive species, best seen in spring when the male sings a mechanical kik-kik-kik from a mound. The male's territorial/advertising call is a loud and grating kwee-kweeeee-kwee. It has a Pheasant's explosive flight, but prefers to creep away unseen.
The easiest place to see this bird is on and around Paphos International Airport in Cyprus, the only country with a recovering population. However, this is also a military base, so people creeping around the perimeter with telescopes and binoculars may attract interest from the police.