Gray francolins are a favorite bird of mine, not for their loud and raucous call, especially early in the morning, but for their goofy behavior.
They blend in very well in dry, grassy surroundings. I often encounter them when one or more loses it’s nerve and shoots out from cover, which leaves me as startled as the francolin. Sometimes they’ll fly out, but more frequently they take off running. When this happens alongside a fence the bird will run along, pausing occasionally to probe for an escape route, with me calling after it, ‘You can fly you know.’ If it doesn’t find a hole in the fence it will eventually take off, but it’s as if they’ve all been told they can only take off 20 times in their lifetime.
The gray francolin in these photos neither ran nor flew. It stood its ground quite boldly, making sure to keep a sharp eye on me as I edged past trying not to alarm it. When I’d done so it wandered off through the grass looking quite pleased that it hadn’t used one of its 20 airborne escapes.