Family Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse (Phasianidae)


Black-fronted Francolin (Pternistis atrifrons)


French: Francolin à front noir German: Schwarzstirnfrankolin Spanish: Francolín frentinegro

Francolinus atrifrons


, 1930,

Mega, 7000 ft [c. 2130 m], Boran, Ethiopia


With P. castaneicollis has been separated in genus Oreocolinus. Hitherto treated as a subspecies of P. castaneicollis, but differs in entirely chestnut-free plumage (3); absence of broad bold grey markings on feathers of breast, flanks and thighs with contrasting white fringes or internal bars (3); breast thereby left with soft-edged arrow-shaped grey scaling (ns) and belly much plainer and unmarked, dull creamy white (1); smaller size, reflected in somewhat smaller bill, legs and feet (sample small; projected score 1). Separation recently reinforced with genetic and bioacoustic data#R. Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

S Ethiopia (around Mega, in Oromia Region), and recorded also in extreme N Kenya (Moyale).

Descriptive notes

c. 40 cm. Has blackish forehead, this colour extending to lores and superciliary area, and whitish throat; neck and breast buff-brown with some darker streaking; upperparts... read more


Recent recordings, the first of the species, indicate slight differences from P. castaneicollis... read more


Thickets at forest edges and semi-open woodland with extensive areas of low shrubs, interspersed by... read more

Food and feeding

Little information. Presumably takes seeds, as well as such insects as termites (Isoptera).


Nothing known, other than observations of juveniles in mid Mar and mid May, suggesting that the species breeds during the main wet season.


Sedentary; like P. castaneicollis prefers to escape danger on foot, rather than taking... read more

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED). Global population unquantified, but the species’ range is estimated by BirdLife to cover 47,600 km², although other commentators have more pessimistically... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Black-fronted Francolin (Pternistis atrifrons). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 30 March 2020).