Family Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse (Phasianidae)

Least Concern

Clapperton's Francolin (Pternistis clappertoni)


French: Francolin de Clapperton German: Clappertonfrankolin Spanish: Francolín de Clapperton
Other common names: Clapperton's Spurfowl

Francolinus Clappertoni

Children and Vigors

, 1826,

no locality = Bornu, Nigeria


Has been included in genus Chaetopus. This species is possibly closest to P. bicalcaratus, P. icterorhynchus and P. harwoodi. Geographical variation in plumage is complex and partly clinal, and some authors prefer to treat this species as monotypic#R. Some populations, however, appear distinctive enough to warrant subspecific recognition. Name testis is a synonym of nigrosquamatus and cavei a synonym of gedgii. Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. c. clappertoni (Children & Vigors, 1826) – E Mali (from Azzawakh) and Niger E to SW Sudan.
  • P. c. koenigseggi (Madarász, 1914) – SE Sudan.
  • P. c. sharpii (Ogilvie-Grant, 1892) – W Eritrea and N & C Ethiopia.
  • P. c. heuglini (Neumann, 1907) – N & C South Sudan.
  • P. c. nigrosquamatus (Neumann, 1902) – E South Sudan and W Ethiopia.
  • P. c. gedgii (Ogilvie-Grant, 1891) – S South Sudan and N & NE Uganda.
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 32–35 cm; male 450–604 g, female 300–530 g. Size and streaked appearance might briefly recall P. leucoscepus. Differs from P. icterorhynchus... read more


    Vocalizes most frequently early morning and late afternoon, usually from a low tree or atop a... read more


    Semi-arid savanna, open savanna woodland and especially sandy grassland, including that of ... read more

    Food and feeding

    Seeds and berries, small molluscs and insects. Recorded in coveys of up to 20 birds.


    Lays Aug–Sept in Mali and Sudan; Feb and Jul–Sept in Chad; Feb–Mar in Nigeria; Jan–Feb and Jul–Dec in... read more


    Sedentary. Often active in late afternoon.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Mace Lande: safe. Patchily distributed in suitable habitat within a large range of c. 2,320,000 km². Generally locally common to... read more

    Recommended citation

    McGowan, P.J.K. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Clapperton's Francolin (Pternistis clappertoni). 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 9 December 2019).