Family Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse (Phasianidae)

Least Concern

Coqui Francolin (Peliperdix coqui)


French: Francolin coqui German: Coquifrankolin Spanish: Francolín coqui

Perdix Coqui

A. Smith

, 1836,

near Kurrichane, western Transvaal (North West Province), South Africa


Thought to be closely related to P. albogularis and P. schlegelii; latter has been considered a race of present species. On the other hand, one study (which included both genetic and morphobehavioural evidence) suggested that coqui might belong within the Scleroptila group of species#R. Taxon hubbardi appears close to species status when compared with nominate, having blackish vs dull chestnut crown in female (2), underparts below breast plain tan-buff vs all barred (3), no rufous staining in pattern on mantle and breast-sides in either sex (ns[1]), and female with almost plain pale grey-brown vs rufous breast (2). However, hubbardi also is closer than coqui to less well-known taxa spinetorum and maharao, and until these last two are better understood morphologically and geographically hubbardi (which certainly interbreeds with coqui in places) is retained as a subspecies. Races angolensis and vernayi are sometimes treated as synonyms of nominate, but probably distinct enough to warrant recognition#R. Many other races described, but currently considered doubtfully valid: buckleyi is included in spinetorum; thikae in maharao; bourquii in angolensis; campbelli, lynesi, kasaicus and ruandae in nominate; and hoeschianus in vernayi. Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. c. spinetorum (Bates, 1928) – W Africa, patchily from S Mauritania E to N Nigeria and S to Congo.
  • P. c. maharao (W. L. Sclater, 1927) – Ethiopia to C & E Kenya and N Tanzania.
  • P. c. angolensis (Rothschild, 1902) – Angola and W Zambia.
  • P. c. coqui (A. Smith, 1836) – Coqui Francolin – S Uganda S through DRCongo and C Tanzania to N Namibia and C & E South Africa.
  • P. c. vernayi (Roberts, 1932) – NE Namibia, SW Zambia and NE Botswana.
  • P. c. hubbardi (Ogilvie-Grant, 1895) – Plain-bellied Francolin – W & S Kenya (E to Kitui) S to N Tanzania (Mwanza Province).
  • Descriptive notes

    20–25 cm; male 227–284 g, female 218–259 g. Male’s uniformly ochre-coloured head contrasts sharply with barred breast; differs from P. schlegelii... read more


    Territorial call, mainly given at dawn and dusk, and from ground, is a rhythmic cackling phrase “... read more


    Wide variety of grassy habitats, including savanna and wooded grassland, especially miombo woodland... read more

    Food and feeding

    Seeds, including those of grass and grain, and leaves; also takes a variety of insects, including ants, beetles and larvae of other insects. read more


    Lays Jul in Nigeria; late Aug to Mar in DRCongo; Oct/Nov and May in Uganda; records in every month except Jun (peaking Oct–Feb) in... read more


    Sedentary. Flies only when strongly pressed, preferring to escape by running.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Mace Lande: safe. One of Africa’s most widespread francolins, occurring in suitable habitat throughout an area of nearly 4,180,... read more

    Recommended citation

    McGowan, P.J.K., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Coqui Francolin (Peliperdix coqui). 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 7 April 2020).