Family Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse (Phasianidae)

Least Concern

Erckel’s Francolin (Pternistis erckelii)


French: Francolin d’Erckel German: Erckelfrankolin Spanish: Francolín de Erckel
Other common names: Erckel's Spurfowl

Perdix erckelli


, 1835,

Taranta Mountains, Ethiopia


Has been separated in genus Oreocolinus. Thought to be close to P. ochropectus, and possibly also to P. jacksoni, P. nobilis and P. castaneicollis. Proposed race pentoni (from Sudan) paler and greyer than individuals in rest of species’ range, but not considered valid. Monotypic.


NE Sudan (SE Red Sea State); highlands of N Ethiopia and Eritrea N & W of Rift Valley.

Introduced to Hawaii.

Descriptive notes

38–43 cm; three males 1050–1590 g, one female 1136 g. Forehead, lores and crown-sides blackish, crown and nape chestnut, ear-coverts grey with whitish patch... read more


Territorial call, given from boulder or clifftop, a series of c. 15–20 notes, starting with well-... read more


Blocks of scrub, consisting of Carissa, Rumex, Maytenus and Rosa... read more

Food and feeding

Seeds, shoots and berries, and some insects. Forages in scrub, at forest edge and in cultivation, usually observed singly, in pairs or in... read more


Lays in May and Sept–Nov, during rains, in Ethiopia; and Apr–May, during rains, in N Sudan. Probably monogamous. Nest a scrape... read more


Sedentary. Runs uphill when alarmed; if pursued, flies back downhill.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Mace Lande: safe. Occurs in suitable habitat throughout c. 146,000 km². Considered common and now probably stable in Ethiopia,... read more

Recommended citation

McGowan, P.J.K., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2019). Erckel’s Francolin (Pternistis erckelii). 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).