Family Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse (Phasianidae)

Least Concern

Handsome Francolin (Pternistis nobilis)


French: Francolin noble German: Edelfrankolin Spanish: Francolín noble
Other common names: Handsome Spurfowl

Francolinus nobilis


, 1908,

Virunga Volcanoes, DRCongo


Has been separated in genus Oreocolinus. Thought to be closest to P. jacksoni, P. castaneicollis, P. erckelii and P. ochropectus. Birds of Rwenzori Mts have been described as race chapini, but individual variation in this species renders such treatment untenable; for the same reason, ruandae (Rwanda) is not recognized. Monotypic.


Mountains of E DRCongo (from Blue Mts S to Itombwe Mts), SW Uganda (Rwenzori Mts, Impenetrable Forest, around Kisoro and Kibale), Rwanda and Burundi.

Descriptive notes

c. 33–35 cm; two males 862 and 895 g, female 600–670 g. The only francolin over much of its comparatively small range. Distinctive combination of red bare parts,... read more


Advertising call described as a loud, harsh crowing “chuck-a-rick”, which is usually... read more


Occurs from lower edge of montane forest, through areas of bamboo to alpine heath, especially near... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds on seeds. Forages along roads in very early morning and late afternoon.


Laying from late Apr to Sept in S Kivu Province, E DRCongo. Small groups have been seen, which were assumed to be family parties. No... read more


Sedentary. Flies short distances and only when hard pressed, preferring to escape by running into... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Mace Lande: safe. Occurs in suitable habitat (estimated at 17,100 km²) throughout c. 130,000 km². A candidate for inclusion... read more

Recommended citation

McGowan, P.J.K. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Handsome Francolin (Pternistis nobilis). 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 10 December 2019).