Family Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse (Phasianidae)

Least Concern

Heuglin's Francolin (Pternistis icterorhynchus)


French: Francolin à bec jaune German: Gelbschnabelfrankolin Spanish: Francolín piquigualdo
Other common names: Yellow-billed Francolin, Heuglin's Spurfowl

Francolinus icterorhynchus


, 1863,

Bongo River, Bahr el Ghazal, South Sudan


Has been included in genus Chaetopus. This species is possibly closest to P. bicalcaratus, P. clappertoni and P. harwoodi. Proposed races dybowski (NE DRCongo and W Uganda), emini (extreme NE DRCongo W of L Albert), ugandensis (C Uganda) and grisescens (extreme S South Sudan) all regarded as examples of clinal variation. Monotypic.


Central African Republic, W South Sudan, extreme N DRCongo and N & W Uganda.

Descriptive notes

c. 32 cm; male 504–588 g, female 420–462 g. Differs from P. bicalcaratus by peculiar markings below and by having bill and legs yellow to orange, rather... read more


Territorial call, mainly heard early morning, late afternoon and after rain, a repeated loud harsh... read more


Open habitats between 500 m and 1400 m, ranging from grassland to savanna with scattered tree cover... read more

Food and feeding

Varied diet includes seeds (grass and millet recorded) and berries, millipedes, beetles, ants and termites. Forms generally small coveys,... read more


Eggs in Mar–Jun and young in Jul, Aug and Nov in Uganda, apparently unrelated to rains; Sept–Nov in DR Congo, during late rainy... read more


Sedentary. Flies up to perches only when very pressed, preferring to escape by running into cover;... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Mace Lande: safe. Widely distributed, occurring in suitable habitat throughout a range of c. 1,400,000 km². Common to abundant... read more

Recommended citation

McGowan, P.J.K., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Heuglin's Francolin (Pternistis icterorhynchus). 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 5 April 2020).