Family Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse (Phasianidae)

Least Concern

Red-billed Francolin (Pternistis adspersus)


French: Francolin à bec rouge German: Rotschnabelfrankolin Spanish: Francolín piquirrojo
Other common names: Red-billed Spurfowl

Francolinus adspersus


, 1838,

Great Fish River, Great Namaqualand


Has been included in genus Notocolinus, which name may alternatively represent a valid subgenus for this species, P. capensis, P. natalensis and P. hildebrandti#R; has hybridized with P. natalensis in captivity#R. Study of morphological and mensural variation in this species indicated that it should be separated into mesic and desertic populations, former being named as a new subspecies, mesicus#R. Proposed race kalahari (E parts of range from NW Botswana) is included in nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. a. adspersus (Waterhouse, 1838) – SW Angola (S Huíla) and NW Namibia E to N Botswana, and S to extreme N South Africa.
  • P. a. mesicus Clancey, 1996 – highlands of NC Namibia; also SW Zambia and NW Zimbabwe.
  • Introduced unsuccessfully to Hawaii.

    Descriptive notes

    Male c. 38 cm, 340–635 g; female c. 33 cm, 340–549 g. Shows rather conspicuous and very distinctive yellow eye-ring; differs from P. natalensis (with... read more


    Advertising call, given from termite mound or low tree (usually only in coolest hours, but... read more


    Arid savanna and floodplains; Baikaiea, Acacia and mixed woodlands, brush country... read more

    Food and feeding

    Green parts of plants, berries and bulbs, and termites, beetles, grasshoppers and bugs; in Zambia known to eat seeds of the tree ... read more


    Breeds in late rains or early dry season, when coveys disband; Apr and Jul in S Angola; mainly Dec–Apr, but any month, in C & S... read more


    Sedentary, rarely moving more than c. 5 km; reports of long-distance (30–100 km) and/or... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Mace Lande: safe. Occurs in suitable habitat throughout c. 1,150,000 km². Considered widespread and abundant in Namibia, where... read more

    Recommended citation

    McGowan, P.J.K. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Red-billed Francolin (Pternistis adspersus). 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).