Family Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse (Phasianidae)

Least Concern

Shelley’s Francolin (Scleroptila shelleyi)


French: Francolin de Shelley German: Shelleyfrankolin Spanish: Francolín de Shelley

Francolinus shelleyi


, 1890,

Hartley Hills, Umfuli River, Zimbabwe


Often treated as monotypic. Has been considered to include S. elgonensis and S. whytei as races. Race uluensis has been treated as a race of S. afra. Proposed races canidorsalis (S Mozambique) and sequestris (KwaZulu-Natal) are normally considered synonyms of shelleyi. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. s. uluensis (Ogilvie-Grant, 1892) – C & S Kenya and N Tanzania.
  • S. s. macarthuri (van Someren, 1938) – SE Kenya (Chyulu Hills).
  • S. s. shelleyi (Ogilvie-Grant, 1890) – patchily from extreme SW Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and C Tanzania S to C Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, S Mozambique, NE South Africa (S to KwaZulu-Natal) and Swaziland.
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 33–35 cm; 392–600 g. In flight, shows small rufous patch in wing. Characteristic blackish barring on underparts, especially on belly. Differs from S.... read more


    Advertisement call consists of musical series of four notes given from the ground, frequently... read more


    Occurs in variety of grassland and woodland habitats: open montane wooded savanna and grassland,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Varied diet, including roots and bulbs, fallen seeds, and invertebrates, such as small molluscs, termites (Isoptera) and ants (... read more


    Lays during dry season, varying with locality, and recorded in most months: Aug–Jan in South Africa, Mar–Jul in E Africa.... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Very widely distributed species occurring in suitable habitat throughout an area of c. 1,270,000 km². Considered to be generally... read more

    Recommended citation

    McGowan, P.J.K., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Shelley’s Francolin (Scleroptila shelleyi). 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 12 December 2019).