Family Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse (Phasianidae)


Udzungwa Forest-partridge (Xenoperdix udzungwensis)


French: Xénoperdrix de Tanzanie German: Udzungwawachtel Spanish: Perdiz de las Udzungwa
Other common names: Udzungwa Partridge, Rubeho Partridge (obscurata)

Xenoperdix udzungwensis

Dinesen et al.

, 1994,

Ndundulu Mountains, in Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania


Originally thought to be an aberrant species of forest francolin, but extensive taxonomic study indicates that present species is probably most closely related to the Asiatic genus Arborophila; significant similarities include pattern of underwing-coverts, scaling on rear part of tarsus, several general plumage features, tree-roosting habit and whistling calls. Taxon obscurata, originally described as a subspecies, has been elevated to species level#R#R on basis of smaller size, speckled face, no white necklace, non-ochraceous undertail-coverts, less distinctly barred secondaries, scaly-patterned wing-coverts, narrower rectrices and a 0.5% biomolecular divergence; but none of these characters appears to be truly significant. Later analysis of DNA data, however, suggests lack of recent gene flow between the two populations, which are separated geographically by only 100 km, and they differ in details of ornaments and colours of face and tail (which are likely to function as visual signals)#R. Further investigation needed. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • X. u. obscurata Fjeldså & Kiure, 2003 – Rubeho Forest-partridge – Mafwemiro Forest, in N Rubeho Mts, in C Tanzania.
  • X. u. udzungwensis Dinesen et al., 1994 – Udzungwa Forest-partridge – SC Tanzania, in two areas within Udzungwa Mts: Ndundulu Mts and Nyumbanitu Mts.
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 29 cm, three males 220 g, 222 g and 239 g (udzungwensis); 25–28 cm, 150 g (obscurata). Male nominate race has bright red bill, orange-red... read more


    Whistled “teedli teedli”; also a soft low-pitched call and an explosive cry when alarmed. Calls... read more


    Montane and submontane evergreen forest between 1350 m and 1900 m; seen on ridges and steep slopes... read more

    Food and feeding

    Invertebrates such as beetles, ants, flies and woodlice; also seeds. Feeds among leaf litter on forest floor by scratching and turning over... read more


    Possibly from onset of rains: adult of nominate race seen with chicks in late Nov and again in early Dec. No further information available.


    No information available. Apparently sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    ENDANGERED. Rare to locally common, and known from only three locations within very small range; at risk from hunting and from the destruction and degradation of its habitat... read more

    Recommended citation

    McGowan, P.J.K., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (2019). Udzungwa Forest-partridge (Xenoperdix udzungwensis). 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).