Family Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse (Phasianidae)

Least Concern

Yellow-necked Francolin (Pternistis leucoscepus)


French: Francolin à cou jaune German: Gelbkehlfrankolin Spanish: Francolín gorjiamarillo
Other common names: Yellow-necked Spurfowl

Francolinus leucoscepus

G. R. Gray

, 1867,



Closely related to P. afer and, less so, to P. swainsonii#R; also thought to be close to P. rufopictus. Hybridization with P. rufopictus reported from SE Serengeti National Park (N Tanzania)#R. Geographical variation is minimal, with suggestion of clinal decrease in darkness of underparts from W to E. Several races proposed, i.e. holtemulleri (L Abaya, in S Ethiopia), muhamedbenabdullah (between El Uak and Bardera, in S Somalia), tokora (Karamoja, in NE Uganda), keniensis (W slope of Mt Kenya) and, in N Tanzania, oldowai, infuscatus and kilimensis (all from Mt Kilimanjaro region); none considered worthy of recognition. Monotypic.


Eritrea S through Ethiopia to SE South Sudan, NE Uganda, Kenya, N & S Somalia and NC Tanzania.

Descriptive notes

33–36 cm; male 615–896 g, female 400–615 g. Large francolin with orange-red bare skin around eye. Only francolin with bare yellow skin on throat and... read more


Advertising call, given from termite mound, fence post or low tree (occasionally the ground),... read more


Inhabits both natural habitats and those altered by man, appearing to prefer Acacia/... read more

Food and feeding

In S Kenya and Tanzania, feeds predominantly on sedge tubers, especially Cyperus rotundus, which constitute over 50% by volume... read more


Breeds late in rains if possible, so that hatching is in cool dry season. Nesting mainly May–Jul in Kenya and N Tanzania, but... read more


Sedentary. In early morning may walk or fly hundreds of metres to particular areas, e.g. of crops,... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Mace Lande: safe. Occurs in suitable habitat throughout area of more than 2,000,000 km². Considered frequent overall, but is... read more

Recommended citation

McGowan, P.J.K. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Yellow-necked Francolin (Pternistis leucoscepus). 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 9 April 2020).