Red-necked spurfowl

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Red-necked spurfowl
Red-necked spurfowl (Pternistis afer cranchii).jpg
P. a. cranchii in Queen
Elizabeth NP
, Uganda
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Genus: Pternistis
P. afer
Binomial name
Pternistis afer
(Müller, 1766)
  • Francolinus afer

The red-necked spurfowl or red-necked francolin (Pternistis afer), is a gamebird in the pheasant family Phasianidae of the order Galliformes, gallinaceous birds.

Range and status[edit]

The red-necked spurfowl breeds across the central belt of Africa and down the east coast to South Africa. Widespread and common throughout its large range, the red-necked spurfowl is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.


It is 25–38 cm in length, with a significant size difference between the subspecies, of which there are some seven or eight. It is a generally dark francolin, brown above and black-streaked grey or white underparts. The bill, bare facial skin, neck and legs are bright red.


The red-necked spurfowl is a wary species, keeping to deep cover, although it sometimes feeds in open scrub or cultivation if disturbance is limited and there are thickets nearby. The nest is a bare scrape, and three to nine eggs are laid.


Many races have been described. Most of them are subsumed under 7 to 8 taxa, but these differ depending on the author:[1][2]

  • P. a. cranchii (Leach, 1818)Lake Victoria basin southwards to Zambia, the Angolan interior & northern Malawi
  • P. a. leucoparaeus (G.A.Fischer & Reichenow, 1884) – southeastern Kenya
  • P. a. harterti Reichenow, 1909Rwanda, Burundi to northern Tanzania
  • P. a. loangwae C.H.B.Grant & Mackworth-Praed, 1934 – eastern Zambia & Malawi
  • P. a. melanogaster Neumann, 1898 – Tanzania & Zambia to northern Mozambique
  • P. a. swynnertoni W.L.Sclater, 1921 – eastern Zimbabwe & central Mozambique
  • P. a. afer (Statius Müller, 1776) – western Angola & northwestern Namibia
  • P. a. lehmanni Roberts, 1931Limpopo and Mpumalanga, South Africa
  • P. a. castaneiventer Gunning & Roberts, 1911 – eastern South Africa
  • P. a. notatus Roberts, 1924Western Cape, South Africa


  1. ^ McGowan, P.J.K.; Kirwan, G.M. (2013). "Red-necked Francolin (Pternistis afer)". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  2. ^ Chittenden, H.; et al. (2012). Roberts geographic variation of southern African birds. Cape Town: JVBBF. pp. 40–41. ISBN 978-1-920602-00-0.

External links[edit]