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Mount Cameroon Francolin Pternistis camerunensis
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This species is listed as Endangered because it has a very small range, being found on one mountain only, where it faces increasing threats from human-induced burning of its habitat and the retreating forest/savanna boundary in some places.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Taxonomic note
Pternistis camerunensis (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously placed in the genus Francolinus.

Francolinus camerunensis Alexander, 1909

33 cm. Terrestrial gamebird with red bill and legs. Male greyish below with warm brown upperparts and diagnostic red bill, eye-surround, legs and feet. Female has similar coloured soft parts but plumage mottled brown below with heavily barred upperparts. Immature resembles female but is barred, not streaked, below. Similar spp. Scaly Francolin F. squamatus has darker underparts and lacks bare red skin around the eyes. Voice Highly distinctive, described as high-pitched, triple whistle. Hints On Mt Cameroon, on the south-east slopes above Buea and Musake, can be seen on tracks at first light, especially after a night of heavy rain.

Distribution and population
Francolinus camerunensis is found on Mt Cameroon, Cameroon, where it is restricted to the south-east and north-east slopes. During survey work in 1984, it was found to be common, especially on the southern slopes of the mountain. Recent sightings have been irregular and are usually of single pairs (J. Acworth in litt. 1999). It is judged to have been scarce since 1996 at least, and it has been noted that some records could relate to the Scaly Francolin F. squamatus (F. Njie in litt. 2007).

Population justification
The population is estimated at 648-1,134 individuals (4-7 individuals/km2 x 162 km2 [85% of EOO]), but it is likely to be at upper end of this range as it was described as 'common' during fieldwork in 1984, and hence is best placed in the range 1,000-2,499 individuals. This equates to 667-1,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 600-1,700 mature individuals. Density range from lower to upper quartile of five estimates for four forest-dwelling congeners in BirdLife Population Densities Spreadsheet.

Trend justification
During survey work in 1984, it was found to be common. However, recent sightings have been irregular and are usually of single pairs (J. Acworth in litt. 1999) and the species is judged to have been scarce since 1996 at least (F. Njie in litt. 2006). These observations, coupled with continuing pressures from habitat degradation and hunting, mean that the species is suspected to be in decline at an unquantified rate.

It inhabits dense undergrowth in primary forest and clearings between 850-2,100 m. It appears able to tolerate secondary forest and has been observed in savanna-scrub habitat following forest burning (J. Acworth in litt. 1999). It feeds on berries, grass seeds and insects and breeds during the dry season, with birds laying between October and December.

While fire is a naturally occurring phenomenon on Mt Cameroon and lava-flows occur about every 20 years, it is the regular burning of grassland by hunters that is probably the greatest threat to the species, causing the destruction of both eggs and young birds (J. Acworth in litt. 1999). Recurrent bush fires destroy forest, particularly on the south-east slopes (F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 1999). Clearance is an additional problem, notably on the east side of the mountain where it is extensive and could become more serious, with hunting posing a relatively insignificant (but continuing) threat. The species and its eggs may be targeted by hunters and other people (F. Njie in litt. 2007).

Conservation Actions Underway
There is an internationally-funded conservation and development project on Mt Cameroon, though efforts to date have mainly concentrated on lowland areas threatened with clearance for plantation agriculture (J. Acworth in litt. 1999). With the technical and financial support of international partner organisations, the Mount Cameroon National Park was created by the Government of Cameroon in December 2009, covering approximately 58,178 hectares (WWF 2010).Conservation Actions Proposed
Design and evaluate a robust survey technique, perhaps based on playback of vocalisations. Collect detailed distributional information including any evidence of fragmentation. Determine its habitat use more precisely. Control/regulate human-induced burning of grasslands. Investigate the effects of threats (e.g. grassfires, hunting) within the Mount Cameroon and Mokoko-Onge IBA.

Collar, N. J.; Stuart, S. N. 1985. Threatened birds of Africa and related islands: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, and International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Cambridge, U.K.

Fuller, R. A.; Carroll, J. P.; McGowan, P. J. K. 2000. Partridges, quails, francolins, snowcocks, guineafowl, and turkeys. Status survey and conservation action plan 2000-2004. IUCN and World Pheasant Association, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Keane, A.M.; Carroll, J. P.; Fuller, R. A.; McGowan, P.J. K. in press. Partridges, quails, francolins, snowcocks, guineafowl and turkeys: status survey and conservation action plan 2005-2009. IUCN and WPA, Gland, Switzerland.

WWF. 2010. Unique Cameroon mountain area gets crucial protection. Available at: (Accessed: 15/05/2012).

Further web sources of information
Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) species/site profile. This species has been identified as an AZE trigger due to its IUCN Red List status and limited range.

Click here for more information about the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE)

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Keane, A., Shutes, S., Symes, A., Taylor, J.

Acworth, J., Davies, G., Dowsett-Lemaire, F., Fotso, R., Njie, F., Whytock, R.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Pternistis camerunensis. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Phasianidae (Pheasants, Partridges, Turkeys, Grouse)
Species name author Alexander, 1909
Population size 600-1700 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 190 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species