The Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig

is a research museum of the Leibniz Association

Endemic francolins of Ethiopia



Quick facts

Project title: 
Endemic francolins of Ethiopia
ZFMK Project lead: 
Object of research: 


Ethiopia harbours two endemic francolin taxa. One of them is the Black-fronted Francolin Pternistis atrifrons, a ground-dwelling landfowl species of the mountain ranges in the South of the country. We re-discovered a small population of these birds - that have not been observed since the 1940s - just as in 2012. Since then, using a set of different census methods as well as by surveys among the local people, we have collected enough data for a first estimation of population size and for modelling the species’ potential range.

These results indicate a very small-scaled distribution of the species with a pronounced preference for the relatively cooler and moister peak regions of the mountains. Due to the ongoing and intensified exploitation of these regions (mainly deforestation and extension of agriculturally used areas), the already fragmented range(s) of the Black-fronted Francolin are getting disconnected further. Based on our results, the Black-fronted Francolin was recently assigned "Endangered" by the IUCN. Futhermore, our recommendations comprise the modification and extension of the currently projected boundaries of protected areas in the region. There only is a chance of survival for this rare species if the isolated mountain ranges are incorporated into the protected areas and if they are prevented from being over-exploited further.

This project is part of our research on Ethiopian birds and is linked to a study on land use and climate change on Ethiopian francolins.


Contact person

Head of Section Ornithology
+49 228 9122-246
+49 228 9122-212
t.toepfer [at]