The Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change

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. Since then, using a set of different census methods as well as surveys among the local people, we have collected enough data for an initial estimation of population size and for modelling the species’ potential range.

These results indicate a very small-scaled distribution of the species having 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 through deforestation and the extension of agriculturally used areas), the already fragmented ranges of the Black-fronted Francolin are becoming even more disconnected. Due to our results, the Black-fronted Francolin was recently designated "Endangered" by the IUCN. This study resulted in further recommendations for the modification and extension of the currently projected boundaries of protected areas in the region as this is viewed as the only chance of survival for this rare species.

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
Deputy Head of Department Vertebrata
+49 228 9122-246
+49 228 9122-212
t.toepfer [at]