Pternistis swierstrai 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Galliformes Phasianidae

Scientific Name: Pternistis swierstrai (Roberts, 1929)
Common Name(s):
English Swierstra's Francolin
French Francolin de Swierstra
Spanish Francolin de Swierstra
Francolinus swierstrai (Roberts, 1929)
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Taxonomic Notes: Pternistis swierstrai (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously placed in the genus Francolinus.
Identification information: 33 cm. Black-and-white, terrestrial gamebird with red bill and legs. Adult male striking black-and-white with broad, black breast-band on white with black spotted underparts. Upperparts at closer range very dark brown. Female has similar underparts to male, but shows paler, more rusty back, mantle and upperwings. Voice Described as a cackling similar to Jackson's Francolin F. jacksoni or Hildebrandt's Francolin F. hildebrandti.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B2ab(i,ii,iii,v);C2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Dean, R., Mills, M. & Vaz Pinto, P.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Bird, J., Butchart, S., Calvert, R., Ekstrom, J., Keane, A., Shutes, S., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.
This species is classified as Endangered as analysis has shown that it has a very small range which is declining in quality and size, and a very small population which is suspected to be decreasing owing to habitat loss and hunting pressure. Urgent conservation action is required to preserve tracts of forest in Angola large enough to support a viable population.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Pternistis swierstrai is uncommon in western Angola and is found from Tundavala in Huila District north to Cariango in Cuanza Sul District, on inselbergs in Huambo District and in the Bailundu Highlands (Dean 2000). On Mt Moco in the Bailundu Highlands (the area with the most forest remaining) only c.15 patches of true Afromontane forest survive (1-15 ha), all in deep ravines (Dean 2001), although there are other more extensive patches of sub-montane forest in western Angola (M. S. L. Mills in litt. 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010). There were no records of this species between 1971 and 2005, when c.10 individuals were recorded (seven birds were seen and another pair or group were heard) at Mts Moco and Soque (M. S. L. Mills in litt. 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010; Mills and Dean in prep). Population estimates are hampered by a lack of data, however it has been estimated at between 465-1,052 pairs and 1,040-2,080 pairs depending on the amount of forest cover left in Angola and how tolerant the species is of non-forest habitats (M. S. L. Mills in litt. 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010).

Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:104Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:61800
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):YesExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:6-10Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:NoLower elevation limit (metres):2000
Upper elevation limit (metres):2500
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The global population has been estimated at between 465-1,052 pairs and 1,040-2,080 pairs. The latter is an over-estimate unless the species is tolerant of a wider range of habitats than is currently known, hence the global population is best placed in the band 1,000-2,499 mature individuals (M. S. L. Mills in litt. 2010).

Trend Justification:  This species is suspected to be in decline owing to habitat destruction (Dean 2001; M.S.L. Mills in litt. 2005, 2010) and hunting pressure.

Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:1000-2499Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:Yes
No. of subpopulations:2-100Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It is found in montane areas where it is known mainly from forest and forest edge, but it is also recorded from rocky and grassy mountain sides, tall grass savannas on mountain tops and gullies. In August 2005, the seven birds that were seen were in rank growth and bracken (M. S. L. Mills in litt. 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010). In forest, it stays within the dense undergrowth of bushes, shrubs, grasses and large ferns. It feeds on grass and legume seeds and insects picked from the leaf-litter. Its breeding ecology is virtually unknown, but juvenile specimens collected in August suggest a breeding season in May or June.

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):3.9
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): On Mt Moco, it is threatened by clearing and burning for subsistence farming and the remaining forest patches are disappearing rapidly (Dean 2001; M. S. L. Mills in litt. 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010). Hunting may also be a serious problem in this area, although in August 2005 birds were recorded very near to the largest village (M. S. L. Mills in litt. 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
A protected area of c.60 km2 at Mt Moco was proposed in the 1970s, but has not yet been established (Huntley and Matos 1994).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Use satellite imagery to assess the current extent of forest cover and, if possible, identify potential areas of suitable habitat. Design and evaluate a robust survey technique, perhaps based on playback of vocalisations. Conduct surveys to determine the species's distribution, population numbers and habitat requirements. Initiate long-term conservation at Mt Moco IBA, perhaps though a Site Support Group.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Pternistis swierstrai. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22678896A92793729. . Downloaded on 27 May 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided