Moorland Francolin Scleroptila psilolaema


Justification of Red List Category
This newly-split species is suspected to be undergoing moderately rapid declines owing to the loss and degradation of its high altitude moorland and grassland habitats from overgrazing and conversion for agriculture. It is therefore classified as Near Threatened. Better knowledge of its population size, trend and threats may lead to a revision of its status.

Population justification
The global population size is unknown given recent taxonomic splits.

Trend justification
The moorland habitat of this species is under intense pressure from grazing and conversion for agriculture (A. Shimelis in litt. 2013). The species is therefore suspected to be undergoing a moderately rapid ongoing population decline over a 12 year (three generation) period.

Distribution and population

Scleroptila psilolaema is endemic to the highlands of Ethiopia, where it is locally frequent to common but presumably declining.


It inhabits montane moorland and grassland, generally at 2,400-4,000 m (Redman et al. 2009).


High altitude moorland and grassland in Ethiopia is under intense pressure, with the main threats coming from grazing pressure and conversion of land for agricultural purposes. Heathland in the highlands has the highest density of livestock in Ethiopia and loss of habitat and disturbance, including damage to nesting sites, are highly likely (A. Shimelis in litt. 2013).

Conservation actions

Conservation and research actions underway
Occurs in several protected areas including the Bale Mountains National Park, Simen Mountains National Park and Guasa reserve (A. Shimelis in litt. 2013).

Conservation and research actions proposed
Conduct surveys to assess its distribution, habitat requirements, and the severity of threats. Ensure effective protection and management of protected areas within the range.


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

Shimelis, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Scleroptila psilolaema. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/11/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/11/2022.