Status of Nahan’s Partridge Ptilopachus nahani (Dubois, 1905) (Aves: Galliformes: Odontophoridae) in Uganda

Main Article Content

Eric Sande
Sisiria Akoth
Ubaldo Rutazaana
William Olupot


We carried out a survey of Nahan’s Partridge Ptilopachus nahani in the Ugandan forests of Mabira, Bugoma, and Budongo from December 2016 to December 2017, using a point count method employing a call playback technique.  The aim was to establish the population status of this globally threatened species, which was last surveyed in 2003.  Separate analyses of the number of groups per point and those involving use of the Distance Program yielded the same density estimates, indicating that either method reliably estimates the density of the species.  The density estimates for the three reserves were 31.6, 25.2, and 13.3 groups per km2 for Bugoma, Budongo, and Mabira forest reserves, respectively.  In the last 14 years, it appears that the density of the species for Uganda has increased from 16.3 to 23.4 groups per km2, which when extrapolated translates to 16,000 and 23,000 groups, respectively.  This represents a 44% increase in density, or a group growth rate of 450 per year.  The lowest density and population increment was registered in Mabira and we attribute this to the apparently high incidence of disturbance and degradation of this forest compared to the other two.  Since Mabira, Bugoma, and Budongo are the only remaining large tropical rainforest reserves in Uganda, strengthening their conservation or upgrading their conservation status to national parks is required to save the species.

Article Details

How to Cite
Sande, E., Akoth, S., Rutazaana, U. and Olupot, W. 2020. Status of Nahan’s Partridge Ptilopachus nahani (Dubois, 1905) (Aves: Galliformes: Odontophoridae) in Uganda. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 12, 15 (Nov. 2020), 17063–17076. DOI:


Bennun, L., C. Dranzoa & D. Pomeroy (1996). The forest birds of Kenya and Uganda. Journal of the East African Natural History Society 85(1): 23–48.[23:TFBOKA]2.0.CO;2

Bibby, C., M. Jones & S. Marsden (1998). Expedition Field techniques. Bird Surveys. Royal Geographical Society, 139pp.

BirdLife International (2016). Ptilopachus nahani. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. . Downloaded on 29 December 2016.

BirdLife International (2019a). Species factsheet: Ptilopachus nahani. Downloaded from on 02 January 2019.

BirdLife International (2019b). Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mabira Forest Reserve. Downloaded from on 02 January 2019.

BirdLife International (2019c). Important Bird Areas factsheet: Bugoma Central Forest Reserve. Downloaded from on 02 January 2019.

BirdLife International (2019d). Important Bird Areas factsheet: Budongo Forest Reserve. Downloaded from on 02 January 2019.

Buckland, S.T, D.R. Anderson, K.P. Burnham & J.L. Laake (1993). Distance Sampling: Estimating Abundance of Biological Populations. Chapman and Hall, London, 446pp. (available for free at

Byaruhanga, A., P. Kasoma & D.E. Pomeroy (2001). The Important Bird Areas in Uganda. Nature Uganda, Kampala Uganda.

Cohen, C., J.I. Wakeling, T.G. Mandiwana-Neudani, E. Sande, C. Dranzoa, T.M. Crowe & R.C.K. Bowie (2012). Phylogenetic affinities of evolutionarily enigmatic African Galliforms: the Stone Partridge Ptilopachus Petrosus and Nahan’s Francolin Francolinus Nahani, and support for their sister relationship with new World quails. Ibis 154: 768–780.

Collar, N.J., M.J. Crosby & A.J. Stattersfield (1994). Birds to Watch 2: The World List of Threatened Birds. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International, 407pp.

Crowe, T.M., R.C.K. Bowie, P. Bloomer, T.G. Mandiwana, T.A.J. Hedderson, E. Randi, S.L. Pereira & J. Wakeling (2006). Phylogenetics, biogeography and classification of, and character evolution in, gamebirds (Aves: Galliformes): effects of character exclusion, data partitioning and missing data. Cladistics 22: 495–532.

Dranzoa, C., E. Sande, I. Owiunji & A.J. Plumptre (1999). A survey of (Data Deficient - DD) Nahan’s Francolin Francolinus nahani Dubois in two tropical rain forests in Uganda. Bulletin of the African Bird Club 2: 90–92.

Eggeling, W. (1947). Observations of the ecology of the Budongo rainforest, Journal of Ecology 34: 20–87.

Fuller, R., P. Akite, J.B. Amuno, C. Flockhart, J.M. Ofwono, G. Proaktor & R. Ssemmanda (2004). Recovery of the Nahan’s francolin: decline of a globally threatened bird in the forests of central Uganda. Final Project Report, Durham, UK, 84pp.

Fuller, R., P. Akite, J.B. Amuno, C. Flockhart, J.M. Ofwono,G. Proaktor & R. Ssemmanda (2012). Using playback of vocalisations to survey the Nahan’s francolin, a threatened African forest galliform. OSTRICH 83(1): 1–6.

Gibbs, J.P. & S.M. Melvin (1993). Call-response surveys for monitoring breeding waterbirds. Journal of Wildlife Management 57: 27–34.

Glahn, J.F. (1974). Studies of breeding rails with recorded calls in northcentral Colorado. Wilson Bulletin 86: 206–214.

Howard, P.C. (1991). Nature conservation in Uganda’s tropical forest reserves. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland & Cambridge, UK, 330pp.

Humle, T., F. Maisels, J.F. Oates, A. Plumptre & E.A. Williamson (2016). Pan troglodytes (errata version published in 2018). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T15933A129038584. Downloaded on 05 August 2019.

Laake, J.L., S.T. Buckland, D.R. Anderson & K.P. Burnham (1993). DISTANCE use’s Guide. Colorado Co-operative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Colorado State University, Fort Colin, USA, 72pp.

Marion, W R., T.E. O’Meara & D.S. Maehr (1981). Use of playback recordings in sampling elusive or secretive birds, pp 81–85. In: Ralph, C.J. & J.M. Scott (eds.). Estimating numbers of terrestrial birds. Studies in Avian Biology No. 6, 630pp.

McGowan, P.J.K. (1994). Phasianidae (Pheasants and Partridges), pp. 434–552. In: del Hoyo, J., A.Elliott & J. Sargatal (ed.) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

McGowan, P.J.K., S.D. Dowell, J.P. Carroll & N.J. Aebischer (1995). Partridges, Quails, Francolins, Snowcocks and Guineafowl: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan 1995–1999. Gland, Switzerland, 100pp.

Ministry of Environment, Lands & Parks (1999). Inventory Methods for Woodpeckers. Standards for Components of British Columbia’s Biodiversity No. 19. The Province of British Columbia Resources Inventory Committee, 63pp. Available on:

Ministry of Water and Environment (2010). Forest Management plan for Mabira Central Forest Reserves (Mabira, Nadagi, Namakupa, Namawanyi/Namananga & Kalagala Falls Central Forest Reserves) for the period 1st July 2009-30th June 2019, Ministry of Water and Environment, Kampala.

Mrema, M., D. Wafula & H. Agaba (2001). Livelihood stratergies and the use of forest and tree products in Mabira buffer zone. Kabale: Agroforestry Programme FORRI/ICRAF Collaborative project, 2001.

Olupot, W. (2015). Mapping tourism values of Mabira Central Forest Reserve: an activity report of the project on “Strengthening the conservation of Mabira Central Forest Reserve” funded by the MacArthur Foundation. Nature and Livelihoods Technical Report, Kampala.

Olupot, W. & G. Isabirye-Basuta (2016). Influencing SEPLS governance policy through action research: an assessment of recreational values to promote sustainable use of the Mabira Central Forest Reserve, Uganda, pp. 59–70. In: Chapter 6, UNU-IAS and IGES (eds.) 2016, Mainstreaming concepts and approaches of socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes into policy and decision-making (Satoyama Initiative Thematic Review vol. 2), United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability, Tokyo, 95pp.

Rossouw, J. & M. Sacchi (1998). Where to watch birds in Uganda. Uganda Tourist Board, Kampala, 110pp.

Sande, E. (2001). The ecology of the Nahan’s Francolin Francolinus nahani in Budongo Forest Reserve, Uganda. PhD Thesis. Makerere University, Kampala, 168pp.

Sande E, C. Dranzoa & P. Wegge (2001). Population density of the Nahan’s Francolin Francolinus nahani in Budongo Forest Reserve, Uganda. Ostrich 15: 33–37.

Westman, W.E., L.L. Strong & B.A. Wilcox (1989). Tropical deforestation and species endangerment: the role of remote sensing. Landscape Ecology 3: 97–109.