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Partridges, quails, francolins, snowcocks, guineafowl and turkeys: Status survey and conservation action plan 2000–2004

Fuller, R.A., Carroll, J.P. & McGowan, P.J.K. 2000. Partridges, quails, francolins, snowcocks, guineafowl and turkeys: Status survey and conservation action plan 2000–2004. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

This Action Plan covers the partridges, quails, francolins, snowcocks, guineafowl, and turkeys, a group of nearly 150 ground-dwelling gamebirds found in every continent apart from Antarctica. They live in a wide variety of habitats from tropical forests, high-altitude alpine zones, temperate forests, and open country of various kinds, to desert environments. Although they are very widespread, little is known about the species occurring outside Europe and North America. Several species are considered to be at grave risk of extinction, while others are so poorly known that it is difficult to evaluate their conservation needs. In 1995, the first Action Plan for the conservation of partridges, quails, francolins, snowcocks, and guineafowl was published, and this document provides an update on the current situation. The objectives of this document are to identify the most threatened species within this group (Chapters 2 and 3), and prioritise the conservation action needed to protect them by outlining project briefs for the most urgent cases (Chapter 4).

This plan of action will be distributed to biologists, conservationists, politicians, policy-makers, government officials, educators, planners, grant-awarding bodies, and commercial concerns that are in a position to help. The greatest threats to the future survival of these fascinating birds are habitat loss, hunting of wild populations, and disturbance. Much can be done at the local level, although national and international support will prove helpful in some cases. This means that the projects in Chapter 4 should be considered by those with local influence in the areas concerned, as well as by national officials and politicians. The full co-operation and involvement of local people is fundamental to the success of any conservation project.

Chapter 1 gives an overview of the partridges, quails, francolins, snowcocks, guineafowl, and turkeys, outlines the major threats they face, and suggests possible ways to help protect them. It is intended as a broad introduction, and will be particularly useful to those unfamiliar with the group and conservation methods in general. Chapter 2 summarises the threat status of each species. The species identified as threatened are considered in more detail in Chapter 3, which gives information on distribution, threats, and possible conservation measures for each species.

Chapter 4 is the most important part of the document and contains details of practical work that is most urgently required to help protect each of the threatened species. There is a great variety of work proposed, from smallscale surveys suitable for university students carrying out short-term fieldwork, to more in-depth research programmes requiring much greater financial and logistical resources. Governments and politicians can use these larger projects as a basis for high-profile conservation initiatives, either alone or in conjunction with other conservation projects in the region. In any case, we recommend that researchers wishing to undertake any of these projects should develop their ideas in consultation with policy-makers, government officials, grant-awarding bodies, and the PQF Specialist Group.

The PQF Specialist Group is pleased to report a large increase in the amount and quality of conservation work since production of the first Action Plan in 1995, but many species remain highly threatened and little known in the wild. The PQF Specialist Group will continue to do its best to stimulate follow up of this Action Plan and will be pleased to advise on its implementation. We look forward to its continued success as a conservation tool.

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