|Scientific Name:||Geronticus calvus|
|Species Authority:||(Boddaert, 1783)|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Vulnerable A3c+4c;C2a(ii) ver 3.1|
|Reviewer/s:||Butchart, S. & Symes, A.|
This species is listed as Vulnerable because it has a small population which is believed to be declining owing to habitat loss and degradation, with current rates of habitat loss leading to the projection of rapid population declines in the future.
|Range Description:||Geronticus calvus is restricted to Lesotho, north-east South Africa and west Swaziland. The core range lies in the north-eastern Free State, Mpumalanga and the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg. It was formerly widespread in the Eastern Cape and there is evidence that it is starting to recolonize the area from Lesotho (Boshoff and van Niekerk 2007). In South Africa, there are over 1,500 breeding pairs at over 100 colonies, although c.25% of the breeding population occurs at just five colonies. In Swaziland, there are three main breeding colonies, supporting at least 10 pairs each, and a total population of c.110 birds. In Lesotho, the population, with several known breeding colonies, is probably in the low thousands. South African populations may have increased between the late 1960s and the early 1980s, but the Lesotho population may be declining. It has been suggested that 8,000-10,000 birds (including 2,000 breeding pairs) exist (Barnes 2000).|
Native:Lesotho; South Africa; Swaziland
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||Barnes (2000) estimated a total population of 8,000-10,000 birds (including 2,000 breeding pairs i.e. 4,000 mature individuals).|
|Habitat and Ecology:||It prefers high rainfall (>700 mm p.a.), sour and alpine grasslands, characterised by an absence of trees and a short, dense grass sward. It also occurs in lightly wooded and relatively arid country. It forages preferentially on recently burned ground, also using unburnt natural grassland, cultivated pastures, reaped maize fields and ploughed areas. It has a varied diet, mainly consisting of insects and other terrestrial invertebrates. It has high nesting success on safe, undisturbed cliffs.|
|Major Threat(s):||Threats include human interference with breeding colonies and habitat loss through commercial afforestation, intensive crop farming, open-cast mining, acid rain and dense human settlement. Pesticide contamination is a potential threat as is exploitation for traditional medicinal/ceremonial purposes in Lesotho. Several predatory bird species have been recorded raiding colonies for adults and young. The species's habit of using electricity pylons as roost sites in certain areas results in some mortality from collisions with powerlines (van Rooyen 2005).|
Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It has full legal protection in South Africa where it breeds in several protected areas. In Swaziland, Malolotja Nature Reserve holds a breeding colony. In Lesotho, it is recorded from Setlabathebe National Park. Roosts on pylons result in both the mortality of some birds and faults in powerlines, thus it has been recommended that bird guards be installed on the most affected pylons and anti-collision devices be fitted to the earth wire near roost sites (van Rooyen 2005). Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to assess its status in Lesotho. Initiate range-wide monitoring to help clarify population trends. Protect as many of the larger breeding colonies and feeding areas as possible. Provide insentives for adopting ibis-favourable farming practices. Assess the impact of fitting bird guards and anti-collision devices to powerlines.
|Citation:||BirdLife International 2012. Geronticus calvus. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 24 May 2013.|
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