Neotis nuba 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Otidiformes Otididae

Scientific Name: Neotis nuba
Species Authority: (Cretzschmar, 1826)
Common Name(s):
English Nubian Bustard
French Outarde nubienne, Outarde de Nubie
Spanish Avutarda Núbica
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. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.
Identification information: Male 70 cm, female 50 cm. Upperparts tawny buff, with faint vermiculations. Male has a grey neck with paler head. Striking black chin, throat and crown sides bordering a tawny cap. Whitish below. Female is smaller with less black on the chin and throat.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2013-11-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Brouwer, J., Dowsett, R., DuRose, K. & Wacher, T.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Mahood, S., O'Brien, A., Pilgrim, J., Robertson, P., Taylor, J. & Symes, A.
This species is classified as Near Threatened because it is suspected to be undergoing a moderately rapid population decline owing to intense hunting in parts of its range, in combination with other factors. However, if further information shows that the decline is rapid, the species would warrant uplisting to Vulnerable.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2012 Near Threatened (NT)
2008 Near Threatened (NT)
2004 Near Threatened (NT)
2000 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
1994 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
1988 Near Threatened (NT)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Neotis nuba has a disjunct range across the Sahelian and, marginally, Saharan zones of Africa. The western subspecies N. n. agaze has populations in Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and western Chad, and the eastern subspecies N. n. nuba has a single population in eastern Chad and Sudan (Johnsgard 1991). N. n. agaze was formerly common in Mali and Mauritania and probably remains common only in Chad and Niger, while N. n. nuba is described as rare and little known in Sudan (Urban et al. 1986, Nikolaus 1987). Vehicle-based transect surveys for raptors in the Sahel zone of Mali and Niger in 2004 failed to record any bustard species, despite N. nuba being frequently recorded along the same transects in 1971 and 1973 (Thiollay 2006). Bustards can be inconspicuous, which, coupled with the focus of these surveys on raptors, means that some birds were probably missed, and local hunters reported that bustard species were still extant in the surveyed areas; however, the difference between the survey results from the early 1970s and 2004 most likely indicates dramatic declines in this species (Thiollay 2006). Several hundred kilometres of vehicle-based transects have been conducted recently in Mauritania in search of N. nuba, without any success by January 2012 (K. DuRose in litt. 2012). 

Countries occurrence:
Burkina Faso; Chad; Mali; Mauritania; Niger; Sudan
Cameroon; Nigeria
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 2390000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Continuing decline in number of locations: Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as fairly common (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

Trend Justification:  There are few data on population trends, but levels of hunting pressure indicate that it is probably declining at a moderately rapid rate.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: Unknown Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It occupies desert fringes, semi-arid scrub and savanna where it feeds on large insects, as well as grass seeds, leaves and fruits (Urban et al. 1986).

Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Generation Length (years): 10.3
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There is little information on the current status of this species or its population trends. However, it apparently suffers from widespread hunting, which may now be causing substantial declines in parts of its range (Urban et al. 1986, Johnsgard 1991). Over-hunting is probably the main cause of declines in the bustard species of Sahelian West Africa. Off-take by local nomads has been augmented by the hunting activities of military and mining personnel, as well as tourists (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Thiollay 2006). Civil war in Chad in the 1980s, and recent unrest in Sudan, is likely to have increased local hunting pressure because of the number of weapons available. Other threats to N. nuba may include the intensification of land use, disturbance by off-road vehicles, overgrazing, disturbance by livestock, firewood collection and commercial wood collection (J. Brouwer in litt. 1999). Although the Sahel zone has seen only a limited impact from West Africa’s rapid human population growth, along with low population densities and a predominantly traditional nomadic lifestyle, habitat degradation is occurring through the thinning of sparse non-regenerating Acacia woodlands, as well as the overgrazing of sub-desert steppes and excessive harvesting of firewood, which are followed by wind erosion and sand encroachment (Thiollay 2006).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Regularly monitor the species at selected sites across its range to determine trends. Research the extent and nature of the threat caused by hunting. If sensible and feasible, regulate hunting. Ensure complete protection of important populations of both subspecies.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2013. Neotis nuba. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T22691914A49196909. . Downloaded on 30 November 2015.
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