Fulica cristata 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Gruiformes Rallidae

Scientific Name: Fulica cristata
Species Authority: Gmelin, 1789
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Red-knobbed Coot, Red-Knobbed Coot, Crested Coot
French Foulque à crête
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.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Malpas, L.
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2009 Least Concern (LC)
2008 Least Concern (LC)
2004 Least Concern (LC)
2000 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1994 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1988 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Countries occurrence:
Angola (Angola); Botswana; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Kenya; Lesotho; Madagascar; Malawi; Morocco; Mozambique; Namibia; Rwanda; South Africa; Spain; Swaziland; Tanzania, United Republic of; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Possibly extinct:
Regionally extinct:
United Arab Emirates
Burundi; France; Italy; Malta; Oman; Portugal; Somalia
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 5290000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Upper elevation limit (metres): 3000
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
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: Behaviour This species is both sedentary and nomadic (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996, Hockey et al. 2005), often making local movements (Taylor and van Perlo 1998) in response to rainfall, water levels and the availability of its favoured foods (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996, Hockey et al. 2005) (e.g. pondweed Potamogeton pectinatus) (Urban et al. 1986). The timing of the breeding season varies geographically (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species is a solitary territorial breeder (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996) although it is occasionally observed in family groups (Hockey et al. 2005), with flocks of non-breeding individuals also occurring during the breeding season (Taylor and van Perlo 1998, Hockey et al. 2005). After breeding the species becomes more gregarious (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996), forming flocks which range in size from small groups of 10-12 individuals, to larger, loose-knit groups of 20-330 (Langrand 1990), occasionally also to large flocks of up to 1,000 or more (Hockey et al. 2005). Adults may undergo a flightless moult period that lasts 49-59 days at any time of the year (Urban et al. 1986, Taylor and van Perlo 1998). During this time moulting birds remain out on open water among full-winged birds, possibly to avoid predation (Urban et al. 1986, Taylor and van Perlo 1998). Habitat The species requires wetlands with submerged aquatic vegetation and still water for foraging, and waters with fringing or emergent vegetation in which to nest when breeding (del Hoyo et al. 1996). During periods of flightless moult adults also prefer more permanent open waters rich in submerged aquatic vegetation (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). Suitable habitats include open freshwater or slightly brackish (Langrand 1990, Gomez 2002) lakes, lagoons, ponds, dams, and permanent or temporary pans, flood-plains (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996, Hockey et al. 2005), sewage ponds, reed, papyrus and Typha swamps (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996, Hockey et al. 2005), and occasionally rivers and tidal lagoons (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996). Diet The species is omnivorous, its diet consisting predominantly of the shoots, fruits and seeds of submerged or floating aquatic plants (such as aquatic ferns Marsila spp., knotweed Aeschynomene fluitans, Polygonum limbatum, saw-weed Najas pectinata, pondweed Potamogeton pectinatus, ditch grass Ruppia maritima and water hyacinth Eichhornia crassipes), filamentous and macroscopic algae (Hockey et al. 2005), and grass, as well as molluscs, crustaceans, insects and occasionally carrion (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest is a platform of reeds and other aquatic plant material (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996, Taylor and van Perlo 1998) built either on open water (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996, Taylor and van Perlo 1998) (sometimes anchored to water-lilies or on rafts of fresh, green reeds) (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996, Taylor and van Perlo 1998), or within emergent vegetation (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996, Taylor and van Perlo 1998) on a foundation of bent and trampled stems (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). No attempt at concealing the nest is made (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996), although the site chosen usually facilitates quick and easy access to open water (Hockey et al. 2005). Management information Adequate wetland management can increase the breeding success of this species (e.g. limiting the areas with grazing livestock, maintaining stable water-levels during the breeding season,providing more vegetation for nesting and reducing disturbance can all have positive effects) (Gomez 2002).
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown
Generation Length (years): 7
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant
Congregatory: Congregatory (and dispersive)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is susceptible to avian botulism (Blaker 1967, van Heerden 1974) so may be threatened by future outbreaks of the disease. It is also threatened by poisoning, both intentionally (pest control) and unintentionally (pesticides used on crops) (Hockey et al. 2005). The species is threatened in Spain and Morocco (the northernmost range extremes) primarily by habitat loss and degradation due to changes in hydrological regime, over-exploitation of catchments and sedimentation (which are altering the periods of wetland flooding), agricultural, industrial and domestic pollution, overgrazing (cattle herds), the burning of reeds, and the introduction of alien species (e.g. Louisiana Swamp Crayfish Procambarus clarkii and Ciprinidae fish which both reduce the availability of food and hence increase competition) (Gomez 2002).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Fulica cristata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22692907A38420446. . Downloaded on 24 May 2016.
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