Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Accipitriformes Accipitridae

Scientific Name: Gypohierax angolensis
Species Authority: (Gmelin, 1788)
Common Name(s):
English Palm-nut Vulture
French Vautour palmiste
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: 2013
Date Assessed: 2013-11-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S.
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). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not 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:
2012 Least Concern (LC)
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); Benin; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Equatorial Guinea; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Kenya; Liberia; Malawi; Mali; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Rwanda; Senegal; Sierra Leone; South Africa; South Sudan; Sudan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 11300000
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
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Current Population Trend: Stable
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 is an Afrotropical species (15°N to 29°S), distributed throughout west and central Africa and as far south as north east South Africa. In the northern and central latitudes of its range it is common to abundant, but becomes rarer in the south and east. The species is sedentary with adults not moving more than a few kilometres, whilst juveniles and immatures will wander vast distances; up to 400km into the Sahel region and as far as 1300km further south than the most southerly breeding location (Ferguson- Lees and Christie, 2001). Habitat The species occupies forest and tall wooded habitats, particularly -but not exclusively- where oil and raffia palms are present and frequently near water bodies. It is often found near small settlements and is tolerant of human approach. It is altitudinally distributed from sea level up to 1800m (Ferguson- Lees and Christie, 2001). Diet The species eats the fruits of oil and raffia palms as well as the fruits and grains of other plants, which collectively form up to 65% of its diet.  However it will also predate amphibians, fish and invertebrates, as well as larger prey such as small mammals, birds, and reptiles, and it will also feed at small carcasses (Ferguson- Lees and Christie, 2001; del Hoyo et al., 1994). Breeding Site Nesting occurs in large stick nests 60-90cm in diameter, located in tall trees. Breeding occurs from October to May in West and Central Africa, from May to December in Angola, June to January in East Africa and August to January in southern Africa (Ferguson- Lees and Christie, 2001).

Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown
Generation Length (years): 17.3
Movement patterns: Full Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is not persecuted, but is affected by habitat loss, particularly in West Africa. This is partly assuaged by the expansion of oil palm plantations in the area which are a source of food, but have limited nesting opportunities, possibly as a result of harvesting disturbance. Range expansions in Angola and Zululand are attributed to the expansion of palm plantations in these areas. There is some competition at nesting sites with the African Hobby (Ferguson- Lees and Christie, 2001). The species is not likely to be vulnerable to pesticides (del Hoyo et al., 1994).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2013. Gypohierax angolensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T22695170A40848051. . Downloaded on 06 October 2015.
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