Necrosyrtes monachus 

Scope: Global

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Accipitriformes Accipitridae

Scientific Name: Necrosyrtes monachus
Species Authority: (Temminck, 1823)
Common Name(s):
English Hooded Vulture
French Percnoptère brun, Vautour charognard
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: 67-70 cm Small, scruffy-looking, mostly brown vulture, with long thin bill, bare crown, face and foreneck, conspicuous ear-holes, and downy nape and hindneck. Perches hunched with wings drooping. Sexes alike. Juvenile usually with face pale blue and hood of short down dark brown rather than beige. Similar spp N. monachus is smaller and finer-billed compared to Torgos tracheliotus. Juvenile similar to juvenile Neophron percnopterus, but tail not pointed and head has down rather than contour feathering.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered A2acd+3cd+4acd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Kendall, C., Brouwer, J., Barlow, C., Mundy, P., Rainey, H., Hall, P., Goodwin, W., Mhlanga, W. & Anthony, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Symes, A., Taylor, J. & Ashpole, J
This vulture has been uplisted to Critically Endangered. Recently published evidence suggests the population is experiencing an extremely rapid decline owing to indiscriminate poisoning, trade for traditional medicine, hunting, persecution and electrocution, as well as habitat loss and degradation.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa; from Senegal and southern Mauritania east through southern Niger and Chad, to southern Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia and western Somalia, southwards to northern Namibia and Botswana, and through Zimbabwe to southern Mozambique and north-eastern South Africa (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). The species is generally sedentary, with some dispersal by non-breeders and immature birds, and movements in response to rainfall in the Sahel of West Africa (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). Data and observations of varying coverage and quality from various parts of its range suggest that the species is undergoing a very rapid decline in its global population (Ogada and Buij 2011, Ogada et al. 2015). Trends in Uganda are difficult to detect owing to strong annual variations (Pomeroy et al. 2012) whilst in coastal Gambia the species is reported to remain relatively abundant (Barlow and Fulford 2013). Following evidence of declines across its range, the total population has been estimated at a maximum of 197,000 individuals (Ogada and Buij 2011).

Countries occurrence:
Angola (Angola); Benin; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Djibouti; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Kenya; Liberia; Malawi; Mali; Mauritania; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Rwanda; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Sudan; Swaziland; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:15100000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme 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):4000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Given evidence of recent declines in various parts of its range, this species's population is estimated to number a maximum of 197,000 individuals.

Trend Justification:  Recently published data shows that this species's population is declining rapidly with an estimated 83% decline (range 64-93%) over three generations (53 years) (Ogada et al. 2015).

Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species is often associated with human settlements, but is also found in open grassland, forest edge, wooded savanna, desert and along coasts (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). It occurs up to 4,000 m, but is most numerous below 1,800 m. It feeds mainly on carrion, but also takes insects. In West Africa and Kenya it breeds throughout the year, but especially from November to July. Breeding in north-east Africa occurs mainly in October-June, with birds in southern Africa tending to breed in May-December. It is an arboreal nester and lays a clutch of one egg. Its incubation period lasts 46-54 days, followed by a fledging period of 80-130 days. Young are dependent on their parents for a further 3-4 months after fledging (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001).

Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):17.799999
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Major threats to this species include non-target poisoning, capture for traditional medicine and bushmeat (McKean et al. 2013), and direct persecution (Ogada and Buij 2011, Ogada et al. 2015). In Nigeria, a survey of medicinal traders found that Hooded Vulture was the most commonly traded species of vulture, with 90% of all vulture parts traded belonging to the species (Saidu and Buij 2013). And across West and Central Africa the species is one of the most heavily traded, with an estimated 5,850-8,772 individuals traded over a six-year period in West Africa (Buij et al. 2015). Hooded Vulture meat is reportedly sold as chicken in some places. Intentional poisoning of vultures may be carried out in some areas by poachers in order to hide the locations of their kills. Secondary poisoning with carbofuran pesticides at livestock baits being used to poison mammalian predators is also an issue in East Africa (Otieno et al. 2010, C. Kendall in litt. 2012, Roxburgh and McDougall 2012). Declines have also been attributed to land conversion through development and improvements to abattoir hygiene and rubbish disposal in some areas (Ogada and Buij 2011). The species may also be threatened by avian influenza (H5N1), from which it appears to suffer some mortality and which it probably acquires from feeding on discarded dead poultry (Ducatez et al. 2007).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation and Research Actions Underway
This widespread species occurs in a large number of protected areas. It will be listed as nationally Endangered in the Eskom Red Data Book of Birds of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland.

and Research Actions Proposed
Carry out systematic surveys throughout the species's range to acquire a more accurate population estimate and monitor trends. Raise awareness of the species's plight and the impact of hunting and persecution. Monitor rates of land-use change across its range. Monitor effects of poisoning on the species and its use in muti trade and for meat (C. Kendall in litt. 2012). A number of recommendations were produced at the 2012 Pan-Africa Vulture Summit (Botha et al. 2012, Ogada et al. 2015): 1) Regulate import, manufacture and sale of poisons; 2) Legislate and enforce measures to prosecute those involved in illegal killing and trade in vulture species; 3) Protect and effectively manage breeding sites; 4) Ensure new energy infrastructure is 'vulture-friendly' and modify existing unsafe infrastructure; 5) Support activities to conserve vulture populations, including research and outreach activities. 

Citation: BirdLife International. 2015. Necrosyrtes monachus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T22695185A84195255. . Downloaded on 21 October 2016.
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