Anhinga rufa 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Suliformes Anhingidae

Scientific Name: Anhinga rufa (Daudin, 1802)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English African Darter, Darter
French Anhinga d'Afrique
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. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ashpole, J, Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J.
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 may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to 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:

Geographic Range [top]

Countries occurrence:
Angola; Benin; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Equatorial Guinea; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Kenya; Lesotho; Liberia; Madagascar; Malawi; Mali; Mauritania; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Rwanda; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Sudan; Swaziland; Tanzania, United Republic of; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Regionally extinct:
Israel; Jordan; Syrian Arab Republic; Turkey
Comoros; Egypt; Yemen
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:35700000
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
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The global population is estimated at 25,500-127,000 (Wetlands International 2016).

Trend Justification:  The overall trend is decreasing, although some populations may be stable (Wetlands International 2016).  The species became regionally extinct in Europe during the 20th century (BirdLife International 2015).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
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:Behaviour  African Darter is mainly sedentary (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Hockey et al. 2005) but is subject to little known opportunistic local movements related to drought and wetland conditions (Brown et al. 1982, del Hoyo et al. 1992, Hockey et al. 2005).  The timing of breeding is seasonal in some areas, but can be at any time of the year (del Hoyo et al. 1992).  The species usually breeds in mixed-species colonies (Brown et al. 1982, del Hoyo et al. 1992, Hockey et al. 2005), and roosts nightly in groups of 10 to 50 (Hockey et al. 2005) (sometimes up to 100) in trees, bushes or reedbeds often in mixed-species groups (Brown et al. 1982), although it is generally a solitary feeder (Brown et al. 1982, Johnsgard 1993).  Its moulting habits are little known, but some adults may go through a flightless moult period after breeding (Hockey et al. 2005).  Habitat  The species shows a preference for still, shallow, inland freshwater and alkaline lakes and slow-flowing rivers fringed with reeds and trees (Brown et al. 1982, del Hoyo et al. 1992, Johnsgard 1993).  It may also occur in swamps (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Johnsgard 1993), reservoirs (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Johnsgard 1993, Hockey et al. 2005), river oxbows (Johnsgard 1993) and forested streams (Brown et al. 1982), typically avoiding marine habitats (Hockey et al. 2005) but occasionally foraging in mangrove swamps (del Hoyo et al. 1992), estuaries (Brown et al. 1982, del Hoyo et al. 1992, Johnsgard 1993, Hockey et al. 2005), shallow tidal inlets (Brown et al. 1982, del Hoyo et al. 1992) and coastal lagoons (Brown et al. 1982, del Hoyo et al. 1992, Hockey et al. 2005).  It generally avoids fast-flowing rivers, areas with dense floating vegetation (Hockey et al. 2005), and narrow, steep-banked or seasonally drained habitats (Johnsgard 1993), preferring to feed in water 1-3 m deep (up to 6 m [Hockey et al. 2005]) with forested margins or scattered emergent trees and islets with dense vegetation (del Hoyo et al. 1992).  The species requires trees, bushes or reedbeds for roosting (Brown et al. 1982), and prefers dead trees, rocks or banks to rest on after feeding (Hockey et al. 2005).  Diet  Mainly fish such as Cichlidae and Cyprinidae (del Hoyo et al. 1992), although it will also take amphibians, water snakes, terrapins, aquatic insects, crustaceans and molluscs (del Hoyo et al. 1992).  Breeding site  The species nests in mixed-species colonies (Brown et al. 1982, del Hoyo et al. 1992), each pair building a nest platform of sticks and other vegetation (del Hoyo et al. 1992) in forks of trees or in reedbeds 1-6 m high (Brown et al. 1982) (often c.2 m [del Hoyo et al. 1992]) over water or on islands (Hockey et al. 2005).

Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):8.8
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): African Darter is persecuted in some areas of southern Africa because of its perceived (actually minimal) impact on trout and other recreational fish species (Hockey et al. 2005).  In Burundi it is threatened by disturbance, exploitation at colonies (Hockey et al. 2005), destruction of habitats and environmental pollution (Ntahuga 2000).  The species was formerly abundant in southern Turkey but became extinct there when its breeding grounds at Lake Amik were lost (Kirwan et al. 2010) due to drainage and land reclamation (Smith et al. 2014).  In Iraq the species is likely to have suffered during the Gulf War of 1991 (del Hoyo et al. 2016).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
The species is considered Regionally Extinct in Europe (BirdLife International 2015).  There are no current conservation measures for this species.

Conservation Actions Proposed
There are no proposed conservation measures for this species.

Amended [top]

Amended reason: Map revised.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2017. Anhinga rufa (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22696705A110665322. . Downloaded on 25 May 2018.
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