Struthio molybdophanes


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Struthio molybdophanes
Species Authority: Reichenow, 1883
Common Name(s):
English Somali Ostrich
Taxonomic Notes: Struthio camelus and S. molybdophanes (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) were previously lumped as S. camelus following Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2cd+3cd+4cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2014-07-24
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Khwaja, N., Martin, R, Taylor, J. & Symes, A.
This newly-split species is suspected to be undergoing a rapid decline over three generations (50 years) given the apparent severity of a variety of threats including hunting for feathers and food, egg collection and habitat loss and degradation. It has therefore been listed as Vulnerable, but better information on population trends and the scope and severity of threats is highly desirable.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Struthio molybdophanes is found in north-east Africa, with its range incorporating EthiopiaSomalia, Djibouti and Kenya (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Numbers have noticeably decreased since the late 1980s, with total disappearance from some areas, although flocks of 40 are still seen in the southern Danakil (Ash and Atkins 2009).
Djibouti; Ethiopia; Kenya; Somalia
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population size has not been quantified owing to recent taxonomic splits.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The species is often encountered alone or in pairs in a variety of habitats including semi-arid and arid grassland, dense thornbush and woodland (Davies 2002, Ash and Atkins 2009).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Ash and Atkins (2009) document threats to and apparent declines in Ethiopia and Eritrea. The eggs are used as ornaments, water containers and symbols or protective devices on churches and graves, birds are shot for target practice, food, leather and feathers, and chased to exhaustion or death by drivers. Habitat loss and degradation undoubtedly represents a further threat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation and research actions in place

Conservation and research actions proposed
Obtain population and trend estimates, and ascertain severity of threats. Combat hunting and egg collecting via awareness-raising campaigns.

Citation: BirdLife International 2014. Struthio molybdophanes. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 03 September 2015.
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