Phacochoerus africanus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Suidae

Scientific Name: Phacochoerus africanus (Gmelin, 1788)
Common Name(s):
English Common Warthog, Eritrean Warthog, Warthog
French Phacochère Commun
Taxonomic Notes:

Four subspecies recognised; Northern Warthog Phacochoerus africanus africanus, Eritrean Warthog P. a. aeliani, Central African Warthog P. a. massaicus, and Southern Warthog P. a. sundevallii (Grubb 1993, Cumming 2013).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-02-17
Assessor(s): de Jong, Y.A., Cumming, D., d'Huart, J. & Butynski, T.
Reviewer(s): Meijaard, E.

The Common Warthog is listed as Listed Concern as it is widespread, often locally abundant, has a high reproductive rate, and is expanding its geographic range in South Africa (Nyafu 2009, Cumming 2013, Swanepoel et al. 2015). Nonetheless, most populations seem to be in decline over much of the geographic range (De Jong and Butynski 2014, Butynski and De Jong in prep).

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

The Common Warthog is widely distributed over sub-Saharan Africa, occurring in scattered populations in West Africa eastwards to Eritrea and Ethiopia, southward through eastern Africa, and over much of southern Africa to southern Angola, Botswana, and Mozambique to northeast South Africa. Historically, the common warthog was not present in the arid Karoo of South Africa where the extinct Cape (desert) warthog Phacochoerus aethiopicus aethiopicus was present (Cumming 2013). Expansion of the Sahel-zone has resulted in a marked contraction in the range of the common warthog since at least the early 1980s. J. Newby (pers. comm. in Vercammen and Mason 1993) reported the extinction of the species in Niger but then notes their persistence in south-central Aïr Mts., Niger. (J. Newby pers. comm. in Cumming 2013). In addition, P. africanus were photographed in 2014 in W National Park, southwest Niger (C.T. Hash pers. comm.).

The common warthog is expanding its geographic range in South Africa (Nyafu 2009).

Sympatric with the Somali (desert) warthog (Phacochoerus aethiopicus delamerei) in north Somalia, and central, east, and southeast  Kenya (De Jong and Butynski 2014, De Jong et al. in prep.).

Countries occurrence:
Angola; Benin; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Djibouti; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Kenya; Liberia; Malawi; Mali; Mauritania; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Rwanda; Senegal; Sierra Leone; South Africa; South Sudan; Sudan; Swaziland; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Possibly extinct:
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):3500
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


The overall number of Common Warthog in South Africa is currently estimated to be at least 22,250 (Swanepoel et al. 2016).  Current estimates of numbers in other southern African countries are not available. In Eastern Africa, absent, or at very low densities, in large areas but can be locally abundant where hunting is uncommon and livestock densities are low (De Jong and Butynski 2014, T. Butynski and Y. de Jong pers. obs.). Most populations seem to be in decline over much of the geographic range  (De Jong and Butynski 2014, Butynski and De Jong in prep.).

Typical densities range from 1-10 animals/km² in protected areas (Cumming 2013), but local densities of 77 animals/km² on short grass in Nakuru National Park, central Kenya (Radke 1991).

Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Confined to savanna grasslands, open bushlands, and woodlands (Cumming 2013). Although usually absent from forests, thickets, cool montane grasslands, deserts, and succulent steppes, the Common Warthog occupies forested areas in parts of eastern Africa; Goda Mts. in Djibouti), Bale Mts. In Ethiopia, and Mathews Range in Kenya (Yalden et al. 1996, Künzel et al. 2000, Cumming 2013, L. Borgesia pers. comm. in Butynski and De Jong in prep.). Recorded to 3,500 m asl on Mt Gaysay, Ethiopian Highlands (Waltermire 1975, in Yalden et al. 1996).  

Dependent on perennial surface water at some sites (Estes 1999, Meijaard et al 2011, Cumming 2013), but drinking water not essential at other sites (Dorst and Dandelot 1970, Skinner and Smithers 1990, De Jong and Butynski 2014, Butynski and De Jong in prep.). In north Kenya, low densities of common warthog occur in sub-desert where drinking water is absent for several months of the year (De Jong and Butynski 2014).

Generally diurnal but sometimes active at night in West Africa, Kenya, and Zimbabwe (Cumming 1975, De Jong and Butynski 2014). This is likely an adaptation to avoid the hottest hours of the day, humans and other diurnal predators, and competition for water and food (De Jong and Butynski 2014).

Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

Larger tusks are traded (Vercammen and Mason 1993, Y. de Jong and T. Butynski pers obs.).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

Major natural causes of mortality are climatic extremes (including droughts), disease (including rinderpest), and predation (Vercammen and Mason 1993, Somers 1997, Butynski and De Jong in prep.). Desertification has caused a decline in parts of the Sahel (Vercammen and Mason 1993). The main threats in eastern Africa are human-caused habitat degradation, loss and fragmentation, and competition with livestock for water and food (De Jong and Butynski 2014). Hunted for entertainment, bush meat, skins, tusks (only the upper tusks are considered for trophy), as bait for hunting large carnivores, in response to crop raiding, to reduce grazing pressure, and in eradication programs (De Tray 1957, Mason 1985, Vercammen and Mason 1993, Grubb et al 1998, Deribe et al 2008, Cumming 2013, De Jong and Butynski 2014, Butynski and De Jong in prep.).

In the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, Common Warthog are a ‘nuisance’ animal as a result of introduction programmes (Skead 2007, Nyafu 2009).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The Common Warthog is present in numerous protected areas across its extensive range.

Errata [top]

Errata reason: Corrected the title used in the reference Butynski, T.M. and De Jong, Y.A. In prep. Common Warthog (Phacochoerus africanus). In: M. Melletti and E. Meijaard (eds), Ecology, Evolution and Management of Wild Pigs and Peccaries. Implications for Conservation. So that it now correctly reads: Butynski, T.M. and De Jong, Y.A. In prep. Common Warthog (Phacochoerus africanus). In: M. Melletti and E. Meijaard (eds), Ecology, Conservation and Management of Wild Pigs and Peccaries. Cambridge University Press.

Citation: de Jong, Y.A., Cumming, D., d'Huart, J. & Butynski, T. 2016. Phacochoerus africanus (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41768A109669842. . Downloaded on 20 September 2018.
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