Blue Bustard Eupodotis caerulescens


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.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2017 Near Threatened A3c; C1
2016 Near Threatened A3c; C1
2012 Near Threatened A3c
2008 Near Threatened A3c
2004 Near Threatened
2000 Lower Risk/Near Threatened
1994 Lower Risk/Near Threatened
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status not a migrant Forest dependency does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type land-mass type - continent
Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 356,000 medium
Number of locations -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 8000-10000 poor estimated 2000
Population trend decreasing suspected -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) 20-29 - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 10.3 - - -

Population justification: The population is estimated to number 12,000-15,000 individuals in total, roughly equivalent to 8,000-10,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification: Surveys in the Eastern Karoo suggest the population has declined there since the 1980s (Shaw et al. 2016, J. Shaw in litt. 2016). Declines in its range have also been implied from Southern African Bird Atlas Project data, particularly in the north-east of its range (Hofmeyr 2012, Lee et al. 2017), though it has been suggested to be stable elsewhere, and the overall population may still be stable (Hofmeyr 2012). Ongoing habitat destruction may lead to future declines.

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Presence Origin Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Lesotho extant native yes
South Africa extant native yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
South Africa Benfontein
South Africa Devon Grasslands
South Africa Golden Gate Highlands National Park
South Africa Grasslands
South Africa Platberg-Karoo Conservancy
South Africa Rooiberge-Riemland
South Africa Songimvelo Nature Reserve
South Africa Sterkfontein Dam Nature Reserve
South Africa Upper Orange River

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land suitable resident
Artificial/Terrestrial Pastureland suitable resident
Grassland Subtropical/Tropical Dry major resident
Grassland Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude major resident
Shrubland Subtropical/Tropical Dry major resident
Altitude 1500 - 3000 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Agro-industry farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Climate change & severe weather Habitat shifting & alteration Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Whole (>90%) Unknown Unknown
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation
Natural system modifications Other ecosystem modifications Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Ecosystem conversion
Residential & commercial development Housing & urban areas Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Eupodotis caerulescens. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/blue-bustard-eupodotis-caerulescens on 02/06/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org on 02/06/2023.