CR
White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus



Taxonomy

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
A2abcd+3bcd+4abcd A2abcd+3bcd+4abcd A2abcd+3bcd+4abcd

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2021 Critically Endangered A2abcd+3bcd+4abcd
2018 Critically Endangered A2bcd+3bcd+4bcd
2016 Critically Endangered A2bcd+3bcd
2015 Critically Endangered A2bcd+3bcd+4bcd
2012 Endangered A2bcd+3bcd+4bcd
2008 Near Threatened A2b,c,d; A3b,c,d; A4b,c,d
2007 Near Threatened
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status not a migrant Forest dependency Low
Land mass type Average mass -
Distribution

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 23,400,000 medium
Number of locations 11-100 -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals medium 2001
Population trend Decreasing poor estimated -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) 63-89 - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) 63-89 - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 13.22 - - -

Population justification: The species's global population was estimated at 270,000 individuals in 1992 (Mundy et al. 1992), but it may now be more than an order of magnitude lower than this due to rapid population declines in recent years (Global Raptor Information Network 2015). The median estimate of the rate of decline, 4.1% annually (2.5-5.4%) (Ogada et al. 2016a), is equivalent to a three generation reduction of 81% (63-89%).

Trend justification: The most recent data on this species's population indicates the species's population has declined extremely rapidly, with a median estimate of 4.1% decline per year (range 2.5-5.4%) (Ogada et al. 2016a), equating to a decline of 81% (range: 63-89%) over three generations (39.7 years [Bird et al. 2020]). Declines have exceeded 90% in West Africa (Thiollay 2006), and have also occurred in other parts of the range, e.g. in Sudan (Nikolaus 2006), Kenya (M. Virani in litt. 2006), South Africa (Thorley and Clutton-Brock 2017; Murn et al. 2017) and Botswana (53.5% decline during 2006-2017 [Leepile et al. 2020]). Populations were apparently stable in Ethiopia (Nikolaus 2006) and Tanzania (D. Peterson in litt. 2006). Virani et al. (2011) documented an apparent decline of c. 52% over c.15 years in the numbers of Gyps vultures present in Masai Mara (Kenya) during the ungulate migration season, while in central Kenya an apparent decline of 69% was noted in the numbers of Gyps vultures between 2001 and 2003 (Ogada and Keesing 2010). As these are visiting individuals from a wide-ranging population, declines observed in Masai Mara may be representative of declines in Gyps populations ranging across East Africa from southern Ethiopia to southern Tanzania (C. Kendall in litt. 2012).


Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Angola N Extant Yes Yes
Benin N Extant Yes
Botswana N Extant Yes
Burkina Faso N Extant Yes
Burundi N Extant Yes
Cameroon N Extant Yes Yes
Central African Republic N Extant Yes
Chad N Extant Yes
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the N Extant Yes
Côte d'Ivoire N Extant Yes
Eritrea N Extant Yes
Eswatini N Extant Yes
Ethiopia N Extant Yes
Gambia N Extant Yes
Ghana N Extant Yes
Guinea N Extant Yes
Guinea-Bissau N Extant Yes
Kenya N Extant Yes Yes
Lesotho V Extant Yes
Liberia V Extant Yes
Malawi N Extant Yes
Mali N Extant Yes
Mauritania N Extant Yes
Mozambique N Extant Yes Yes
Namibia N Extant Yes
Niger N Possibly Extant Yes
Nigeria N Possibly Extant Yes
Rwanda N Extant Yes
Senegal N Extant Yes
Sierra Leone N Extant Yes
Somalia N Extant Yes
South Africa N Extant Yes Yes
South Sudan N Extant Yes
Sudan N Extant Yes
Tanzania N Extant Yes
Togo N Extant Yes
Uganda N Extant Yes
Zambia N Extant Yes
Zimbabwe N Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
South Africa Zululand
South Africa Kalahari-Gemsbok National Park
South Africa Phongolo Nature Reserve
South Africa Barberspan and Leeupan
Senegal Dindefello Natural Reserve
South Africa Dronfield
South Africa Benfontein
South Africa Mapungubwe
Kenya Ol Ari Nyiro
Kenya Hell's Gate National Park
South Africa Ndumo Game Reserve
Kenya Kwenia
Kenya Lolldaiga-Mugogodo-Ewaso N'yiro
Kenya Nairobi National Park
Guinea Foret Classe de Balayan Souroumba
Mozambique Gorongosa National Park and Marromeu Complex

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Terrestrial Pastureland suitable resident
Desert Hot suitable resident
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Dry suitable resident
Grassland Subtropical/Tropical Dry suitable resident
Savanna Dry suitable resident
Shrubland Subtropical/Tropical Dry suitable resident
Altitude 0 - 3500 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
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Rapid Declines Medium Impact: 6
Stresses
Species disturbance, Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Persecution/control Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Rapid Declines Medium Impact: 6
Stresses
Species mortality
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Unintentional effects (species is not the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Rapid Declines Medium Impact: 7
Stresses
Species mortality, Other
Biological resource use Logging & wood harvesting - Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation
Energy production & mining Oil & gas drilling Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation
Energy production & mining Renewable energy Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Species mortality
Human intrusions & disturbance Recreational activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Reduced reproductive success
Other options Other threat Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Unknown Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Species mortality
Pollution Agricultural & forestry effluents - Herbicides and pesticides Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Species mortality
Residential & commercial development Housing & urban areas Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Transportation & service corridors Roads & railroads Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Species mortality
Transportation & service corridors Utility & service lines Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Species mortality

Utilisation
Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Medicine - human & veterinary - - Non-trivial Recent
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - International Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Gyps africanus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 19/08/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 19/08/2022.