CR
White-headed Vulture Trigonoceps occipitalis



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; C1

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2021 Critically Endangered A2abcd+3bcd+4abcd
2016 Critically Endangered A2bcd+3bcd
2015 Critically Endangered A2bcd+3bcd+4bcd
2012 Vulnerable C1+2a(ii)
2008 Vulnerable C2a(ii)
2007 Vulnerable
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 Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type Average mass -
Distribution

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 21,100,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 22,100,000 medium
Number of locations 11-100 -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 2500-9999 medium estimated 2015
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) 59-94 - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) 59-94 - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation 100 - - -
Generation length (yrs) 10.42 - - -

Population justification: An old estimate of 7,000-12,500 mature individuals was extrapolated from a number of regional estimates. This equates to 10,500-18,750 individuals in total. However, a new estimate of the global population suggests the population is much smaller, consisting of just 5,500 individuals (Murn et al. 2016). This equates to just 3,685 mature individuals here placed in the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals.

Trend justification: The species is thought to be declining at an extremely rapid rate. Ogada et al. (2016) estimate a median decline of 6.7% per year (range: 2.8-8.8%), equating to a decline of 88% (range: 59-94%) over three generations (31.26 years [Bird et al. 2020]). Road surveys in Botswana support these rates of decline, with a decline of 78% recorded between 1991-1995 and 2015-2016, equating to a decline of 87.5% over three generations. The species has shown severe declines throughout its West African range (F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2006, J.M. Thiollay in litt. 2006) and also across southern Africa (Ferguson-Lees et al. 2001). As many significant threats are ongoing, similar rates of decline are suspected to continue into the future.


Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Angola N Extant 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 Yes
Chad N Extant Yes
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the N Extant Yes
Côte d'Ivoire N Extant Yes
Djibouti N Extant Yes
Eritrea N Extant Yes
Eswatini N Presence Uncertain Yes
Ethiopia N Extant Yes
Gabon V Extant Yes
Gambia N Extant Yes
Ghana N Extant Yes
Guinea N Extant Yes
Guinea-Bissau N Extant Yes
Kenya N Extant Yes
Malawi N Extant Yes
Mali N Extant Yes
Mauritania N Extant Yes
Mozambique N Extant Yes
Namibia N Extant Yes
Niger N Extant Yes
Nigeria N Presence Uncertain Yes
Rwanda N Extant Yes
Senegal N Extant Yes
Somalia N Extant Yes Yes
South Africa N Extant 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 Yes
Zimbabwe N Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
South Africa Zululand
Burundi Kigwena Forest Nature Reserve
South Africa Phongolo Nature Reserve
Kenya Ol Ari Nyiro
Kenya Lolldaiga-Mugogodo-Ewaso N'yiro
South Africa Palaborwa
South Africa Orpen
South Africa Bushbuckridge
Mozambique Magude - Muomba
South Africa Opathe Imfolozi link
South Africa Pongola - Magudu
Mozambique Gorongosa National Park and Marromeu Complex

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Terrestrial Pastureland 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 - 4000 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Scale Unknown/Unrecorded 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
Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Persecution/control Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
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
Human intrusions & disturbance Work & other activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Species disturbance, Reduced reproductive success
Other options Other threat Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Unknown Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Species mortality
Residential & commercial development Housing & urban areas Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
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: Trigonoceps occipitalis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 30/06/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 30/06/2022.