Archived 2012-2013 topics: Kori Bustard (Ardeotis kori): uplist to Near Threatened?

BirdLife species factsheet for Kori Bustard Kori Bustard Ardeotis kori has an extensive African range. It is thought to be experiencing range-wide decline (Collar et al. 1986, Collar 1996), owing to ongoing habitat destruction and unsustainable levels of hunting (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Nevertheless, it is  currently listed as Least Concern because perceived population declines were not thought to meet the threshold of a 30% decline in three generations (47 years in this species), or approach any of the other thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN Red List criteria. A recent study by Senyatso et al. 2012 examined the use of incidental occurrence records to assess the range-wide conservation status of this widespread, low-density species. Results showed that overall range sizes (measured as EOO [Extent of Occurrence]) did not decline during the period 1863-2009. Although the analysis was unable to examine if more recent range contractions have occurred, further contraction is unlikely to have exceeded 30% over the past three generations (from the period 1965-2010), given the spatial similarity of post 1990 atlas records to those from 1960’s and 1970’s and qualitative evidence from survey respondents (Senyatso et al. 2012). However, this study did reveal extensive qualitative evidence for an overall population decline, with considerable pre- and post-1970 population declines in all range states except Zambia and Angola, as well as ongoing changes in the internal characteristics of this species’s range, at least since the early 20th century.  If this information is confirmed, and the rate of population decline is suspected to approach 30% over 48 years (three generations), this species could warrant uplisting to Near Threatened, approaching the threshold for Vulnerable under criterion A2b+3b+4b. Further information is required on this species’s population trends, distribution and the severity of potential threats. Additional comments on the proposed uplisting are welcome.  References: Collar, N. J. (1996) Family Otididae (Bustards). Handbook of the birds of the world (ed. by J. del Hoyo, A. Elliot and J. Sargatal), pp. 240–273. Lynx Edicions: Barcelona, Spain. Collar, N. J., Goriup, P. D. and Osborne, P. E. (1986) Otididae, bustards. The birds of Africa (ed. by E. Urban, C.H. Fry and S. Keith), pp. 148–179. Academic Press: London. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1996) Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 3: Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions: Barcelona, Spain. Senyatso, K. J., Collar, N. J. and Dolman, P. M. (2012) Assessing range-wide conservation status change in an unmonitored widespread African bird species. Diversity and Distributions, 1-14.

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3 Responses to Archived 2012-2013 topics: Kori Bustard (Ardeotis kori): uplist to Near Threatened?

  1. Jessica Shaw says:

    I support this proposed uplisting of Kori Bustards, having gathered evidence of high levels of power line collision mortality for this species across the Karoo, South Africa during my PhD. I estimated that some 534 (95% CI 139-931) Koris are killed annually on Karoo high voltage power lines alone (which rises to 721 (95% CI 188-1,256) birds when adjusted for observer search bias; Shaw 2013). Such levels seem unsustainable given that the Kori Bustard population in South Africa is thought to be relatively low (2,000-5,000 birds; Anderson 2000). I understand that collision rates in Namibia are also extremely high, so for this large, mobile bird it seems highly likely to me that collisions are a serious threat wherever there are power lines in the Kori’s range.
    As part of my PhD, I also conducted a large terrestrial bird road census across the Karoo (Shaw 2013), and compared results from a similar study conducted in the 1980s (Allan 1994). I did not find a population decrease over this time, but Koris in the Karoo are thought to be locally nomadic (Allan & Osborne 2005). This may make them more likely to collide with power lines than more sedentary populations in other areas, so if this is the case, the Karoo could be acting as a population sink for Kori Bustards.

    Anderson, M.D. 2000. Kori Bustard. In: Barnes, K.N. (Ed.) The Eskom Red Data Book of Birds of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland: pages 102-103. BirdLife South Africa, Johannesburg.
    Allan, D.G. 1994. The abundance and movements of Ludwig’s Bustard Neotis ludwigii. Ostrich 65: 95-105.
    Allan, D.G. and Osborne T.O. 2005. Kori Bustard Ardeotis kori. In: Hockey, P.A.R., Dean, W.R.J. and Ryan, P.G. (Eds.) Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th edn: pages 295-296. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.
    Shaw, J.M. 2013. Power line collisions in the Karoo: Conserving Ludwig’s Bustard. PhD thesis, University of Cape Town.

  2. Norbert Cordeiro says:

    I agree with this status change. In almost all savannah localities in Tanznaia I once observed this species from the 1970s to present, encounter rates have dropped considerably outside of national parks. Areas like the Kilimanjaro plains, Lolkisale and Monduli plains, Arusha Chini, Loliondo etc appear to have experienced drastic declines, and much of this can PROBABLY be attributed to trade in the species in the 1990s and likely the 2000s. Others who are more familiar with the quotas can comment further.

  3. I agree with Jessica on the higher incidents on power line collisions. We also have anecdotal information on illegal keeping as “pets” and the muthi trade but more bush meat issues.

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