Preventing Extinctions - Africa

 cape vulture. Photo. M. Froneman
Cape vulture. Photo. M. Froneman


Of the 2355 bird species recorded in Africa, 247 are threatened with extinction: 29 bird species are categorised as Critically Endangered, in imminent danger of extinction.



The BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme is counteracting an increasingly diverse array of threats to birds by delivering conservation action, underpinned by science – where it is most needed. In a collaboration of rigorous science, practical conservation, innovative fundraising and wide-ranging communication, the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme aims to deliver something ground breaking: preventing the extinction of another bird species. The programme is implemented by the BirdLife Partnership working with whoever is best placed to help a particular species. 



  • Conserving the rarest: In Africa, 16 of the 29 Critically Endangered species in the continent are covered by BirdLife Species Guardians. Each of the 16 has received some level of financial support from the programme to undertake conservation actions.
  • Conservation, awareness raising, research and monitoring work on other globally threatened and Near Threatened species: This is mostly being undertaken by BirdLife national Partners for species which are considered a national priority. A few examples of species for which focused conservation action is being undertaken at national level include Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus, White-necked Picathartes Picathartes gymnocephalus, White-winged Flufftail Sarothrura ayresi, Sharpe’s Longclaw Macronyx sharpei, Southern Bald Ibis Geronticus calvus, African Penguin Spheniscus demersus, Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor, Madagascar Pochard Aythya innotata and Madagascar Pond-heron Ardeola idae.
  • Development and implementation of Single Species Action Plans: For some species, coordinated action is required across range states and stakeholders. The BirdLife Africa Partnership has developed several national and international Species Action Plans and has in place a Species Action Plan Development Manual. In some cases the BirdLife Africa Partnership has collaborated with the AEWA Secretariat in development of SAPs for globally threatened waterbird species (e.g. Lesser Flamingo, Madagascar Pond-heron, White-winged Flufftail, and Shoebill) and is responsible for coordinating working groups to implement these plans.
  • Vulture Conservation: In Africa, numbers of vultures as a group have been observed to be facing severe declines attributed to a wide range of threats that vary between sub-regions. The BirdLife Africa Partnership is engaged nationally and regionally to seek solutions to this worrying problem and a number of activities are being undertaken nationally e.g. in Botswana, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Burkina Faso. An important component of this vulture conservation is the European Union (EU) funded Egyptian Vulture New Life Project covering various countries in Africa including Nigeria and Ethiopia. At the regional level, awareness materials are being produced, including a poster that is available in four languages (English, Swahili, French, and Portuguese). The BirdLife Africa Partnership has also been engaged in the development of an African Vulture Conservation Strategy. However, the scale of the problem is huge and resources are limited. Support vulture conservation work by donating and keep Africa vultures in the sky.
  • Keeping Common Birds Common: Bird Population Monitoring Schemes have been initiated in several countries (Uganda, Botswana, Kenya, and Rwanda) to keep track of how birds are performing in the wider landscape. These will be expanded over time to cover more countries. Since birds are known to be good environmental indicators, it is hoped these schemes will help governments in assessing the state of the environment. Bird watchers are also encouraged to feed their observations online at

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