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Nkulengu Rail Himantornis haematopus
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This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

Behaviour This species is likely to be non-migratory (del Hoyo et al. 1996), but its breeding habits are very little known (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species usually forages in groups of 2-3 individuals during the day (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Taylor and van Perlo 1998), with peaks of activity at dawn and dusk (Urban et al. 1986), occasionally also observed with parties of other insectivorous species during the dry season, and in mixed-species groups following driver ant columns (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). It roosts at night in bushes or low trees (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). Habitat The species inhabits dense lowland primary and secondary rainforest where rank vegetation lines streams, rivers, and swamps or marshy areas (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It may also be found in mangrove swamps, or in areas disturbed by logging (del Hoyo et al. 1996), and generally requires bushes or low trees up to 15 m high in which to roost at night (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). Diet The diet of this species consists of snails, millipedes, insects (e.g. ants and beetles), small amphibians (e.g. frogs) and hard seeds (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site Only two nests of this species have been described (del Hoyo et al. 1996), both being coarse structures of twigs and leaves placed c.1.2 m above the ground (one on a heap of brushwood, another in a tree) (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

This species is threatened by forest destruction (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Utilisation The species is sometimes trapped for food by local people (del Hoyo et al. 1996), and is hunted and traded at traditional medicine markets in Nigeria (Nikolaus 2001).

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1996. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 3: Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Delany, S.; Scott, D. 2006. Waterbird population estimates. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Nikolaus, G. 2001. Bird exploitation for traditional medicine in Nigeria. Malimbus 23: 45-55.

Taylor, B. 1998. Rails: a guide to the rails, crakes, gallinules and coots of the world. Pica Press, Robertsbridge, UK.

Urban, E. K.; Fry, C. H.; Keith, S. 1986. The birds of Africa vol. II. Academic Press, London.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Malpas, L.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Himantornis haematopus. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, Coots)
Species name author Hartlaub, 1855
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 2,450,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change