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White-crested Tiger-heron Tigriornis leucolopha
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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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). The population trend is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, 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.

Taxonomic note
Gender agreement of species name follows David and Gosselin (2002b).

Tigriornis leucolophus Dowsett and Forbes-Watson (1993), Tigriornis leucolophus BirdLife International (2000), Tigriornis leucolophus Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993), Tigriornis leucolophus BirdLife International (2004)

Distribution and population
Tigriornis leucolopha is uncommon to rare through the African equatorial rainforests, with breeding records from the Gambia, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, Cameroon, Gabon and the Congo. It is perhaps commonest in parts of Gabon, lower Congo and northern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (Brown et al. 1982, Hancock and Kushlan 1984), and has been described as widespread in Ghana (F. Dowsett-Lemaire and R. Dowsett in litt. 2005). It is difficult to estimate a total population size due to the secretive nature of this species (Hancock and Kushlan 1984), but it is now known from at least 62 sites (H. Rainey in litt. 2003).

Trend justification
The population trend is difficult to determine because of uncertainty over the impacts of habitat modification on population sizes.

Behaviour This species is largely sedentary although there are indications of some migratory movements or vagrancy (del Hoyo et al. 1992). The timing of breeding varies locally but tends to coincide with the rains(mostly May-July in West Africa, November-January in East Africa) to synchronise chick feeding with the period when water levels are highest (del Hoyo et al. 1992). The species breeds in solitary pairs (as far as is known) (Kushlan and Hancock 2005) and remains solitarily when not breeding (del Hoyo et al. 1992). It is partly nocturnal and mainly forages around dawn and dusk (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Habitat It shows a preference for small shaded streams, marshes or swamps (Brown et al. 1982, Hancock and Kushlan 1984, del Hoyo et al. 1992, Kushlan and Hancock 2005) in dense areas of primary rainforest or swamp-forest (Kushlan and Hancock 2005). It also occurs along the banks of forested rivers (Brown et al. 1982, Hancock and Kushlan 1984, del Hoyo et al. 1992, Kushlan and Hancock 2005) (although it generally avoids larger waterways) (Hancock and Kushlan 1984) and inhabits streams (Kushlan and Hancock 2005) in tangled mangrove swamps (del Hoyo et al. 1992) usually well-away from the coast (Hancock and Kushlan 1984). Diet Its diet consists of small fish, crustaceans (del Hoyo et al. 1992) (e.g. crayfish (Kushlan and Hancock 2005) and freshwater crabs (Hancock and Kushlan 1984)), spiders, insects (del Hoyo et al. 1992) (e.g. winged termites (Hancock and Kushlan 1984)), frogs, snakes and lizards (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Breeding site The nest may be a platform of twigs placed 6 m high in trees (del Hoyo et al. 1992).

The main threat to the species is habitat destruction (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Utilisation The species is hunted and traded at traditional medicine markets in Nigeria (Nikolaus 2001).

Brown, L. H.; Urban, E. K.; Newman, K. 1982. The birds of Africa vol I. Academic Press, London.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliot, A.; Sargatal, J. 1992. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 1: Ostrich to Ducks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

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

Hancock, J.; Kushlan, J. 1984. The herons handbook. Croom Helm, London.

Kushlan, J. A.; Hancock, J. A. 2005. The herons. Oxford University Press, Oxford, U.K.

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

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

Species factsheet from HeronConservation - The IUCN-SSC Heron Specialist Group

Text account compilers
Malpas, L., Pilgrim, J., Harding, M.

Dodman, T., Dowsett-Lemaire, F., Dowsett, R., Rainey, H.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Tigriornis leucolopha. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016.

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 Ardeidae (Herons)
Species name author (Jardine, 1846)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Unknown
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 3,870,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change