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Spot-breasted Ibis Bostrychia rara
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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 appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not 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.

Distribution and population
This species is widespread in west African lowland forests from Liberia east to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.

Population justification
The species has a large global population estimated to be 200,000-510,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2006). Although uncommon over most of its range, it is regarded as common in Gabon and Congo (Borrow and Demey 2001)

Trend justification
The overall population trend is stable, although some populations have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006).

The species frequents forested streams and wooded swamps, always above or near water, in lowland forest (del Hoyo et al. 1992). The same trees are used for roost sites all year-round. It feeds on aquatic snails, worms, beetles, larvae and grubs, which it probes for in muddy banks and swamps. Nests are situated 1-6 m above the ground or overhanging water, and comprise a circular platform on top of several lateral tree branches, approximately 30 cm across. Two eggs are usually laid (Brown et al. 1982). The species is sedentary (del Hoyo et al. 1992), with individuals remaining in an area all year round and using traditional roosting sites for sleeping (Hancock et al. 1992). It is likely to breed for most of the year (del Hoyo et al. 1992), especially during periods of peak rainfall (Hancock et al. 1992), but it does not breed during the long dry season when water levels are lowest (del Hoyo et al. 1992). The species nests in solitary pairs and forages singly or in pairs throughout the year (del Hoyo et al. 1992), small groups (e.g. 5-8 birds in same tree) often congregating at roosting sites to sleep (Brown et al. 1982, del Hoyo et al. 1992). It is diurnally active, although it may also forage at night (especially in bright moonlight) (Brown et al. 1982, del Hoyo et al. 1992. The species is carnivorous, its diet consisting of beetles, larvae, grubs, aquatic snails and worms (Brown et al. 1982, Hancock et al. 1992, del Hoyo et al. 1992).

Intense forest destruction in West Africa is probably the main threat to this species (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Utilisation Fishermen in Gabon are known to take nestlings from the nests of this species .

Borrow, N.; Demey, R. 2001. Birds of western Africa. Christopher Helm, London.

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. A.; Kushlan, J. A.; Kahl, M. P. 1992. Storks, ibises and spoonbills of the world. Academic Press, London.

Wetland International - China Office. 2006. Relict Gull surveys in Hongjianao, Shaanxi Province. Newsletter of China Ornithological Society 15(2): 29.

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., Harding, M., Fisher, S.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Bostrychia rara. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016.

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 Threskiornithidae (Ibises, Spoonbills)
Species name author (Rothschild,Hartert & Kleinschmidt, 1897)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 2,750,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change