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Southern Black Bustard Afrotis afra
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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IUCN Red List Criteria

Critically Endangered  
Vulnerable A4bc 

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
2013 Vulnerable
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern

Species attributes

Migratory status not a migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type   Average mass -


  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 173,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals Unknown not applicable Not Applicable 0
Population trend Decreasing -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 10.3 - - -
Population justification: The global population size has not been quantified, but the species has been described as 'uncommon to common' (Hockey et al. 2005).
Trend justification: Comparison of data from the first and second Southern African Bird Atlas Projects (SABAP1, 1987–1992 and SABAP2, 2007–) indicates that the species declined in abundance in c.80% of its range between 1992 and 2010, and by over 30% during the study period, although the decline may have decelerated from 2008 onwards (Hofmeyr 2012). Occupancy modelling using the same data confirmed this, showing declines in abundance and range across most of its range. Comparison of results from an extensive terrestrial road census in the Karoo with those from a similar study in the 1980s also found a marked population decline (Shaw 2013), and data from the Coordinated Avifaunal Roadcounts project also indicate declines between 1997 and 2010 in Overberg and Swartland (S. Hofmeyr and D. Young in litt. 2013). Subsequent analysis of the SABAP data to April 2013 indicates the situation may be more serious, with slight declines in the Eastern Cape population and declines in the Northern Cape and especially the Western Cape appearing to be more significant than previously suspected (S. Hofmeyr in litt. 2013). On-going population declines within the range 30-49% in 31 years (three generations) are suspected based on these analyses.

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage Resident
South Africa Native Extant       Yes

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Desert Hot suitable resident
Grassland Subtropical/Tropical Dry major resident
Savanna Dry major resident
Shrubland Subtropical/Tropical Dry major resident
Altitude 0 - 0 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact

Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops / Agro-industry farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Rapid Declines Medium Impact: 7
Species disturbance, Ecosystem conversion
Climate change & severe weather Habitat shifting & alteration Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Whole (>90%) Unknown Unknown
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Problematic native species/diseases Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Reduced reproductive success


Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Pets Whole Adults and juveniles Wild International Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Afrotis afra. 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 Vulnerable
Family Otididae (Bustards)
Species name author (Linnaeus, 1766)
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 173,000 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change