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African Finfoot Podica senegalensis
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). 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 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.

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

Behaviour This species is largely sedentary (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996). It nests in solitary territorial pairs (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996), the timing of breeding corresponding to peaks in water-level (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Habitat The species occurs in forest and wooded savanna along permanent streams (del Hoyo et al. 1996) with thick growths of Syzygium guineese, along secluded reaches of thickly wooded rivers (Urban et al. 1986), on the edges of pools, lakes and dams with well-vegetated banks (particularly with reeds and overhanging branches) (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996), on the edges of dense papyrus beds far from the shore (Urban et al. 1986), in mangrove swamps (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996), creeks (Urban et al. 1986) and in flooded forest (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It is rarely found away from shoreline vegetation and generally avoids stagnant or fast-flowing water (Urban et al. 1986). Diet Its diet consists predominantly of invertebrates such as adult and larval insects (e.g. Ephemeropta, Odonata, Coleoptera and Orthoptera), spiders, millipedes, crustaceans (del Hoyo et al. 1996) (e.g. crabs, shrimps and prawns) (Urban et al. 1986), small snails, frogs, small fish (del Hoyo et al. 1996), snakes (Hockey et al. 2005) and occasionally vegetation (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest is a flat, loose structure of reeds and twigs (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996) placed 1-4 m high over water either on a mass of flood debris or fallen branches (del Hoyo et al. 1996), on an overhanging tree limb or on a horizontal branch (Urban et al. 1986).

The species is threatened by habitat degradation from increased river siltation, reduced river flow (due to commercial afforestation) (Hockey et al. 2005) and pesticide contamination (which leads to reductions in prey availability) (Brooks and Gardner 1980). Utilisation The species is hunted and traded at traditional medicine markets in Nigeria (Nikolaus 2001).

Brooks, P. M.; Gardner, B. D. 1980. Effect of cattle dip containing toxaphene on the fauna of a South African river. Journal of the Limnological Society of Southern Africa 6(2): 113-118.

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.

Hockey, P. A. R.; Dean, W. R. J.; Ryan, P. G. 2005. Roberts birds of southern Africa. Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town, South Africa.

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

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: Podica senegalensis. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016.

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 Heliornithidae (Finfoots)
Species name author (Vieillot, 1817)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 12,100,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change