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NT
African Skimmer Rynchops flavirostris

IUCN Red List Criteria

Near Threatened (criteria nearly met) C1+2a(ii) 

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
2012 Near Threatened
2008 Near Threatened
2006 Near Threatened
2004 Near Threatened
2000 Lower Risk/Near Threatened
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern

Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type continent
Average mass 164 g

Distribution

  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 9,720,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 10000-17000 medium Estimated 2002
Population trend Decreasing -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 11 - - -
Population justification: There are 7,000-13,000 in West and Central Africa and 8,000-12,000 in East Africa and South Africa (T. Dodman in litt. 2002), giving a total of 15,000-25,000 individuals, roughly equivalent to 10,000-17,000 mature individuals.
Trend justification: The population is suspected to be in decline owing to wetland habitat degradation, over-exploitation and human disturbance.

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage Resident
Angola Native Extant Yes      
Benin Native Extant   Yes    
Botswana Native Extant       Yes
Burkina Faso Native Extant   Yes    
Burundi Native Extant       Yes
Cameroon Native Extant   Yes    
Central African Republic Native Extant   Yes    
Chad Native Extant       Yes
Congo Native Extant   Yes    
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Native Extant   Yes    
Côte d'Ivoire Native Extant   Yes    
Egypt Native Extant   Yes    
Equatorial Guinea Native Extant   Yes    
Eritrea Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Ethiopia Native Extant       Yes
Gabon Native Extant   Yes    
Gambia Native Extant   Yes    
Ghana Native Extant   Yes    
Guinea Native Extant   Yes    
Guinea-Bissau Native Extant        
Israel Vagrant Extant        
Kenya Native Extant       Yes
Liberia Native Extant   Yes    
Malawi Native Extant Yes      
Mali Native Extant       Yes
Mauritania Native Extant   Yes    
Mozambique Native Extant   Yes    
Namibia Native Extant       Yes
Niger Native Extant       Yes
Nigeria Native Extant       Yes
Rwanda Native Extant   Yes    
Senegal Native Extant       Yes
Sierra Leone Native Extant       Yes
Somalia Vagrant Extant   Yes    
South Africa Vagrant Extinct   Yes    
South Sudan Native Extant Yes      
Sudan Native Extant Yes Yes    
Tanzania Native Extant   Yes    
Togo Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Uganda Native Extant       Yes
Yemen Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Zambia Native Extant Yes      
Zimbabwe Native Extant       Yes

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Botswana Okavango Delta site factsheet
Burundi Rusizi National Park site factsheet
Congo Lake Télé Community Reserve site factsheet
Ethiopia Lake Turkana and Omo delta site factsheet
Gabon Akanda site factsheet
Gabon Ogooué delta and Mandji island site factsheet
Malawi Lake Chilwa and flood-plain site factsheet
Tanzania Katavi National Park site factsheet
Tanzania Kilombero Valley site factsheet
Tanzania Lake Rukwa site factsheet
Tanzania Nyumba ya Mungu reservoir site factsheet
Uganda Murchison Falls National Park site factsheet
Uganda Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake George site factsheet
Zambia Barotse Floodplains site factsheet
Zambia Kafue Flats site factsheet
Zambia Simungoma site factsheet
Zambia South Luangwa National Park site factsheet
Zambia Sumbu National Park and Tondwa Game Management Area site factsheet
Zimbabwe Middle Zambezi Valley site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Brackish/Saline Lagoons/Marine Lakes suitable breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Brackish/Saline Lagoons/Marine Lakes suitable non-breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Freshwater Lakes suitable breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Freshwater Lakes suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) major breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) major non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls) major breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls) major non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Lakes suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Lakes suitable non-breeding
Altitude 0 - 1800 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact

Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Biological resource use Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources / Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals / Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Decline Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality
Human intrusions & disturbance Recreational activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Species disturbance
Human intrusions & disturbance Work & other activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Decline Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Species disturbance
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases / Domestic Cow (Bos taurus) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Species disturbance
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases / Unspecified species Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Competition
Natural system modifications Dams & water management/use / Dams (size unknown) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Decline Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Pollution Agricultural & forestry effluents / Herbicides and pesticides Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Species mortality
Pollution Agricultural & forestry effluents / Soil erosion, sedimentation Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Decline Medium Impact: 6
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation
Pollution Industrial & military effluents / Type Unknown/Unrecorded Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Species mortality
Transportation & service corridors Shipping lanes Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Decline Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Species disturbance

Utilisation

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food (human) Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent
Food (human) Whole Eggs Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Rynchops flavirostris. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/10/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/10/2014.

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 Near Threatened
Family Laridae (Gulls, Terns, Skimmers)
Species name author Vieillot, 1816
Population size 10000-17000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 9,720,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change