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 small, 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.
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.
Behaviour The species is distributed across the breadth of the Afrotropics, but in a narrow band largely confined to 15°N to 8°N (with extreme occurrence as much as 19°N in West Africa to 1°S in Kenya). It breeds within the Sahel zone and there is a small resident population in northern Kenya and Uganda (Ferguson- Lees and Christie, 2001). It is migratory, moving south (albeit remaining in the northern hemisphere) in November after breeding, coinciding with the start of the dry season. It returns north when the rains begin in February and the overall extent of migration fluctuates annually (del Hoyo et al., 1994). Habitat The species occupies arid savannah and semi-desert habitats from sea level up to 500m (Ferguson- Lees and Christie, 2001). Diet Its main prey comprises reptiles such as lizards and snakes, insects and spiders, and occasionally small rodents. It gregarious and will gather in groups at the edge of grass fires to capture Orthoptera or near cattle herds to capture insects (Ferguson- Lees and Christie, 2001; del Hoyo et al., 1994). Breeding Site The species constructs small stick nests (30-40cm diameter) in thorn trees often near to the nests of larger raptors such as Secretarybird and Snake-eagle and sometimes also close to human settlement. Breeding occurs in May to September in the majority of its range, but in Senegal it occurs from December to February and in Kenya from March to June or from August onwards (Ferguson- Lees and Christie, 2001).
The species has declined over West Africa since the 1970s as a result of locust control, and it is vulnerable to pesticides. Given its reliance on the Sahel zone it is likely to be vulnerable to the on-going deterioration of this environment (Ferguson- Lees and Christie, 2001; del Hoyo et al., 1994).
del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1994. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 2: New World Vultures to Guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Ferguson-Lees, J.; Christie, D. A. 2001. Raptors of the world. Christopher Helm, London.
Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species
Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Harding, M.
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Chelictinia riocourii. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 03/06/2015. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 03/06/2015.
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.
|Current IUCN Red List category||Least Concern|
|Family||Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles)|
|Species name author||(Vieillot, 1822)|
|Population size||670-6700 mature individuals|
|Distribution size (breeding/resident)||5,330,000 km2|
|Links to further information|
- Additional Information on this species|
- Projected distributions under climate change