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Bateleur Terathopius ecaudatus
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species is classified as Near Threatened because it is suspected to have undergone moderately rapid declines during the past three generations (41 years) owing to habitat loss and incidental poisoning and pollution, and is consequently believed to approach the threshold for classification as Vulnerable.

Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
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.

55-70 cm. Mid-sized, oddly-proportioned eagle, with very long pointed wings, 'tailless' appearance and bushy head. Wings held in a deep 'V' and flight fast with distinctive side to side tilting action. Males generally black but with chestnut from mantle to tail, brownish-grey shoulders, white underwing linings and bare red face and legs. Females have more extensive white underwings and grey secondaries. Juveniles are all brown with blue-grey cere, face and legs and longer tail. Similar spp Jackal and Augur Buzzards share a combination of black, white and chestnut plumage but shape of Bateleur renders it unmistakeable.

Distribution and population
Terathopius ecaudatus has an extensive range across much of sub-Saharan Africa (from southern Mauritania, Senegal, southern Mali and Guinea east to southern Sudan, northern South Sudan, Ethiopia and west Somalia and south to Namibia, Botswana and northern and north-eastern South Africa), and also occurs in south-west Arabia (south-west Saudi Arabia and Yemen). Its global population is estimated to be 10,000-100,000 individuals (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). There have been significant population declines and/or range contractions suspected in many regions, including Botswana (S. Tyler in litt. 2009), Côte d'Ivoire (del Hoyo et al. 1994), Kenya (N. Baker in litt. 2005, Ogada 2009), Namibia (del Hoyo et al. 1994), Nigeria (an estimated decline of at least 50 % in 30 years and now essentially confined to protected areas) (P. Hall in litt. 2005, 2009, O. J. Daniel in litt. 2009), Somalia (A. Ajama in litt. 2009), South Africa (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001, S. Thomsett in litt. 2005), Sudan (del Hoyo et al. 1994), parts of Zambia (P. Leonard in litt. 2005), Zimbabwe (del Hoyo et al. 1994), and possibly parts of Tanzania (J. Wolstencroft in litt. 2005), in some areas, however, the species is not declining and remains widespread and common (N. Baker in litt. 2005, N. Cordeiro in litt. 2005, F. Dowsett-Lemaire and R. Dowsett in litt. 2005).

Population justification
The population is estimated to number in the tens of thousands.

Trend justification
Declines have taken place across much of this species's range owing to habitat loss and incidental poisoning/pollution; the overall rate of decline is difficult to quantify but is suspected to have been moderately rapid over the past three generations (41 years).

It inhabits open country, including grasslands, savanna and subdesert thornbush from sea level to 4,500 m but generally below 3,000 m (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). It is generally considered resident but some adults as well as immatures are nomadic (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). It takes both live and dead food, mostly mammals and birds but also some reptiles, carrion, insects and occasionally birds' eggs and crabs, foraging over a huge range (55-200 km2) (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). The nest is built in the canopy of a large tree, and breeding is chiefly September-May in West Africa, throughout the year in East Africa and December-August in southern Africa (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001).

Putative reasons for declines vary, but include poisoned baits, pesticides, trapping for international trade, nest disturbance from spreading human settlements, and increased intensification and degradation of agricultural land (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001, N. Baker in litt. 2005, S. Thomsett in litt. 2005). The major cause of the decline seems to be almost entirely poisoning by a few large-scale commercial farmers, but poisoning is also a problem in tribal small-stock farming communities.

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known. Conservation Actions Proposed
Implement education and awareness campaigns across its range to reduce the use of poisoned baits. Carry out regular population monitoring across its range.

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.

Ogada, D. 2009. Kenya - massive declines of vultures. African Raptors: 11-12.

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
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Harding, M., Martin, R, Pilgrim, J., Symes, A.

Ajama, A., Baker, N., Brewster, C., Brown, C., Cordeiro, N., Daniel, O., Dowsett, R., Dowsett-Lemaire, F., Hall, P., Kitaba, K., Leonard, P., Thomsett, S., Tyler, S., Wolstencroft, J.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Terathopius ecaudatus. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016.

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.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Bateleur (Terathopius ecaudatus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles)
Species name author (Daudin, 1800)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 28,000,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change