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Cape Cormorant Phalacrocorax capensis

IUCN Red List Criteria

Critically Endangered  
Endangered A2bc+3bc+4bc 
Vulnerable A2bc+3bc+4bc 

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
2013 Endangered
2012 Near Threatened
2010 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 not a migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type continent
Average mass -

Distribution

  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 195,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 190000 medium Estimated 2011
Population trend Decreasing poor -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 11 - - -
Population justification: The most recent available estimates are of 37,408 pairs in South Africa in 2011 (Crawford et al. 2012, per T. Cook and J. Kemper in litt. 2013), 57, 343 pairs in Namibia in 2005-2006 (Crawford et al. 2007) and 2,000-2,600 pairs in Angola, roughly equating to 190,000 mature individuals or 285,000 individuals in total. The global population was previously estimated to have numbered as many as 247,000 pairs during 1977-1981.
Trend justification: In South Africa, the population has decreased by 64% over 40 years, from 103,937 breeding pairs (c. 364,000 individuals) in 1978, to 37,408 breeding pairs (c. 131,000 individuals) in 2011 (Crawford et al. 2012, per T. Cook and J. Kemper in litt. 2013). Between 1985 and 2011, the population decreased by 59.2% at the six main breeding islands in this region. Although fewer complete datasets are available from the 12 most important breeding localities in Namibia, the population trends are comparable to that of South Africa; a decline of 59.6% over 27 years, from 143,161 pairs in 1978/9, to 57,343 pairs in 2005/6 (Crawford et al. 2007). Population trends in Angola are unknown, but the modest number of breeding pairs at Ilha dos Tigres (2,000-2,600) is not thought to impact the overall trends from the two main breeding populations in South Africa and Namibia (T. Cook and J. Kemper in litt. 2013). These figures give an overall decline of 65.3% over the past 33 years (three generations), hence the overall rate of decline is placed in the band 50-79%.

Country/Territory distribution

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

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Namibia Cape Cross lagoon site factsheet
Namibia Ichaboe Island site factsheet
Namibia Mile 4 saltworks site factsheet
Namibia Possession Island site factsheet
Namibia Sandwich Harbour site factsheet
Namibia Sperrgebiet site factsheet
South Africa Dassen Island site factsheet
South Africa Dyer Island Nature Reserve site factsheet
South Africa False Bay Nature Reserve site factsheet
South Africa Orange River Mouth Wetlands site factsheet
South Africa Robben Island National Historical Monument site factsheet
South Africa West Coast National Park and Saldanha Bay islands 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 Sea Cliffs and Rocky Offshore Islands major breeding
Marine Intertidal Rocky Shoreline major breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp major resident
Marine Neritic Pelagic suitable resident
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) major resident
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel major resident
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs major resident
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy major resident
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud major resident
Altitude 0 - 0 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact

Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Biological resource use Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources / Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Whole (>90%) Rapid Declines High Impact: 8
Stresses
Indirect ecosystem effects
Climate change & severe weather Habitat shifting & alteration Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Whole (>90%) Slow, Significant Decline Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation
Energy production & mining Mining & quarrying Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Unlikely to Return Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Decline Past Impact
Stresses
Species disturbance, Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases / Unspecified species Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Likely to Return Whole (>90%) Slow, Significant Decline Past Impact
Stresses
Species mortality
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Problematic native species/diseases Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Decline Medium Impact: 6
Stresses
Reduced reproductive success
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Viral/prion-induced diseases / Avian Cholera (Pasturella multocida) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Likely to Return Whole (>90%) Slow, Significant Decline Past Impact
Stresses
Species mortality
Pollution Industrial & military effluents / Oil spills Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Likely to Return Whole (>90%) Rapid Declines Past Impact
Stresses
Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality

Utilisation

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 (2014) Species factsheet: Phalacrocorax capensis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/08/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/08/2014.

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 Endangered
Family Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants)
Species name author (Sparrman, 1789)
Population size 190000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 195,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change