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VU
Shoebill Balaeniceps rex

IUCN Red List Criteria

Critically Endangered  
Endangered  
Vulnerable C2a(ii) 

IUCN Red List history

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

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) 1,470,000 medium
Number of locations 11-100 -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 3300-5300 medium Estimated 2003
Population trend Decreasing medium -
Number of subpopulations 1 - - -
Largest subpopulation 5000-8000 - - -
Generation length (yrs) 12.2 - - -
Population justification: The total population has been estimated at 5,000-8,000 individuals (T. Dodman in litt. 2002), and a total population estimate of fewer than 10,000 individuals is supported by Dinesen and Baker (2006). The range of 5,000-8,000 individuals roughly equates to 3,300-5,300 mature individuals.
Trend justification: There is little doubt that the species is declining in Tanzania, Zambia and Rwanda, with declines perhaps in Uganda as well, and the species may be more threatened than available information suggests (L. Dinesen in litt. 2007).

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Central African Republic Native Extant      
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Native Extant      
Ethiopia Vagrant Extant   Yes  
Rwanda Native Extant      
South Sudan Native Extant      
Sudan Native Extant      
Tanzania Native Extant      
Uganda Native Extant      
Zambia Native Extant      

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Lufira valley site factsheet
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Upemba National Park site factsheet
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Virunga National Park site factsheet
Ethiopia Baro river site factsheet
Ethiopia Gambella National Park site factsheet
Rwanda Akagera National Park site factsheet
South Sudan Boma site factsheet
South Sudan Sudd (Bahr-el-Jebel system) site factsheet
Tanzania Burigi - Biharamulo Game Reserves site factsheet
Tanzania Moyowosi - Kigosi Game Reserves site factsheet
Uganda Ajai Wildlife Reserve site factsheet
Uganda Kyambura Wildlife Reserve site factsheet
Uganda Lake Bisina site factsheet
Uganda Lake Mburo National Park site factsheet
Uganda Lake Nakuwa site factsheet
Uganda Lake Opeta site factsheet
Uganda Mabamba Bay site factsheet
Uganda Murchison Falls National Park site factsheet
Uganda Nabajjuzi Wetland site factsheet
Uganda Nabugabo wetland site factsheet
Uganda Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake George site factsheet
Uganda Semliki reserves site factsheet
Zambia Bangweulu Swamps site factsheet
Zambia Mweru Wantipa National Park site factsheet
Zambia Sumbu National Park and Tondwa Game Management Area site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha) major resident
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls) major resident
Altitude 0 - 0 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact

Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops / Small-holder farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Decline Medium Impact:
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Agriculture & aquaculture Livestock farming & ranching / Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Decline Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals / Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Species mortality
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals / Persecution/control Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Species mortality
Climate change & severe weather Droughts Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation
Human intrusions & disturbance War, civil unrest & military exercises Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Species disturbance, Species mortality
Human intrusions & disturbance Work & other activities 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 / Domestic Cow (Bos taurus) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Reduced reproductive success
Natural system modifications Dams & water management/use / Large dams Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation
Natural system modifications Fire & fire suppression / Trend Unknown/Unrecorded Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation
Transportation & service corridors Roads & railroads Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation

Utilisation

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Balaeniceps rex. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/04/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/04/2014.

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 Vulnerable
Family Balaenicipitidae (Shoebill)
Species name author Gould, 1850
Population size 3300-5300 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1,470,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species
- Climate change species distributions