This discussion was first published as part of the 2013 Red List update, but remains open for comment to enable reassessment in 2014.
Beaudouin’s Snake-eagle Circaetus beaudouini occupies a relatively narrow band of sub-Saharan Africa, from Senegal, Gambia and south Mauritania in the west to southern Sudan and South Sudan in the east and south to Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Central African Republic. It is currently listed as Vulnerable under criteria A2bcd+3bcd+4bcd; C1+2a(ii), based on its small population which has declined rapidly owing to a number of threats associated with a 3-fold increase in the human population within the region over the past 30 years (Thiollay 2006). It occurs at low densities so its global population was not thought to exceed 10,000 individuals (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). Survey data suggest there are a minimum of 1,000 individuals (J. M. Thiollay in litt. 2006) but, in the context of the species’s large range, the population was estimated at 2,500-9,999 mature individuals (which equates to c.3,750-14,999 individuals).
Thiollay (2006) compared large-scale roadside counts through Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, conducted in 1969-73 and 2004, and concluded that this species had decreased outside protected areas by 86-93%. Within protected areas however there was no significant change in numbers. Overall declines were previously conservatively estimated to have taken place at a rate of 30-49% in three generations (39 years in this species). However, if there is sufficient evidence to suspect that the global population of this species has declined by 50-79% over the past 39 years, and similar declines are suspected in the future, this species would warrant uplisting to Endangered under criteria A2bcd+3bcd+4bcd of the IUCN Red List. Should sufficient evidence suggest that the global population of this species is <2,500 mature individuals, it is in continuing decline at a rate of ≥20% over two generations (26 years), and ≥95% mature individuals are in one subpopulation, it could also qualify as Endangered under criterion C1+2a(ii).
Information is requested on this species’s global population size and trends from throughout the range. Comments on its distribution are also welcome, particularly any evidence of its occurrence in Kenya where its status is uncertain.
Thiollay, J. M. (2006) The decline of raptors in West Africa: long-term assessment and the role of protected areas. Ibis 148: 240-254.