Red List of South African Species

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Near Threatened (NT)
Assessors: Michael Samways
Facilitators: Dewidine Van Der Colff
Reviewers: Domitilla Raimondo


In southern Africa, this species has a relatively wide distribution and it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a threatened or Near Threatened category. Assessed as Least Concern in the region. Its global status is also Least Concern. In South Africa, it is highly marginal and habitat specific. It occurs along rocky savannah rivers with large Acacia trees high up on the bank, which serves as perching sites. The species is currently known from between 10 and 20 locations with an area of occupancy (AOO) of 56 km2. In  year 2000 there was severe flooding of its habitat and acacia trees were washed away by the floods, removing its special perching sites. These floods are strongly linked to El Nino Southern Oscillation events, causing fluctuation in available habitat, and similar extreme events are occurring in drought conditions. However, since this is a national assessment, we need to make an adjustment to the assessment based on IUCN guidelines, as this species is globally widespread and there is a potential of migration from neighbouring countries, the species is assessed as Near Threatened B2ab(iii).


This species occurs in the north of the southern Africa region, along perennial rivers. Globally, it has been recorded from Kenya and south Sudan, south to South Africa (Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal) and Namibia.

Population trend


No quantitative information is available on population size or trends. However, there are large fluctuations in population size due to extreme fluctuations in available habitat as a result of El Niño Southern Oscillation events.


In South Africa, it is highly susceptible to El Niño Southern Oscillation events, both floods and droughts. In 2000 a large flood event removed large numbers of Acacia trees in its habitat, and the species lost its perching sites. Such events are unpredictable, however its occurrence impacts directly on the species.  During dry phases and water abstraction in the lower reaches of the Sabie River and elsewhere, this species is at risk of having its population reduced as a result of local drought combined with human activities. While its populations recover quickly in wet phases, there is always a risk that it will suffer range retraction away from its marginal habitats in South Africa in times of severe, ongoing drought (Samways, 2010).


In South Africa, no specific conservation measures are in place.

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