Birds of Prey pp 419-455 | Cite as

Conservation and Ecology of African Raptors

  • Arjun AmarEmail author
  • Ralph Buij
  • Jessleena Suri
  • Petra Sumasgutner
  • Munir Z. Virani


Africa supports breeding populations of over 20% of all raptor species globally and over 20 regular Palearctic migratory raptors. Here, we discuss the importance of Africa in terms of the diversity of both resident and migrant species, the ecosystem services they provide, and the threats they face. We examine the state of knowledge of African raptors, including monitoring to determine trends, and describe ongoing research. African raptors provide important ecosystem services, by bringing in tourism revenues, functioning as bio-indicator species, and controlling the spread of pathogens and pest species. Many species are under pressure from growing human populations and associated habitat loss, persecution, and pollution. Most are declining, with some exceptions, some catastrophically so, such as vultures. Of 66 African species, 26% are currently on the IUCN Red List. For many species, there is a need for their conservation status to be re-evaluated, but rigorous monitoring for most of Africa is generally lacking. A systematic literature review showed considerable variation in the number of studies per species, 36% of 67 species having been relatively “well-studied” (12 or more studies), but 64% with less than 10 studies. There has been a general and consistent increase in the numbers of studies on African raptors, the majority from Southern Africa (n = 466, 62%). We found most studies focused on feeding ecology (n= 247) and distribution and abundance, with the least number of studies on behaviour and movement ecology. We list some ongoing studies and conclude that developing future leadership in research and conservation will be critical for successful raptor conservation in Africa.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arjun Amar
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ralph Buij
    • 2
  • Jessleena Suri
    • 1
    • 3
  • Petra Sumasgutner
    • 1
    • 3
  • Munir Z. Virani
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, DST-NRF Centre of ExcellenceUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa
  2. 2.Animal Ecology DepartmentAlterra Wageningen URWageningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Centre for Statistics in Ecology, the Environment and Conservation, Department of Statistical ScienceUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa
  4. 4.The Peregrine FundBoiseUSA
  5. 5.Department of ZoologyNational Museums of KenyaNairobiKenya

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