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Hooded Vulture Necrosyrtes monachus
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This species is classified as Endangered as there is evidence that it is probably experiencing a very rapid decline owing to hunting, persecution and indiscriminate poisoning, as well as habitat loss and degradation. Further study is required to obtain a more robust assessment of its population trend.

Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

67-70 cm Small, scruffy-looking, mostly brown vulture, with long thin bill, bare crown, face and foreneck, conspicuous ear-holes, and downy nape and hindneck. Perches hunched with wings drooping. Sexes alike. Juvenile usually with face pale blue and hood of short down dark brown rather than beige. Similar spp N. monachus is smaller and finer-billed compared to Torgos tracheliotus. Juvenile similar to juvenile Neophron percnopterus, but tail not pointed and head has down rather than contour feathering.

Distribution and population
Necrosyrtes monachus is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa; from Senegal and southern Mauritania east through southern Niger and Chad, to southern Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia and western Somalia, southwards to northern Namibia and Botswana, and through Zimbabwe to southern Mozambique and north-eastern South Africa (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). The species is generally sedentary, with some dispersal by non-breeders and immature birds, and movements in response to rainfall in the Sahel of West Africa (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). Data and observations of varying coverage and quality from various parts of its range suggest that the species is undergoing a very rapid decline in its global population (Ogada and Buij 2011). Following evidence of declines across its range, the total population has been estimated at a maximum of 197,000 individuals (Ogada and Buij 2011).

Population justification
Given evidence of recent declines in various parts of its range, this species's population is estimated to number a maximum of 197,000 individuals.

Trend justification
This species's population is estimated to be undergoing a decline equivalent to at least 50% over 53 years (estimate of three generations) on the basis of data and observations of varying quality and coverage indicating declines in various parts of its range (mean 62%; range 45-77%; Ogada and Buij 2011).

The species is often associated with human settlements, but is also found in open grassland, forest edge, wooded savanna, desert and along coasts (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). It occurs up to 4,000 m, but is most numerous below 1,800 m. It feeds mainly on carrion, but also takes insects. In West Africa and Kenya it breeds throughout the year, but especially from November to July. Breeding in north-east Africa occurs mainly in October-June, with birds in southern Africa tending to breed in May-December. It is an arboreal nester and lays a clutch of one egg. Its incubation period lasts 46-54 days, followed by a fledging period of 80-130 days. Young are dependent on their parents for a further 3-4 months after fledging (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001).

Major threats to this species include non-target poisoning, capture for traditional medicine and bushmeat, and direct persecution (Ogada and Buij 2011). Hooded Vulture meat is reportedly sold as chicken in some places. Intentional poisoning of vultures may be carried out in some areas by poachers in order to hide the locations of their kills. Secondary poisoning with carbofuran pesticides at livestock baits being used to poison mammalian predators is also an issue in East Africa (Otieno et al. 2010, C. Kendall in litt. 2012). Declines have also been attributed to land conversion through development and improvements to abattoir hygiene and rubbish disposal in some areas (Ogada and Buij 2011). The species may also be threatened by avian influenza (H5N1), from which it appears to suffer some mortality and which it probably acquires from feeding on discarded dead poultry (Ducatez et al. 2007).

Conservation Actions Underway
No targeted actions are known. This widespread species occurs in a large number of protected areas. Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out systematic surveys throughout the species's range to acquire a more accurate population estimate and monitor trends. Raise awareness of the species's plight and the impact of hunting and persecution. Monitor rates of land-use change across its range. Monitor effects of poisoning on the species and its use in muti trade and for meat (C. Kendall in litt. 2012).

Related state of the world's birds case studies

Ogada, D.L.; Buij, R. 2011. Large declines of the Hooded Vulture Necrosyrtes monachus across its African range. Ostrich 82(2): 101-113.

Otieno, P. O.; Lalah, J. O.; Virani, M., Jondiko, I. O.; Schramm, K. 2010. Carbofuran and its toxic metabolites provide forensic evidence for Furadan exposure in vultures (Gyps africanus) in Kenya. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 84: 536-544.

Virani, M.; Kendall, C.; Njoroge, P.; Thomsett, S. 2011. Major declines in the abundance of vultures and other scavenging raptors in and around the Masai Mara ecosystem, Kenya. Biological Conservation 144: 746-752.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Symes, A., Taylor, J.

Kendall, C., Brouwer, J.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Necrosyrtes monachus. Downloaded from on 09/10/2015. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 09/10/2015.

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.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Hooded vulture (Necrosyrtes monachus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles)
Species name author (Temminck, 1823)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 15,100,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change