habitat INFO

Oct 252017

habitatINFO has just been contracted by OneWorld in Cape Town to help map climate vulnerability in the 4 provinces of northern Zambia. Like other projects this will be a high resolution update of information to provide hot spot maps which enable authorities and local stakeholders to direct their attention and resources to the places and communities most in need of help adapting to the harmful effects of climate change. These maps are at the mercy of data quality but prove to be a great start point.

Oct 062017

  • 3,147 records received in September
  • Highlights include records from Djibouti and Ethiopia from Evan Buechley and team
  • Total records end of September 2017 at 177,178


This month saw a surge in contributions to the ARDB with a 3-fold increase on last months contributions. A real highlight this month was receiving data for Djibouti and Ethiopia from road surveys and the big migration count conducted by Evan Buchley, Andres de  la Cruz, Juan Ramirez, Gabriel Caucal and Andres Munoz  who collectively submitted 662 observations. As well as several other raptors, the team recorded 6 species of vulture in Ethiopia- White-backed, Hooded, Rüppell’s,  Bearded, White-headed, Lappet-faced – five of which are now considered endangered or critically endangered. By contrast, in Djibouti only Egyptian Vultures (also endangered) were observed along with a variety of other raptors that included Verreaux’s and Bonelli’s eagles.

Another large contribution was provided by Karin Nelson from various roads and reserves in Botswana and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa. Karin Nelson is a qualified bird ringer and regular contributor to the ARDB and is pictured above running an activity day at the Karkloof Conservation Centre, South Africa. We also received incidental observations as spreadsheets from Sidney Shema Kamanzi for Nairobi National Park in Kenya and from Volker Salewski for Parc National de la Comoé in Cote D’Ivoire.


White-backed Vultures observations were submitted for Ethiopia this month; the wonderful image above was composed by Andrea Botha in 2014 and really captures the character of these important birds.

September saw good contributions for Zambia (thanks Andre Botha) and East Africa from Washington Wachira, Brian Waswala and Sidney Shema.  Andrew Jenkins has been very busy with the App sending in records from trips to Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania.  Andrew teamed up with Munir Virani to conduct the annual Fish Eagle survey at Lake Naivasha and the ARDB App is proving a valuable tool for monitoring this population. This is one of the few ARDB activities that uses by boat as the survey method!



These African Fish Eagles were photographed by Rob Davies in October 2012, Ruaha National Park.

Rounding off a busy month, we had a query from regular contributor Clive Barlow as to which species of raptors and which African countries have little or no data in the ARDB. After some concerted effort Rob managed to extract the information from the data bank which may serve to focus the efforts of contributors in future months!

No ARDB records exist to date for the following species (a lot of which occur on islands off Africa)

Madagascar Serpent-eagle
Socotra Buzzard
Rough-legged Buzzard
Oriental Honey-buzzard
Reunion Harrier
Madagascar Sparrowhawk
Chestnut-flanked Sparrowhawk
Henst’s Goshawk
Cape Verde Kite
Mauritius Kestrel
Seychelles Kestrel
Eurasian Eagle-owl
Madagascar Owl
Madagascar Red Owl
Maned Owl
Hume’s Owl
Tawny Owl
Chestnut Owlet
Chestnut-backed Owlet
Pallid Scops-owl
Pemba Scops-owl
Grande Comore Scops-owl
Anjouan Scops-owl
Seychelles Scops-owl
Congo Bay-owl
Shelley’s Eagle-owl
Albertine Owlet
Sao Tome Scops-owl
Annobon Scops-owl

Whilst the following table shows the number of records for species that have been reported in reverse order of frequency:

Merlin 1
Akun Eagle-owl 1
Eurasian Long-eared Owl 1
Sandy Scops-owl 1
Madagascar Scops-owl 1
Long-tailed Hawk 2
Northern Goshawk 2
Rufous Fishing-owl 2
Abyssinian Owl 2
Madagascar Hawk-owl 2
Red-chested Owlet 2
Greater Spotted Eagle 3
Spanish Imperial Eagle 3
Madagascar Cuckoo-hawk 3
Archer’s Buzzard 4
Fraser’s Eagle-owl 4
Short-eared Owl 4
Little Owl 4
Usambara Eagle-owl 5
White-tailed Eagle 6
Congo Serpent-eagle 6
Madagascar Harrier 6
Levant Sparrowhawk 6
Eurasian Scops-owl 6
Saker Falcon 8
Frances’s Sparrowhawk 9
Red-thighed Sparrowhawk 10
Eastern Imperial Eagle 11
Banded Kestrel 12
Red Kite 13
Vermiculated Fishing-owl 13
Cape Eagle-owl 14
Bonelli’s Eagle 16
Barbary Falcon 17
Sokoke Scops-owl 17
Madagascar Fish-eagle 18
Taita Falcon 19
Mountain Kestrel 21
West African Goshawk 25
Cinereous Vulture 27
Eurasian Sparrowhawk 33
Golden Eagle 37
Madagascar Harrier-hawk 37
African Grass-owl 37
Eurasian Kestrel 40
Hen Harrier 44
Pharaoh Eagle-owl 52
Griffon Vulture 60
Sooty Falcon 77
Cassin’s Hawk-eagle 86
Madagascar Buzzard 87
Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk 90
Southern Banded Snake-eagle 105
Bat Hawk 109
Eurasian Hobby 128
Bearded Vulture 138
Western Banded Snake-eagle 141
Eleonora’s Falcon 144
Dickinson’s Kestrel 146
Red-footed Falcon 150
African Cuckoo-hawk 152
Greyish Eagle-owl 154
Marsh Owl 157
European Honey-buzzard 163
Pel’s Fishing-owl 168
Beaudouin’s Snake-eagle 169
Long-legged Buzzard 177
Ayres’s Hawk-eagle 185
Eurasian Buzzard 186
Southern Ground-hornbill 197
Black Harrier 203
Ovambo Sparrowhawk 239
Mountain Buzzard 248
White-faced Scops-owl 291
Giant Eagle-owl 301
Madagascar Kestrel 317
Lesser Spotted Eagle 341
Short-toed Snake-eagle 348
Forest Buzzard 419
Egyptian Vulture 480
African Barred Owlet 482
Red-necked Falcon 485
Crowned Eagle 493
Little Sparrowhawk 511
Red-necked Buzzard 523
African Marsh Harrier 529
Steppe Eagle 538
Fox Kestrel 610
Peregrine Falcon 650
African Swallow-tailed Kite 677
Pallid Harrier 721
African Hobby 722
Booted Eagle 739
Cape Vulture 742
African Wood Owl 779
Grey Kestrel 813
African Scops-owl 813
Black Sparrowhawk 821
White-headed Vulture 892
Pygmy Falcon 898
Palm-nut Vulture 990
African Goshawk 1033
Pearl-spotted Owlet 1079
Barn Owl 1101
African Hawk-eagle 1130
Osprey 1161
Spotted Eagle-owl 1194
Montagu’s Harrier 1199
Eastern Pale Chanting-goshawk 1221
Common Kestrel 1227
Secretarybird 1259
Verreaux’s Eagle 1279
Rueppell’s Vulture 1307
Shikra 1319
Black-breasted Snake-eagle 1605
Gabar Goshawk 1613
Martial Eagle 1659
Lizard Buzzard 1769
Rock Kestrel 1811
Long-crested Eagle 1947
Dark Chanting-goshawk 1993
Lappet-faced Vulture 1995
African Harrier-hawk 2137
Black Kite 2157
Western Marsh Harrier 2223
Grasshopper Buzzard 2322
Lanner Falcon 2361
Brown Snake-eagle 2404
Augur Buzzard 2449
Lesser Kestrel 2897
Wahlberg’s Eagle 2926
Greater Kestrel 3800
Tawny Eagle 3995
Amur Falcon 4232
Jackal Buzzard 4250
Steppe Buzzard 5259
African Fish-eagle 5318
Yellow-billed Kite 6363
Black or Yellow-billed Kite 6968
Bateleur 7145
Hooded Vulture 7355
Pale Chanting-goshawk 8169
White-backed Vulture 11602
Black-shouldered Kite 11766


The map below shows record count by country with under reported countries shown in yellow.

Happy raptor logging!

All the best

Lou and ARDB Team



Sep 152017

  • 1,170 records received in August
  • Highlights include records from Ara Monadjem for Mozambique, Western Kenya data from Washington Wachira, and Spanish data! from Jose Tavares
  • Total records end of August 2017 at 174,031

Records this month continued to be steady from regular contributors. Dirk Heinrich provided a good proportion of all records (108 records) with his incidental observations from north Namibia and the Caprivi Strip. A highlight from the Europe records this month was an incidental sighting of a Short-toed Snake Eagle in the dry coastal region of southern Portugal by Jose Tavares. This observation got me wondering whether these birds are residents in Portugal or migrate south to Africa for the winter; whilst on a trip during December in the same region of Portugal a few years ago, I remember being astonished by the sight of a buzzard-like bird hanging in the sky with a snake dangling from its talons. The photo of a Short-toed Snake Eagle below was beautifully captured by Rob Davies on its way back from Africa in southern Spain (Tarifa) Spring 2011.

It is great to see records flowing in from our best raptor recording areas such as The Gambia (Clive Barlow and colleagues), western Kenya (Washington Wachira and friends), Namibia and South Africa (from all our stalwarts)

Records from Mozambique are precious and this month Ara Monadjem has supplied 77 new records.

Ara is a professor at the University of Swaziland whose main research interests are centered on the ecology and conservation of vertebrates, in particular birds and mammals. He is currently working on the conservation status and nesting distribution of birds of prey in Swaziland in fact he is the guru of raptors in this part of the world!  He is a widely acclaimed biologist with great specialist knowledge on bats as well as birds of prey.  Ara is a regular supporter of the ARDB and, with others, has played a prominent role in facilitating the mobilisation of satellite tracking data on vultures into the database.  We are lucky to have such talent working for Africa’s raptors.

Happy raptor recording everyone!

Very best wishes

Lou and ARDB Team

Aug 292017

In February 2017 habitat INFO produced 64 maps on the distribution of African vultures, their movements (by satellite tracking), their habitat strongholds, and the most serious threats to their effective conservation.  This has been a massive collaboration of many vulture biologists and conservation agencies orchestrated by Alterra Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands, and funded by a variety of agencies, principally the Dutch Government.  Ralph Buij, Corinne Kendall and Ara Monadjem helped habitat INFO collate all the data which included 6 million kilometers travelled by African vultures with satellite tracking!  Lutfor Rahman and Lou Luddington processed the data in the office and from all the new data sources we have updated the rangemaps of each species and analysed their distributions indicated by ARDB data and habitat models.  We have overlayed these to derive the most important remaining habitat strongholds for vultures in Africa.  Threats to these vultures are acute, principally from poisoning whether it be by poachers, traditional medicine dealers or subsistence farmers trying to kill predators of livestock.  The maps are being used in the multi-species action plan for African and Eurasian vultures currently being compiled by CMS Raptors MoU.  They will be made public in the near future..

Aug 292017


This week we have another rescued bird under observation in the Hawk Hotel at HabitatInfo. Found at night on the side of the road by Ffion, local skipper of Falcon Boats she took it home for a few nights before checking it in with us. Since then owl has been eating the day-old chicks on offer and is doing fine. We plan to release her back to the wild very soon.

Aug 092017

  • 4,145 records received in July
  • Highlights include more than 1,800 spreadsheet observations from Ronelle Visagie & Bram Piot
  • Total records now at 172,966

 This month we received two large contributions to the data bank via spreadsheet that swelled the observation tally; Ronelle Visagie provided 1,084 road survey observations from South Africa and Bram Piot sent us 803 incidental observations from Cameroon, Niger, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, Liberia, Guinea and Senegal. Regular contributor Andre Botha contributed 527 observations from a road survey along the M9 from Mongu to Lusaka in Zambia, a distance of more than 600 km. Hartmut Kolb also provided great coverage for the Etosha area and beyond in Namibia and Karin Nelson contributed 133 observations from KwaZulu Natal and the high velt regions of South Africa. It’s always great to receive observations from the Peregrine Fund team on the fabulous island of Madagascar where they observe species seen nowhere else in the world; this month they supplied observations from various road surveys.
Pictured this month is an Osprey, photo by Mark Schwall as reported by Bram Piot from various coastal areas of Senegal.
Clive Barlow asked us to tally up the number of Hooded Vulture sightings by country.  Top countries for this species emerge as Ethiopia, The Gambia, Senegal, Cameroon, South Africa and here is a graphic.  Of course these numbers are influenced by observer effort and the area of the countries. From Clive: Graham Greene apparently described the wet Hooded vultures he saw in Senegal as broken umbrellas. Great description.
We hope to show you more vulture results in the near future when the work for the MSAP becomes publicly available.
Keep up the great recording everyone!
Thank you and best wishes
The ARDB Team
Aug 082017

The HabitatInfo/ARDB office is located a few minutes walk from the glorious Pembrokeshire coast and the sea has been very inviting of-late with lots of jellyfish to marvel at. This beautiful Compass jellyfish was among them, photo taken by Lou Luddington.  

Jul 192017
  • 1,048 records received in June
  • Highlights include 175 observations (17 % of all records) from Erik Brohaugh in The Gambia
  • Total records now at 168,821
Records this month showed a steady flow from our regular contributors in Senegambia, Europe, Kenya, South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. Erik and Asaph Brohaugh made a significant contribution with 175 records from The Gambia.  Last month we featured Clive Barlow as a contributor to ARDB and behind the scenes, Clive has played a major role as coordinator for the ARDB in Sennegambia by bringing in new data and by recruiting new observers like Erik.  Erik is a Minnesotan (from the northern part of the US) who has been working in The Gambia as a volunteer for the past 12 years.  In his words, “My focus areas are mainly environmental – trees, agriculture, erosion control, and low impact building methods. For years I have been doing informal HV counts for my friend Clive Barlow, but it’s only in the past year that I’ve really gotten hooked on raptors, especially vultures. This is due to both Clive and my nine year old son, Asaph, who is a more competent birder than myself! It has also helped that he and I happened on some large populations of Gyps at the beginning of this year. Through observing roosting vulture populations, I’ve also become even more aware how desperate the tree situation is here and am all the more committed to working towards positive change in that area.







This week we are delighted to host Munir Virani and his family Zahra, Kaisaan and Zayan visiting us from Kenya. Blessed with good weather, Rob has been showing them the sights of Pembrokeshire including some puffins on Skomer.

From Munir: “It has been a tremendous trip to see the central hub of Habitat Info in the heart of Wales. Rob is an amazing host and we were very well looked after. I am really glad to see how the ARDB has evolved from a central idea six years ago. From the launch in 2012 in Arusha, the ARDB has certainly come a long way and beyond everyone’s expectations. One of the highlights of this trip has been putting together a strategy with Habitat Info for ARDB to go global. This is an ambitious project and vision but we have to think big and having a Global Raptor Data Bank will help raptor biologists worldwide to identify areas of high raptor conservation value and add to conservation efforts in those areas. Also, it has been fantastic to see the ARDB database from Kenya’s contribution grow from strength to strength with inputs from Martin Odino and Washington Wachira. With an alliance of raptor people across Africa, we are confident that we can continue to invest in tomorrow’s raptor biologists from African countries to champion raptor conservation over the coming decades as Africa’s landscape changes”

We have had some great contributions from Kenya this month:

a beautiful Ayre’s Hawk Eagle as reported this month by Washington Washira near Naivasha in Kenya (photo: Jean-Marc Rabby)

Aigle d’Ayres. Famille des Accipitridés. Ordre : Accipitriformes

Keep up the good work everyone!

Thank you and best wishes,

ARDB team

Jul 042017

Over the last 5 weeks or so we've been providing refuge and rehab to a rook that arrived in the courtyard with a broken leg. Local vet Tom Bailey came to take a look and used a finger splint to immobilize the leg. After two weeks of confinement to heal we carefully removed the splint and gave Charlie the rook (named by Rob's son Laurie) the run of the aviary. This week Charlie has begun to use his foot again and will soon be able to return to his fellow rooks in the surrounding woodland canopy. 

ARDB update: May 2017

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Jun 192017


  • 3,042 records received during May
  • Notable observations from Saudi Arabia
  • Total records in ARDB now 168,030

May proved to be an active month for contributors with double the number of observations for last month. Notable records came in from Brian Waswala for Saudi Arabia, not a country we often receive records from, of two unidentified owls via the android app.

Our regular contributor from Senegambia, Clive Barlow (pictured left) has been resident in The Gambia since 1984. He co-authored the Field Guide to Birds of the Gambia & Senegal and has published many articles, short papers and reports about Gambian ornithology. Now mostly involved in single species research e.g Nightingale and European song bird studies, vulture and raptor populations and gull migrations. Clive also organises and leads a variety of short tours for birders, photographers, sound recordists and film makers. He collaborates with the Department of Wildlife and Parks Management as well as universities, zoological institutions and private individuals. Our raptor image this month is of a Pearl-spotted Owlet and was taken by Casper Badenhorst; this species was observed and trapped for ringing by Sandra Dantu near Wiese, south of Windhoek in Central Namibia. 

Thank you & best wishes,


ARDB update: April 2017

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Jun 122017


  • 1,562 records received during April
  • Significant data from Madagascar
  • Total records in ARDB now 164,988

Observers continued to be busy during April sending in a total of 1562 records to the data bank, raising the ARDB tally from 163,130 to 164,988 observations; almost 165,000 observations now that’s a milestone to celebrate! The database has enjoyed a 20% increase in data since April last year and observations submitted during April this year were more than double the number for April last year. Raptor ambassadors give yourselves a high five!

Road surveys throughout Madagascar were carried out by Marius Rakotondratsima, Lilyarison Rene de Roland, Tolojanahary Andriamalala, Donatien, Josoa, Pruvot, Loukman, Rado and Delphin of The Peregrine Fund and the data submitted via the Android App. A wide range of species were recorded including the Madagascar Buzzard, Madagascar Hawk-owl, Madagascar Harrier-hawk and Madagascar Kestrel (pictured left) as well as  Peregrine, Sooty and Eleonora’s Falcons and Golden Eagle and Frances’s Sparrowhawk.

Dr Lily-Arison Rene de Roland (pictured left) is National Director for The Peregrine Funds Madagascar Project with a successful academic career. Back in 1992 he was the first Malagasy student to begin his DEA (Masters of Science equivalent degree) with the Peregrine Fund on “Raptor surveys on the Masoala Peninsula of north-eastern Madagascar”. Then in 2000 he obtained his doctorate (PhD) on “Ecology of three Accipiter species on Masoala Peninsula of north-eastern Madagascar” and in 2010 completed his post-doctorate on “Raptors and birds as conservation tools in Madagascar”. He has authored or co-authored over 20 publications on Malagasy fauna.

Lily’s main interests are in the biological and ecological study of birds, corridor study and working with local communities for habitat management and conservation.

Claire Kolberg and Holger Kolberg continued to submit observations of raptors throughout Namibia; this month included records of various species from the Otjozondjupa Region, west of Otjiwarongo City in the north and from a large area along the B1 in the south. Among the species observed was the White-backed Vulture, this was one of six African vulture species whose IUCN Red List statuses were up-listed by Bird Life in October 2015 as a result of range map work referencing  ARDB data.

Thank you and best wishes



Jun 122017

We recently installed a bird feeding station at ARDB HQ and have attracted some great bird life! Goldfinch (second image) have been enjoying the sunflower hearts, whilst Great spotted woodpeckers prefer the peanuts – both images show male birds identified by the red patch on the back of the head, females lack the red patch. Other visitors include members of the local Jackdaw and Rook crew, Blue tit, Great tit, Dunnock, House sparrow and others. Its been a wonderful addition to our wildlife gardening efforts in grounds of the office and no doubt will soon attract the attention of the local Sparrowhawks! 

May 292017

Last weekend ARDB team member Lou Luddington kayaked over to Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire and had a blissful afternoon enjoying the island wildlife. Wonderful sightings were had of some of the 25,000 Atlantic puffins that visit the island to breed at this time of year and the island was swathed in wildflowers. But most memorable from the day was a Short-eared Owl hunting for Skomer voles along North Valley. It was quite unconcerned by all the human visitors very close by and dropped to the ground several times in attempt to catch a meal. No photos were taken at the time so here is a painting of a Short-eared Owl hunting at the Dowrog Common, Pembrokeshire by our very own Rob Davies.

May 222017

We put up a nest box at habitat INFO and invited the local barn owls and a pair of tawnies took up residence. Every night we’ve been listening to their calls and last week this little baby owl peeked its head out to take a look at the world.

May 162017

New A1 poster of African vulture strongholds available

Download for your own printing
Download for professional printing (includes crop marks)

citation: Buij, R., Davies, R., Kendall, C., Monadjem, A., with Rahman, L. & Luddington, L. In Prep. Vulture strongholds and key threats: a mapping exercise to guide vulture conservation in Africa.

mapping methodology

coordination: Ralph Buij (Wageningen University & Research), Corinne Kendall (North Carolina Zoo), Ara Monadjem (University of Swaziland).
data collation: Lutfor Rahman & Lou Luddington (Habitat Info).
analysis & map production: Rob Davies (Habitat Info).
finance: The vulture surveys, data gathering and habitat and threat modeling were funded by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, WWF-Netherlands, UNEP-CMS Raptors MoU, North Carolina Zoo, Quagga Foundation, Stichting Vogelpark Avifauna, Stichting Koninklijke Rotterdamse Diergaarde, Detroit Zoological Society, and Stichting Wildlife. We greatly acknowledge their financial support.
data contributors: African Raptor Databank (ARDB) observers, Keith Bildstein, Claire Bracebridge, Evan Buechley, Andre Botha, Ralph Buij, Mike Cadman, Maria Diekmann, Nina Farwig, Toby Galligan, Beckie Garbett, Roi Harel, Ohad Hatzofe, Constant Hoogstad, Gregory Kaltenecker, Adam Kane, Chris Kelly, Corinne Kendall, Glyn Maude, John Mendelsohn, Mike McGrady, Ara Monadjem, Campbell Murn, Ran Nathan, Stoyan Nikolov, Darcy Ogada, Steffen Oppel, Louis Phipps, Sascha Rösner, Lizanne Roxburgh, Andrea Santangeli, Dana Schabo, Orr Spiegel, Munir Virani, and Kerri Wolter (Vulpro); and by the following organisations: IUCN SSC AFRICAN ELEPHANT SPECIALIST GROUP (African Elephant Database), AFRICAN RAPTOR DATABANK, BIRDLIFE INTERNATIONAL & NATURESERVE, BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY, CITES (Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants Database), ENDANGERED WILDLIFE TRUST, HAWK CONSERVANCY TRUST, HAWK MOUNTAIN SANCTUARY, IUCN, MOVEBANK, NORTH CAROLINA ZOO, RAPTORS BOTSWANA, RARE AND ENDANGERED SPECIES TRUST, ROYAL SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF BIRDS, THE PEREGRINE FUND, UNIVERSITY OF UTAH, VULPRO, WILDLIFE ACT, WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY.

range maps
Range maps for 10 African vulture species, provided and updated by the African Raptor Databank for this project.
map R1: Bearded Vulture  SMALL_jpeg   LARGE_pdf
map R2: White-backed Vulture SMALL_jpeg   LARGE_pdf
map R3: Rueppell’s Vulture SMALL_jpeg   LARGE_pdf
map R4: Cape Vulture SMALL_jpeg   LARGE_pdf
map R5: Griffon Vulture SMALL_jpeg   LARGE_pdf
map R6: White-headed Vulture SMALL_jpeg   LARGE_pdf
map R7: Lappet-faced Vulture SMALL_jpeg   LARGE_pdf
map R8: Cinereous Vulture SMALL_jpeg   LARGE_pdf
map R9: Hooded Vulture SMALL_jpeg   LARGE_pdf
map R10: Egyptian Vulture SMALL_jpeg   LARGE_pdf
map R11: African vulture species richness from rangemap overlays SMALL_jpeg   LARGE_pdf

movement analysis maps
A selection of nine maps depicting tracking data and movement areas for vultures across Africa. In total 228 birds tracked.
map M1: movement data for all tracked vultures SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf
map M2: movement data: White-backed Vulture SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf
map M3: movement data: Rueppell’s Vulture SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf
map M4: movement data: Cape Vulture SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf
map M5: movement data: Griffon Vulture SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf
map M6: movement data: White-headed Vulture SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf
map M7: movement data: Lappet-faced Vulture SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf
map M9: movement data: Hooded Vulture SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf
map M10: movement data: Egyptian Vulture SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf

habitat stronghold analysis maps
A selection of nine maps which represent important habitat and movement areas for vultures across Africa.
map S1: current strongholds from habitat models SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf
map S2: current strongholds from observation data SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf
map S3: current strongholds from all lines of evidence SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf
map S4: loss of suitable habitat SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf
map S5: overview of strongholds East Africa SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf
map S6: overview of strongholds West Africa SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf
map S7: overview of strongholds southern Africa SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf
map S8: overview of strongholds Africa SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf
map S9: African vulture coincidence of occurrence from habitat models SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf

threat analysis maps
A selection of thirteen maps which represent known threats to vultures across Africa.
map T1: threat map: exposure to people SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf
map T2: threat map: expected development SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf
map T3: threat map: electrocution SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf
map T4: threat map: wind turbine collision risk SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf
map T5: threat map: potential future hazards SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf
map T6: threat map: traditional medecine market demand SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf
map T7: threat map: unintentional poisoning SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf
map T8: threat map: intentional poisoning SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf
map T9: combined poisoning threat map SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf
map T10: density of poisoning incidents SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf
map T11: poisoning likelihood SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf
map T12: poisoning incidence over time SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf
map T13: poisoning mortalities over time SMALL_jpeg LARGE_pdf

Apr 182017


  • Contributions to the ARDB were less for March but still steady with 1496 records added raising the data bank tally from 161,634 to 163,130 observations.

Stratton Hatfield and Shiv Kapila along with Jai Kapila provided 40 % of this month’s observations (602) from road surveys in the Kenyan Masai Mara and southern region of Kenya. Andre Botha continued to provide good numbers of observations from road surveys in South Africa and Erik Brohaugh added Hooded Vulture records to the data bank from road survey observations in Senegambia. Our raptor image this month shows a Gabar Goshawk taken by Rob Davies in the Kalahari some time ago; Dirk Heinrich observed a Gabar Goshawk gliding and flapping in Namibia this month and recorded it as an incidental observation using the Android app.

A single observation from Chad was provided by Claire Spottiswoode of a Black or Yellow-billed Kite and incidental observations of various species including Fox Kestrel and Greyish Eagle Owl were added to the data bank for Nigeria by Ara Monadjem.

Director of the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) Jose Tavares (pictured left) provided further records outside of Africa this month including the first record for the ARDB of Cinereous Vultures which were observed in France and Spain. Jose also logged incidental observations of various species on a visit to Mozambique that included Booted Eagle and Black-shouldered Kite.

José Pedro Tavares, a Portuguese national, is a biologist with a life-long vocation and action in the field of nature conservation. Since February 2013, José has built VCF from scratch and aims to develop a sustainable, effective, leading organization that secures the protection of vultures and their habitats. This work involves not only on-the ground conservation projects and activities on vultures, but also, crucially, organizational development and management.

Keep up the good work everyone!

Thank you and best wishes,

ARDB team

Mar 192017


  • 2,833 records received during February
  • Historic records of Egyptian Vulture sightings added
  • Total records in ARDB now 161,634 

Contribution to the ARDB continued at a steady rate through February with 2833 records added raising the data bank tally from 158,801 to 161,634 observations. 

Ronelle Visagie topped the records table this month with 712 observations from road counts of the Karoo/Northern Cape. Evan Beuchley and team also provided a good proportion of records for the month from road surveys in Ethiopia; many of these observations were of vulture species.  Records continued to come in for Senegambia as a result of surveys organised around the 14th PAOC in Senegal, also from Evan Beuchley and team, as well as Jose Tavares, Gary Elton, Erik Brohaugh and Oliver Fox.  Valuable historic records of Egyptian Vulture sightings were provided by Pete Hancock of Raptors Botswana and added to the database by ARDB staff. Kevin Shaw and Bernard Antje both provided records for the Western Cape area whilst good coverage of the Plettenberg Bay area of South Africa was received from Mark Brown and Bruce Wardsmith. In addition to observations provided by his forays out of the High velt, Andre Botha put the ARDB app to good use on his travels to United Arab Emirates and Spain this month. Highlighting that not all ARDB records need come from Africa, this month we had a record of a Eurasian Sparrowhawk from Spain submitted by Jose Tavares. This photo of a migrating Eurasian Sparrowhawk returning from Africa to Spain in spring was taken by Rob Davies.

Much of the vulture hotspot mapping by Habitat Info contracted by Ralph’s group, Wageningen University & Research, was finished during February in time to be used to inform the Multi-species Action Plan to Conserve African-Eurasian Vultures (Vulture MsAP), led by the Coordinating Unit of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) Raptors MoU.  The project has been a wonderful application of the ARDB and has contributed data especially for gap areas, and some funds for data mobilisation.  For this urgent effort to address the plight of plummeting vulture populations, we have been improving the vulture distribution models and rangemaps to identify habitat strongholds or areas of species overlap where conservationists can really focus their efforts.  We have also been developing conservation threat maps to identify where vultures are at most risk across the continent from poisoning, poaching and trade in body parts.  A very important contribution, coordinated by Corinne Kendall and Ara Monadjem, has been the collation and analysis of remote tracking data.  Researchers working throughout Africa have provided the ARDB with satellite tag data from 228 birds of eight African vulture species representing > 6 million kilometres travelled by vultures!  We have been exceptionally lucky to be able to call on the tracking analysis skills of Dr Lutfor Rahman for this work. 

Lutfor is a biologist working locally who has helped Andrew Dixon analyse tracking data for Peregrine Falcons and by happy coincidence was available in West Wales at this important time to help us.  It is a daunting task, cleaning and processing all these tracklogs in the GIS, but Lutfor has handled it incredibly well for us and we managed to do some interesting traffic density maps for vulture airlines!  As a result of all this the ARDB has provided an important platform for a comprehensive picture of the most important areas in Africa for these highly threatened birds.  All of your vulture sightings you have sent in have found an important use already.  The results will be made public in future editions of ARDB updates.

Thank you and best wishes,

 ARDB team

Feb 052017

  • The ARDB got off to an amazing start in 2017 with 6050 records added in January raising the data bank tally from 152,739 to 158,801 observations

We have a new helper at the ARDB, Dr Lou Luddington who is able to come in and help with ARDB data and newsletters on Monday mornings. Lou is a marine biologist and obtained her PhD at Bangor University, North Wales with a study on the symbiosis of zooxanthellae living inside sea anenomes! Slightly different from African raptors but Lou is fascinated by all wildlife and has been a great help geo-referencing the poisonings database and traditional medicine markets in Africa for the vulture mapping project with Ralph and team.

She lives nearby here in Solva so it is a happy coincidence that she is available to help us load your data and get news out to you more regularly. Lou spends a lot of time in a kayak watching and studying local wildlife and writes regularly for ‘Ocean Paddler’ magazine. We are very fortunate to have somebody of her expertise and enthusiasm on board and she has already led to some improvements to our handling of data through the proforma spreadsheet. Lou has assembled the rest of this update.
There were several highlights to the data this month with observations coming in from far and wide. Dominating the observation table were Alazar Daka and Evan Buechley with a combined total of 3510 records from Ethiopia and Somaliland– more than half of this months’ total records. These are our first recent records for Somaliland!
Further records came in for Senegambia via Erik Brohaugh as a result of surveys organised around the 14th PAOC in Senegal, whilst the Android app was put to good use by The Peregrine Fund observers in Madagascar. Observers from South Africa including Andre Botha, Trevor Hardaker and Karin Nelson continued to provide valuable data for the area and Claire Spottiswoode used the iOS app to submit 50 observations for the Niassa area of Mozambique. Claire also shared the following fantastic photo of a Taita Falcon seen there which is possibly good habitat. Photo credit: Claire Spottiswoode.

Both historical and current vulture observations have been requested by ARDB in recent months. In response we have received 2418 vulture observations this month (40 % of total observations for January) from various countries including 105 Hooded Vultures spotted by Clive Barlow; other vulture data for Sudan were extracted from Ivaylo Angelov and Ibrahim Hashim’s report “Birds of prey observed during vulture survey in North-east Sudan” and added to the databank by Dr Lou Luddington of ARDB.  With the help of Huyam Altayeb studying for her Masters in Conservation Biology at the FitzPatrick Institute we also managed to make contact with Abubakr Mohammad in January who has been doing surveys of Sudan fauna over the last couple of years.  Abubakr is sending us sightings information for six species of vulture in Sudan and also shared with us these fantastic photos of Sudanese vultures.

In an urgent effort to address the plight of plummeting vulture populations, Habitat Info has been working on habitat suitability prediction modelling for multi-species conservation of vultures in Africa. Researchers working throughout Africa have provided the ARDB with satellite tag data from 228 birds of eight African vulture species to make this possible. Analysed together with ARDB data we have been able to build a picture of stronghold habitats for vultures in Africa and also possible movement corridors in between these. Added to this were threats data from poisoning, poaching and trade in body parts so that a multi-layered model could be produced which will enable targeted conservation actions plans to be formulated for these imperiled species.


We have a couple of new tools for you:


Though a large percentage of the data submitted to the data bank now arrives via the mobile apps we do still receive data via spreadsheet entries. This data can now be added directly to the databank by observers using the Spreadsheet Sync Tool v3.0 (ARDB). The following link will take you directly to the map interface http://www.fluidfacades.com/jvex3/spreadsheet_sync_v3_1.html. By following the steps in our User Manual you can simply drag and drop your spreadsheet on to the map.

http://www.habitatinfo.com/ardb/User_manual _spreadsheet_sync_tool.pdf


Thank you and best wishes,

Lou and ARDB team

Jan 102017


  • 1,394 records were added in December taking the data bank tally from 151,329 to 152,723 observations.

Click on the image for a high resolution map:

We thought you might like to see some of the characters involved with the ARDB project; one who works tirelessly ‘behind the scenes’ to keep the technologies operational is Andrew Rayner (image 1) our developer who is from South Africa but now lives near Habitat Info in Cardiff. As you can see, Andrew likes working with phones and is the creator of the amazing African Raptor Observations App.  Andrew studied computer science in Pretoria and has an amazing ability to keep quite complex functionality simple and usable.  He has a very clear vision of the software and shares with our project his ‘Can Do’ approach to everything!

Highlights from this months included 51 observations in Rwanda from Washington Wachira – (image 2)these are a significant contribution as we only have 14 other records from this country in the data bank. Washington is a Nat Geo Society’s Young Explorer Grantee and has been selected to speak and perform at TED Global in Arusha, Tanzania in August “Places birds take me at times- Thank you God”.Washington Wachira, sends us loads of sightings from East Africa, via the app.

One remarkable record came in from Bruce Wardsmith during December of a Red-necked Buzzard perching in a tree at Stilbaai, southern Cape, South Africa. We are getting a few of these unusual sightings of Red-necked Buzzards well outside their known range.  Image 3 shows the bird photographed by Etienne Marais in Caprivi Strip. As shown in the Red-necked Buzzard range map below, data bank records for this species show its range to be much further north but with rare outlying records in red crosses from western Zambia, the Caprivi Strip and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park region of South Africa. The very similar Jackal Buzzards (orange dots) and Augur buzzards (white dots) are shown on the same map.  It is interesting that the unusual Red-necked Buzzard sightings are appearing largely in between the respective ranges of these two more mountainous species.

We have had some great contributions this month from Ralph Buij (previous Tanzania field trip), Kevin Shaw with records from Cape Town and the Garden Route and records from regular contributor Andre Botha. Also noteworthy observations from the trans-Kalahari highway by Holger and Claire Kolberg. Many thanks to all contributors for this month and please keep sending us records through 2017.

We will also be posting an annual report for 2016 soon.

Thank you and best wishes,

ARDB team