Research, Species protection and development

Zambia has an estimated 775 bird species (30% of total bird species in Africa) species of birds as of January 2019; this is a comparatively rich measure of avifauna for a landlocked country dominated by a single biome. Leonard, 2013; documents proof that at least 470, of the 775 bird species, breed in Zambia. In addition to that, well over 600 of the species are resident or Afrotropical migrants. Furthermore, about 100 are non-breeding migrants or vagrants from the Palearctic region and the remainder comprise non-breeding Afrotropical migrants and Vagrants.

Rare Species and species of global conservation concern occurring in Zambia

17 of Zambia’s 760 species are listed as either endangered, vulnerable or near threatened on the IUCN redlist as of 2014, which is indicates an increase from 13 in 2010. The table below outlines the status of the 17 species of global conservation concern in Zambia.

Status and Distribution of species of global conservation concern in Zambia; adapted from IUCN redlist, 2015

Common Name Scientific Name Status (IUCN) Distribution Population Trend (IUCN)
Grey-crowned Crane Balearica regulorum Endangered South-central Africa Decreasing
Ruppell’s Vulture Gyps rueppeli Endangered Central and north Africa Decreasing
Hooded Vulture Necrosyrtes monachus Endangered Predominant within the African tropics Decreasing
White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus Endangered Predominant within the African tropics Decreasing
Zambian Barbet Lybius chaplini Vulnerable Endemic to Zambia Decreasing
Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus Vulnerable Endemic to south-central Africa Decreasing
Slaty Egret Egretta vinaceigula Vulnerable Endemic to south-central Africa Decreasing
Taita Falcon Falco fasciinucha Vulnerable Gorges on the African rift valley Decreasing
Black-cheeked Lovebird Agapornis nigrigenis Vulnerable Endemic to Zambia[1] Decreasing
Shoebill Balaeniceps rex Vulnerable Wetlands around and along the Africa rift valley Decreasing
Blue Swallow Hirundo atrocaerulea Vulnerable High peaks within Eastern and southern African tropics Decreasing
White-headed Vulture Trigonoceps occipitalis Vulnerable Predominant within African tropics Decreasing
Cape Vulture Gyps coprotheres Vulnerable Endemic to southern Africa Decreasing
Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotus Vulnerable Africa and the middle east Decreasing
Southern Ground Hornbill Bucorvus leadbeateri Vulnerable Zambia hosts one of the largest populations[2]
Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor Near Threatened Africa and the middle east Decreasing
Kori Bustard[3] Ardeotis kori Near Threatened Flagship species for Zambia’s southernmost grasslands Decreasing

Other than the two endemic species, have a slightly wide distribution throughout the continent but Zambia being a party to various species and habitat conservation instruments such as the CBD (convention on biological diversity), IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), AEWA (African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement), Birdlife International and several other, she is expected to abide to laws protecting species of regional and global conservation concern. Some species such as the Lesser Flamingo are Palearctic.

The species research and protection program uses Zambia’s flagship species as indicators of the health of the various ecosystems in which these birds occur. The program further ensures that appropriate measures are implemented to maintain the presence of viable populations of these species.

Current projects include;

  1. Vulture monitoring and tracking project
  2. Isdell funded Zambian Barbet monitoring project
  3. BirdFair funded Slaty Egret assessment project (Project Brief)
  4. Zambia Cranes monitoring project (ICF)

[1] Although sightings were recorded in northern Namibia in the past, the species is thought to be extinct in this area

[2] Leonard and Colebrook-Robjent, 2014

[3] This species is also the heaviest flying bird (Birdlife)