The White-winged Flufftail is one of our rarest birds. It occurs at opposite ends of sub-Saharan Africa, in Ethiopia and South Africa, and is on the brink of extinction. Estimates of its numbers, such as they are, suggest a global population of less than 250 birds. The greatest threat facing the White-winged Flufftail is degradation of its habitat.
As an organization BirdLife South Africa is committed to the continued effort to better understand and conserve this species. Plans are currently underway to build a captive breeding facility at Johannesburg Zoo. White-winged Flufftail eggs will be brought to the breeding facility from Ethiopia and a captive breeding population will be established on which detailed behavioural and ecological studies can be undertaken. Extensive surveys of wetlands likely to provide suitable habitat for White-winged Flufftails will be conducted, as well as genetic studies to determine the migration and population status of the species in South Africa and Ethiopia.
It is vital that these measures are undertaken to understand these elusive birds and their habitats to ensure the species’ future survival.