Abd al Kuri Sparrow Passer hemileucus


Justification of Red List Category
This species is classified as Vulnerable as it is estimated to have a small population which is known from very few locations. If its population is judged to be smaller or confirmed to be declining the species may be uplisted in the future.

Population justification
The population has been estimated at fewer than 1,000 individuals (Ryan et al. 2009). The number of pairs is estimated to be c.400 equivalent to c.800 mature individuals (R. Porter in litt. 2016).

Trend justification
The population was suspected to be stable in the absence of any identified threats (R. Porter in litt. 2010). However it is known to experience declines after cyclones and to be subject to hunting for food. Thus overall the species may be declining (A. Saeed Suleiman in litt. 2016). Further information is required to ascertain the population trend.

Distribution and population

This species is found on the island of Abd al Kuri, Socotra Archipelago, Yemen (Kirwan 2008). Birds were found to be fairly common in the main settlement; however, most of the island lacks suitable habitat and the population has been estimated at fewer than 1,000 individuals (Ryan et al. 2009). The number of pairs is estimated to be c.400 equivalent to c.800 mature individuals (R. Porter in litt. 2016).


A flock of roughly 100 birds was sighted scavenging amongst refuse. Individuals are thought to roost in vegetation in the foothills of limestone mountains (Ryan et al. 2009). Its diet is thought to include the seeds of grasses and small plants, and water is obtained almost totally from its diet (del Hoyo et al. 2009). Birds occur mainly in and around the villages (A. Saeed Suleiman in litt. 2016).


The species is subject to minor threats, namely children hunting the species for food and natural disasters such as cyclones (A. Saeed Suleiman in litt. 2016).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
No targeted conservation actions are known for this species.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Assess the population size and establish a monitoring programme to establish trends. Study the ecology of the species. Identify and assess threats.


13-14 cm. Male is chestnut with grey upperparts, streaked on back, chestnut supercilium curving down behind ear-coverts, and blackish stripe curving around rear of ear-coverts. Upperwing is blackish to dark brown, feathers edged buffish to warm brown, lesser coverts chestnut, grey tips on median coverts, narrow buff tips on greater coverts, and small pale patch at base of primaries. Female is slightly smaller, with pale brown or warm buff colouring replacing chestnut colouring on the male. Similar spp. P. insularis has darker underparts and is slightly larger. See Kirwan (2008) for full description. Voice. Dry chirping calls, cheep, chee-sheep, chip and jup.


Text account compilers
Calvert, R., Taylor, J., Ashpole, J

Porter, R., Saeed Suleiman, A., Jennings, M.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Passer hemileucus. Downloaded from on 24/10/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/10/2021.