NT
Arabian Grosbeak Rhynchostruthus percivali



Justification

Justification of Red List Category
This species has been classified as Near Threatened owing to its moderately small and potentially declining population.

Population justification
It is generally scarce and difficult to locate even at known sites, with the exception perhaps of Yemen (R. Porter in litt. 2006).  Its population is approximately estimated to number c.3,000 pairs, i.e. c.6,000 mature individuals and c.9,000 individuals including juveniles and non-breeders.  This comprises 500 pairs in Saudi Arabia; 500 pairs in Oman, although this may be optimistic (J. Atkins in litt. 2006, R. Porter in litt. 2016), and c.2,000 pairs in Yemen (Jennings 2010).

Trend justification
R. Porter in litt. (2006) indicated that the species is possibly declining.

Distribution and population

Rhynchostruthus percivali occurs in Saudi Arabia, Oman and Yemen.  It is generally scarce and difficult to locate even at known sites (with the exception perhaps of Yemen [R. Porter in litt. 2006]), with an approximate population estimate of c.3,000 pairs (i.e. c.9,000 individuals including juveniles and non-breeders), comprising 500 pairs in Saudi Arabia, 500 pairs in Oman (although this may be optimistic [J. Atkins in litt. 2006, R. Porter in litt. 2016]), and c.2,000 pairs in Yemen (Kirwin and Grieve 2007, Jennings 2010).  There have not been any records in the region between Aden and Mukallah since 1950, despite better observer coverage, suggesting that it is very rare there or possibly that the range has contracted (M. Jennings 2010).

Ecology

It inhabits high-altitude scrub-covered rocky terrain with Euphorbia and Acacia, Juniperus woodland, and Anogeissus/Compiphora woods in Yemen, and steep-sided valleys and seaward facing slopes with luxuriant tree growth of Adansonia digitata, Comiphora habessinica and shrub euphorbias in Oman (Fry and Keith (2004).  It feeds mainly on fruit and seeds (Fry and Keith 2004).

Threats

It may be threatened by habitat degradation, due to over-grazing and clearance for agriculture.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
A conservation project which ran from 2013-2016 aimed to identify the most important sites in the High Mountains of Ibb Protected Area, Yemen (a core area for the species) and their level of threats, in order to prepare participatory management plans.  The project involved advocacy and awareness-raising activities with communities, government officials and traditional authorities.
Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey throughout its historic range to determine current range and population size.  Asses the extent and impact of habitat loss on populations.  Attempt to determine why it is more abundant in parts of its range.  If appropriate, protect habitat at important sites.

Identification

Identification.  Adult males are generally grey-brown in colour with a black bill, but they have white cheeks, a dark grey mask and bright yellow patches on the wings and tail.  Females similar to males but somewhat duller.  Juveniles streaky and lack adult head pattern.

Acknowledgements

Text account compilers
Martin, R, Wheatley, H., Mahood, S.

Contributors
Jennings, M., Atkins, J., Porter, R.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Rhynchostruthus percivali. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/08/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/08/2019.