Justification of Red List Category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 5,760,000-10,000,000 pairs, which equates to 11,500,000-20,000,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.35% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 32,800,000-57,100,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.
In Europe the overall trend from 1982-2013 was increasing (EBCC 2015).
This species is found in sparsely vegetated rocky areas, including stony slopes with xerophytic vegetation, crags and gullies in high river valleys and rocky mountain tops up to snow-line as well as villages, towns and cities. In Carpathians, it is mainly found on mountain slopes covered with juniper (Juniperus), scree and boulders. The breeding season runs from mid-April to mid-July in western Europe but can be up to two weeks later in eastern Europe. In Morocco it breeds late April-June, April-July in Israel, May-August in India, April-July in Nepal and June-July in China. The nest is a loose cup of grass, moss, hair, wool and feathers, which is set in a crevice of a wall or rock, or in an earth bank, pile of stones or on the ground. Clutches are four to six eggs. The diet consists of invertebrates and berries. The species is resident, partially migrant, a vertical migrant and fully migrant in different parts of the range (Collar 2015). Breeding populations in Morocco, Iberia, southern/central France, Italy, the Balkans and central Turkey are generally sedentary, with mountain breeders moving to lower elevations in winter. Populations breeding in northern Europe migrate south-west towards the Balearic Islands, Spain, Morocco and Algeria. More eastern breeding populations move south-east and reach as far as Egypt. The nominate race migrates eastwards to the Zagros Mountains (Iran) and south-east to Iraq. Race phoenicuroides winters in north-east Africa and central India. Race semirufus probably moves east, south and westwards from Israel but reports are conflicting. Race rufiventris makes an altitudinal migration descends from mountains to plains in Pakistan and has been recorded on spring passage in north-east Myanmar (Collar 2015).
It is thought large scale redevelopment and regeneration of city centre sites is causing the loss of suitable breeding habitat for the species within Europe. In addition nest sites are vulnerable to accidental removal or disturbance as they also nest in railway-sidings, lorry parks and similar locations (Wildlife Trust 2015).
Conservation Actions Underway
CMS Appendix II. Bern Convention Appendix II. The species is a 'Species of Conservation Concern' in the U.K. Biodiversity Action Plan and subject to several local species action plans.
Conservation Actions Proposed
Conservation measures within Europe should aim to maintain existing breeding populations and to establish population trends and its conservation status. Public awareness of the species should also be raised (Wildlife Trust 2015).
Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Symes, A., Ashpole, J
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Phoenicurus ochruros. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/02/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/02/2023.