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). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to 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 15,200,000-24,000,000 pairs, which equates to 30,300,000-48,000,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.25% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 121,200,000-192,000,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.
In Europe, trends between 1980 and 2013 show that populations have undergone a moderate decline (EBCC 2015).
This species breeds in birch (Betula) and conifer woodland and also in mixed deciduous and conifer woods. Along the northern edge of the tundra it occurs in dwarf birch and willow (Salix) scrub and farther south in riverine alder (Alnus). During the non-breeding season it is found mainly in areas of deciduous trees, including woods, forests and small copses and shelter-belts, especially those containing beech (Fagus) or hornbeam (Carpinus), along edges of open agricultural fields, as well as in weedy and stubble fields and orchards. It breeds from May to early August and is monogamous. The nest is built above ground in a fork or against the trunk of a tree, or exceptionally low down in scrub or on the ground. It is a large, loose cup of grass, heather, birch or juniper bark strips, moss, lichens, plant down, animal hair or fur, feathers and cobwebs, sometimes with pieces of string or paper added. Normally lays five to seven eggs (Clement and Arkhipov 2016). It feeds on seeds and berries and in the summer on invertebrates as well. In its winter quarters it specialises in beechnuts (Snow and Perrins 1998). The species is migratory, although a small number in Scandinavia are resident (Clement and Arkhipov 2016).
Birds in subalpine Fennoscandia vary annually, apparently alongside the abundance of caterpillars of autumnal moth (Epirrita autumnata) and winter moth (Operophtera brumata). In the southern Urals and southern Siberia, years with high breeding numbers are generally followed by years of complete absence (Clement and Arkhipov 2016).
Conservation Actions Underway
There are currently no known specific conservation measures for this species within Europe.
Conservation Actions Proposed
Research to identify the causes of population declines and appropriate conservation measures.
Text account compilers
Ashpole, J, Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J.
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Fringilla montifringilla. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/03/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/03/2023.