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 9,630,000-15,000,000 pairs, which equates to 19,300,000-29,900,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.60% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 32,100,000-49,800,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.
In Europe, trends between 1980 and 2013 show that populations have undergone a moderate increase (EBCC 2015).
This species inhabits open forest and woodland, including old parkland and park-like gardens, forest clearings and margins, preferably with semi-open undergrowth or herbage. In northern Europe, it occupies subarctic mountain birch and barren pine forests and in central and southern Europe it uses broadleaf forest, as well as many intermediate habitats such as heaths and commons with scattered mature trees, pollard willows (Salix) along streams and ditches, open hilly country with old stone walls and buildings. In Russia, it generally prefers broadleaf and mixed forest, less often pinewoods. The breeding season is from the end of April to mid-July but up to two weeks earlier in southern Europe, late May-late June in northern Finland and May-July in Morocco. The nest is a cup of grass, roots and moss, lined with hair and feathers and usually set one to six metres up in a hole in a tree, wall or old stump, or in a nestbox, commonly with one side with open terrain. Clutches are five to seven eggs. The diet is made up of fruits and berries. The species is migratory (Collar and Christie 2015).
Severe declines in central Europe have been attributed to rainfall patterns in the Sahel combined with intensified modern forestry practices (reducing availability of nest holes) and interspecific nest-site competition. However the evidence for these is not strong and a partial recovery in Britain can not be explained by changes in these factors (Collar and Christie 2015). The species may be subject to habitat degradation from pollution effects on forests in this region (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997). There is also evidence that in north-west Europe the species is subject to deliberate killing (Collar and Christie 2015).
Conservation Actions Underway
CMS Appendix II. Bern Convention Appendix II. There are currently no known conservation measures for this species within Europe.
Conservation Actions Proposed
This species would benefit from the conservation of mature, fairly open deciduous and mixed forests and mature trees in secondary habitats. Locally, in suitable habitat, population numbers would benefit from the provision of nest boxes (Tucker and Heath 1994). It is recommended that both traditionally managed orchards with tall trees with cavities and areas with sparse vegetation should be preserved. For this management should preserve patches of sparse vegetation and create new patches close to potential breeding sites. These practices should be promoted though agri-environment schemes. In addition small patches of dense meadow should be mowed throughout the breeding season to maintain suitable foraging areas (Martinez et al. 2010).
Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Ashpole, J
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Phoenicurus phoenicurus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/01/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/01/2020.