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 17,700,000-24,500,000 pairs, which equates to 35,300,000-49,000,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.20% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 176,500,000-245,000,000 mature individuals, placed here in the range of 175,000,000-249,999,999 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.
The population is estimated to be in decline following regional declines in recent decades, probably owing to habitat loss and degradation (del Hoyo et al. 2004). In Europe, trends between 1982 and 2013 show that populations have undergone a steep decline (EBCC 2015). The European population decline is estimated to be less than 25% in 11.4 years (three generations) (BirdLife International 2015).
This species inhabits dry plains with sparse vegetation cover and dry cultivations. It may originally have inhabited warm semi-desert and steppe landscapes but it has also adapted to human-modified landscapes, such as open farmed countryside in the northern Mediterranean Basin and alpha (Stipa tenacissima) steppe and deserts in North Africa and the Middle East, and sandy semi-desert and dry cultivations in India, also forest clearings and savanna in the Afrotropics. The breeding season is from March to June or July in the north of its range, from April in Spain, it lays September-June in Senegambia, April-May in Mali, November-March and May in Nigeria, December-March in Ethiopia, April-May in Somalia, March in East Africa and breeding March-August in Pakistan and India. The species is monogamous and usually lays a clutch of three to five eggs. The nest is a depression on the ground with an untidy lining of grass or other vegetation either beside a shrub or in the open (de Juana and Suárez 2004). It feeds on invertebrates and plant material such as seeds and leaves. The species is mainly resident apart from in northern Russia where it is migratory (Snow and Perrins 1998), central European and Mediterranean populations make some dispersive movements (de Juana and Suárez 2004).
This species is threatened by agricultural intensification and over fertilization which results in overgrown vegetation in wastelands and road margins (de Juana and Suárez 2004). In addition the use of pesticides has also negatively affected populations (Tucker and Heath 1994). Changes in urbanization practices, such as new housing or industrial areas being rapidly forested along with afforestation schemes and possibly, climatic change are also threats (de Juana and Suárez 2004).
Conservation Actions Underway
There are currently no known conservation measures for this species within Europe.
Conservation Actions Proposed
Wide scale conservation measures are required for this species including the maintenance of traditional low-intensity farming practices. Management should include the maintenance of mosaics of non-irrigated cereal crops, including short-term set-aside lands, arable lands and wide margins between crops without any chemical treatments. In addition research should focus on the biological processes affecting the distribution and abundance of this species (Tucker and Heath 1994).
Text account compilers
Ashpole, J, Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S.
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Galerida cristata. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/10/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/10/2021.