Desert Finch Rhodospiza obsoleta


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 stable, 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 has not been quantified, but it is not believed to 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.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified. In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 3,000-6,000 breeding pairs, equating to 6,000-12,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015), but Europe forms <5% of the global range.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.


This species is found in lowland and submontane dry, arid and semi-arid areas of open plains, semi-deserts and wadis with sparse vegetation, low scrub, thickets and scattered trees, oases and saxual (Haloxylon) stands and plantations. It also occurs in irrigated areas and on the edges of cultivation, particularly orchards and vineyards. In central and southern Asia it occurs in orchards, large gardens, parks and roadside trees in urban areas and in centres of large cities. It breeds from late March to July. The species is monogamous and both sexes build the nest which is an untidy cup constructed mostly of twigs, plant stalks, fibres and down and occasionally also animal hair or fur and scraps of cloth. It is set in the fork of a branch in a shrub or low tree, in semi-desert areas usually tamarisk (Tamarix) or Arthrophytum, in agricultural areas often in orchard and then in Prunus, vine (Vitis) or pistachio (Pistacia) and also in eucalypt (Eucalyptus), acacia (Acacia) or pine (Pinus), poplar (Populus), elm or mulberry (Morus). Clutches are four to six eggs. The diet is mostly small seeds, buds and shoots but it also takes some insects. The species is resident and a partial migrant (Clement 2016).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
There are currently no known conservation measures for this species within Europe.

Conservation Actions Proposed
No conservation measures are currently needed for this species in Europe.


Text account compilers
Ashpole, J, Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Rhodospiza obsoleta. Downloaded from on 23/05/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/05/2022.