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 7,650,000-13,000,000 pairs, which equates to 15,300,000-26,100,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.40% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 38,250,000-65,250,000 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 inhabits lowland and lower montane deciduous forest and woodlands, thickets and copses, as well as heaths, hedgerows and scrubby areas, parks and the edges of cultivation, including orchards and gardens in towns and cities. It occurs mostly in conifers and mixed and broadleaf forest in Siberia and other parts of Russia. In the Caucasus it favours in pine (Pinus) and tall beech (Fagus) forest, while in northern Europe it prefers conifer forests with well-developed undergrowth of spruce (Picea), cedar (Cedrus), larch (Larix), also birch (Betula) and yew (Taxus).
The breeding season is typically from late April to mid-September. The nest is generally constructed of dry grass, plant fibres, roots, moss, lichen and leaves set on a loose base of dry twigs and placed up to five metres from the ground in thick bush, brambles and honeysuckle or on a flat low branch of a conifer. Clutches are four to six eggs. It feeds on a range of seeds, buds and shoots of various plants, as well as some invertebrates (Clement and Christie 2016). The species is sedentary to migratory, with most populations likely being partially migratory (Snow and Perrins 1998).
Since the late 1970s numbers have declined in Britain owing to changes in agricultural practice, which is thought to have adversely affected supply of weed seeds (Clement and Christie 2016). The exact mechanisms, which link land-use change and declines of the species, are poorly understood however (Siriwardena et al. 2001).
Conservation Actions Underway
In the U.K. it is a priority species under the U.K. Biodiversity Action Plan.
Conservation Actions Proposed
Further research is needed on the importance of hedgerow structure and woodland understorey vegetation on this species (Siriwardena et al. 2001).
Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Symes, A., Ashpole, J
BirdLife International (2017) Species factsheet: Pyrrhula pyrrhula. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 17/10/2017. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2017) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 17/10/2017.