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 decreasing but it is not thought to be decreasing significantly rapidly 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 13,600,000-21,100,000 pairs, which equates to 27,200,000-42,100,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.55% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 49,000,000-77,000,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.
In Europe the overall trend from 1980-2013 showed a moderate decline (EBCC 2015).
This species breeds in boreal and temperate lowland, submontane and montane conifer forests, mainly spruce (Picea), and in fairly open mixed deciduous and conifer forests, including fir (Abies) and pine (Pinus). It also frequents a wide variety of other trees, including larch (Larix), alder (Alnus) and birch (Betula), together with non-native conifers in plantations, parks and gardens. It is found in similar habitats outside the breeding season as well as on heaths, commons, orchards, weedy thickets, parks and gardens. In the eastern Mediterranean and Middle East it occurs in casuarina (Casuarina) trees, fruit trees, plantations and edges of cultivation and in North Africa it is found in acacias (Acacia). The breeding season begins late February or March and runs until August and the timing is dependent on the cone crop. The nest is a small ball of conifer twigs, bark strips, plant fibres, roots and down, heather, grass, moss, lichens, animal hair, feathers and cobwebs and is placed against the trunk or in the outer branches of a tall tree, up to 20 m above ground. It lays three to five eggs (Clement 2016). It feeds principally on seeds, particularly of conifers, alder, birch and herbs and in the breeding season it also takes invertebrates. Northern populations are mostly migratory while some southern populations are resident (Snow and Perrins 1998).
In some areas the species fluctuates significantly due to irregular resource availability (Clement 2016).
Conservation Actions Underway
Bern Convention Appendix II.
Conservation Actions Proposed
No conservation measures are currently needed for this species.
Text account compilers
Ashpole, J, Butchart, S., Symes, A., Ekstrom, J.
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Spinus spinus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/11/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/11/2020.