Lesser Whitethroat Curruca curruca


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 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.

Population justification
In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 4,800,000-7,990,000 pairs, which equates to 9,600,000-16,000,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.45% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 21,300,000-35,500,000 mature individuals, placed here in the range of 21,000,000-35,999,999 mature individuals; although further validation of this estimate is needed.

Trend justification
In Europe the overall trend from 1980-2013 was stable (EBCC 2015).


This species breeds in open country or near forests in a wide range of habitats rich in dense cover and lower-level foliage, such as shrubland, hedgerows and plantations with small trees. It is also found in gardens, parks, cemeteries, orchards, young conifer plantations and forest edges. Breeding occurs from late April to early August and normally three to seven eggs are laid. The nest is a deep cup of grass made of rootlets and small twigs, moss and spider webs and cocoons and usually lined with hair. It is placed in a thorny bush or shrub, or in small tree and occasionally in herbal vegetation. The diet is made up of mostly insects in the breeding season and fruits at other times of the year, although it is generally considered less frugivorous than many congeners. The species is a long-distance migrant (Aymí and Gargallo 2015).


The intensification of modern agricultural techniques has driven habitat loss and declines in this species in western Europe (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997).

Conservation actions

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 maintenance and promotion of low-intensity, traditional farming techniques within Europe.


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Symes, A. & Ashpole, J

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Curruca curruca. Downloaded from on 25/09/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/09/2023.