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.
The global population size has not been quantified. In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 43,000-125,000 pairs, which equates to 86,000-250,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.20% of the global range so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 430,000-1,250,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any current declines or substantial threats. The European population trend is unknown (BirdLife International 2015).
During the breeding season this species occupies arid or semi-arid areas dominated by scrub and bush. It prefers treeless scrub covering valley bottoms and dry mountain slopes, and bushy tamarisk (Tamarix) formations along riverbanks. It is also found in scrub in sparsely wooded areas, and in more anthropogenic landscapes such as palm groves, gardens and orchards. In the non-breeding season it is associated with scrub and low bushy vegetation. The breeding season is from early April to July and the species is monogamous. Both sexes build the nest, which is a deep cup made of twigs, stems and grasses and lined with down and hair. It is usually sited in low grass, scrub, small bushes or young trees, from ground level to c. 70–90 cm. Normally four to six eggs are laid. It feeds mainly on small arthropods, especially insects and their larvae and eggs but outside the breeding season it also takes various berries and fruits (mostly autumn) and seeds (winter) (Aymí and Gargallo 2015). The species is migratory, wintering in north-east Africa, Arabia and southern Iran (Snow and Perrins 1998).
There are not thought to be any current significant threats to this species within Europe.
Conservation Actions Underway
CMS Appendix II. Bern Convention Appendix II. There are currently no known conservation measures for this species within Europe
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Symes, A., Ashpole, J
BirdLife International (2017) Species factsheet: Sylvia mystacea. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/10/2017. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2017) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/10/2017.