Pale Sparrow Carpospiza brachydactyla


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 very 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 6,000-18,300 pairs, which equates to 11,900-36,500 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). However Europe forms a very small part (c.5%) of the global range, so extrapolating to the global population is inappropriate.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats. The tiny European population is estimated to be increasing (BirdLife International 2015).


This species breeds in arid regions with sparse bushy vegetation, often in sparsely grassed hilly and mountainous areas, and rocky ravines. In the north of its range, breeding occurs in July whilst in the south it breeds in March. It nests in loose colonies and the nest is an open, bulky, untidy hemisphere of thorny twigs, plant stems and grass, lined with plant down and animal hair. It is set in a bush or sometimes in a crevice in a rock or a hole in a building. Clutches are three to six eggs. This diet is mostly plant matter, mainly seeds, including cultivated cereals and the green parts of plants but is also known to take insects in the breeding season. The species is migratory, wintering mainly in western Saudi Arabia and north-east Africa (Summers-Smith and de Juana 2016).


No threats have been identified.

Conservation actions

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

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


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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Carpospiza brachydactyla. Downloaded from on 22/06/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/06/2021.