Pallas's Bunting Emberiza pallasi


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.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, though in Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 500-1,500 pairs, which equates to 1,000-3,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015), with Europe forming <5% of the global range. The population in Russia has been estimated at c.100-10,000 breeding pairs, c.50-1,000 individuals on migration and c.50-1,000 wintering individuals (Brazil 2009).

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats. The tiny European population size is not known (BirdLife International 2015).


This species breeds at high latitudes in tundra and forest-tundra with tall herbage, and shrubs (for songposts), and in river valleys in lowland tundra, with thickets of vegetation. It is also found in subalpine tundra in high mountains (Copete 2016). In its European breeding range this species inhabits zonal dwarf birch tundra in watersheds and on mountain slopes. In the polar Urals it occurs up to 300 m Asl. It normally occurs in drier and cooler regions than those favoured by Emberiza schoeniclus. Breeding takes place in June and July. The nest is placed on the ground or low in a bush. The clutch, usually three to five eggs, is incubated by the female. The incubation period is 11 days; nestlings are fed by both parents and leave the nest after 11 days. During the breeding season the species is reported to take seeds, beetles, caterpillars and also berries. The species is migratory, wintering in northern and eastern China, extreme south-east Russia, Korea and very rarely in Japan (Copete 2016).


Hunting of bunting flocks for food in its Chinese wintering range may be a threat to the species. The melting of glaciers in mountain habitats and desertification in desert-steppe/steppe areas as a consequence of global warming may have adverse effects on the species's breeding habitat in the future (Copete 2016).

Conservation actions

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

Conservation Actions Proposed
Study the pressures in its wintering range, in particular the impact of trapping and hunting on the whole population.


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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Emberiza pallasi. Downloaded from on 15/02/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 15/02/2019.