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.
In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 280,000-845,000 pairs, which equates to 560,000-1,690,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.10% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 5,600,000-16,900,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats. The European population size is estimated to be stable (BirdLife International 2015).
The species breeds in montane and submontane forests of birch (Betula), pine (Pinus), juniper (Juniperus), spruce (Picea), willows (Salix) and larch (Larix), usually at or towards edge of forest, and rarely in dense areas. It also uses areas of dwarf junipers and scattered barberry (Berberis) scrub on open hillsides and above the tree-line, rhododendrons (Rhododendron), scree slopes, alpine and subalpine meadows, ravines and the upper edges of steep valleys. Outside the breeding season it is found in similar habitats as well as orchards and gardens at edges of human settlements, scattered trees on hillsides with low scrub, river valleys, rocky wadis and edges of cultivation. It breeds from April to August and usually lays three to five eggs. The nest is a neat, compact cup of dry grasses, strips of bark, plant fibres and down, moss, lichen, feathers and cobwebs, placed low down in bush or higher on branch or in fork, or against trunk, or on rock crevice, cliff ledge or in a hole in scree (Clement 2016). It feeds mainly on seeds, fruits and other plant material and sometimes takes small insects. The species is resident and an altitudinal migrant (Snow and Perrins 1998).
The species has declined in south-east Kazakhstan since the late 1960s as a result of trapping for the cagebird trade (Clement 2016).
Conservation Actions Underway
Bern Convention Appendix II.
Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor the effects of trapping.
Text account compilers
Ashpole, J, Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J.
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Serinus pusillus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 17/02/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 17/02/2019.