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.
Rich et al. (2004) estimated the global population to number 2,000,000 individuals. In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 1,010,000-3,020,000 pairs, which equates to 2,020,000-6,040,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.10% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 20,200,000-60,400,000 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.
This species breeds in the arctic tundra. It favours willow (Salix) mires with small creeks, sedge (Carex) marshes and peat mounds, both above the treeline and in the mountain birch (Betula) forest (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997). Egg-laying occurs from early to mid-June or July in the north of the range and from the end of May in the south (Tyler 2016). The nest is built by the female, although the initial hollow is made by the male and both sexes bring material. It is a cup of grass leaves and stems, some moss and dead leaves at the base, lined with finer grass, hair and feathers and sited on the ground on a hummock or bank. It is also sometimes at end of short tunnel. Clutches can be between two and seven eggs but usually five or six. It forages on the ground and its prey is mainly insects but also other invertebrates, and some vegetable matter (Tyler 2016). The species is migratory. European populations mostly winter in sub-Saharan Africa but scattered wintering sites exist in south-east Italy, Turkey and North Africa (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997). Eastern populations migrate mainly to south-east Asia, south-east China and Taiwan (China) (Tyler 2016).
The species's distribution in Finland contracted markedly between 1974-1978 and 1986-1989 and disappeared from Finnish Lappland but the reasons for this decline are unknown (Tyler 2016). The species is vulnerable to future climate change (Virkkala et al. 2008).
Conservation Actions Underway
Bern Convention Appendix II.
Conservation Actions Proposed
Studies are needed on the ecology, reproductive biology and food, with particular focus on causes of decline and species conservation. Identification and protection of key areas should also be undertaken.
Text account compilers
Ashpole, J, Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J.
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Anthus cervinus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/05/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/05/2019.