Rosy Starling Pastor roseus


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 is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds 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 61,300-230,000 pairs, which equates to 123,000-459,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.25% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 490,000-1,850,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.

Trend justification
The population trend is difficult to determine because of uncertainty over the impacts of habitat modification on population sizes. The European population trend is estimated to be fluctuating (BirdLife International 2015).


During the breeding season this species is found on open steppes where orthopterans (locusts and other grasshoppers) are abundant. Colonies are normally found near water, often in valleys but after breeding it moves to more wooded areas. The breeding season is short, running from May to July and is closely tied to the availability of food. It is monogamous and breeds in large colonies often from hundreds to several thousand nests. Both sexes build the nest, which is made from grasses and twigs, lined with finer grasses and feathers and the cup may include aromatic plants such as wormwood (Artemisia), giant fennel (Ferula) and the poaceous grass (Aeluropus). It is sited in a hole, most frequently between stones on scree slope and sometimes in a crack in a rock or cliff, among stones on a railway embankment or quarry, in a hole or crevice in a building. Clutches are from three to six eggs. It feeds on insects during the breeding season, mostly locusts and other grasshoppers but more fruit is taken after breeding, and in winter it consumes insects, fruit, seeds and nectar. The species is migratory and also undertakes nomadic post-breeding dispersal (Craig et al. 2015).


The species may be threatened by habitat modification.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Bern Convention Appendix II. There are currently no known conservation measures for this species.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Increased monitoring efforts and research.


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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Pastor roseus. Downloaded from on 07/12/2023.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 07/12/2023.