Somali Grosbeak Rhynchostruthus louisae


Justification of Red List Category
This species is classified as Near Threatened because of concerns that it is has a moderately small population which may be declining owing to habitat degradation and drought. However it is very poorly known and field research is urgently needed to accurately assess its threat status.

Population justification
The species is poorly known, but Kirwan and Grieve (2007) suggest its population numbers fewer than 10,000 individuals. It is placed in the population band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals, equivalent to 3,750-14,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
This species is poorly known but probably in slow to moderate decline owing to habitat degradation and recent droughts.

Distribution and population

Rhynchostruthus louisae is endemic to Somalia where it is restricted to mountains from near the Ethiopian border east to the western foothills of Jebel Hantara. In the 1930s it was considered fairly common in Mt Wagar and Golis Mountains (12 collected in two weeks), but there are very few recent records. It is likely to have declined, but trends could, in part, reflect the almost total lack of observer coverage within the species's range.


It inhabits rocky ground with scattered thorn bushes and giant euphorbias Euphorbia abessinica, on whose fruit it is said to feed. It occurs singly, in pairs or small groups.


It may be declining, perhaps as a result of habitat loss (particularly in the western part of its range), but poor rainfall in recent years may be more important, although there were good rains in 2005-2006 (J. Miskell in litt. 2006).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to determine current range and population. Asses the extent and impact of habitat loss on populations. If appropriate, protect habitat at important sites.


Identification. Adult male, grey-brown with black bill; dark face mask; wings and tail with yellow patches. Females somewhat duller. Juveniles streaky and face mask indistinct.


Text account compilers
Mahood, S., Symes, A. & Westrip, J.

Miskell, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Rhynchostruthus louisae. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 19/01/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 19/01/2020.