Spectacled Warbler Sylvia conspicillata


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a very 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 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.

Population justification
In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 166,000-450,000 pairs, which equates to 332,000-901,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.35% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population is 948,000-2,575,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimated is needed.

Trend justification
The European population trend is currently unknown (BirdLife International 2015).


This species is often found in very low scrubland in mostly dry warm Mediterranean areas. It favours the lowest and sparser scrubby areas characteristic of less developed garrigue, saltflats and semi-desert. It inhabits the first stages of post-wildfire succession, and can recolonize habitat one year after a fire. On Atlantic islands, race orbitalis occupies wider range of habitats, from scrub to cultivated or semi-cultivated areas. It breeds from February to June across most of its range; however race orbitalis breeds in most months except for June and July. The male sometimes builds “cock nests” but both sexes build the breeding nest, which is a deep cup loosely built from grasses, stems and leaves and lined with soft plant down, thin roots and some hair. It is sited in low scrub or bush, usually from ground level to c.60 cm. Clutches are three to five eggs. The diet is mostly small arthropods and insect larvae and eggs but also takes berries and occasionally nectar, mostly outside the breeding season. The species is resident and partially migratory; race orbitalis is mostly sedentary, most south-west European populations are migratory and those from Malta, southern Sicily, Cyprus and parts of Levant and southeast Spain are partially migratory. North African populations are partially migratory or make altitudinal movements (Aymí and Gargallo 2015).


Local declines are thought to be due to urbanization, the conversion of steppes into irrigated lands, and afforestation. Those populations that are resident are also sensitive to severe cold winter weather (Aymí and Gargallo 2015).

Conservation actions

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

Conservation Actions Proposed
This species would likely benefit from the protection of key areas and restoration of habitat in areas where it is declining.


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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Sylvia conspicillata. Downloaded from on 03/12/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 03/12/2021.