VU
Syrian Serin Serinus syriacus



Taxonomy

Taxonomic note
Has sometimes been thought to be closely related to S. serinus, S. canaria and S. canicollis, but recent DNA analyses recovered this species as sister to S. pusillus (Zuccon et al. 2012). Monotypic.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A., Fishpool, L.D.C., Boesman, P. and Kirwan, G.M. 2016. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 2: Passerines. Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - C2a(ii)

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2022 Vulnerable C2a(ii)
2018 Vulnerable C1
2017 Vulnerable C1
2016 Vulnerable C1
2012 Vulnerable C1
2008 Vulnerable C1
2004 Vulnerable
2000 Lower Risk/Near Threatened
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Near Threatened
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Medium
Land mass type Land-mass type - continent
Average mass 12 g
Distribution

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 24,100 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 70,800 medium
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 6,500
Number of locations 11-100 -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 7000-9999 medium estimated 2022
Population trend Decreasing medium inferred -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) 20-29 - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) 20-29 - - -
Number of subpopulations 1 - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation 100 - - -

Population justification: In Israel, 100-360 mature individuals have been estimated (Evans 1994). Across Lebanon, 3,500 pairs have been estimated in protected areas (Ramadan-Jaradi and Ramadan-Jaradi 1999, 2002), which roughly equates to 7,000 mature individuals. In 1999, 1,000-1,250 mature individuals were estimated in Jordan (down from 600-650 pairs in 1996 due to drought with the entire national population restricted to 15km2; Khoury 2000). More recently for the Jordanian population, 500-700 pairs were estimated in 2011 (Qaneer et al. 2013), and in 2022, 440-490 breeding pairs were remaining in Dana in SW Jordan (F. Khoury in litt. 2022), equating to 880-980 mature individuals. Although there is lack of information for Syria, the species is considered to be very local (Baumgart 1995, N. Asswad in litt. 2016, Clement and de Juana 2020). Given localised declines of the species, the overall population is therefore estimated to fall into the band of 7,000-9,999 mature individuals, roughly equating to 10,500-14,999 individuals.

Trend justification: The species is inferred to be undergoing a moderately rapid decline.
The breeding population in Israel has been assumed to be stable, based on ringing data between 2012-2016 (Y. Lehnardt in litt. 2016). Recent deforestation analysis has also shown that tree cover loss equated to <5% over 10 years within the species range (Global Forest Watch 2021). This suggests that habitat loss by wood-cutting may be relatively low. However, the species is severely impacted by the synergistic effects of drought and grazing (Clement and de Juana 2020), whilst conflict within parts of the species' range could also threaten the population.
The Jordanian breeding population has previously undergone a decline, with the Al-Barrah population in the Dana Nature Reserve having declined by c.20% between 1996 and 1999 and their area of occupancy having decreased by 25%. In addition, marginal areas of the breeding distribution in 1996 were unoccupied in 1999 (Khoury 2000). This suggests a decrease in population size, as the national population was estimated as 500 pairs, with 480 in Al-Barrah in the 1999 breeding season (Khoury 2000). During the 1999 breeding season no individuals were recorded in other areas of south-west Jordan (e.g. Al-Hishi woodland) or northern Jordan (Mediterranean woodland) that would have been suitable as alternative feeding sites to avoid the drought. The decline in population size therefore did not seem to represent a shift in population distribution. Previous population estimates in Jordan were also in the range 1,200-1,300 mature individuals (Khoury 2000) and the 1999 estimate therefore represented a decline of c.20%. Additionally, the habitat across the Dana Reserve in Jordan is considered to be much more degraded now, with the breeding area having decreased severely in recent years due to a combination of mining activities and wind farms, droughts, overgrazing, and human activities; the population found is now considered unviable (F. Khoury in litt. 2022). 
Similarly in Lebanon, recent count surveys have found the species' numbers to have dropped in many sites (F. Itani in litt. 2022). However, a 2021 study of four sites (previously analysed by Ramadan-Jaradi and Ramadan-Jaradi [2002]) showed that the mean densities of two sites (Chouf Cedars Biosphere Reserve and Horsch Ehden Nature Reserve) had remained the same, with mean densities increasing for the Qammouha Nature Reserve and only Tannourine Nature Reserve showing declines (G. Ramadan-Jaradi in litt. 2022). Albeit, declines in the number of pairs have been observed in Anjar between 2016-2020 due to emerging threats by invasive species (G. Ramadan-Jaradi in litt. 2022). Given previous, moderate rates of declines as well as observed declines across numbers and densities at specific sites due to ongoing and emerging threats, the population is thought to be tentatively declining at a rate of 20-29% over 10 years.


Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Egypt N Extant Yes
Israel N Extant Yes Yes
Jordan N Extant Yes Yes
Lebanon N Extant Yes Yes
Palestine N Extant Yes Yes
Syria N Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Syria Mount Hermon
Jordan Dana
Jordan Petra
Lebanon Horsh Ehden Nature Reserve
Lebanon Shouf Cedars Nature Reserve
Syria Abu Zad
Syria Wadi al-Qarn - Burqush
Jordan Northern Jordan Valley (North Ghor)
Israel Southern Arava valley and Elat mountains
Jordan Ajloun
Jordan Jordan Valley
Jordan Dibbin Forest
Jordan Shaumari
Palestine Jerusalem wilderness
Lebanon Hima Anjar - Kfar Zabad
Lebanon Kanater Set Zbeideh
Lebanon Aammiq wetland
Lebanon Hima Ebel es-Saqi
Lebanon Yammouneh Nature Reserve
Lebanon Wadi Jouhanam
Lebanon Beirut River Valley
Lebanon Upper Mountains of Akkar-Donnieh
Lebanon Tannourine Nature Reserve
Lebanon Qammouaa - Dinnyeh - Jurd Hermel
Lebanon Semi-arid north-western Anti-Lebanon
Lebanon Ehden - Bcharre - Tannourine / Makmal - Ainata
Lebanon Upper Litani River

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Terrestrial Plantations suitable resident
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Dry major breeding
Grassland Subtropical/Tropical Dry major non-breeding
Shrubland Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation major non-breeding
Shrubland Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation major breeding
Altitude 900 - 1800 m Occasional altitudinal limits (max) 1900 m

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Livestock farming & ranching - Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Whole (>90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 7
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Causing/Could cause fluctuations Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Species mortality
Biological resource use Logging & wood harvesting - Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Whole (>90%) Negligible declines Medium Impact: 6
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation
Climate change & severe weather Droughts Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Likely to Return Majority (50-90%) Rapid Declines Past Impact
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation
Energy production & mining Mining & quarrying Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Minority (<50%) Causing/Could cause fluctuations Low Impact: 3
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Energy production & mining Renewable energy Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Minority (<50%) Causing/Could cause fluctuations Low Impact: 3
Stresses
Species disturbance, Ecosystem conversion
Human intrusions & disturbance Recreational activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Causing/Could cause fluctuations Medium Impact: 6
Stresses
Species disturbance
Human intrusions & disturbance War, civil unrest & military exercises Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - Acridotheres tristis Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Species disturbance
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - Serinus serinus Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Species disturbance
Natural system modifications Dams & water management/use - Abstraction of surface water (unknown use) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Unknown Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Species mortality
Pollution Agricultural & forestry effluents - Herbicides and pesticides Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Transportation & service corridors Roads & railroads Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Majority (50-90%) Causing/Could cause fluctuations Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion

Utilisation
Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - International Non-trivial Recent
Sport hunting/specimen collecting - - Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Serinus syriacus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 08/02/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 08/02/2023.