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 increasing therefore the species is not thought to 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.
In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 1,750,000-2,840,000 pairs, which equates to 3,500,000-5,680,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.15% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 23,300,000-37,900,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.
The overall population trend is estimated to be increasing. In Europe overall, trends between 1998 and 2013 have been moderately increasing (EBCC 2015).
This species inhabits rugged areas with shrubs and a high percentage of bare ground or semi-arid pasture. It is typically found in hilly and broken landscapes, with rocky substrates. It is monogamous and egg-laying occurs from February to June in north of range, from early April in North Africa but sometimes from February in western Morocco, May-June/July in northern Somalia and May in East Africa. The nest is a depression on the ground, next to or beneath a shrub or tuft and it is lined with grass stems. Clutches are three to five eggs. The diet varies with the season but is mainly insects, with seeds and occasional green plant material also consumed. The species is resident and generally sedentary (de Juana and Suárez 2004).
Agricultural intensification along with associated irrigation projects (Tucker and Heath 1994) and the afforestation of steppe areas are thought to be driving declines in some parts of Spain. In Las Amoladeras Reserve (Almería), the cessation of hunting resulted in a large increase in rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and fox (Vulpes vulpes) populations and thus a rapid decline in this species (de Juana and Suárez 2004). Overgrazing is a threat in parts of southwest Iberia (Tucker and Heath 1994).
Conservation Actions Underway
EU Birds Directive Annex I. Bern Convention Appendix II. There are currently no known conservation measures for this species within Europe.
Conservation Actions Proposed
The maintenance of low-intensity farming practices would benefit this species. Steppe habitat should be recovered and conserved. The maintenance of medium-height scrub through low grazing pressure may also be beneficial and assist the species where populations are fragmented. In addition, afforestation and irrigation developments should be restricted (Tucker and Heath 1994).
Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Ashpole, J
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Galerida theklae. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/02/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/02/2020.