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 stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable 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.
In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 29,000-69,700 pairs, which equates to 57,900-139,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.10% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 579,000-1,390,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed. The population in China has been estimated at c.100-10,000 breeding pairs (Brazil 2009).
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats. The European population trend is unknown (BirdLife International 2015).
This species inhabits a range of rocky regions, typically including steep, rugged cliffs, boulder-strewn slopes, and damp, shady gorges in mountainous areas, with holes and crevices for nesting and roosting. Grassy ledges generally intersperse the rocks and other vegetation including herbaceous plants, moss, shrubs and trees, and running water are often present. For foraging areas of mixed sunlight and shade are important. In the winter, similar rocky habitats are favoured. In Europe, the breeding season is from April and May to July and August, depending on altitude. Further east the breeding season is from May to July. The nest is made of moss, plant fibres, rootlets and grass, with hair, wool and feathers densely matted together, sometimes as a lining for insulation. It is sited in a cleft in a rock, between or behind rocks or boulders and sometimes on or inside a building. Clutches are three to five eggs. It feeds principally on small and some larger insects, including adults, larvae and eggs, as well as spiders (Araneae) and some other invertebrates. Through most of its range the species is a short-distance and altitudinal migrant (Löhrl and Wilson 2015).
The species is under threat from the development of mountain regions (Löhrl and Wilson 2015), such as dam building (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997) and a considerable increase in human leisure activities, especially rock-climbing, which cause disturbance and threaten habitat in breeding and wintering areas (Löhrl and Wilson 2015).
Conservation Actions Underway
It is protected in most European countries. The species is listed as “critically endangered” in Poland, “vulnerable” in Liechtenstein and “near-threatened” in Slovakia and is also red-listed in Germany (Löhrl and Wilson 2015).
Conservation Actions Proposed
Important areas of habitat for this species should be identified and protected from development as well as restrictions on access put in place.
Text account compilers
Ashpole, J, Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S.
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Tichodroma muraria. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 13/12/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 13/12/2019.