LC
Willow Tit Poecile montanus



Justification

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). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid 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.

Population justification
In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 30,500,000-44,200,000 pairs, which equates to 61,100,000-88,400,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.35% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 174,600,000-252,600,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed. National population estimates include: c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs in China; c.100-100,000 breeding pairs in Japan and c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs in Russia and (for the subspecies songara) c.100-10,000 breeding pairs in China (Brazil 2009).

Trend justification
Both increases and decreases in regional populations have been noted in the second half of the 20th century (del Hoyo et al. 2007), but in Europe, trends since 1980 show that populations have undergone a moderate decline (EBCC 2015).

Ecology

This species inhabits lowland, submontane and montane forests and woodlands, principally coniferous forests of pine (Pinus), larch (Larix) and spruce (Picea), and in Siberian taiga it is most frequently in steppe-forest of Siberian stone pine (Pinus sibirica). It is also often in dense and damp areas, especially Sphagnum bogs and areas of willows (Salix) or alders (Alnus) and on tundra edge. In Europe also occurs in willows, alders and more shrubby vegetation, including elder (Sambucus) patches, edges of woods, copses, and hedges, especially along rivers and beside lakes. In Tien Shan it occurs in montane conifer forest, also mixed broadleaf woodland with well-developed undergrowth and willow thickets, and lowland to submontane birch (Betula) forest. It is also found in riverine and swamp thickets, and occasionally in osier (Salix) beds. It breeds from April to July and is monogamous, forming a pair-bond for life. The female builds the nest which is constructed mostly of bark or wood strips, grass, plant fibres, animal hair and feathers (rarely, moss included). It is placed in a hole or crevice up to 3 m (often less than 1 m, exceptionally to 10 m) from the ground in a rotting tree trunk or old stump. The hole is excavated by both sexes or may be adapted from an existing one. Clutch size is five to nine eggs. It feeds mostly on invertebrates and larvae but also vegetable matter. It also stores food behind loose bark, under branches, in bud capsules or in lichen and rarely in the ground in a steep bank. In Norway most food is cached between August and September. The species is mainly resident (Gosler et al. 2013).

Threats

Habitat loss and degradation are implicated in the decline in the U.K. and there is also recent evidence that increased competition from other parids, which evict this species from nest-holes, and increased nest predation by Great Spotted Woodpeckers (Dendrocopos major) are also important factors, exacerbated by the low dispersability of the species that makes recolonisation difficult after local extinction (Gosler et al. 2013). The species may also be threatened by future climate change (Harrison et al. 2003, Siriwardena 2004).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Bern Convention Appendix II. In the U.K. the species is Red listed and is a U.K. Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) priority bird species and several local BAPs have been developed.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Research into habitat loss and pressures from other species to determine their impact should be undertaken. Ensure existing populations are adequately protected.

Acknowledgements

Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Ashpole, J, Wheatley, H.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Poecile montanus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/04/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/04/2019.