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 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 108,000-253,000 pairs, which equates to 215,000-507,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.20% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 1,075,000-2,535,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats. The European population size is estimated to be stable (BirdLife International 2015).
The species inhabits high-altitude mountain pastures with rocky ravines and cliff faces; above the tree-line in summer and descending into upper valleys in winter. Often found around alpine villages and ski resorts in Europe and breeds chiefly between 1,260 m and 2,880 (Madge and Burn 1993). In North Africa it nests at 2,880-3,900 m and farther east it is found between 3,500-5,000 m and as high as 8,235 m (Madge 2009). Egg-laying occurs mainly in early May to mid-June in Europe and Morocco, in June and July in Lebanon and Kyrgystan and April-June in the north Indian subcontinent (Madge 2009). It often forms a lifelong monogamous pair-bond and partners will remain together throughout year. The nest is built by both sexes and is a bulky structure of sticks, roots and similar, lined with grasses, feathers and moss, typically on a ledge or shelf near the roof of a cave or rock chimney, rock crevice or cliff face. Larger caves with small entrances are favoured. Occasionally uses roof spaces of old buildings, mine-shafts and similar structures. Its diet consists primarily of invertebrates in spring and summer, with a more varied diet in autumn and winter. It will also take small amphibians and reptiles, nestling small birds, eggs and small rodents. In autumn and winter extensive range of seeds, berries and fruits are added to the diet. Also consumes a wide range of discarded human food. The species is largely sedentary, performing daily altitudinal movements (Madge 2009).
There are currently no known significant threats to this species.
Conservation Actions Underway
Bern Convention Appendix II. There are no known current conservation measures for this species within Europe.
Conservation Actions Proposed
No conservation measures are currently required for this species within Europe.
Text account compilers
Ashpole, J, Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J.
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Pyrrhocorax graculus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/11/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/11/2019.