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Alectoris graeca

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA AVES GALLIFORMES PHASIANIDAE

Scientific Name: Alectoris graeca
Species Authority: (Meisner, 1804)
Common Name(s):
English Rock Partridge
Taxonomic Notes: Alectoris graeca (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) was split into A. graeca and A. whitakeri by Corso (2010). The case for recognising Sicilian Rock Partridge Alectoris (graeca) whitakeri as a separate species rests on:  more pronounced, warmer ear-coverts (2); darker undertail-coverts (1); vermiculated uppertail-coverts and grey parts of tail (1). No other characters are consistently distinct. whitakeri is therefore considered a moderately well-marked subspecies by the BirdLife Taxonomic Working Group.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Bernard-Laurent, A., Lo Valvo, M., Postoli, A., Dedej, Z., Lentner, R., Zbinden, N., Keller, V., Nipkow, M., Sorace, A. & Vlachos, C.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Butchart, S., Derhé, M., Ekstrom, J.
Justification:
This species has been uplisted to Near Threatened because despite its relatively large population and range, a recent assessment of the available evidence has found that the species is likely to be undergoing a moderately rapid population reduction owing to habitat degradation and over-hunting in some areas.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Alectoris graeca is endemic to Europe, occurring only in the Alps, the Apennines, Sicily and the Balkans. It is suspected to be declining moderately rapidly, particularly in the Balkans which hold a substantial proportion of the species's population and range, based on a balanced assessment of the available evidence (e.g. Griffin 2011, A. Bernard-Laurent in litt. 2012). Within the Balkans, it breeds in Albania (strong decline is suspected since c.1995), Bosnia and Herzegovina (c.10,000 pairs and thought to have declined strongly in the last few decades [Sucic 2008]), Bulgaria (declining numbers and distribution since the 1960s [Iankov 2007]), Croatia (6,000-10,000 pairs [Tutis et al. in press] and considered to be declining with several local extinctions reported [Budinski et al. 2010]), Greece (apparently stable population in 2005-2011 [Bontzorlos et al. 2011] although the national Red List reports on-going declines and local extirpations in its range [Handrinos and Katsadorakis 2009]), Macedonia FYR (2,000–5,000 pairs [Velevski et al. in press], no current evidence for a decline), Montenegro (declined from 3,000–4,000 pairs [Puzovic et al. 2003] to c.1,300 pairs in 2010-2011 [Saveljic et al. 2011]), Serbia (declined by c. 20-30% in the 1990s to c. 1,000–1,500 pairs [Puzovic et al. 2009]). Elsewhere in the species's range, declines have been reported in Albania (common but declining [Z. Dedej and A. Postoli in litt. 2012]), Austria (R. Lentner in litt. 2012), Italy (a range reduction in the Apennine Mountains in the last 10-15 years and a decline of 11% in the last 20 years in Sicily [Lo Valvo et al. 1993, M. Lo Valvo in litt. 2012]) and Switzerland (long-term fluctuations followed by recent declines [V. Keller and N. Zbinden in litt. 2012]). Population monitoring in France from 1981 to 2011 has shown the population to be fluctuating (A. Bernard-Laurent in litt. 2012). A small population persists in Slovenia where current trend is unknown. The global population is estimated at c.80,000–150,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2004).
Countries:
Native:
Albania; Austria; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; France; Germany; Greece; Italy; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Montenegro; Romania; Serbia (Serbia); Slovenia; Switzerland
Regionally extinct:
Liechtenstein
Introduced:
Belgium; Lebanon; Spain
Vagrant:
Turkey
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The breeding population, which is confined to Europe, is estimated to number 40,000-78,000 breeding pairs, equating to 120,000-230,000 individuals (BirdLife International 2004).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The species utilises a variety of habitats and different altitudes, up to 3000m in the Alps and almost down to sea level in Sicily and Greece. Generally they prefer open, mountain habitats with grassy patches, low scrub or scattered conifers (Griffin 2011).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Studies in different parts of the species’s range (summarised in Griffin 2011) indicate that it is affected by a wide variety of threats, including habitat loss and degradation (Bernard-Laurent and de Franceschi 1994), abandonment of traditional agro-pastoral activities (Budinski et al. 2010, Rippa et al. 2011), reduced connectivity between metapopulations (Cattadori et al. 2003), disturbance, poaching, unsustainable hunting, extreme climatic events (Bernard-Laurent and Leonard 2000), hybridisation with released captive-bred Chukar A. chukar and Red-legged Partridge A. rufa (Barilani et al. 2007, Randi 2008), and the transfer of pathogens and parasites from these species (Manios et al. 2002, Rosà et al. 2011). Additional threats include the increase of tourism in mountain areas, predominantly in the French and Austrian Alps (A. Bernard-Laurent in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation measures underway
EU Birds Directive Annex I. The species is classified as Threatened or Near Threatened in Red Data Books in Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy and Switzerland.

Conservation measures proposed
Conduct surveys to determine population size and trends across the species's range. Improve knowledge on the effects of hunting on the species. Implement measures to reduce abandonment of traditional agro-pastoral activities. Safeguard the species's habitat. Improve legislation and enforcement to reduce unsustainable hunting and poaching. Investigate hybridisation with captive-bred A. chukar and A. rufa and pathogen and parasite transfer from these species.

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Alectoris graeca. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 19 September 2014.
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