Eremophila alpestris 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Alaudidae

Scientific Name: Eremophila alpestris (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Horned Lark, Shore Lark
Taxonomic Source(s): Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ashpole, J, Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J.
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.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Countries occurrence:
Afghanistan; Albania; Armenia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Belgium; Bhutan; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Canada; China; Colombia; Croatia; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Georgia; Germany; Greece; Hungary; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Israel; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Lebanon; Lithuania; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Mexico; Mongolia; Montenegro; Morocco; Nepal; Netherlands; Norway; Pakistan; Poland; Romania; Russian Federation (Central Asian Russia, Eastern Asian Russia, European Russia); Saint Pierre and Miquelon; Serbia; Slovakia; Sweden; Syrian Arab Republic; Tajikistan; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; United Kingdom; United States; Uzbekistan
Bermuda; Faroe Islands; Greenland; Iceland; Ireland; Italy; Japan; Latvia; Luxembourg; Malta; Slovenia; Spain; Svalbard and Jan Mayen; Switzerland
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:57400000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):5400
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The global population is estimated to number > c.140,000,000 individuals (Rich et al. 2004). The European population is estimated at 2,140,000-6,510,000 pairs, which equates to 4,280,000-13,000,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015), however Europe forms >10% of the global population. National population sizes have been estimated at c.100-10,000 breeding pairs, c.50-1,000 individuals on migration and c.50-1,000 wintering individuals in China and < c.1,000 individuals on migration and < c.1,000 wintering individuals in Japan (Brazil 2009).

Trend Justification:  This species has undergone a small or statistically insignificant decrease over the last 40 years in North America (data from Breeding Bird Survey and/or Christmas Bird Count: Butcher and Niven 2007). The European population is estimated to be stable (BirdLife International 2015).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species is the only lark to have successfully colonized tundra and alpine habitats. Throughout its range it prefers mainly barren terrain with very short vegetation. In Eurasia, it breeds mainly in arctic tundra, dry stony patches in lichen tundra, barren steppes and arctic-alpine zones. It also occupies open coasts and dunes in the non-breeding season. In western Europe, migrants of race flava are largely confined to open coastal habitats around the North Sea in winter. In North America it is widely distributed across most open habitats from sea-level up to c. 4,000 m. In the Andes the race peregrina uses short-grass pastureland and bare fields to at least 3,100 m. In Eurasia, it breeds from late May to mid-July in Scandinavia but from mid-June in Arctic Russia. In North America it breeds from mid-February in southern U.S.A. and from mid-May in the Canadian Arctic. The female builds the nest in an excavated cavity or natural depression on the ground, which is filled with woven plant material, lined with feathers or other fine material and has stones, bark, clods of earth, animal dung and other materials placed around it. It is usually positioned in such a way as to reduce wind flow across it to as little as a tenth of ambient wind speed and to maximize shade. Clutches can be from one to eight eggs but generally two to five, although clutch size increases with latitude. It feeds on a wide range of invertebrates in summer and plant material in winter and nestlings are fed almost entirely with invertebrates. The species is migratory or partially migratory in the north and mostly resident or an altitudinal migrant in the south. Across the Holarctic Region, races in the far north are wholly migratory, with much or all of breeding range abandoned in winter. In the south of the range it is an altitudinal migrant (Donald and de Juana 2014).
Systems:Terrestrial; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):4.5
Movement patterns:Full Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): In Europe, drastic declines noted since 1950s in northern Fennoscandia, especially Finland, which were believed to be possibly due to overgrazing of lichen by reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) (Donald and de Juana 2014). Race peregrina in the Colombian Andes is threatened by the introduced kikuyu grass (Pennisetum clandestinum), unfavourable agricultural practices and unrestricted use of pesticides. In North America, changes in agriculture are considered a threat including replacement of arable crops by biomass-fuel production and the change from conventional tillage to minimum tillage. Agricultural abandonment and direct poisoning by pesticides are also considered threats (Donald and de Juana 2014).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
Bern Convention Appendix II. There are no known current conservation measures for this species within Europe.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Ensure careful management and protection of breeding sites, in particular from overgrazing as well as the protection of wintering sites. Research into the species's ecology and habitats should be undertaken to help inform future conservation management.

Amended [top]

Amended reason: Map updated: Changed from resident to breeding season in SE Russia and NE China. EOO updated.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2017. Eremophila alpestris (amended version of assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22717434A118714893. . Downloaded on 18 June 2018.
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