Serinus ankoberensis 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Fringillidae

Scientific Name: Serinus ankoberensis
Species Authority: Ash, 1979
Common Name(s):
English Ankober Serin
Taxonomic Notes: Serinus menachensis and S. ankoberensis (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) are retained as separate species contra Dowsett and Forbes-Watson (1993) who include ankoberensis as a subpsecies of S. menachensis.

Identification information: 11cm. Small canary. Greyish-brown upperparts, heavily overlaid with dark brown streaking. Off-white underparts, with bold and heavy, dark brown streaking from throat to vent. Pale, fine, pointed bill. Similar spp. Streaky Seedeater S. striolatus is very much larger, with much larger bill. Voice Soft, nasal szhree contact call. High-pitched, trilling flight call. Hints Best known area is the cliff-face 2-4 km north of Ankober town, Ethiopia.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Taylor, J. & Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Ash, J., Syvertsen, P. & Vivero, J.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Ekstrom, J., Shutes, S., Starkey, M., Symes, A., Taylor, J.
The species is listed as Vulnerable because it has a small range and its habitat is threatened and declining. The species may require downlisting to Near Threatened if it is found to be very tolerant of habitat alterations occuring within its range.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Vulnerable (VU)
2004 Vulnerable (VU)
2000 Endangered (EN)
1996 Endangered (EN)
1994 Endangered (EN)
1988 Threatened (T)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Serinus ankoberensis has a very restricted range in the highlands of central and northern Ethiopia, being known from four locations in Amhara Regional State, northern Shoa Province: around Ankober, including Goshmeda, Kundi and a ravine south of Debre Sina (up to 60 birds per visit; EWNHS 1996, Shimelis 1999); Deneba Wereda (13 birds in one visit; Shimelis 1999); Koreta, a very small area within Guassa Reserve (more than 100 birds in this area alone during a two-week survey of the reserve; Shimelis 1999); and in Chennek Camp and Bhawit in Simien Mountains National Park (up to 50 birds or more per visit) (Anon. 1997b, Shimelis 1999, J. Vivero in litt. 2003). In 2002, 300 birds were found in three days between 2,800 and 4,300 m in the Abuna Yosef mountains (Wello region; J. Vivero in litt. 2003). The species may occur in all ecologically similar habitat throughout the highland massif of Amhara Regional State and parts of Tigray. It is likely the species is found all along the eastern mountain escarpments from Ankober to Simien, including Abuye Meda, Amba Farit, Mt. Guna and perhaps Choke Mountains (J. Vivero in litt. 2003).

Countries occurrence:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 16400
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Number of Locations: 5
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Lower elevation limit (metres): 2800
Upper elevation limit (metres): 4300
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 individuals. This equates to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.

Trend Justification:  The species's population is suspected to be in decline owing to the limited but increasing conversion and degradation of its habitat, although the likely rate of decline has not been estimated.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 6000-15000 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
No. of subpopulations: 2-100 Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This gregarious species occurs along the escarpment rim of the Ethiopian highlands (EWNHS 1996, Shimelis 1999) in open terrain that includes broken hill-tops, near-vertical cliffs, steep, vegetated slopes and earth banks. It prefers to perch on lichen-covered rocks, bare earth and short-grazed pasture, ploughed land and feeds on seeds of grasses and herbs (EWNHS 1996, J. Vivero in litt. 2003). A nest has been found inside a vertical hole underneath an overhanging earth bank. Very sociable, with birds roosting, perching and feeding together. Often found in company of, or loosely associated with, Streaky S. striolatus or Brown-rumped S. tristriatus Seedeaters (J. Vivero in litt. 2003). Alights on no vegetation other than grass (J. Vivero in litt. 2003). Breeding takes place between October and March, although it possibly breeds during any season following heavy rain (EWNHS 1996). Clutch-size is three.

Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Generation Length (years): 3.8
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Much of its habitat is well-protected due to the steepness of the terrain. However, habitat in the Ankober area is under pressure from increased grazing and cultivation (EWNHS 1996, J. Vivero in litt. 2003). Habitat encroachment is increasing due to grazing and cultivation of new lands, both aspects closely related to increasing human and livestock population. Eucalyptus plantations represent a serious problem in some areas.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
Simien Mountains National Park offers reasonable protection for the species. Guassa Reserve (c.100 km2) is managed by the local community, who control grazing and the timing of grass-cutting within the reserve (Shimelis 1999). Otherwise there is little relevant conservation work in most of its range.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue surveys to better determine the species's range, population size and trend. Assess possible threats. Search for this species in the eastern mountain escarpments from Ankober to Simien, including Abuye Meda, Amba Farit, Mt Guna, and perhaps Choke Mountains (J. Vivero in litt. 2003). Investigate the potential for a programme promoting community forestry, soil conservation and watershed management within its range (EWNHS 1996).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Serinus ankoberensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22720246A38736679. . Downloaded on 24 May 2016.
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