Emberiza cirlus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Emberizidae

Scientific Name: Emberiza cirlus Linnaeus, 1766
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Cirl Bunting
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: 2016
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). The population trend appears to be increasing, thus it is not believed 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:
Albania; Algeria; Andorra; Austria; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; France; Germany; Gibraltar; Greece; Hungary; Italy; Liechtenstein; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Montenegro; Morocco; Portugal; Romania; San Marino; Serbia; Slovakia; Spain (Canary Is. - Vagrant); Switzerland; Tunisia; Turkey; United Kingdom
Regionally extinct:
New Zealand
Belgium; Czech Republic; Denmark; Egypt; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Ireland; Malta; Netherlands; Poland; Ukraine
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:6330000
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
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:In Europe (which covers >95% of the breeding range), the breeding population is estimated to be 2,490,000-4,650,000 pairs, which equates to 4,970,000-9,300,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015).

Trend Justification:  The population overall suffered serious declines in the northern and north-westernmost areas of its range owing to changing agricultural practices and climate change (Byers et al. 1995). However, in Europe, trends between 1989 and 2013 show that populations have undergone a moderate increase (EBCC 2015).
Current Population Trend:Increasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:4000000-9999999Continuing 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:The breeding habitat of this species is characterised by bushes and small woodlands, surrounded by open landscape. It also occupies forest edges and orchards. The highest densities are reached in small-scale heterogeneous, extensively managed farmland in a sunny climate. In winter it requires fallow fields or stubble fields with weeds (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997, Brambilla et al. 2008, Copete 2016). The breeding season is between mid-April and early-September. The nest is usually built in shrubs and occasionally in trees. The clutch, usually two to five eggs, is incubated by the female. The chicks hatch after 12–13 days. They are raised by both parents and leave the nest after 11–13 days. During the breeding season the species mainly takes a wide variety of small invertebrates, but during the rest of the year it mainly feeds on seeds of herbs and grasses. In the northern part of its range the species is partially migratory. In the southern part it is sedentary showing short distance, often altitudinal, movements (Copete 2016).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):3.6
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Past declines in the species's population were related to habitat changes, as a result of intensification and scale enlargement of farming practices and forestation. Intensive research into the causes of the decline of the small British population in the past revealed a complex of factors affecting the population: loss of winter food due to the shift from spring- to winter-sown crops, the general loss of arable cropping in grass-dominated landscapes; the loss of large insect food for chicks in the breeding season due to the intensification of grassland management; and the loss of suitable nest sites due to the removal of hedges and unsympathetic management of those that remained (Evans 1997, Evans et al. 1997). High input of herbicides results in the reduction of food availability for the species (Bradbury et al. 2008).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
The species is on the British list of Birds of Conservation Concern (Eaton et al. 2009). It is classified as Near Threatened on the Swiss Red List (Keller 2010). The small population in south-west England has recovered as a result of successful conservation efforts, such as agri-environment schemes targeted at the species by providing food-rich habitats in farmland (Peach et al. 2001, MacDonald et al. 2012). 

Conservation Actions Proposed
Implement agri-environment schemes, with measures targeted at the species in areas where its numbers are declining.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Emberiza cirlus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22720888A89291435. . Downloaded on 20 May 2018.
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