Capreolus capreolus 

Scope: Global

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Cervidae

Scientific Name: Capreolus capreolus
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English European Roe Deer, Western Roe Deer, Roe Deer, European Roe
French Chevreuil, Chevreuil Européen
Spanish Corzo
Cervus capreolus Linnaeus, 1758
Taxonomic Notes: The taxonomy and systematics of the European Roe Deer have been based on morphological and genetic data. The following subspecies have been confirmed by molecular data (Lorenzini et al. 2002, Randi et al. 2004, Lorenzini and Lovari 2006); 1) C. c. italicus Festa, 1925; 2) C. c. garganta Meunier, 1983 (although whether this name may refer to the subspecies of Roe Deer in South Spain awaits confirmation cf. Lorenzini et al. 2014); 3) C. c. capreolus Linnaeus, 1758. The identification of C. c. caucasicus as the correct name for a large-sized subspecies north of the Caucasus Mountains is provisional (Sempéré et al. 1996, Lister et al. 1998). Animals in the Near East have been assigned to C. c. coxi (Harrison and Bates 1991).

Recent molecular studies have detected mitochondrial DNA haplotypes of Siberian Roe Deer in Poland and Lithuania, 2000 km farther west than the western limit of its modern distribution (Lorenzini et al. 2014, Matosiuk et al. 2014, Olano-Marin et al. 2014). Genetic analyses of European Roe deer in Poland suggests that Siberian haplotypes are of ancient origin (they were not detected within the modern range of Siberian Roe Deer) and that genetic introgression occurred as the range of Siberian Roe Deer expanded as far west as Central Europe, and European Roe Deer spread east from western refugia during the last glacial maximum (Lorenzini et al. 2014, Matosiuk et al. 2014). As well or instead of introgression into western Roe, it is possible that Siberian Roe had a more western distribution during the Late Peistocene and may even have gone undetected until today, coexisting with European Roe Deer, further evidence is needed to determine the taxonomic identity of the roes in these parts of Europe that bear Siberian-type mtDNA.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-07-19
Assessor(s): Lovari, S., Herrero, J., Masseti, M., Ambarli, H. & Lorenzini, R. and Giannatos, G.
Reviewer(s): Brook, S.M. and McShea, W.J.
Contributor(s): Conroy, J., Maran, T., Stubbe, M., Aulagnier, S., Jdeidi, T., Nader, I., De Smet, K. & Cuzin, F. and Giannakopoulos, A.
A widespread and common species with no major threats. It is listed as Least Concern. However, subspecies Capreolus capreolus italicus is rare (<10,000 mature individuals) and faces serious threats. C. c. coxi is probably also at risk in the Middle East.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Roe Deer has a large range in the Palaearctic. It is found through most of Europe (with the exception of Ireland, Cyprus, Corsica, Sardinia, and most of the smaller islands), including western Russia (Stubbe 1999). Outside Europe, it occurs in Turkey, northern Syria, northern Iraq, northern Iran, and the Caucasus (Wilson and Reeder 2005). Along the Black Sea coast and in the northern Aegean region of Turkey, the Mediterranean sub-populations are close to extinction. It is extinct in Israel and Lebanon (Wilson and Reeder 2005) (though a re-introduction programme has started in Israel (M. Masseti pers. comm.). It occurs from sea level up to 2,400 m asl in the Alps (von Lehmann and Sägesser 1986) and Pyrenees (González et al. 2013).

In southern Europe there are two subspecies with relatively restricted ranges. C. c. italicus occurs in central and southern Italy, between southern Tuscany, Latium and Puglia, to Calabria (Lorenzini et al. 2002, Randi et al. 2004, Lorenzini and Lovari 2006). C. c. garganta occurs in southern Iberia, in particular in Andalusia (Sierra de Cádiz) (Lorenzini et al. 2002, Lorenzini and Lovari 2006, Lorenzini et al. 2014).
Countries occurrence:
Albania; Andorra; Armenia (Armenia); Austria; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Georgia; Germany; Gibraltar; Greece; Greenland; Hungary; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Italy; Latvia; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Moldova; Monaco; Montenegro; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Russian Federation; San Marino; Serbia (Serbia); Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Turkey; Ukraine; United Kingdom
Regionally extinct:
Israel; Lebanon; Palestinian Territory, Occupied
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):2400
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:It is widespread and common, and is expanding in many areas. Having almost gone extinct in parts of southern Europe because of habitat loss and over-harvesting in the first half of the last century, its numbers started increasing again 20-40 years ago because of countryside abandonment, improved hunting regimes and reintroductions (Gortázar et al. 2000). Densities in the northern and southern parts of the range tend to be lower than in the central parts of the range. The central European population is estimated to number c. 15 million individuals. However, the endemic Italian subspecies Capreolus c. italicus, which is largely restricted to southern Tuscany, probably numbers no more than 10,000 individuals and is at significant risk from hybridization with introduced C. c. capreolus (Lorenzini et al. 2002, Mucci et al. 2012), which has a large, expanding population in the Italian peninsula. In addition, a small population of C. c. capreolus has been introduced to and kept in an enclosure in Nebrodi National Park on Sicily (Masseti 2011).

In Turkey, the population is estimated at 6,000-8,000 individuals and has been probably increasing in the Black Sea region for two decades due to rural population declines (H. Ambarli pers. comm.).
Current Population Trend:Increasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:15000000
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It occupies a wide variety of habitats, including deciduous, mixed or coniferous forests, moorland, pastures, arable land, and suburban areas with large gardens. It prefers landscapes with a mosaic of woodland and farmland (Stubbe 1999) but can survive in semi-desert environments and above the tree line seasonally. Roe Deer are well adapted to modern agricultural landscapes (Andersen et al. 1998, Danilkin 1996, Sempéré et al. 1996).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: With the exception of some small populations in the southern part of its range, the extensive hunting of this species is sustainable.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threat in Europe is the increased mixing of various genetic pools as a result of translocations. This may be a particular threat to genetically distinct peripheral populations, such as those in northern Portugal, the southern Italian Apennines, and Greece (Randi et al. 2004, Lorenzini and Lovari 2006). Molecular studies show that Roe Deer in central and southern Europe are mainly admixed (Lorenzini et al. 2002, Randi et al. 2004), indicating that human manipulation has greatly affected the natural genetic structure of populations. The small isolated populations of Capreolus c. italicus in central and southern Italy (Castelporziano, Rome, and Gargano National Park) are also threatened by poaching and predation by free-ranging dogs Canis familiaris (Lorenzini et al. 2002). The small remnant population in Syria is under severe threat from habitat reduction and human persecution (Masseti 2000). Illegal hunting, poaching, collisions with vehicles mainly in the western Black Sea Region, and predation by dogs, are the main threats to the species in Turkey.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species is listed on the Bern Convention (Appendix III), and occurs in a large number of protected areas across its range. In general, this species can quickly re-build its numbers and may tolerate a relatively high hunting pressure, if in a suitable habitat and under an appropriate hunting regime. Management operations, such as re-introductions, restocking and translocations, have been carried out widely across its range, and should always be carried out using the appropriate genotypes.

To protect remnant populations of the Italian Roe Deer Capreolus c. italicus, Lorenzini et al. (2002) and Mucci et al. 2012 recommended the following measures: (1) Identify and map the extant populations of Italian Roe Deer, with indications of their genetic purity through reliable molecular protocols, (3) Prohibit translocations of Roe Deer from northern stocks to central and southern Italy, and vice versa, (4) Facilitate the expansion of remaining populations through habitat improvements, and (5) Establish a re-introduction plan for southern Italy, where uncontaminated and isolated areas are identified to prevent introgressive hybridization with the European subspecies. Similar actions are recommended to protect genetically distinct peripheral populations in Portugal and Greece (Lorenzini and Lovari 2006). In general, any translocations of Roe Deer should respect the genetic integrity of populations at the destination site.

Roe Deer have been re-introduced into the wild in Israel in the Ramat Hanadiv park on Mount Carmel near Zichron Yaacov. The first release of six females and two males took place in February 1997, a second release of a male and a female took place in March 1998, and a third release of four animals was completed in 1999. Pending information on the success of this project, this re-introduction is not yet marked on the distribution map.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.1. Forest - Boreal
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.2. Forest - Subarctic
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
3. Shrubland -> 3.3. Shrubland - Boreal
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
3. Shrubland -> 3.4. Shrubland - Temperate
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
4. Grassland -> 4.4. Grassland - Temperate
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.2. Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent/Irregular Rivers/Streams/Creeks
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.3. Wetlands (inland) - Shrub Dominated Wetlands
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.1. Artificial/Terrestrial - Arable Land
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.2. Artificial/Terrestrial - Pastureland
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.3. Artificial/Terrestrial - Plantations
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.4. Artificial/Terrestrial - Rural Gardens
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.5. Artificial/Terrestrial - Urban Areas
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
3. Species management -> 3.2. Species recovery
3. Species management -> 3.3. Species re-introduction -> 3.3.1. Reintroduction
4. Education & awareness -> 4.1. Formal education
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.2. National level
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.3. Sub-national level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:Yes
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:Yes
In-Place Education
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.2. Wood & pulp plantations -> 2.2.3. Scale Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Future    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.1. Nomadic grazing
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.2. Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.3. Persecution/control
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

8. Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases -> 8.1.2. Named species [ Canis familiaris ]
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

8. Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases -> 8.3. Introduced genetic material
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.1. Hybridisation

1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Andersen, R., Duncan, P. and Linnell, J. D. C. (eds). 1998. European roe deer: The Biology of Success. Scandinavian University Press, Oslo, Norway.

Chatzopoulos, D.C., Valiakos, G., Giannakopoulos, A., Birtsas, P., Sokos, C., Vasileiou, N.G.C., Papaspyropoulos, K., Tsokana, C.N., Spyrou, V., Fthenakis, G.C. and Billinis, C. 2015. Bluetongue Virus in wild ruminants in Europe: concerns and facts, with a brief reference to bluetongue in cervids in Greece during the 2014. Small Rumin. Res. 128: 79-87.

Danilkin, A. 1996. Behavioural Ecology of Siberian and European Roe Deer. Chapman and Hall, London, UK.

Gavas, C. Roe deer in Asea plain Tripoli Regional Unit Peloponnese. Available at:

Giannakopoulos, A., Poirazidis, K., and Tsachalidis, E. 2009. Roe Deer Potential Distribution and Habitat Suitability in Grevena –Western Macedonia, Greece. 9th European Roe Deer Meeting The 9th European Roe Deer Congress. Edinburg, Scotland.

Giannakopoulos, A. Tsaparis, D., Birtsas, P., Poirazidis, K., Iliopoulos, Y., and Manios, N. 2009. Current distribution and population status of roe deer in Greece. 9th European Roe Deer Meeting The 9th European Roe Deer Congress. Edinburg, Scotland.

Giannakopoulos, A., Tsaparis D., Iliopoulos Y. et al.. unpublished data. Distribution and numbers of roe deer in Greece.

Giannakopoulos, D.A. 2012. Ecology, conservation and management of large mammals and their habitats in relation with highway development effects. Case study of Egnatia highway and the brown bear, wild boar and roe deer in NE Pindos mountains Greece. PhD. Thesis, University of Aegean.

González, J. Herrero, J. Prada, C. and Marco, J. 2013. Changes in wild ungulate populations in Aragon, Spain between 2001 and 2010. Galemys 25: 51-57.

Gortázar, C., Herrero, J., Villafuerte, R. and Marco, J. 2000. Historical examination of the status of large mammals in Aragon, Spain. Mammalia 64: 411-422.

Harrison, D.L. and Bates, P.J.J. 1991. The Mammals of Arabia. Harrison Zoological Museum, Sevenoaks, UK.

Iliopoulos Y., Giannakopoulos, A., Lazarou, Y., Pillides, H., Aravides, I., Sgardelis, S., Mertzanis, Y. and Tragos, T. 2009. Effects on wolf movement patterns and habitat use caused by construction works and function of the “Egnatia” highway in Northern Greece. Conservation biology and beyond: from science to practice. Czech University of Life Sciences, Prague.

Iliopoulos, Y., Youlatos, D., Petridou, M., Giannakopoulos, A. and Sgardelis S. 2013. Selection of wolf (Canis lupus) rendezvous sites in Greece is mainly affected by anthropogenic landscape features. International Conference, Wolf Conservation in human dominated landscapes. Postojna Slovenia.

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-1. Available at: (Accessed: 30 June 2016).

Krallis, N. Roe deer in Morias Region Peloponnese. Available at:

Lister, A.M., Grubb, P. and Sumner S.R.M. 1998. Taxonomy, morphology and evolution of European roe deer. In: R. Andersen, P. Duncan and J.D.C. Linnell (eds), The European Roe Deer: The Biology of Success, pp. 23-46. Scandinavian University Press, Oslo.

Lorenzini, R. and Lovari, S. 2006. Genetic diversity and phylogeography of the European roe deer: the refuge area theory revisited. Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society 88: 85-100.

Lorenzini, R., Garofalo, L. Qin, X., Voloshina, I. and Lovari, S. 2014. Global phylogeography of the genus Capreolus (Artiodactyla: Cervidae), a Palaearctic meso-mamma. Zoological Journal of Linnean Society 170: 209-221.

Lorenzini, R., Lovari, S. and Masseti, M. 2002. The rediscovery of the Italian roe deer: genetic differentiation and management implications. Italian Journal of Zoology 69: 367-379.

Masseti, M. 2000. Note on a Near Eastern relict population of the roe deer Capreolus capreolus. Biogeographia 21: 619-623.

Masseti, M. 2011. Notes on the diffusion in Sicily of the roe deer Capreolus capreolus (L., 1758) (Mammalia, Cervidae). Biogeographia .

Matosiuk, M. Borkowska, A., Świsłocka, M., Mirski, P., Borowski, Z., Krysiuk, K., Danilkin, A.A., Zvychaynaya, E.Y., Saveljev, A.P. and Ratkiewicz, M. 2014. Unexpected population genetic structure of European roe deer in Poland: an invasion of the mtDNA genome from Siberian roe deer. Molecular Ecology 23: 2559-2572.

Mucci, N., Mattucci, F. and Randi, E. 2012. Conservation of threatened local gene pools: landscape genetics of the Italian roe deer (Capreolus c. italicus) populations. Evolutionary Ecology Research 14: 897-920.

Olano-Marin, J., Plis, K., Sönnichsen, L., Borowik, T., Niedziałkowska, M. and Jędrzejewska, B. 2014. Weak population structure in European Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus) and evidence of introgressive hybridization with Siberian Roe Deer (C. pygargus) in Northeastern Poland. PLoS ONE 9(10): e109147.

Randi, E., Alves, P. C., Carranza, J., Milosevic-Zlatanovic, S., Sfougaris, A. and Mucci, N. 2004. Phylogeography of roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) populations: the effects of historical genetic subdivisions and recent nonequilibrium dynamics. Molecular Ecology 13: 3071-3083.

Sempéré, A. J., Sokolov, V. E. and Danilkin, A. A. 1996. Capreolus capreolus. Mammalian species 538: 1-9.

Sfougaris, A. and Tsaparis, D. 2009. Status of the roe deer in Greece. In: A. Legakis and P. Maragou (eds), Red Data Book of Threatened Vertebrates of Greece, pp. 390-392. Hellenic Zoological Society, Greece.

Stubbe, C. 1999. Capreolus capreolus. In: A. J. Mitchell-Jones, G. Amori, W. Bogdanowicz, B. Kryštufek, P. J. H. Reijnders, F. Spitzenberger, M. Stubbe, J. B. M. Thissen, V. Vohralík and J. Zima (eds), The Atlas of European Mammals, Academic Press, London, UK.

Valiakos, G., Yon, L., Spyrou, V., Artois, M., Touloudi, A., Barrow, P., Birtsas, P., Hutchings, M., Sofia, M., Gavier-Widen, D., Iacovakis, C., Sokos, C., Giannakopoulos, A. and Billinis, C. 2011. Cervids as a source of important pathogens for humans and livestock in Greece. Scientific Annals of Department of Forestry and Environmental Management and Natural Resources 3: 351-368.

von Lehmann, E. and Sägesser, H. 1986. Capreolus capreolus Linnaeus, 1758 - Reh. In: J. Niethammer and F. Krapp (eds), Handbuch der Säugetiere Europas, Band 2/II Paarhufer, Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft, Wiesbaden.

Wilson, D.E. and Mittermeier, R.A. 2011. Handbook of the mammals of the world. Vol. 2. Hoofed mammals. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Wilson, D.E. and Reeder, D.M. 2005. Mammal Species of the World. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Citation: Lovari, S., Herrero, J., Masseti, M., Ambarli, H. & Lorenzini, R. and Giannatos, G. 2016. Capreolus capreolus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T42395A22161386. . Downloaded on 23 October 2016.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided