Philippa’s Crombec (Sylvietta philippae): list as Least Concern?

This discussion was first published as part of the 2017 Red List update. At the time a decision regarding the status of several was pended, but to enable potential reassessment of these species as part of the 2018 Red List update this post remains open and the date of posting has been updated.

BirdLife Species Factsheet for Philippa’s Crombec:

Philippa’s Crombec is currently considered Data Deficient. It is known from Somalia and Ethiopia (EOO currently estimated at 395,000km2), occurring in the north-west and west of Somalia and the adjacent parts of Ethiopia up to 80km from the border (Urban et al. 1997; L. Fishpool in litt. 2006), although it may be more widespread in Ethiopia (Ash 1982). It has also more recently been found in south-east Somalia, in the Bogol Manyo area (J. Ash in litt. 2007), and Inaafmadow in the north-west of the country (Mills and Cohen 2015). It inhabits semi-desert and is found in dense Acacia and Commiphora on rocky ground and red sandy soil (Urban et al. 1997). Its total population size has not been quantified, but the species has been described as fairly common (del Hoyo et al. 2006).

As it appears to be restricted to denser areas of thicket this species may be sensitive to habitat alteration through fuelwood collection or grazing; and exploitation of its scrub habitat for charcoal production and extraction of gum and resin may potentially threaten this species at one site in Ethiopia (EWNHS 1996). However, in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats the population is currently considered to be stable. Therefore, S. philippae is not thought to approach the threshold for Vulnerable under any criterion and hence would warrant listing as Least Concern.

We welcome any further information and comments regarding this listing.


Ash, J. S. 1982. The Somali Short-billed Crombec Sylvietta philippae in Somalia and Ethiopia. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club 102: 89-92.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Christie, D. 2006. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 11: Old World Flycatchers to Old World Warblers. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions.

EWNHS. 1996. Important Bird Areas of Ethiopia: a first inventory. Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society, Addis Ababa.

Mills, M.S.L.; Cohen, C. 2015. Birds of Somalia: new records, range extensions and observations from Somaliland. Scopus 34: 31-39.

Urban, E. K.; Fry, C. H.; Keith, S. 1997. The birds of Africa vol. V. Academic Press, London.

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One Response to Philippa’s Crombec (Sylvietta philippae): list as Least Concern?

  1. Andy Symes (BirdLife) says:

    Preliminary proposals

    Based on available information, our proposal for the 2017 Red List would be to pend the decision on this species and keep this discussion open until 2018, while leaving the current Red List category unchanged in the 2017 update.

    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline of 4 August, after which the recommended categorisations will be put forward to IUCN.

    Please note that we will then only post final recommended categorisations on forum discussions where these differ from those in the initial proposal.

    The final 2017 Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in early December, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.

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