Cinereous Bunting Emberiza cineracea breeds in SW Iran, S Turkey and adjacent E Greek islands, and winters in Sudan, Eritrea and S Arabia (Madge 2011). It is currently listed as Near Threatened, because when last assessed its moderately small population was suspected to be declining as a result of the conversion and degradation of its habitats.
Globally, it has a relatively large range in both the breeding season (>80,000 km2) and in winter (>230,000 km2), and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criteria (B and D2). Its population size is poorly known, but there are an estimated 6,400–11,400 mature individuals in Europe (BirdLife International 2015), and possibly fewer than 100 pairs in Iran. In combination with the reported decline of 1–19% in Turkey during 1990–2000 (BirdLife International 2004), the species was considered to approach the threshold for Vulnerable under the small, declining population size criterion (C1).
New data collated from across Europe for the European Red List of Birds (BirdLife International 2015) indicate that the species is still declining in Turkey (which holds >90% of the global range and population), and that the European breeding population has probably declined overall by more than 10% over the last three generations (10.8 years, based on a generation length estimated by BirdLife to be 3.6 years). Consequently, the species is now classified as Vulnerable at European level (BirdLife International 2015).
No recent information is available about the species’ population status or trends elsewhere in its global range, but its continued decline in its Turkish stronghold implies that the threats identified in the species action plan (Albayrak et al. 2003) have not yet been adequately addressed. As the lower end and the mid-point of the global population estimate are well below 10,000 mature individuals, and the species is still estimated to be declining by more than 10% over three generations, this poorly known species probably qualifies for uplisting to Vulnerable under criterion A.
Comments on this proposal are welcome, along with any data regarding the recent trend of its breeding population in Iran, and of its wintering population in S Arabia and NE Africa, along with any additional information about the threats currently affecting this species across its range.
Albayrak, T., Gursoy, A. and Kirwan, G.M. (2003) International Action Plan for the Cinereous Bunting (Emberiza cineracea).
BirdLife International (2004) Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International (Conservation Series No. 12).
BirdLife International (2015) European Red List of Birds. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/info/euroredlist
Madge, S. (2011). Cinereous Bunting (Emberiza cineracea). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.) (2014). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. www.hbw.com