Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis is a widespread breeder in open habitats across much of central and northern Europe, wintering mainly in western and southern Europe, with some reaching coastal North Africa and the Middle East. It is currently listed as Least Concern, because when last assessed it was not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN Red List criteria.
Globally, it has an extremely large range in both the breeding season (>6 million km2) and in winter (>5 million km2), and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criteria (B and D2). Its population size is also extremely large (with 19–30 million mature individuals in Europe alone; BirdLife International 2015), and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criteria (C and D1). Therefore, the only potentially relevant criterion is A, which relates to reductions in population size. Until recently, the population was thought to be declining slowly, but not sufficiently rapidly to approach the threshold for listing as Vulnerable under criterion A (at least a 30% decline over ten years or three generations, whichever is longer).
New data collated from across Europe for the European Red List of Birds (BirdLife International 2015) indicate that the species has declined significantly in recent years, and that this decline is ongoing. A combination of official data reported by 27 EU Member States to the European Commission under Article 12 of the EU Birds Directive and comparable data from other European countries, provided by BirdLife Partners and other leading national ornithologists, suggests that the European breeding population has declined overall by 25–30% over the last three generations (11.4 years, based on a generation length estimated by BirdLife to be 3.8 years). This corresponds well with the declining trend reported by PECBMS (the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme). Consequently, the species is now classified as Near Threatened at European level (BirdLife International 2015).
Based on its distribution, Europe holds more than 90% of the global range of this species, so this decline is of global significance. No information is available about the trends of the Russian breeding population, which extends just east of the Ural Mountains into West Siberia, but the Russian population comprises only c. 15% of the European population (BirdLife International 2015). Overall, therefore, the species’ global population has probably declined by more than 25% over the last three generations, and is continuing to decline, thereby qualifying it for uplisting to Near Threatened under criterion A.
Comments on this proposal are welcome, along with any information about the threats affecting this species across its range, and any data regarding the recent trend of its breeding population in Russia.
BirdLife International (2015) European Red List of Birds. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/info/euroredlist