Overview

Distribution

Range Description

Chersophilus duponti has two subspecies: the nominate is found in Spain (mainly east Castilla y Lenand Aragn, also west Castilla y Lennear Portugese border, east Castilla-La Mancha and south-east Andaluca), Morocco (mostly in north-east, east of Midelt and the river Moulouya, also recent records from south of Great Atlas) and north Algeria (Hauts Plateaux); margaritae is found in Algeria (south slopes of Atlas Mountains east to Biskra), south-east Tunisia, northern Libya and coastal west Egypt. It is sparsely distributed and uncommon in most areas of its relatively small and fragmented range. Currently in Europe, the species is only found in continental Spain, which hosts around 13% of the global population of the (Surez et al. 2008). This Spanish population declined by more than 20% during 1970-1990 (Tucker and Heath 1994), but this rate of decline was thought to have slowed during 1990-2000 (BirdLife International 2004), with the total Spanish population estimated at 13,000-15,000 pairs following surveys in 1988 (Garza and Surez 1990). However, the original survey may have dramatically overestimated the size of the Spanish population, which may have comprised as few as 1,900 pairs in 1988 (Garza et al. 2003). Based upon census data collected in 2004-2007, the population was accurately assessed as 3,500-4,200 singing males (Surez and Garza 2007) with declines noted in most areas (Vicente et al. 2006). Taking into account that the sex ratio is approximately 0.61 (Surez et al. 2009), these results would mean the existence of roughly 2,200-2,700 pairs. Some authors consider that the sex ratio is even more biased towards males (Tella et al., 2004; Vgeli et al., 2007) which would lead to an even smaller population estimate. In Morocco, the species has a scattered and uneven distribution, and is not recorded in large areas of apparently suitable habitat. Recent work in Morocco calculated the extent of occurrence at 11,000 km2 including an effective area of occupancy within suitable habitat of 1,645 km2 (Garca et al. in press). This area was estimated to support a population of 15,400 singing males (Garca et al. in press). The number of birds in eastern populations is not known, but it appears the global population numbers a minimum of 35,000 individuals and may be considerably higher than this. There is some evidence of a skewed sex ratio suggesting that the effective population size may be lower (Tella et al. 2004; Vgeli et al. 2007). As well as declines noted in Spain, habitat loss has been recorded within the Moroccan breeding range, but its impact and overall trends are not well understood. Further information on population size and trends from the remainder of its North African range is needed, and this may lead to the species's reclassification in the future.

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It typically occupies open plains, shrub-steppe and high steppe dotted with wormwood (Artemisia spp.) and alfalfa (Stipa spp.) on hard or pebbly soils, avoiding sand (Isenmann and Moali 2000; Thvenot et al. 2003; Isenmann et al. 2005). In Spain, it occurs in areas with low bushes. It also occurs in cereal fields outside the breeding season. It is found from 50-1,550 m but mainly over 1,000 m. It feeds on the ground on insects and seeds. Breeding takes place in March-July.


Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
NT
Near Threatened

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s
Isenmann, P., Smart, M. & Vgeli, M.

Justification
This species has not been well studied across much of its range, but moderately rapid declines are known to have occurred in some areas and are suspected elsewhere. Consequently it is classified as Near Threatened (del Hoyo et al. 2004).


History
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
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