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Arabian Grosbeak Rhynchostruthus percivali
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species has been classfied as Near Threatened owing to its moderately small and potentially declining population.

Taxonomic note
Rhynchostruthus socotranus (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) has been split into R. socotranus, R. percivali and R. louisae following Kirwan and Grieve (2007).

Identification. Adult male, grey-brown in colour, black bill. Head brown with dark grey mask and white cheeks; bright yellow patches on the wings and tail. Females similar to males but somewhat duller. Juveniles streaky and lack adult head pattern.

Distribution and population
Rhynchostruthus percivali occurs in Saudi Arabia, Oman and Yemen. It is generally scarce and difficult to locate even at known sites (with the exception perhaps of Yemen [R. Porter in litt. 2006]), with an approximate population estimate of c.3,000 pairs (i.e. c.9,000 individuals including juveniles and non-breeders), comprising 500 pairs in Saudi Arabia, 500 pairs in Oman (although this may be optimistic J. Atkins in litt. 2006), and c.2,000 pairs in Yemen (Kirwin and Grieve 2007, M. Jennings in litt. 2006: information from Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Arabia). There have not been any records in the region between Aden and Mukallah since 1950, despite better observer coverage, suggesting that it is very rare there or possibly that the range has contracted (M. Jennings in litt. 2006: information from Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Arabia).

Population justification
It is generally scarce and difficult to locate even at known sites, with the exception perhaps of Yemen (R. Porter in litt. 2006). Its population is approximately estimated to number c.3,000 pairs, i.e. c.6,000 mature individuals and c.9,000 individuals including juveniles and non-breeders. This comprises 500 pairs in Saudi Arabia; 500 pairs in Oman, although this may be optimistic (J. Atkins in litt. 2006), and c.2,000 pairs in Yemen (M. Jennings in litt. 2006).

Trend justification
R. Porter in litt. (2006) indicated that the species is possibly declining.

It inhabits high-altitude scrub-covered rocky terrain with Euphorbia and Acacia, Juniperus woodland, and Anogeissus/Compiphora woods in Yemen, and steep-sided valleys and seaward facing slopes with luxuriant tree growth of Adansonia digitata, Comiphora habessinica and shrub euphorbias in Oman (Fry and Keith (2004). It feeds mainly on fruit and seeds (Fry and Keith 2004).

It may be threatened by habitat degradation, due to over-grazing and clearance for agriculture.

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known. Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey throughout its historic range to determine current range and population size. Asses the extent and impact of habitat loss on populations. Attempt to determine why it is more abundant in parts of its range. If appropriate, protect habitat at important sites.

Fry, C. H.; Keith, S. 2004. The birds of Africa vol. VII. Christopher Helm, London.

Jennings, M. C. 2010. Atlas of the breeding birds of Arabia. Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, Frankfurt am Main, Germany and Riyadh.

Kirwan, G. M.; Grieve, A. 2007. Studies of Socotran birds II. One, two or three species: towards a rational taxonomy for the Golden-winged Grosbeak Rhynchostruthus socotranus. Bulletin of the African Bird Club 14(2): 159-169.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Mahood, S. & Martin, R

Atkins, J., Jennings, M. & Porter, R.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Rhynchostruthus percivali. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Fringillidae (Finches and Hawaiian honeycreepers)
Species name author Ogilvie-Grant, 1900
Population size 6000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 83,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species