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Abd Al Kuri Sparrow Passer hemileucus

This species is classified as Vulnerable as it is estimated to have a small population which is known from very few locations. If its population is judged to be smaller or declining the species may be uplisted in the future.

Taxonomic source(s)
Kirwan, G. M. 2008. Studies of Socotran birds III. Morphological and mensural evidence for a 'new' species in the Rufous Sparrow Passer motitensis complex endemic to the island of Abd 'Al-Kuri, with the validation of Passer insularis Sclater

Taxonomic note
Passer motitensis (Dowsett and Forbes-Watson 1993) has been split into six species: P. motitensis, P. rufocinctus, and P. insularis following Sibley & Monroe (1990, 1993), Urban (2004) and Kirwan (2008), and P. shelleyi, P. cordofanicus and P. hemileucus following Urban (2004) and Kirwan (2008). Examination of the species complex by the BirdLife Taxonomic Working Group noted appreciable morphological differences between these taxa.

13-14 cm. Male is chestnut with grey upperparts, streaked on back, chestnut supercilium curving down behind ear-coverts, and blackish stripe curving around rear of ear-coverts. Upperwing is blackish to dark brown, feathers edged buffish to warm brown, lesser coverts chestnut, grey tips on median coverts, narrow buff tips on greater coverts, and small pale patch at base of primaries. Female is slightly smaller, with pale brown or warm buff colouring replacing chestnut colouring on the male. Similar spp. P. insularis has darker underparts and is slightly larger. See Kirwan (2008) for full description. Voice. Dry chirping calls, "cheep", "chee-sheep", "chip" and "jup".

Distribution and population
Passer hemileucus is found on the island of Abd al Kuri, Socotra Archipelago, Yemen (Kirwan 2008). Birds were found to be fairly common in the main settlement; however, most of the island lacks suitable habitat and the population has been estimated at fewer than 1,000 individuals (Ryan et al. 2009).

Population justification
The population has been estimated at

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of any identified threats (R. Porter in litt. 2010).

A flock of roughly 100 birds was sighted scavenging amongst refuse. Individuals are thought to roost in vegetation in the foothills of limestone mountains (Ryan et al. 2009). Its diet is thought to include the seeds of grasses and small plants, and water is obtained almost totally from its diet (del Hoyo et al. 2009).

No threats are known.

Conservation Actions Underway
No targeted conservation actions are known for this species. Conservation Actions Proposed
Assess the population size and establish a monitoring programme to establish trends. Study the ecology of the species. Identify and assess threats.

Related state of the world's birds case studies

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Christie, D. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Kirwan, G. M. 2008. Studies of Socotran birds III. Morphological and mensural evidence for a 'new' species in the Rufous Sparrow Passer motitensis complex endemic to the island of Abd 'Al-Kuri, with the validation of Passer insularis Sclater & Hartlaub, 1881. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 128(2): 83-93.

Ryan, P. G.; Porter, R. F.; Rose, B.; Sleiman, A. S. 2009. Juvenile plumage of the Socotra Bunting Emberiza socotrana. Sandgrouse 31(2): 109-111.

Text account compilers
Calvert, R., Taylor, J.

Jennings, M., Porter, R.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Passer hemileucus. Downloaded from on 18/04/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 18/04/2014.

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 Vulnerable
Family Passeridae (Sparrows, snowfinches and allies)
Species name author Ogilvie-Grant & Forbes, 1900
Population size 250-999 mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 130 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species