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Yemen Warbler Sylvia buryi
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species qualifies as Vulnerable because it has a small and declining population owing to deforestation and alteration of its montane woodland habitat.

Taxonomic source(s)
Dowsett, R. J.; Forbes-Watson, A. D. 1993. Checklist of birds of the Afrotropical and Malagasy regions. Tauraco Press, Li
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

Parisoma buryi Collar and Andrew (1988), Parisoma buryi BirdLife International (2000), Parisoma buryi Collar et al. (1994)

15 cm. Rather large warbler with short wings and long tail. Both sexes have sooty-grey upperparts, darkest around eye, and clearly demarcated from white throat. Apricot patch between legs (Porter et al. 1996). Whitish iris gives a staring look. Similar spp Arabian Warbler Sylvia leucomelaena is more pure grey, with whitish vent and dark eye (Brooks 1987). Sylvia warblers do not creep about when probing into bark for insects. Voice Song is slow, quite loud, thrush-like warble, often sustained (Baker 1997). Hints Very active and nearly always in pairs, searching methodically for insects in the centre of thick acacias, frequently hanging upside down. Occasionally forages on ground. Flight is weak and low, with upward swoop when landing on branch.

Distribution and population
Sylvia buryi is a very local resident in montane south-west Arabia from 1,500-2,900 m (Brooks 1987, Jennings et al. 1988). It occurs from 19°30'N in the southern Asir mountains in Saudi Arabia, south to 13°55'N at Jiblah in Yemen (Brooks 1987). The species can be locally common (Brooks 1987), and population densities (Jennings et al. 1988, Newton and Newton 1996) probably fall within the range of 1-100 mature individuals per km2 at the sites where it occurs. On this basis, its population is inferred to number fewer than 10,000 mature individuals.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 mature individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 3,750-14,999 individuals, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
No data are available to calculate population trends; however, the species is suspected to be declining at a slow rate, in line with habitat degradation within its range.

In Yemen it is closely associated with woodland dominated by the tree Acacia origena (Brooks 1987), which generally occurs as copses, hedgerows and scattered trees in highland landscapes of terraced cultivation, while in Saudi Arabia it also occurs within well-developed Juniperus woodland (Stagg 1984, Jennings et al. 1988,  Newton and Newton 1996). The species occurs in pairs for much of the year and is strongly territorial (Shirihai et al. 2000). It nests in a bush or tree, with breeding recorded from March to July (Jennings 1995). 

Lopping and cutting of trees and shrubs - for fuel, fodder and building material - are proceeding at unsustainable levels in many parts of Yemen (Brooks 1987,  Scholte et al. 1991) (where the human population is expanding rapidly), and are likely therefore to be causing a net loss of dense wooded cover. Loss of well-wooded farmland to infrastructural development and agricultural intensification may also be a threat in Saudi Arabia (Newton and Newton 1996). Together, these threats imply that the species's population is likely to be decreasing, since woodland regeneration is poor over much of its range (Scholte et al. 1991).

Conservation Actions Underway
There are many traditional rangeland reserves (mahjur) in south-west Arabia, where the vegetation (including trees) is protected by private or communal ownership rights from excessive exploitation, in order to provide fodder in times of drought (Scholte et al. 1991). However, the management of these areas has been widely neglected or abandoned since the advent of more convenient supplies of supplemental livestock feed (Scholte et al. 1991). The species occurs in at least two protected areas in Saudi Arabia: Raydah Reserve (Newton and Newton 1996) and Asir National Park (Jennings et al. 1988). Conservation Actions Proposed
Encourage non-intensive agroforestry practices. Collect more data on its range and distribution, in order to better explain its highly localised occurrence. Conduct a closer study of its strong association with the tree Acacia origena.

Baker, K. 1997. Warblers of Europe, Asia and North Africa. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Brooks, D. J. 1987. The Yemen Warbler in North Yemen. Sandgrouse: 90-93.

Jennings, M. C. 1995. An interim atlas of the breeding birds of Arabia. National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development, Riyadh.

Jennings, M. C.; al Salama, M. I.; Felemban, H. M. 1988. Report on an ornithological survey of the Asir National Park, Saudi Arabia: 29 June to 18 July 1987. National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development, Riyadh.

Newton, S. F.; Newton, A. V. 1996. Seasonal changes in the abundance and diversity of birds in threatened juniper forest in the southern Asir mountains, Saudi Arabia. Bird Conservation International 6: 371-392.

Porter, R.F., Christensen, S. and Schiermacker-Hansen, P. 1996. Poyser, London, UK.

Scholte, P.; Khuleidi, A. W. A.; Kessler, J. J. 1991. The vegetation of the Republic of Yemen (western part). Environmental Protection Council and Agricultural Research Authority, Dhamar, Yemen.

Shirihai, H.; Gargallo, G.; Helbig, A. J. 2001. Sylvia warblers: identification, taxonomy and phylogeny of the genus Sylvia. Helm, London.

Stagg, A. H. 1984. The birds of S.W. Saudi Arabia. A. H. Stagg, Riyadh.

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
Ekstrom, J., Mahood, S., Martin, R, Martins, R., Taylor, J.

Al-Sagheir, O., Jennings, M., Porter, R.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Sylvia buryi. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016.

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.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Yemen warbler (Sylvia buryi) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Sylviidae (Old World warblers)
Species name author (Ogilvie-Grant, 1913)
Population size 2500-9999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 62,400 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species