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Ankober Serin Serinus ankoberensis
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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The species is listed as Vulnerable because it has a small range and its habitat is threatened and declining. The species may require downlisting to Near Threatened if it is found to be very tolerant of habitat alterations occuring within its range.

Taxonomic source(s)
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

Taxonomic note
Serinus menachensis and S. ankoberensis (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) are retained as separate species contra Dowsett and Forbes-Watson (1993) who include ankoberensis as a subpsecies of S. menachensis.

11cm. Small canary. Greyish-brown upperparts, heavily overlaid with dark brown streaking. Off-white underparts, with bold and heavy, dark brown streaking from throat to vent. Pale, fine, pointed bill. Similar spp. Streaky Seedeater S. striolatus is very much larger, with much larger bill. Voice Soft, nasal szhree contact call. High-pitched, trilling flight call. Hints Best known area is the cliff-face 2-4 km north of Ankober town, Ethiopia.

Distribution and population
Serinus ankoberensis has a very restricted range in the highlands of central and northern Ethiopia, being known from four locations in Amhara Regional State, northern Shoa Province: around Ankober, including Goshmeda, Kundi and a ravine south of Debre Sina (up to 60 birds per visit; EWNHS 1996, Shimelis 1999); Deneba Wereda (13 birds in one visit; Shimelis 1999); Koreta, a very small area within Guassa Reserve (more than 100 birds in this area alone during a two-week survey of the reserve; Shimelis 1999); and in Chennek Camp and Bhawit in Simien Mountains National Park (up to 50 birds or more per visit) (Anon. 1997b, Shimelis 1999, J. Vivero in litt. 2003). In 2002, 300 birds were found in three days between 2,800 and 4,300 m in the Abuna Yosef mountains (Wello region; J. Vivero in litt. 2003). The species may occur in all ecologically similar habitat throughout the highland massif of Amhara Regional State and parts of Tigray. It is likely the species is found all along the eastern mountain escarpments from Ankober to Simien, including Abuye Meda, Amba Farit, Mt. Guna and perhaps Choke Mountains (J. Vivero in litt. 2003).

Population justification
The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 individuals. This equates to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The species's population is suspected to be in decline owing to the limited but increasing conversion and degradation of its habitat, although the likely rate of decline has not been estimated.

This gregarious species occurs along the escarpment rim of the Ethiopian highlands (EWNHS 1996, Shimelis 1999) in open terrain that includes broken hill-tops, near-vertical cliffs, steep, vegetated slopes and earth banks. It prefers to perch on lichen-covered rocks, bare earth and short-grazed pasture, ploughed land and feeds on seeds of grasses and herbs (EWNHS 1996, J. Vivero in litt. 2003). A nest has been found inside a vertical hole underneath an overhanging earth bank. Very sociable, with birds roosting, perching and feeding together. Often found in company of, or loosely associated with, Streaky S. striolatus or Brown-rumped S. tristriatus Seedeaters (J. Vivero in litt. 2003). Alights on no vegetation other than grass (J. Vivero in litt. 2003). Breeding takes place between October and March, although it possibly breeds during any season following heavy rain (EWNHS 1996). Clutch-size is three.

Much of its habitat is well-protected due to the steepness of the terrain. However, habitat in the Ankober area is under pressure from increased grazing and cultivation (EWNHS 1996, J. Vivero in litt. 2003). Habitat encroachment is increasing due to grazing and cultivation of new lands, both aspects closely related to increasing human and livestock population. Eucalyptus plantations represent a serious problem in some areas.

Conservation Actions Underway
Simien Mountains National Park offers reasonable protection for the species. Guassa Reserve (c.100 km2) is managed by the local community, who control grazing and the timing of grass-cutting within the reserve (Shimelis 1999). Otherwise there is little relevant conservation work in most of its range. Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue surveys to better determine the species's range, population size and trend. Assess possible threats. Search for this species in the eastern mountain escarpments from Ankober to Simien, including Abuye Meda, Amba Farit, Mt Guna, and perhaps Choke Mountains (J. Vivero in litt. 2003). Investigate the potential for a programme promoting community forestry, soil conservation and watershed management within its range (EWNHS 1996).

Collar, N. J.; Stuart, S. N. 1985. Threatened birds of Africa and related islands: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, and International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Cambridge, U.K.

EWNHS. 1996. Important Bird Areas of Ethiopia: a first inventory. Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society, Addis Ababa.

Shimelis, A. 1999. A range extension for Ankober Serin Serinus ankoberensis. Bulletin of the African Bird Club 6(2): 135-136.

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
Benstead, P., Ekstrom, J., Shutes, S., Starkey, M., Symes, A., Taylor, J.

Ash, J., Syvertsen, P., Vivero, J.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Serinus ankoberensis. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016.

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 - Ankober serin (Serinus ankoberensis) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Fringillidae (Finches and Hawaiian honeycreepers)
Species name author Ash, 1979
Population size 6000-15000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 16,400 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change