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Saffron Siskin Carduelis siemiradzkii
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species's habitat requirements, and therefore status, are unclear. If it is dependent on deciduous forest during part of its life-cycle, it may qualify as Endangered. If it is not dependent on this habitat, then it may only qualify as Near Threatened. Whatever its precise preferences, it appears that the population is small and severely fragmented, and the complete loss of forest patches is likely to be causing an ongoing decline. It therefore qualifies as Vulnerable.

Taxonomic source(s)
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

11 cm. Small, bright yellow-and-black finch. Male yellow with black hood, tail and wings, and yellow covert fringes and primary bases. Female is duller and lacks hood. Similar spp. Hooded Siskin C. magellanica has an olive, not yellow, mantle with black markings, both sexes are much less yellow. Voice A high twittering flight-call. Hints Favours weedy areas in quebradas and washes.

Distribution and population
Carduelis siemiradzkii is confined to south-west Ecuador (Manabí, Santa Elena, Guayas and Loja) and adjacent north-west Peru (Tumbes). It is uncommon to rare, being considered relatively common in only two areas.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 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 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
There is no new information on population size or trend, and little is known about threats to the population. However, continuing degradation of natural habitats within the species's range, together with the rarity of field observations of the species, suggest that the population could be in slow decline.

It inhabits semi-arid scrub and dry forest, also forest-edge tall grass and scrub, from near sea-level to 750 m. It has also been recorded in grassland and semi-humid forest edge (A. Agreda in litt. 2012). During fieldwork in July-September 1996, it was not encountered within intact forest, and it is reasonably tolerant of heavily disturbed habitats, with records from central Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city (Pople et al. 1997). However, it may depend on deciduous forest during part of its life-cycle. Most localities appear to be close to the forest-arid scrub interface (Ridgely et al. 1998), with the exception of records on the coast of Tumbes, Isla Puná, Guayas and a locality about which there is some confusion - Balzar Mountains, Manabí. Breeding is apparently during the wet season in January-May. It may undertake seasonal or nomadic movements, and may respond to climatic events such as El Niño (Pople et al. 1997). It is generally seen in groups, sometimes as large as 30 individuals (Pople et al. 1997).

Threats to this little-known species are unclear but, if it is dependent on deciduous forest during part of its life-cycle, it is probably seriously threatened by deforestation. Below 900 m, the rate of deforestation in west Ecuador in 1958-1988 was 57% per decade, as a result of clearance for agriculture, and intense grazing by goats and cattle (Dodson and Gentry 1991, Pople et al. 1997). Even if the species is not entirely dependent on deciduous forest during part of its life-cycle, the complete loss of forest patches is still likely to be leading to declines in overall habitat suitability (Dodson and Gentry 1991). Changes in agricultural practice, e.g. pesticide use, could also influence this species if it uses semi-agricultural habitats.

Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in six protected areas in Ecuador: Machalilla National Park and Pacoche Marine and Coastal Wildlife Refuge in Manabí (Solano et al. 2008), and Cerro Blanco Protection Forest, Guayas, Manglares-Churute Ecological Reserve, National Recreational Area of Parque Lago and Isla Santay National Recreational Area, Guayas (Wege and Long 1995; A. Agreda in litt. 2012). In Peru it is found in the Northwest Peru Biosphere Reserve, Tumbes (Wege and Long 1995).Conservation Actions Proposed
Research its habitat requirements, ecology and distribution and better determine its conservation status based on its dependence on deciduous forest (Dodson and Gentry 1991). Investigate the nature of seasonal or nomadic movements (Dodson and Gentry 1991). Ensure strict management of Machalilla National Park (Dodson and Gentry 1991) and other national reserves in western Ecuador.

Collar, N. J.; Gonzaga, L. P.; Krabbe, N.; Madroño Nieto, A.; Naranjo, L. G.; Parker, T. A.; Wege, D. C. 1992. Threatened birds of the Americas: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

Dodson, C. H.; Gentry, A. H. 1991. Biological extinction in western Ecuador. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 78: 273-295.

Pople, R. G.; Burfield, I. J.; Clay, R. P.; Cope, D. R.; Kennedy, C. P.; López Lanús, B.; Reyes, J.; Warren, B.; Yagual, E. 1997. Bird surveys and conservation status of three sites in western Ecuador: final report of Project Ortalis '96. CSB Publications, Cambridge, UK.

Ridgely, R. S.; Greenfield, P. J.; Guerrero, M. 1998. An annotated list of the birds of mainland Ecuador. Fundación Ornitológica del Ecuador, CECIA, Quito.

Wege, D. C.; Long, A. J. 1995. Key Areas for threatened birds in the Neotropics. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note, taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Recuento detallado de la especie tomado del libro Aves Amenazadas de las Americas, Libro Rojo de BirdLife International (BirdLife International 1992). Nota: la taxonomoía y la categoría de la Lista Roja de la UICN pudo haber cambiado desde esta publicación.

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

Text account compilers
Gilroy, J., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J

Ana, A., Freile, J.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Carduelis siemiradzkii. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016.

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 Vulnerable
Family Fringillidae (Finches and Hawaiian honeycreepers)
Species name author (Berlepsch & Taczanowski, 1883)
Population size 1500-7000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 18,400 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species