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Cinereous Bunting Emberiza cineracea

IUCN Red List Criteria

Near Threatened (criteria nearly met) C1 

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
2012 Near Threatened
2008 Near Threatened
2004 Near Threatened
2000 Lower Risk/Near Threatened
1994 Lower Risk/Near Threatened
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern

Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type continent
shelf island
Average mass 24.3 g


  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 83,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 230,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 5400-15800 medium Estimated 2004
Population trend Decreasing poor -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 3.6 - - -
Population justification: Based on estimates of 2,600-7,800 breeding pairs in Europe and less than 100 pairs in Iran, the population is estimated to number 5,400-15,800 mature individuals, roughly equating to 8,000-24,000 individuals in total.
Trend justification: A slow to moderate overall decline is suspected, based on reported declines in Turkey (which probably holds more than 90% of the global breeding population) of 1-19% during 1990-2000 (BirdLife International 2004).

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Bahrain Native Extant     Yes
Cyprus Native Extant     Yes
Denmark Vagrant Extant      
Egypt Native Extant     Yes
Eritrea Native Extant   Yes  
Ethiopia Unknown Extant      
Greece Native Extant Yes    
Iran, Islamic Republic of Native Extant Yes    
Iraq Native Extant Yes    
Israel Native Extant     Yes
Jordan Native Extant     Yes
Kuwait Native Extant     Yes
Lebanon Native Extant     Yes
Norway Vagrant Extant      
Oman Vagrant Extant     Yes
Palestinian Authority Territories Native Extant     Yes
Qatar Native Extant     Yes
Saudi Arabia Native Extant     Yes
Sudan Native Extant     Yes
Syria Native Extant     Yes
Tunisia Vagrant Extant      
Turkey Native Extant Yes    
United Arab Emirates Native Extant     Yes
Uzbekistan Vagrant Extant      
Yemen Native Extant   Yes  

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Eritrea Dehalak Archipelago and offshore islands site factsheet
Greece Ikaria island site factsheet
Greece Mount Kohilas, Skyros island site factsheet
Greece North Chios site factsheet
Greece South-west peninsula-petrified forest, Lesvos site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Ilam area site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Lake Zaribar site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Western Zagros north of Nowsud site factsheet
Iraq Benavi site factsheet
Iraq Dori Serguza site factsheet
Iraq Ser Amadiya site factsheet
Israel Southern Arava valley and Elat mountains site factsheet
Palestinian Authority Territories Ein Al-Fashkha site factsheet
Saudi Arabia Jabal Aja and Northern Ha'il site factsheet
Saudi Arabia Wadi Turabah and Jabal Ibrahim site factsheet
Turkey Alaçatı site factsheet
Turkey Amanos Mountains site factsheet
Turkey Bey Mountains site factsheet
Turkey Datça and Bozburun Peninsula site factsheet
Turkey Dicle Valley site factsheet
Turkey Dilek Peninsula site factsheet
Turkey Girdev Lake and Akdağlar site factsheet
Turkey Karaburun and İldir Strait Islands site factsheet
Turkey Küpeli Mountain site factsheet
Turkey Mardin Threshold site factsheet
Turkey Nemrut Mountain site factsheet
Turkey Southern Euphrates Valley and Birecik Plains site factsheet
Turkey Tanin Tanin Mountains site factsheet
Turkey Yeşilce site factsheet
Yemen Haraz mountains site factsheet
Yemen Jabal Sumarah site factsheet
Yemen Mahwit site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land suitable breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land suitable non-breeding
Desert Temperate suitable breeding
Desert Temperate suitable non-breeding
Other suitable non-breeding
Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks) suitable breeding
Shrubland Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation suitable breeding
Shrubland Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation suitable non-breeding
Altitude 0 - 2200 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact

Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Livestock farming & ranching / Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Decline Medium Impact:
Ecosystem degradation
Natural system modifications Dams & water management/use / Dams (size unknown) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Decline Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Residential & commercial development Tourism & recreation areas Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Decline Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Emberiza cineracea. 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 Near Threatened
Family Emberizidae (Buntings, American sparrows and allies)
Species name author Brehm, 1855
Population size 5400-15800 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 83,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species