Blue Chaffinch Fringilla teydea is endemic to the Canary Islands (Spain), and comprises two subspecies: F. t. teydea on Tenerife and F. t. polatzeki on Gran Canaria. It is currently listed as Near Threatened under B and C criteria on the IUCN Red List, because when last assessed it was estimated to have a small and decreasing range (<500km2) and a moderately small population, which was thought to have declined but not to be severely fragmented or restricted to fewer than ten locations.
The two subspecies face quite different pressures and have different levels of threat. F. t. polatzeki is largely restricted to one area on Gran Canaria, and despite ongoing conservation projects, its very small population is still threatened by habitat loss, forest fires and fragmentation, making it one of the most endangered populations in the Canary Islands (Rodriguez & Moreno 2004).
On Tenerife, however, F. t. teydea is more numerous and widespread. Its distribution is closely linked to that of Pinus canariensis forest, whose recovery (through better management) has allowed the species to spread, increasing its Area of Occupancy by up to 32% (BirdLife International 2010). At species level, therefore, F. teydea is now considered very likely to have an increasing population (BirdLife International 2010).
Although an accurate total population estimate is still lacking, data collated for the 2010 EU Species Action Plan review confirm the increase in the species’s range on Tenerife, which strongly suggests that its overall population size has also increased. Notwithstanding the precarious state of the Gran Canaria subspecies and its need for ongoing conservation work, this suggests that the global status of the species ought to be revised to Least Concern. Comments on this proposal are invited.
BirdLife International (2004) Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International.
BirdLife International (2010) Species Action Plan Implementation Report: Blue Chaffinch Fringilla teydea. http://www.birdlifeforums.org/WebX/.2cba71fd
Rodriguez, F. and Moreno, A. (2004) Fringilla teydea polatzeki. In: Madroño, A., González, C. and Atienza, J. C., eds. (2004) Libro Rojo de las aves de España. Madrid: Dirección General de Conservación de la Naturaleza and SEO/BirdLife.
Tucker & Heath (1994) Birds in Europe: their conservation status. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International.
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