European Roller Coracias garrulus breeds in NW Africa, SW, SC, SE and E Europe, and in the Middle East, Arabia and C Asia to SW Siberia, wintering in sub-Saharan Africa (Fry et al. 2014). It is currently listed as Near Threatened, because when last assessed it was considered to have undergone a moderately rapid population decline.
Globally, it has an extremely large range in both the breeding season (>11 million km2) and in winter (>11 million km2), and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criteria (B and D2). Its population size is also very large (with 75,000–158,000 mature individuals in Europe alone; BirdLife International 2015), and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criteria (C and D1). Therefore, the only potentially relevant criterion is A, which relates to reductions in population size. Until recently, the population was thought to be declining moderately rapidly, at a rate approaching the threshold for listing as Vulnerable under criterion A (at least a 30% decline over ten years or three generations, whichever is longer), based largely on trend data collated from across its European range for the period 1990–2000 (BirdLife International 2004).
New data collated from across Europe for the European Red List of Birds (BirdLife International 2015) suggest that the species is no longer declining so steeply overall (although many national populations in C and E Europe are still declining). A combination of official data reported by 27 EU Member States to the European Commission under Article 12 of the EU Birds Directive and comparable data from other European countries, provided by BirdLife Partners and other leading national ornithologists, suggests that the European breeding population has probably declined overall by only c. 5–20% over the last three generations (16.8 years, based on a generation length estimated by BirdLife to be 5.6 years). Consequently, the species is now classified as Least Concern at European level (BirdLife International 2015).
Conservation action to implement the recommendations in the species action plan (Kovacs et al. 2008) has contributed to recoveries in several countries (Bulgaria, Spain, France and Hungary – see e.g. Kiss et al. 2014, Rodriguez et al. 2011), but it is still declining overall in Europe and far from secure, with many national populations highly depleted, some on the brink of extinction and others already nationally extinct.
Based on its distribution, Europe holds around 40% of the global breeding range, with the remainder in Central Asia, the Middle East and NW Africa. When last assessed, there was no evidence of significant declines in these regions, so the species’ global status was based largely on the decline in Europe. Now that rate of decline in Europe has slowed, the information available implies that globally the species is not declining sufficiently rapidly to be listed as Near Threatened, and should be reclassified as Least Concern.
Comments on this proposal are welcome, along with any data regarding the recent trend of its breeding population in Central Asia, the Middle East and NW Africa, and of its wintering population in Africa, along with any additional information about the threats currently affecting this species across its range.
BirdLife International (2004) Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International (Conservation Series No. 12).
BirdLife International (2015) European Red List of Birds. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/info/euroredlist
Fry, H., Boesman, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2014). European Roller (Coracias garrulus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.) (2014). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. www.hbw.com
Kiss, O., Elek, Z., & Moskát, C. (2014). High breeding performance of European Rollers Coracias garrulus in heterogeneous farmland habitat in southern Hungary. Bird Study, 61(4), 496-505.
Kovacs, A., Barov, B., Orhun, C. & Gallo-Orsi, U. (2008) International Species Action Plan for the European Roller Coracias garrulus garrulus.
Rodriguez, J., Aviles, J. M., & Parejo, D. (2011). The value of nestboxes in the conservation of Eurasian Rollers Coracias garrulus in southern Spain. Ibis, 153(4), 735-745.
The attached PDF shows the map from Kazakhstan referred to by Raffael Ayé in his post of 07 September – please see this for further details.