IUCN: LC; EUBD (IIA)
Value of species
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 14,200,000-28,600,000 pairs, which equates to 28,400,000-57,300,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.40% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 71,000,000-143,000,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.
Trend Justification: The population is suspected to be stable overall in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats. In Europe, trends between 1980 and 2013 show that populations have been stable (EBCC 2015).
This species typically inhabits mixed habitat, mainly part-wooded and part-open country, commonly using trees for breeding and roosting and hedges and open ground for foraging. It breeds in boreal forests of mixed pine (Pinus) and birch (Betula), as well as scrub, clearings, parks and gardens. In high latitudes, relatively small numbers extend beyond the tree-line into alpine heathland and tundra scrub, and even to entirely bleak grassy islands in the extreme north. It winters mainly in lowlands, often in more open habitats, including grassy and cultivated fields, moorland edges, woodland edges and orchards. Breeding occurs from early April to late August, with timing varying with latitude. The nest is a bulky, untidy cup, made of twigs, roots, moss, lichen, grass and leaves, lined with animal hair, rootlets and fine grass, and cemented with mud. It is generally sited in the fork of a tree or against the trunk or on a branch, usually towards upper levels of tree and normally at least two metres off the ground but occasionally on ground, or in a cliff face. Normally lays five or six eggs. The diet is mainly invertebrates and fruits, but also takes berries and seeds in the winter, and shoots and buds in the spring. The species is migratory but movements are essentially irruptive and nomadic (Collar 2015).
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