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Monticola saxatilis

warning Vulnerable
VU (D1)

Contributed: Asaf Mayrose, Avner Rinot

The Rufous-tailed Rock-thrush is classified as Vulnerable (VU) because of the small size of its breeding population, which is estimated at less than 50 adult birds, combined with the regional adjustment for the Mt. Hermon breeding population being a marginal population at the edge of its global range. In the previous edition of the Red Book (2002), it was classified as Near Threatened (NT). The change in its status does not reflect an actual change in the species population, but rather differences between assessment methods in the two editions.
VU Current Regional Assessment | NT Previous Regional Assessment | LC World Assessment

Habitats Rocky Terrain, Alpine Scrubland
Presence In Israel Summer Breeder, Migrant
Nesting In Israel Breeder
Migration Types Long Range
Zoography Zones Alpine
Landscape Formations Mountainous, Rugged Terrain
Vegetation Densities Low
Nest Locations Ground, Cliffs
Diet Types Invertebrate
Foraging Grounds Ground
Body Sizes Small (up to 500g)
Threat Factors Habitat Fragmentation

The Rufous-tailed Rock-thrush is a colorful passerine the size of a blackbird that inhabits rocky mountainous areas. The brightly colored male has a rusty orange belly, a bluish head, throat and nape and dark grey wings. The female and juveniles are browner, occasionally with a pattern of crescent-shaped patches. Its body is rounded and stocky and with a relatively long and strong bill. The tail is short, square and rusty red in all plumages.

Migrates in small numbers throughout Israel, mainly in spring. It breeds only on Mt. Hermon, with the exception of one nest found in the Upper Galilee in the 1990s. The breeding survey conducted on Mt. Hermon in summer 2013 estimated the breeding population there at approximately 10 pairs (Israeli & Perlman 2013).

Favors mountain slopes and rocky landscapes, usually at altitudes over 1,500 meters.

The population is threatened by development on Mt. Hermon, including roadworks, development of ski runs and other installations.

No specific conservation measures have been taken for this species to date.

  • ישראלי, נ. ופרלמן, י. 2013. סיכום סקר עופות מקננים בחרמון. דו"ח מרכז הצפרות של החברה להגנת הטבע.
  • פז, ע. 1986. עופות. מתוך אלון, ע. (עורך), החי והצומח של ארץ ישראל. כרך 6. הוצאת משרד הביטחון, ישראל.
Contributed: Asaf Mayrose, Avner Rinot

Current Occupancy Map

Distribution maps

The maps presented here provide visual information on the distribution of species in Israel in the past and present, and the changes in occupancy and nesting density during the comparison period. For further reading

Relative Abundance 2010-2020

Breeding density values as calculated from observation records and expert opinions.

Relative Abundance 1980-1990

Breeding density values are based mainly on the book Birds of Israel (Shirihai 1996).

Occupancy difference 1990-2020

A map that expresses differences in the breeding distribution between the evaluation periods (1980-1990 versus 2010-2020). Negative value - species previously present but is currently absent, positive value - species has not been recorded previously and is currently present, zero - no change in occupancy.

Relative abundance difference 1990-2020

A map that reflects the changes in the relative abundance of the species between the evaluation periods (1980-1990 versus 2010-2020). Negative values - decline in abundance, positive values - increase in abundance, zero - no change in abundance.

Red number

IUCN category

() districts
% of protected sites

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