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Sylvia conspicillata

warning Vulnerable

Contributed: Asaf Mayrose, Avner Rinot, Yoav Perlman, Ezra Hadad, Yosef Kiat, Tuvia Kahn, Lior Kislev, Rei Segali, Eyal Shochat, Ido Zurim, Noam Weiss

The Spectacled Warbler is classified as a Vulnerable (VU) species based on the declining population trend and range reduction, particularly in the steppe and semi-arid transition regions. In the previous edition of the Red Book (2002), it was classified as Vulnerable (VU). The unchanged status reflects the continued decline in the breeding population size and range.
VU Current Regional Assessment | VU Previous Regional Assessment | LC World Assessment

Habitats Mediterranean Batha, Semi-desert Batha
Presence In Israel Resident
Nesting In Israel Breeder
Migration Types Short Range / Partial
Zoography Zones Irano-Turanian
Landscape Formations Mountainous, Wide Wadis
Vegetation Formations Steppe
Vegetation Densities Low
Nest Locations Bushes
Diet Types Invertebrate
Foraging Grounds Trees and Shrubs
Body Sizes Small (up to 500g)
Threat Factors Plantations, Wildfires, Overgrazing, Habitat Fragmentation

The Spectacled Warbler is a small, shy warbler that inhabits shrubland in the desert and semi-arid transition areas. The male is relatively colorful for a warbler, with a bluish-grey head and a prominent white eye-ring. Underparts are pale pink and flight feathers rufous. The female and juveniles have a grey head and white underparts and a chestnut wing patch. The Spectacled Warbler has a narrow slender body with a long tail and short, rounded wings. In the field, it jumps nimbly from shrub to shrub, raising its tail occasionally. Its call is a raspy warble that usually reveals its presence.

A resident species found in shrubland in desert and steppe regions, with a patchy distribution – very common in some areas and completely absent from others. Outside the breeding season, it moves to lower regions, particularly the Arava and Jordan valleys. On Mt. Hermon, the Spectacled Warbler is found in the spiny-cushion-plants (tragacanth) zone up to altitudes of 2,100 meters. In Judea and Samaria, it is restricted to well developed, dense Prickly Burnet Sarcopoterium spinosum scrub patches, mainly on the eastern side of Israel’s watershed. In the Negev, it breeds sparsely, mainly in the Yeroham-Dimona and Revivim-Nitsana areas, and in the Western Negev sands. In the early 20th century, the Spectacled Warbler population apparently expanded north and west to areas of Prickly Burnet scrubland formed after native woodland was cut. In the 1970s, this expansion stopped and the population began receding because of reduced grazing, development and afforestation. During the 1980s and 1990s, the species gradually disappeared from extensive areas of Judea and Samaria, from Mt. Carmel, the Eastern Galilee and the southern Golan Heights.

Open exposed landscapes with low vegetation, mainly in the desert and steppe regions. In the Mediterranean region, it is associated with the Prickly Burnet plant community, in the desert region it nests in wadis with patches of shrubs and grasses.

Habitat modification, particularly due to development, planting and expansion of agricultural areas. Overgrazing causes a direct disturbance, nest trampling and nestling predation (by dogs accompanying the herds). This is a major factor in the semi-arid transition area in Judea, Samaria and the Northern Negev, while lack of grazing in the Carmel and Galilee led to alteration and shrinking of suitable habitats for the warblers.

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.
  • מירוז, א. 2013. סיכום סקר ציפורים במזרח לכיש, אביב 2013. דו"ח רשות הטבע והגנים.
  • מירוז, א. ושוחט, א. 2014. סיכום סקר ציפורים סביב היישוב נטע במזרח לכיש – 2014. דו"ח רשות הטבע והגנים.
  • מירוז, א., 2007 . סיכום סקר ציפורים בגבעות גומר. דו"ח עבור רשות הטבע והגנים.
  • פז, ע. 1986. עופות. מתוך אלון, ע. (עורך), החי והצומח של ארץ ישראל. כרך 6. הוצאת משרד הביטחון, ישראל.
  • Perlman, Y., Shochat, E. and Labinger, Z. 2011. Developing Managment plan for important bird areas in southern Israel. second annual report, Nizzana region and Arava Valley.Israeli Ornithological center, SPNI.
  • Shirihai, H., 1996. The Birds of Israel. Academic Press, London.
  • Shochat, E., Abramski, Z., Pinshow, B., 2001. Breeding bird species diversity in the Negev: Effects of Scrub Fragmentation by planted forests. Journal of Applied Ecology, 38, 1135-1147.
  • Symes, A. 2013. Species generation lengths. Unpublished, BirdLife International.
  • Species page at Birdlife International
Contributed: Asaf Mayrose, Avner Rinot, Yoav Perlman, Ezra Hadad, Yosef Kiat, Tuvia Kahn, Lior Kislev, Rei Segali, Eyal Shochat, Ido Zurim, Noam Weiss

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

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% of protected sites

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