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Sylvia leucomelaena

warning Critically Endangered
CR (D1)

Contributed: Avner Rinot, Lior Kislev, Asaf Mayrose, Itay Shanni

The Arabian Warbler is classified as Critically Endangered (CR) because of its extremely small breeding population, which is estimated at less than 50 mature individuals. In the previous edition of the Red Book (2002), it was also classified as Critically Endangered (CR), and there has not been a dramatic change in its population since then.
CR Current Regional Assessment | CR Previous Regional Assessment | LC World Assessment

Habitats Acaicia Savanna
Presence In Israel Resident
Nesting In Israel Breeder
Migration Types Resident
Zoography Zones Sudano-Zambezian
Landscape Formations Plains & Valleys, Wide Wadis
Vegetation Formations Trees
Vegetation Densities Medium
Nest Locations Tree
Diet Types Invertebrate
Foraging Grounds Trees and Shrubs
Body Sizes Small (up to 500g)
Threat Factors Habitat Fragmentation, Drynage of Acacia Trees

The Arabian Warbler is a rare resident species in the Arava Valley. Until the early 1980s, it was a relatively common resident in all parts of the Arava Valley and occupied all the suitable habitats south of the Dead Sea in the north and down to Ein Evrona near Eilat. The population at the time was estimated at about 120 pairs (Shirihai 1996). During the last two decades, the species suffered a sharp decline in the number of pairs and its range decreased. A general survey along the Arava Valley put the current population at less than 20 pairs (Perlman et al. 2012).

Stands of large, developed acacia trees in the Arava flatlands or at the opening of wadis flowing into the valley.

The range of the Arabian Warbler is limited to small areas on both sides of the Red Sea. The local subspecies S. l. negevensis is endemic to the Arava Valley in Israel and Jordan.

The major threats facing the Arabian Warbler are habitat modification due to drying up of acacias in the Arava Valley, development and land reclamation for agriculture and building, as well as direct disturbance by vehicle and human traffic.

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

The Arabian Warbler once nested in acacia stands along the entire Arava Valley. During the past three decades, its population size decreased due to the drying up of acacia trees in the Arava, reduction of natural areas because of agriculture and development, and direct human disturbance. The current breeding population is fragmented and limited to a small number of acacia stands. The population on the Jordanian side of the valley is apparently larger. The population in the Israeli and Jordanian Arava Valley belongs to an endemic subspecies, which is isolated and a few hundred kilometers distant from the nearest population, that breeds in the Arabian Peninsula.

Statutory protection of quality acacia stands against development
Protection of breeding areas from disturbance by hikers and vehicles

  • פז, ע. 1986. עופות. מתוך אלון, ע. (עורך), החי והצומח של ארץ ישראל. כרך 6. הוצאת משרד הביטחון, ישראל.
  • פרלמן, י., שוחט, א. ולבינגר, ז. 2009. סקר אטלס ציפורים בערבה סיכום שנת 2009. דו"ח מרכז הצפרות של החברה להגנת הטבע.
  • 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.
  • Symes, A. 2013. Species generation lengths. Unpublished, BirdLife International.
  • Species page at Birdlife International
Contributed: Avner Rinot, Lior Kislev, Asaf Mayrose, Itay Shanni

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

Other Species

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Sylvia curruca
Sylvia melanocephala
Sylvia hortensis