CONSERVATION STATUS.

The Desert Finch was found in Armenia in 2016 and since that time breeds in the country regularly and even was noted for slight expansion of its range. So far the species demonstrates rather strong link to semi-desert habitat and therefore should be considered as protected. Its population dynamics has to be revealed yet.

HABITAT.

Lowland, arid and semi-arid areas of open plains and semi-deserts with sparse vegetation, low scrub, thickets and scattered trees, also some edges of orchards and vineyards.

FEEDING BEHAVIOR.

Forages on the ground in or under vegetation; perches in trees and bushes and takes buds and shoots, usually in pairs and small flocks.

 

EGGS.

Clutch consists on 4–6 eggs, white to pale greenish-blue with fine blackish or purple spots and streaks; incubation is done by female, period 12–15 days; chicks fed and cared for by both parents, nestling period 13–14 days.

YOUNG.

The young are fed by parents after leaving the nest, and become fully independent after 14–16 days.

DIET.

The species’ diet mostly consists on small seeds, buds, shoots, as well as some insects. Seeds and buds include those of elm, saltwort, winter-cress, camel’s-thorn, stickseed, sunflower, grasses, and wheat. Insects taken include grasshoppers.

NESTING.

The breeding season is from late March till July, gives two broods per season. The species is monogamous with long-lasting pair-bond, and stays solitary or in loose colonies. Nest is built by both sexes, mostly by female and has a form of cup mostly of twigs, plant stalks, fibres and down, placed 1–5 m above ground in fork of branch in shrub or low tree.

MIGRATION.

The species is migratory and flies from Armenia in September, while arrives in late March to early April.

DISTRIBUTION.

The species breeds in Southern Armenia, Azerbaijan and much of Iran east to Southern Turkmenistan, Southern Tajikistan, Afghanistan and extreme west of Pakistan. Non-breeding range includes Arabian Peninsula, Southern Iraq, Southern Iran, Eastern Afghanistan, Pakistan and North-western India.

CONSERVATION MEASURES.

The species is assessed as Least Concern for the IUCN Red List, and is obviously not present in the Red Book of Animals of Armenia (2010). Also it is not included in CITES and Bern Conventions. At current none of its distribution sites lays within the National Protected Areas, but partly is covered by Emerald Sites. While the primary measure should be related to better study of the species, its biological peculiarities and threats, the other measures should be related to review of horticultural practices and in particular, better management of existing orchards, and careful assessment of new ones.