In Europe, one out of Five Birds Threatened 

In Europe, one out of Five Birds Threatened

One out of five bird species in Europe is threatened or near threatened by extinction, according to the latest European Red List of Birds 2021 published on October 14.

The latest data pointed out that seabirds, wildfowl, waders and raptors are the most threatened and fastest declining groups of birds in Europe. This is the fourth assessment done by BirdLife International, with previous editions released in 1994, 2004, and 2015.

The red List notes that 13 per cent (71 species) of bird species are threatened in the European regional level, This includes about two per cent (eight species) critically endangered, nearly three per cent (15 species) endangered and about nine per cent (48 species) vulnerable. The Red List also said that about six per cent (34 species) are Near Threatened, while five species are considered Regionally Extinct.

The European red List shows that over 40 per cent of wildfowl and wader species are experiencing decline. This is the same with over 30 per cent of seabirds and 25 per cent of raptors. The declining trends are also seen in migratory birds, with 121 species considered sub-Saharan migrants (of which 33 per cent have declining trends), compared to species that are migratory but do not migrate as far as sub-Saharan Africa (of which 31.5 per cent have declining trends).

  • 1 out of 5 bird species in Europe is threatened or Near Threatened by extinction
  • 1 out of 3 bird species in Europe has declined over the last few decades
  • Seabirds, wildfowl, waders, and raptors are the most threatened and fastest declining groups of birds in Europe
  • Marine habitats, as well as farmlands, wetlands and grasslands are the habitats with most threatened and/or declining species
  • The majority of Larks, Buntings and Shrikes are now declining; other major taxonomic groups with significant declines observed are ducks and waders
  • 71 species (13%) are Threatened (CR, EN, VU) in Europe
  • Another 35 species (6%) are Near Threatened
  • 5 species are still Regionally Extinct
  • Large-scale land-use change
  • The status of the Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) has changed from Least Concern to Vulnerable primarily due to habitat loss and degradation in its breeding grounds
  • Intensive agricultural practices
  • The status of the Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur) continues to be Vulnerable, as intensive agricultural practices wipe out its breeding grounds and powerful pestcides cause a significant decline in food availability
  • Over-exploitation of marine resources
  • The status of the Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) has changed from Vulnerable to Endangered due to a combination of factors including diseases and food shortage
  • Pollution of inland waters
  • The status of the Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis) has changed from Least Concern to Vulnerable, most likely due to water pollution from agricultural activities and urban run-offs
  • Unsustainable and commonly used forestry practices
  • The status of the Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) is classified as Least Concern, but it has a declining population mainly due to unsustainable forestry practices Infrastructure development
  • Infrastructure development
  • The status of the Spanish Imperial Eagle (Aquila adalberti) continues to be Vulnerable as its population suffers from high mortality from colliding with and being electrocuted by energy infrastructures



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