BirdLife International is the official IUCN Red List Authority for birds and, in this capacity, coordinates the categorisation and documentation of all bird species for the IUCN Red List. In the latest assessment in 2015, 1,375 species (roughly one in eight of the total) were considered threatened with extinction. Threatened species are not evenly distributed among bird families: there are particularly high proportions among cranes (73%), albatrosses (68%), parrots (28%), pheasants (20%) and pigeons (20%). Overall, larger-bodied species and those with low reproductive rates (owing to small clutch sizes) are more likely to be threatened.
Using the criteria and categories of the IUCN Red List (IUCN 2001), BirdLife International’s 2015 assessment of the world's birds concluded that 1,375 species (13% of extant species, or one in eight) are globally threatened with extinction (see figure a). These comprise 217 species classed as Critically Endangered (meaning that they are considered to be facing an extremely high risk of extinction; see figure b), 417 species assessed as Endangered (very high risk of extinction) and 741 listed as Vulnerable (high risk of extinction). An additional 971 species are considered Near Threatened because they are assessed as close to qualifying as globally threatened. Hence a total of 2,346 species or a fifth of all the world’s birds are treated as global conservation priorities. Only 61 species (0.6% of the total) are considered insufficiently known to be able to assess their threat status, and so are classified as Data Deficient.
Threatened species are not evenly distributed among bird families. There are particularly high proportions of threatened species among cranes (73%), albatrosses (68%), parrots (28%), pheasants (20%) and pigeons (20%). Furthermore, families and genera with few species have disproportionately high numbers of threatened species (Purvis et al. 2000). Even allowing for these taxonomic effects, larger-bodied species and those with low reproductive rates (owing to small clutch sizes) are also more likely to be threatened (Bennett and Owens 1997).
Compiled 2004, updated 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
BirdLife International (2015) One in eight of all bird species is threatened with global extinction. Presented as part of the BirdLife State of the world's birds website. Available from: http://birdlife.org/datazone/sowb/casestudy/106. Checked: 14/02/2016
|Key message: One in eight of the world's birds faces extinction|