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Threatened birds occur in all habitats, but the majority are found in forest

Tumbesian dry forest, Ecuador-Peru, © David Thomas/BirdLife

Threatened birds occur in all major habitat types but the majority (77%) are found in forest. Threatened species show a lower tolerance of human modified habitats (just 31% compared with 50% of all birds) and a large proportion occur in just one or two habitats (51%). Those that live in forest show a high dependency on the habitat and do not tolerate perturbation.


The relative importance of each major habitat type for threatened birds

Analysis of data held in BirdLife’s World Bird Database (2012).

Birds are found across the world in all major habitat types. Most threatened birds show a clear preference for certain types of habitat, with 26% occurring in just one major type (e.g. forest, grassland) and 51% in one or two. As with all birds, forests are the most important habitat for threatened birds, supporting 77% of species, with 27% in shrubland, 16% in inland wetlands and 16% in grasslands. Marine habitats support a higher than expected proportion of threatened birds (13%), while savannas are of lower importance than expected (8%). Only 31% of threatened species use an artificial habitat (compared with 50% of all birds), which suggests as would be expected that threatened species may be less tolerant of habitat modification. These species depend on adjacent natural or semi-natural habitats for breeding or feeding, but are able to use human-modified habitats to some extent.

Threatened birds are found in all forest types; tropical/subtropical lowland and montane moist forest are the most important habitats supporting 45% and 37% of species respectively, with tropical/subtropical dry forest supporting 13%. These forest types are also the most important for threatened mammal species (Hilton-Taylor 2000). Threatened forest birds are highly dependent on intact habitat for their survival; 18% of all bird species can be found in degraded forest but only 3% of threatened birds use such habitat, and for the majority of these it is only of marginal importance. Most threatened species for which forest represents a major or suitable habitat type (76%) show a strong dependency on the habitat; 70% of all threatened birds have high or medium dependence on forest.


The importance of each major forest type for threatened birds

Analysis of data held in BirdLife’s World Bird Database (2012).


Dependence of threatened birds on intact forest.

Analysis of data held in BirdLife’s World Bird Database (2012).



Related Case Studies in other sections

References

 
Hilton-Taylor, C. (2000) 2000 IUCN Red List of threatened species. Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK: IUCN.

Compiled 2004, updated 2008, 2012

Recommended Citation:
BirdLife International (2012) Threatened birds occur in all habitats, but the majority are found in forest. Presented as part of the BirdLife State of the world's birds website. Available from: http://birdlife.org/datazone/sowb/casestudy/174. Checked: 25/10/2014