Europe, geographically speaking, offers habitat to over 540 species of birds, around 5% of the world’s avifauna. However, the constant human population growth has been affecting habitats and landscapes for thousands of years. All the inherent alterations have been putting fauna and flora in check, causing all sorts of threats and unprecedented extinctions. Unfortunately, bird species are no exception, and according to Birdlife's State of the World's Birds 2022, 1 in 8 bird species worldwide is at risk of extinction.
Regarding the bird species in Europe, in line with the latest report by the IUCN Red List of Birds from 2021, wildfowl (ducks, geese, swans), waders, raptors, and seabirds are the most threatened groups of birds in the EU territory.
Looking at the numbers from an overall perspective, currently, 25% of passerines species, 33% of terrestrial non-passerines species and 35% of bird species dependent on the marine habitat have their population decreasing in Europe. These numbers are pretty worrying, especially considering that a significant percentage of the data is unknown (31% in passerines and seabirds and 19% in terrestrial non-passerines).
Of all the 544 bird species studied, 13% (71 species) are threatened, with approximately
2% (8 species) Critically Endangered (CR);
nearly 3% (15 species) Endangered (EN);
nearly 9% (48 species) Vulnerable (VU);
Plus, 6% (34 species) are considered Near Threatened (NT).
Fulica cristata | Red-knobbed Coot.
Additionally reported was that two species which used to occur in Europe are now globally “Extinct” - the Canarian Oystercatcher (Haematopus meadewaldoi) and Great Auk (Pinguinus impennis); and five species are now “Regionally Extinct” in Europe - the Pallas's Sandgrouse (Syrrhaptes paradoxus), Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita), African Darter (Anhinga rufa), Common Buttonquail (Turnix sylvaticus), and Pine Bunting (Emberiza leucocephalos).
Here’s the list of the most endangered (Critically Endangered and Endangered) bird species in Europe:
1. Critically Endangered (CR):
Puffinus mauretanicus | Balearic Shearwater
Aquila nipalensis | Steppe Eagle
Fulica cristata | Red-knobbed Coot
Chlamydotis macqueenii | Asian Houbara (Macqueen's Bustard)
Numenius tenuirostris | Slender-billed Curlew
Vanellus gregarius | Sociable Lapwing
Anthus gustavi | Pechora Pipit
Emberiza aureola | Yellow-breasted Bunting
2. Endangered (EN):
Somateria mollissima | Common Eider (1st photograph)
Pelagodroma marina | White-faced Storm-petrel
Pterodroma madeira | Zino's Petrel
Falco cherrug | Saker Falcon
Anthropoides virgo | Demoiselle Crane
Charadrius asiaticus | Caspian Plover
Stercorarius parasiticus | Arctic Jaeger (Parasitic Jaeger)
Rhodostethia rosea | Ross's Gull
Fratercula arctica | Atlantic Puffin
Pterocles orientalis | Black-bellied Sandgrouse
Ketupa zeylonensis | Brown Fish-owl
Otus brucei | Pallid Scops-owl
Ammomanes deserti | Desert Lark
Melanocorypha yeltoniensis | Black Lark
Fringilla polatzeki | Gran Canaria Blue Chaffinch
Anthropoides virgo | Demoiselle Crane.
We invite you to read the full report and draw conclusions. Let’s all reflect on these data and look for ways to preserve and protect our lovely feathered fellas.