One-Fifth of Bird Species Flying Toward Extinction

Following its annual survey of avian life around the world, the conservation organization BirdLife International says that one-fifth of all bird species are facing extinction in the short term as a result of habitat loss and introduced pests.

“The total number (of bird species) considered to be threatened with extinction is now 1,212, which when combined with the number of near threatened species gives a total of exactly 2,000 species in trouble—more than a fifth of the planet’s remaining 9,775 species,” BirdLife recently reported. The 1,212 figure represents 10 more species than were on the list last year.

That said, the organization also reported some good news: five bird species have been downlisted from endangered to threatened status, meaning their populations have begun to rebound. One such example is Kirtland’s Warbler, a small and brightly colored songbird whose limited range makes it particularly sensitive to even a slightly warming climate.

“This is a credit to the efforts of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and others, who have brought this species back from the brink of extinction,” said BirdLife’s Stuart Butchart. “Today, there are more than 1,200 Kirtland’s Warblers, from a low-point of 167 in the 1970s, so its future certainly looks rosier.”