Thursday, May 14, 2009

Even More Endangered Birds

BirdLife has announced its annual Red List for 2009. There are now 1,227 bird species that match at least the criteria for Globally Threatened, so that 12% of the world's birds are at risk of extinction. This is the highest ever number.

Here is a bit on the additions:

BirdLife International's annual Red List update, on behalf of the IUCN, now lists 192 species of bird as Critically Endangered, the highest threat category, a total of two more than in the 2008 update.

A recently discovered species from Colombia - Gorgeted Puffleg Eriocnemis isabellae - appears for the first time on the BirdLife/IUCN Red List, being listed as Critically Endangered. The puffleg, a flamboyantly coloured hummingbird, only has 1,200 hectares of habitat remaining in the cloud forests of the Pinche mountain range in south-west Colombia and 8% of this is being damaged every year to grow coca.

Sidamo Lark Heteromirafra sidamoensis from the Liben Plain of Ethiopia has also been uplisted to this category due to changes in land use, and is in danger of becoming mainland Africa’s first bird extinction. And coinciding with the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth, one of the Galapagos finches, Medium Tree-finch Camarhynchus pauper also becomes Critically Endangered, partly as a result of an introduced parasitic fly.
The full list of the world threatened species, of all taxa, is here. You can search for the status of world bird species here. Audubon monitors the status of North American species; here are their most recent State of the Birds reports.