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Europe: One in five bird species moving towards extinction



As per Europe’s “red list” report, one in five bird species is now at risk. The BirdLife International analysis, which is based on observations of 544 native bird species, reveals that various birds of the European ecosystems are disappearing. Since the last report in 2015, three species have become regionally extinct in Europe. 

These include Pallas’s sandgrouse, common buttonquail and pine bunting.

In total, 30 per cent of species assessed have shown population decline. At a European level, 13 per cent of birds are threatened with extinction and a further 6 per cent are near threatened. The data is based on millions of observations made since 1980.

Anna Staneva, interim head of conservation, BirdLife Europe and Central Asia was quoted by The Guardian as saying, “The results are alarming but we are not surprised. We’re running out of time, the clock is ticking. We don’t want to see the dramatic changes we’re seeing now happening in the next five or 10 years.”

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The findings, collected in 2019, are based on the IUCN red list categories and criteria applied at the regional level. They compile conclusions from the State of Nature in the EU 2013-2018 report, which found only a quarter of species have good conservation status. 

Loss of habitat, intensification of agriculture, the overexploitation of resources, pollution and unsustainable forestry practices are included in the report. Climate crisis is also considered as a growing factor. 

Staneva was quoted by The Guardian as saying, “These are big, large-scale threats which we call systemic threats, and they’re very much related to the way our society works and how we use resources.”

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“It’s a signal that something is seriously going wrong around us. We need to change the way we live, that is the key message coming from our results.”

Another threatened species is the common swift. Rooks and common snipe are also now considered vulnerable due to sharp declines since 2015. 

In order for the species to be placed in the near-threatened category, the population has to have declined by 25 per cent over three generations. When declines are greater than 30 per cent they enter the threatened category.

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