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Red List update reveals a substantial increase in birds facing extinction.

The 2012 IUCN Red List update for birds is a comprehensive review, undertaken every four years, of all the world’s over 10,000 bird species. The update shows worrying news not just from the tropics but in Northern Europe too, where over a million Long-tailed Ducks Clangula hyemalis have disappeared from the Baltic Sea over the last 20 years, resulting in the species being uplisted to Vulnerable. The reasons for this decline are still not clear but the fortunes of another sea duck, Velvet Scoter Melanitta fusca are even worse, with the species now being listed as Endangered.

The risk of extinction has increased substantially for nearly 100 species of Amazonian birds. The new assessment is based on models projecting the extent and pattern of deforestation across the Amazon.

“We have previously underestimated the risk of extinction that many of Amazonia’s bird species are facing”, said Dr Leon Bennun, BirdLife’s Director of Science, Policy and Information. “However, given recent weakening of Brazilian forest law, the situation may be even worse than recent studies have predicted.”

Of particular concern are longer-lived species, such as Rio Branco Antbird Cercomacra carbonaria, for which even moderate rates of deforestation can be important. Some species, such as Hoary-throated Spinetail Synallaxis kollari, appear likely to lose more than 80% of their habitat over the coming decades and have been placed in the highest category of extinction risk – Critically Endangered.

In Africa, the White-backed and Rueppell’s Vultures, Gyps africanus and G. rueppellii, are mirroring the fate of their Asian cousins, with rapid declines linked to poisoning, persecution and habitat loss. Both species have been reclassified as Endangered.

To find out more about threatened birds visit


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