The risk of extinction for birds in Great Britain

Author(s): Stanbury, A., Brown, A., Eaton, M., Aebischer, N., Gillings, S., Hearn, R., Noble, D., Stroud, D. & Gregory, R.
Published: 2017
Journal: British Birds
Pages: 502 - 517


Over the last 20 years,species priorities for bird conservation in the UK have been guided by ‘Birds of Conservation Concern’ – an in-depth assessment made possible by the top-class data available on the status of the UK’s birds. For other wildlife, priorities tend to be informed by measures of extinction risk, generated by the IUCN Regional Red List process.We carried out the first formal IUCN assessment for birds in Great Britain. Of the 241 species assessed, 100 (43%) had at least one population (breeding and/or non-breeding) that qualified as Threatened using the standard IUCN Red List criteria and categories. Of 289 separate assessments of breeding or non-breeding populations, 39% qualified as Threatened (8% Critically Endangered, 14% Endangered, 17% Vulnerable) with a further 10% classified as Near Threatened. Both Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus and Fieldfare Turdus pilaris were assessed as being Critically Endangered (Possibly
Extinct) as breeding species, in addition to seven species that are already extinct (either Extinct or Regionally Extinct). The proportion of GB birds qualifying as Threatened was high compared with birds elsewhere in Europe and other taxonomic groups in GB. We believe that, if similar data were available, levels of extinction risk would be higher for other areas/taxa than is currently estimated.