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One fifth of Europe’s birds are facing the threat of extinction

A new assessment of European birds has revealed that nearly one fifth (18 per cent) are considered to be at risk of extinction across the European Union with habitat loss, climate change and increasingly intensive farming being key causes of threat. This list of threatened species includes 37 birds, including lapwing, puffin and curlew, which occur regularly in the UK.

After three years of work, a consortium led by BirdLife International and financed by the European Commission has published the new European Red List of Birds. The RSPB, the UK partner of BirdLife International, believes the publication will set the base for European conservation and policy work to be done in the coming years. The Red List, that follows the IUCN methodology, is widely recognised as the most authoritative and objective system for assessing the extinction risk of species.

The European Red List of Birds assesses birds across two geographical levels: the European Union (except Croatia); and the wider continent of Europe (stretching from Greenland eastwards across Europe to Turkey and European Russia).

Martin Harper is the RSPB’s Conservation Director. Commenting on the publication of the new European bird assessments, he said: “These red list assessments provide another red warning that nature across Europe is in trouble. It would have been unthinkable 20 years ago that birds like lapwing and curlew would be threatened species in Europe – the status of many species is deteriorating across Europe. However, conservation action across Europe, guided by the Birds Directive is helping species like the stone-curlew, Dalmatian pelican, avocet and crane.”

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