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State of the World’s Birds 2024 Update

Report Highlights Hope in Conservation Efforts in Bird Populations 

BirdLife International is a charity that is the “official scientific source of information on birds” for the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species. In its 2024 annual update, BirdLife International reported improvement for a few species but greater pressure on 11 other species. 

Conservation Efforts in Bird Populations
  1. In the 2023 Red List, 11 species were uplisted to higher threat categories while 4 were downlisted to lower threat categories. 

  2. Overall, the number of species in the critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, and near threatened categories declined, respectively, by 1 (to 232), 8 (to 405), 37 (to 717), and 51 (to 940), since the previous year’s assessment. However, many of these changes were reclassifications based on improved knowledge about the species rather than a change in status. 

  3. Out of 14 threats to birds, the top five are agriculture (73%), logging (51%), invasive species (42%), hunting and trapping (39%), and climate change and severe weather (37%). 

  4. The global outbreak of a H5N1 variant of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) resulted in the death or destruction of about 0.5 billion poultry and impacted more than 400 bird species in 2021 to 2023. Examples of species include the Peruvian Booby (over 47,500 deaths), Cape Cormorant (over 20,000 deaths), and Common Crane (over 5,000 deaths). 

  5. Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) are areas identified as homes to “critical populations of the world’s threatened species.” In 2023, over 43% of each KBA was covered by protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures compared with 11% in 1980. However, this figure is on a peaking trend from 2020. 

  6.  The four downlisted bird species include three Asian stork species (Greater Adjutant Leptoptilos dubius, Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus and Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala) whose local communities worked to preserve them. Also, in Hawaii, the Millerbird Acrocephalus familiaris was relocated to the island of Laysan a decade ago and now has a self-sustaining population; this allowed it to be downlisted from Critically Endangered to Endangered. 

  7. The 11 species uplisted included two of Hawaii’s honeycreepers, which were impacted by avian malaria carried by invasive mosquitoes, and the Juan Fernandez Tit-tyrant Anairetes fernandezianus, which lives in an island near Chile and is threatened by invasive plants and predators. Other species in South America and South-East Asian were uplisted due to forest loss. 



Individual case studies: 


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