2018 Global Report: 40% Of World’s Birds Are In Decline

By Marc Devokaitis
June 13, 2018

From the Summer 2018 issue of Living Bird magazine. Subscribe now.

The 2018 State of the World’s Birds, released in April, finds that nearly 40 percent of bird species throughout the world are in decline. The comprehensive report, produced every five years by BirdLife International, documents worldwide trends in bird populations.

“Each time we undertake this assessment we see slightly more species at risk of extinction. The situation is deteriorating,” Tris Allinson, senior global science officer for BirdLife International told The Guardian.

There are now 1,469 bird species globally threatened with extinction–One out of every eight bird species worldwide, according to the report. This represents an increase of 40% since the group’s first global assessment of threatened species in 1988.

Many familiar birds from around the world were highlighted because of rapidly decreasing populations, including Snowy Owl, Atlantic Puffin, European Turtle-Dove, and several species of Old World vultures.

Topping the list of the biggest threats to bird populations, based on number of species affected, are agricultural expansion and intensification, followed by deforestation, invasive species, and hunting and trapping.

“The threats driving the extinction crisis are many and varied, but invariably of humanity’s making…and most species are impacted by multiple, interrelated threats,” cautions the report.

“Addressing these underlying causes is challenging and requires radical changes to the way we run our global economies and live our individual lives, yet it is essential if the impending biodiversity crisis is to be averted.”

Read the 2018 State of the World’s Birds report.