Bird Conservation is a branch of study in conservation biology that keeps a check on bird survival all over the planet. Since early recorded history, about a hundred bird species have died out followed by about 1800 more species after early Polynesians migrated to the South Pacific islands. Currently, an assessment by the Worldwatch Institute has stated that in the next century, about 1200 more bird species will go extinct. Human habitat development has increased bird habitat loss and stands as the major cause of bird extinction. Oil spills, overhunting, pesticide poisoning, and the introduction of non-native species like pet cats and dogs, also figure into bird deaths. All numbers below are according to the World Bank.
Countries With the Most Vulnerable Birds
Brazil ranks first on the list as having 175 threatened bird species. The orange-bellied antwren, pernambuco foliage-gleaner, alagoas antwren, and Stresemann's bristlefront are some of the threatened birds of Brazil. Habitat loss and human activities are causing bird extinction in the Brazilian forests.
Indonesia comes in second with 160 threatened bird species. Javan hawk-eagle, helmeted hornbill, silvery woodpigeon, yellow-crested cockatoo, scarlet-breasted lorikeet, and Javan green magpie are some of Indonesia’s endangered birds. The bird trade and habitat loss are two big reasons why bird species are declining in population.
Colombia has about 126 threatened bird species. A large number of endemic species of this country like the blue-bearded helmetcrest and the Santa Marta wren also face extinction. Deforestation due to illicit crop cultivation plus cattle grazing has deprived many bird species their native habitats.
Peru comes in fourth with 119 threatened bird species. Sira curassow, white-winged guan, junin grebe, waved albatross, and white-bellied cinclodes are all endemic and critically endangered. Hunting and habitat destruction are two reasons for the bird population decline in Peru.
Ecuador has about 106 threatened bird species. The Galapagos petrel, black-breasted puffleg, turquoise-throated puffleg, esmeraldas woodstar, and Galapagos penguin are all critically endangered endemic species of the region. Oil and gas development are threatening the diverse bird species of Ecuador.
China has about 96 threatened bird species. Some of these threatened birds are the blue-crowned laughingthrush, Chinese crested tern, spoon-billed sandpiper and rufous-backed bunting. Land reclamation and habitat loss all contribute to the decline of the bird populations in China.
India's number of threatened birds have reached to about 93 species. Some of these birds belong to the critically endangered category like forest owlet, great Indian bustard, Bengal florican, lesser florican, Jerdon’s courser, and vultures. Government apathy, habitat destruction, and hunting all contribute to the birds' sad plight.
The Philippines has about 93 threatened bird species. Writhed hornbill, Philippine fairy-bluebird, palawan blue-flycatcher, mountain shrike, and melodious babbler are all threatened and endemic bird species. Habitat destruction, hunting, and the pet trade are all threats that have adversely affected bird survival in the Philippines.
The United States
The United States has its own bird problems with about 93 species enlisted in the Red List of IUCN under the threatened categories. Among these birds are the short-tailed albatross, Bermuda petrel, Newell's shearwater, laysan duck, and California condor, some of which are critically endangered. Air and water pollution, plus habitat loss are contributing to bird species population decline in the US today. New Zealand is on the list with 67 threatened bird species. The tīeke, kākāpō, little-spotted kiwi and black robin have all been trans-located to small uninhabited islands with success. Farming, pollution, weeds, pests, and hunting all threaten the bird species of New Zealand.
Mexico has about 71 threatened bird species. The horned guan, Townsend's shearwater, ashy storm-petrel, Guadalupe storm-petrel, whooping crane, Eskimo curlew, and marbled murrelet are all facing threats to their survival. Avian diseases, hunting, predation, and habitat destruction all contribute to the drastic decline of the avian species of Mexico.
The Need to Conserve
Bird experts, conservation professionals, and scientists have all worked together to create measures that would help in the protection of the world's bird species. Captive breeding and release into the wild, translocation of threatened species, and habitat protection are some of these techniques. However arduous the task faced, conservationists appear to be determined to save the avifauna of the world. Logging companies, landowners, and businesses have become major obstacles to bird conservation worldwide. Ultimately, governments have to make a difference by passing legislation that would improve bird survival.