BirdLife International

BirdLife International (formerly the International Council for Bird Preservation) is a global partnership of conservation organisations that strives to conserve birds, their habitats, and global biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources. It is the world's largest partnership of conservation organisations, with over 120 partner organisations.[1]

It has a membership of more than 2.5 million people and partner organizations in more than 100 countries. Major partners include Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the Wild Bird Society of Japan, and the U.S. National Audubon Society. The group’s headquarters are located in Cambridge, UK.

BirdLife International’s priorities include preventing extinction of bird species, identifying and safeguarding important sites for birds, maintaining and restoring key bird habitats, and empowering conservationists worldwide. Guided by a global council, member organizations implement the group’s strategies on local, regional, and national levels.

BirdLife International has identified 7,500 important bird areas and manages more than 2,500,000 million acres (1,000,000 hectares) of wildlife habitat. As the official listing authority for birds for the World Conservation Union’s Red List of threatened species, BirdLife International has identified more than 1,000 bird species threatened with extinction and has developed conservation strategies for each of them.[2]

BirdLife International
MottoPartnership for Nature and People
HeadquartersCambridge, United Kingdom
Region served
Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Central Asia, Pacific, Arctics
Khaled Anis Irani
Chief executive
Patricia Zurita
Formerly called
International Council for Bird Preservation


BirdLife International is a worldwide alliance of nongovernmental organizations that promotes the conservation of birds and their habitats. BirdLife International was founded in 1922 as the International Council for Bird Preservation by American ornithologists T. Gilbert Pearson and Jean Theodore Delacour under the name International Committee for Bird Protection. The group was renamed International Committee for Bird Preservation in 1928, International Council for Bird Preservation in 1960, and BirdLife International in 1994. It changed its name in 1993 to "BirdLife International".[3]

Regional work

BirdLife International has conservation work programmes in the following parts of the world, which it describes as "regions"[4]—Africa,[5] the Americas,[6] Asia,[7] Europe and Central Asia,[8] the Middle East[9] and the Pacific.[10]

Member organisations

There are about 120 regional partners of BirdLife International, including:[11]

Global programmes

Within each of these regions, BirdLife has nine programmes - some are well established, others are more recent and responding to specific conservation issues. In addition to the regional programmes, there are "global" programmes, not specific to a region. Together these programmes help the partnership to focus and work on common priorities. They provide the framework for planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating conservation work. BirdLife programmes are:


BirdLife International publishes a quarterly magazine, BirdLife - The Magazine, which contains recent news and authoritative articles about birds, their habitats, and their conservation around the world.[20]

Red List

BirdLife International is the official Red List authority for birds, for the International Union for Conservation of Nature. As of 2015, BirdLife has established that 1,375 bird species (13% of the total, or roughly one in eight) are threatened with extinction (in the categories of critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable).[21]


  1. ^ "BirdLife Partners". BirdLife International. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  2. ^ "Red List Authority for birds".
  3. ^ "Our History". BirdLife International. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  4. ^ "Regions". BirdLife International. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  5. ^ "Africa". BirdLife International. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  6. ^ "Americas". BirdLife International. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  7. ^ "Asia". BirdLife International. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  8. ^ "Europe and Central Asia". BirdLife International. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  9. ^ "Middle East". BirdLife International. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  10. ^ "Pacific". BirdLife International. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  11. ^ BirdLife Partners, BirdLife International (page visited on 16 August 2016).
  12. ^ "Marine". BirdLife International. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  13. ^ "Preventing Extinctions". BirdLife International. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  14. ^ "Migratory Birds and Flyways". BirdLife International. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  15. ^ "Climate Change". BirdLife International. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  16. ^ "Forests of Hope". BirdLife International. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  17. ^ "Local Empowerment". BirdLife International. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  18. ^ "Invasive Alien Species". BirdLife International. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  19. ^ "Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)". BirdLife International. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  20. ^ "BirdLife's World Bird Club". BirdLife International. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  21. ^ "Birds". 19 January 2016.

External links


Accipiter is a genus of birds of prey in the family Accipitridae. With nearly 50 recognized species it is the most diverse genus in its family. Most species are called goshawks or sparrowhawks, although almost all New World species (excepting the northern goshawk) are simply known as hawks. They can be anatomically distinguished from their relatives by the lack of a procoracoid foramen. Two small and aberrant species usually placed here do possess a large procoracoid foramen and are also distinct as regards DNA sequence. They may warrant separation in the old genus Hieraspiza.Extant accipiters range in size from the little sparrowhawk (A. minullus), in which the smallest males measure 20 cm (7.9 in) long, span 39 cm (15 in) across the wings and weigh 68 g (2.4 oz), to the northern goshawk (A. gentilis), in which the largest females measure 64 cm (25 in) long, span 127 cm (50 in) across the wings, and weigh 2.2 kg (4.9 lb). These birds are slender with short, broad, rounded wings and a long tail which helps them maneuver in flight. They have long legs and long, sharp talons used to kill their prey, and a sharp, hooked bill used in feeding. Females tend to be larger than males. They often ambush their prey, mainly small birds and mammals, capturing them after a short chase. The typical flight pattern is a series of flaps followed by a short glide. They are commonly found in wooded or shrubby areas.

The genus Accipiter was introduced by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760 with the Eurasian sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) as the type species. The name is Latin for "hawk", from accipere, "to grasp".

Black-winged stilt

The black-winged stilt (Himantopus himantopus) is a widely distributed very long-legged wader in the avocet and stilt family (Recurvirostridae). The scientific name H. himantopus was formerly applied to a single, almost cosmopolitan species. It is now normally applied to the form that is widespread in Eurasia and Africa and which was formerly regarded as the nominate subspecies of Himantopus himantopus sensu lato. The scientific name Himantopus comes from the Greek meaning "strap foot" or "thong foot". Most sources today accept 2–4 species. It is sometimes called pied stilt, but that name is now reserved for the Australian species, Himantopus leucocephalus.


A booby is a seabird in the genus Sula, part of the Sulidae family. Boobies are closely related to the gannets (Morus), which were formerly included in Sula.


Buteo is a genus of medium to fairly large, wide-ranging raptors with a robust body and broad wings. In the Old World, members of this genus are called "buzzards", but "hawk" is used in North America (Etymology: Buteo is the Latin name of the common buzzard). As both terms are ambiguous, buteo is sometimes used instead, for example, by the Peregrine Fund.

Critically endangered

A critically endangered (CR) species is one that has been categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.As of 2014, there are 2,464 animal and 2,104 plant species with this assessment.As the IUCN Red List does not consider a species extinct until extensive, targeted surveys have been conducted, species that are possibly extinct are still listed as critically endangered. IUCN maintains a list of "possibly extinct" CR(PE) and "possibly extinct in the wild" CR(PEW) species, modelled on categories used by BirdLife International to categorize these taxa.

Endemic Bird Area

An Endemic Bird Area (EBA) is an area of land identified by BirdLife International as being important for habitat-based bird conservation because it contains the habitats of restricted-range bird species (see below for definition), which are thereby endemic to them. An EBA is formed where the distributions of two or more such restricted-range species overlap. Using this guideline, 218 EBAs were identified when Birdlife International established their Biodiversity project in 1987. A secondary EBA comprises the range of only one restricted-range species.

EBAs contain about 93% of the world’s restricted-range bird species, as well as supporting support many more widespread species. Half the restricted-range species are threatened or near-threatened, with the other half especially vulnerable to the loss or degradation of their habitats because of the small size of their ranges. Most EBAs are also important for the conservation of other animals and of plants. Although they cover less than 5% of the world’s land surface, their biological richness makes them high priorities for ecosystem conservation. The natural habitat of most EBAs is forest, especially tropical lowland forest and highland cloud forest, often comprising islands or mountain ranges, and varying in size from a few square kilometres to over 100,000 km2. Some 77% of EBAs lie in the tropics and subtropics.

Restricted-range bird speciesA restricted-range bird species is a term coined by BirdLife International in conjunction with the identification of Endemic Bird Areas. It is defined as a landbird (i.e. not a seabird) species which is estimated to have had a breeding range of not more than 50,000 km2 since 1800. It includes birds which have become extinct which qualify on the range criterion. It does not include birds which, although they meet the range criterion today, were historically (since 1800) more widespread.

Handbook of the Birds of the World

The Handbook of the Birds of the World (HBW) is a multi-volume series produced by the Spanish publishing house Lynx Edicions in partnership with BirdLife International. It is the first handbook to cover every known living species of bird. The series is edited by Josep del Hoyo, Andrew Elliott, Jordi Sargatal and David A. Christie.

All 16 volumes have been published. For the first time an animal class will have all the species illustrated and treated in detail in a single work. This has not been done before for any other group in the animal kingdom.

Material in each volume is grouped first by family, with an introductory article on each family; this is followed by individual species accounts (taxonomy, subspecies and distribution, descriptive notes, habitat, food and feeding, breeding, movements, status and conservation, bibliography). In addition, all volumes except the first and second contain an essay on a particular ornithological theme. More than 200 renowned specialists and 35 illustrators (including Toni Llobet, Hilary Burn, Chris Rose and H. Douglas Pratt) from more than 40 countries have contributed to the project up to now, as well as 834 photographers from all over the world.

Since the first volume appeared in 1992, the series has received various international awards. The first volume was selected as Bird Book of the Year by the magazines Birdwatch and British Birds, and the fifth volume was recognised as Outstanding Academic Title by Choice Magazine, the American Library Association magazine. The seventh volume, as well as being named Bird Book of the Year by Birdwatch and British Birds, also received the distinction of Best Bird Reference Book in the 2002 WorldTwitch Book Awards This same distinction was also awarded to Volume 8 a year later in 2003.Individual volumes are large, measuring 32 by 25 centimetres (12.6 by 9.8 in), and weighing between 4 and 4.6 kilograms (8.8 and 10.1 lb); it has been commented in a review that "fork-lift truck book" would be a more appropriate title.

As a complement to the Handbook of the Birds of the World and with the ultimate goal of disseminating knowledge about the world's avifauna, in 2002 Lynx Edicions started the Internet Bird Collection (IBC). It is a free-access, but not free-licensed, on-line audiovisual library of the world's birds with the aim of posting videos, photos and sound recordings showing a variety of biological aspects (e.g. subspecies, plumages, feeding, breeding, etc.) for every species. It is a non-profit endeavour fuelled by material from more than one hundred contributors from around the world.

In early 2013, Lynx Edicions launched the online database HBW Alive, which includes the volume and family introductions and updated species accounts from all 17 published HBW volumes. Since its launch, the taxonomy has been thoroughly revised and updated twice (once for non-passerines and once for passerines), following the publication of the two volumes of the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World.

The Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive site also provides a free access 'Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology'.

IUCN Red List

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (also known as the IUCN Red List or Red Data List), founded in 1965, has evolved to become the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species. It uses a set of criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species and subspecies. These criteria are relevant to all species and all regions of the world. With its strong scientific base, the IUCN Red List is recognized as the most authoritative guide to the status of biological diversity. A series of Regional Red List are produced by countries or organizations, which assess the risk of extinction to species within a political management unit.

The IUCN Red List is set upon precise criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species and subspecies. These criteria are relevant to all species and all regions of the world. The aim is to convey the urgency of conservation issues to the public and policy makers, as well as help the international community to try to reduce species extinction. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) (1996), the formally stated goals of the Red List are (1) to provide scientifically based information on the status of species and subspecies at a global level, (2) to draw attention to the magnitude and importance of threatened biodiversity, (3) to influence national and international policy and decision-making, and (4) to provide information to guide actions to conserve biological diversity.Major species assessors include BirdLife International, the Institute of Zoology (the research division of the Zoological Society of London), the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, and many Specialist Groups within the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC). Collectively, assessments by these organizations and groups account for nearly half the species on the Red List.

The IUCN aims to have the category of every species re-evaluated every five years if possible, or at least every ten years. This is done in a peer reviewed manner through IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Specialist Groups, which are Red List Authorities responsible for a species, group of species or specific geographic area, or in the case of BirdLife International, an entire class (Aves).As of 2018, 26,197 species are now classified as vulnerable, critical or endangered.

Important Bird Area

An Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) is an area identified using an internationally agreed set of criteria as being globally important for the conservation of bird populations.

IBA was developed and sites are identified by BirdLife International. Currently there are over 12,000 IBAs worldwide. These sites are small enough to be entirely conserved and differ in their character, habitat or ornithological importance from the surrounding habitat. In the United States the Program is administered by the National Audubon Society.Often IBAs form part of a country's existing protected area network, and so are protected under national legislation. Legal recognition and protection of IBAs that are not within existing protected areas varies within different countries. Some countries have a National IBA Conservation Strategy, whereas in others protection is completely lacking.

Japoon National Park

Japoon is a national park in Queensland, Australia, 1,306 km northwest of Brisbane. The park forms part of the Wooroonooran Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International because it supports populations of a range of bird species endemic to Queensland’s Wet Tropics.

Kurrimine Beach National Park

Kurrimine Beach is a national park in Queensland, Australia, which lies 1,295 km northwest of Brisbane. It is part of the Coastal Wet Tropics Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International because of its importance for the conservation of lowland tropical rainforest birds.

List of Anseriformes by population

This is a list of Anseriformes species by global population. While numbers are estimates, they have been made by the experts in their fields.

Anseriformes (Anser being Latin for "goose") is the taxonomic order to which the ducks, geese, swans, and screamers belong. BirdLife International has assessed 166 species; 89 (54% of total species) have had their population estimated. A variety of methods are used for counting waterfowl. For example, in North America, national and sub-national agencies use planes and helicopters to make aerial transects of breeding populations, and extrapolate these counts over the species' known ranges. Methodologies are continuously being refined; thus estimates can be expected to become more accurate over time. Forecasts can be made by studying habitat condition trends and by interviewing local experts. For more information on how these estimates were ascertained, see Wikipedia's articles on population biology and population ecology.

The first bird in this list, the crested shelduck, retains a status of Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List but may in fact be extinct. The last confirmed reporting was in 1964 near Vladivostok. North Korea claimed a sighting in March 1971, but this record is highly suspect. Unconfirmed reports do, however, periodically roll in from Northeast China, giving scientists hope that the last individual has not yet died.

To be assessed as Critically Endangered a species must have experienced a decline of at least 80% in the past ten years or three generations, or be projected to decline that much in the future ten years or three generations. As some species below are rapidly approaching their minimum viable population (MVP), the future may see their removal from the list and addition to the preceding paragraph.

Extinct species:

Réunion shelduck, the last of which had been hunted by 1710;

Mauritian shelduck, which was plentiful in 1681 and extinct in 1698;

Amsterdam duck, reported to be the favourite dish of Île Amsterdam's five resident sealers until 1793;

Mauritian duck, which was found in "great numbers" in 1681 and last reported in 1696;

Mariana mallard, a pair of which would not breed at SeaWorld and which has not been encountered since the death of the last individual there in 1981;

Finsch's duck, once the most abundant waterfowl species in New Zealand;

Labrador duck, which has not been seen in northeast North America since 1875;

Auckland merganser, all searches for which have been for naught since the last recording in 1902.

List of amazon parrots

The amazon parrots are about 30 species of parrots that comprise the genus Amazona. They are native to the New World, ranging from South America to Mexico and the Caribbean. Amazon parrots range in size from medium to large, and have relatively short, rather square tails. They are predominantly green, with accenting colours that are quite vivid in some species.

The taxonomy of the yellow-crowned amazon (Amazona ochrocephala complex) is disputed, with some authorities listing only a single species (A. ochrocephala), and others splitting it into as many as three species (A. ochrocephala, A. auropalliata and A. oratrix). The yellow-faced parrot, Alipiopsitta xanthops, was traditionally placed within the amazon parrot genus, but recent research has shown that it is more closely related to the short-tailed parrot and species from the genus Pionus; as a result, it has been transferred to the monotypic genus Alipiopsitta.Two extinct species have been postulated, based on limited evidence. They are the Martinique amazon (Amazona martinica) and the Guadeloupe amazon (Amazona violacea). Amazon parrots were described living on Guadeloupe by Jean-Baptiste Du Tertre in 1667 and by Jean-Baptiste Labat in 1742, and they were called Psittacus violaceus at that time. Labat also described amazon parrots living on Martinique. There are no specimens or remains of either island population, so their taxonomy may never be fully elucidated. Their status as separate species is unproven and they are regarded as hypothetical extinct species.

List of birds by population

This is a list of bird species by global population, divided by bird classification. While numbers are estimates, they have been made by the experts in their fields. For more information on how these estimates were ascertained, see Wikipedia's articles on population biology and population ecology. Contributing organizations include the IUCN, BirdLife International, and Partners in Flight.

This list is incomplete, because experts have not estimated all bird numbers. For example, the spectacled flowerpecker was only discovered in 2010, and has yet to be classified with a Linnean name, but would add to the other 73 new bird species described by ornithologists from 2000 – 2009. Global population estimates for many of these at this time would lack accuracy.

All numbers are estimates, because they are taken by observation, and a given number of 50 slender-billed curlews does not necessarily mean there are 10 more of this species than the black stilt, which has been estimated at 40: there is a possibility that the latter species has a larger population than the former. This list should not be taken that literally. An estimate of 250 shore dotterels compared with 4,500 – 5,000 wrybills, on the other hand, means that the latter has well over one order of magnitude more individuals than the former. The wrybill only has approximately one tenth the population of great skuas (48,000), which are outnumbered ~10:1 by the pigeon guillemot (470,000). It is these large differences between species that this list tries to convey.

List of endemic birds of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is home to 26 endemic bird species and seven proposed endemic species. The total number of bird species recorded in the island is 492 of which 219 are breeding residents. BirdLife International recognize Sri Lanka as one of the world's Endemic Bird Areas (EBAs). The number of endemic species has changed many times over the years. This is largely due to "close taxonomic revisions". The number of endemic species has fluctuated from a minimum 20 to a maximum 47. From 1977 the number settled at around 21. The figure was increased to 23 with the addition of two species in 1990. Many authorities have accepted this figure since then. Wijesinghe published A checklist of the birds of Sri Lanka in 1994 which considered the addition of three more species, but this move did not receive widespread recognition because its rationale was not in keeping with rigorous taxonomic practice. Subsequent publications on the avifauna of Sri Lanka and the South Asia region have not listed these three as endemics. However, within some Sri Lankan circles considered the endemics proposed by Wijesinghe as acceptable. This may be due to an over-enthusiasm in increasing endemic numbers to create a better ornithological image and increase the demand for commercial birdwatching.In 2001, Warakagoda and Rasmussen described a new bird species, the Serendib scops-owl Otus thilohofmanni. This is the first new bird species discovered in Sri Lanka since 1868, when the Sri Lanka whistling-thrush (Myophonus blighi) was described. There are some proposals for species level taxonomic revisions, and therefore endemic status in Sri Lanka. The country prefix "Sri Lanka" in common names is normally restricted to endemic species. However Kotagama et al. (2006) disagree with Sibley and Monroe (1990) on the use of "Ceylon" in common species' names, suggesting instead that they should reflect the change of the official English name of the island from Ceylon to name Sri Lanka. Sibley and Monroe's rationale was "Ceylon" is the geographical unit and "Sri Lanka" is the country which occupies the island. The geographical name is normally used for bird ranges, for example Madagascar is used rather than its nation, the Malagasy Republic."

Maria Creek National Park

Maria Creek is a national park in Far North Queensland, Australia, 1292 km northwest of Brisbane. It is part of the Coastal Wet Tropics Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International because of its importance for the conservation of lowland tropical rainforest birds.

Neds Reef

Neds Reef is a group of three small granite islets, joined at low tide by extensive mudflats, with a combined area of about 3 ha, in south-eastern Australia. They are part of Tasmania’s Tin Kettle Island Group, lying in eastern Bass Strait between Flinders and Cape Barren Islands in the Furneaux Group. The reef is part of the Franklin Sound Islands Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International because it holds over 1% of the world populations of six bird species.

Nordenskiöld Land

Nordenskiöld Land is the land area between Isfjorden and Van Mijenfjorden on Spitsbergen, Svalbard. The area is named after Finnish-Swedish explorer and geologist Nils Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld. The coastal region of Nordenskiöld Land (Nordenskiøldkysten) has been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International because it supports breeding populations of barnacle geese and common eiders.

Oreti River

The Oreti River is one of the main rivers of Southland, New Zealand, and is 170 kilometres (110 mi) long. The river has been identified as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International because, for much of its length, it supports breeding colonies of black-billed gulls.The Oreti has its headwaters close to the Mavora Lakes between Lake Te Anau and Lake Wakatipu, and flows south across the Southland Plains to its outflow into Foveaux Strait at the southeastern end of Oreti Beach. En route, it runs through the towns of Lumsden and Winton, before passing through the city of Invercargill, close to the river's estuary.

For the final part of the river's length, around the city of Invercargill and the river's estuary just south of the city, it is known as the New River, a name occasionally encountered to refer to the whole river. It shares this estuary with several smaller rivers, most notably the Waihopai River.

The New River Estuary, which meets the end of the Oreti River before it reaches the sea, is in decline. Recent science reports show that regions of the upper estuary are under stress and showing eutrophication. There is excessive macroalgal growth including sediment quality decline and high concentrations of chlorophyll-a in the water column. Chlorophyll-a was used as an indicator of eutrophic conditions in the water column, and is a colour pigment present in many types of algae that can give an indication of how much algae is present in the water column.The Invercargill Rowing Club relocated to the river in 1958.

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