(RSPB; Photo: Bill Paton; 11 April 2017)
More than one quarter of UK birds are in need of urgent conservation effort with curlew, puffin and nightingale joining the growing list of threatened species – but there is good news for some, a new report has highlighted.
The state of the UK’s birds 2016 (SUKB) report – the one-stop shop for all the latest results from bird surveys and monitoring studies – highlights how more than a quarter of the UK’s regularly-occurring bird species are now what conservationists refer to as ‘Red-listed’4.
Many of these are due to severe recent declines in numbers and/or range in the UK. And eight2 are considered at risk of global extinction.
Downward trends for upland species continue, with five added to the Red List; giving cause for concern. Europe’s largest and most distinctive wader – the curlew – has been added to the Red List and is joined by dotterel, whinchat, grey wagtail and merlin. This highlights the fact many of the UK’s upland species are in increasing trouble with the total number of upland birds red-listed now 12.
Hosting up to a quarter of the global breeding population of curlew, the UK could be considered one of the most important countries in the world for breeding curlews. But in recent decades, numbers have almost halved due to habitat loss. With a much smaller population, predators are now having an effect on what was a resilient population.
The curlew is considered ‘near threatened’ globally and with urgent action required to halt their decline, an International Single Species Action Plan has been created.