Restrictedrange bird species occur in just 5 of the Earths land surface

Endemic Bird Areas cover a small fraction of the Earth's land surface The size of EBAs varies considerably from tiny islands to much larger areas on continents, but together they cover only 14.5 million km2. Today the restricted-range birds that characterise EBAs (c.25 of all bird species) are concentrated in just 5 of the Earth's land surface (box 3). The EBAs of the world are clearly priority areas for action, and key sites within EBAs are included within BirdLife's Important Bird Areas (IBA)...

Bird Life

At the root of the biodiversity crisis are humanity's most serious problems The immediate threats to birds and biodiversity are growing in both scale and scope. The underlying causes are a complex tangle, rooted both in our expanding demands on the planet (see p. 5, box 2) and the unfair ways that we share our resources. Rising individual consumption and material expectations, especially in rich nations, are driving agricultural intensification, habitat The numbers of bird species in each IUCN...

Are we on track to achieve our targets

Is the world making progress towards the goal, agreed at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, to achieve 'a significant reduction in the current rate of loss of biological diversity' by the year 2010 Are we on track to 'ensure environmental sustainability' (Millennium Development Goal 7) and to 'reverse the loss of environmental resources' (Millennium Development Target 9) Unfortunately, it is difficult to tell. There is presently no systematic global framework for generating and...

Exploitation of birds has become unsustainable

Humans have harvested and traded birds since time immemorial for food, as pets, for cultural purposes and for sport. This use of nature is fundamental to the economies and cultures of many nations. Wild meat is not only a vital source of protein, but also generates valuable income for rural populations. However, expanding markets and increasing demand, combined with improved access and techniques for capture, are causing the exploitation of many species beyond sustainable levels. Over the last...

Most Endemic Bird Areas are in the tropics and are important for other biodiversity

Stattersfield et al. (1998) Endemic Bird of the world priorities for biodiversity conservation. Cambridge, UK BirdLife International. 2. WWF IUCN (I994, I994-I995, I997) Centres of Plant Diversity a guide and strategy for their conservation. Cambridge, UK World Wide Fund for Nature and IUCN. Many bird species are congregatory, including large numbers of waterbirds and migrants Many bird species (often with large overall ranges) gather together at various times in their life cycles...

Habitat degradation and fragmentation compound the problem

For many species the habitat degradation that accompanies 'selective' resource exploitation, or that occurs in habitats next to cleared areas, can have serious consequences. Many tropical forest birds, for instance, rely on pristine or near-pristine primary forest, and show low tolerance to selective logging (see p. 20, box 1, figure c). Even for non-threatened bird species that have adapted to rural, semi-natural habitats, the intensification of agricultural practices is causing significant...

Birds are good though not perfect indicators

The expense of comprehensively assessing biodiversity is enormous. One estimate is that an all-taxa inventory of just one hectare of tropical forest might take 50-500 scientist-years to accomplish1. This has led to much interest in finding proxy taxa that can act as indicators for biodiversity as a whole. There is no perfect indicator taxon, but some are much better than others. The kind of indicator taxon that works best depends on whether the purpose is to track environmental changes, or...

Hunting ban reversed decline of Whiteheaded Duck in Spain

White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala has a fragmented distribution, with a small, resident population in Spain, Algeria and Tunisia, and a larger, mainly migratory, population in the east Mediterranean and Asia1. Destruction and degradation of its wetland habitats, combined with hunting (to which it is extremely susceptible1), have caused rapid population declines across much of its range and, consequently, it is considered Endangered2. By the 1970s, the Spanish population was close to...

Ugandas 30 Important Bird Areas capture 74 of butterfly species and 84 of dragonfly species recorded from the country

The 30 Important Bird Areas IBAs in Uganda occupy some 8 of the land surface of the country and include a wide variety of forest, savanna and wetland habitats1. Comparative studies of the country's 13 'forest'IBAs have shown they are effective at capturing much forest-dwelling biodiversity in other taxon groups see box 2 . More recently, butterflies, dragonflies, birds and vascular plants have been surveyed in the remaining 17, mainly savanna and wetland, IBAs in Uganda. The aim was to assess...

Indian vulture populations have declined precipitously

Indian Vulture Population

Griffon vultures of the genus Gyps were formerly very common throughout South and South-East Asia, with White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis considered one of the most abundant large birds of prey in the world. Vulture populations declined across much of the region in the first half of the twentieth century, but they remained common on the Indian subcontinent, where populations were maintained by an abundant supply of livestock carcasses. In the late 1990s, however, the Indian populations of...