RSPB Latest State of UK's Birds 2016 report reveals further worrying declines


This page contains 2 reader comments. Click here to view (latest Tue 11/04/17 19:35).

More than a quarter of British birds are in need of urgent conservation efforts, according to a major new report.

The State of the UK's birds 2016 report — the 'one-stop shop' for all the latest results and figures from bird surveys and monitoring studies — highlights how more than 25 per cent of our regularly occurring bird species are now red-listed, with Eurasian Curlew, Atlantic Puffin and Common Nightingale all joining the growing list of threatened species.

Many of these additions reflect severe recent declines in populations and range across Britain. Eight of the species involved (Balearic Shearwater, Aquatic Warbler, Common Pochard, Long-tailed Duck, Velvet Scoter, Slavonian Grebe, Puffin and Turtle Dove), are considered to be at risk of global extinction.

Cause for concern is the continuing downward trend among upland species, with five added to the Red List. giving cause for concern. Europe's largest and most distinctive wader, Eurasian 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 red-listed upland species now at 12.

Dotterel is one of the many upland species still faring badly in the UK (Photo: Terry Hobson)

Hosting up to a quarter of the global breeding population of Eurasian Curlew, Britain and Ireland are considered among the most important countries in the world for the species. However, numbers have almost halved due to habitat loss in recent decades and, with a much smaller population, predators are now having an effect on what was a resilient population. Given that the species is globally near-threatened and urgent action is required to halt its decline, an International Single Species Action Plan has been created.

Dr Daniel Hayhow, RSPB Conservation Scientist, said: "Curlews are instantly recognisable on winter estuaries or summer moors by their striking long, curved beak, long legs and evocative call. They are one of our most charismatic birds and also one of our most important.

"The State of the UK's birds report shows that through land management, new research and existing data, the International Single Species Action Plan aims to understand the key causes of Curlew declines across the UK and the Republic of Ireland and take action to reverse this trend."

However, it is not all doom and gloom, as the report reveals good news for some species. Despite ongoing persecution, Golden Eagle numbers have increased by 15 per cent since the previous survey in 2003. There is also good news for Cirl Buntings, which are now estimated to have over 1,000 breeding pairs. The winter thrushes survey also shows how important the UK is for migrant birds coming from the continent.

Cirl Bunting
Cirl Bunting has benefited from targeted conservation action in recent years (Photo: John Dickenson)

In addition to these successes, a number of species have moved from the Red list to the Amber or Green lists. Two species, Bittern and European Nightjar, have moved from Red to Amber thanks to the creation and management of suitable habitat, and an additional 22 species have moved from the Amber to the Green list meaning they are now of the lowest conservation concern. Most notably among these is Red Kite. Once one of the UK's most threatened species, it is now on the Green list thanks to the efforts of conservationists and landowners alike. These successes demonstrate that there is cause for hope for other Red-listed species and that targeted conservation action can make a real difference.

Related articles

RSPB RSPB Scotland voices concerns over Highland housing development RSPB RSPB Scotland voices concerns over Highland housing development
The wildlife charity has asked for reassurance that new housing won’t negatively impact on the Cairngorms population of Capercaillie. read on read on
RSPB Appeal for information after Red Kite found shot in Bedfordshire RSPB Appeal for information after Red Kite found shot in Bedfordshire
Bedfordshire Police and the RSPB are appealing for information after a dead Red Kite was found near Toddington, Bedfordshire. read on read on
RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch produces large numbers of winter visitors RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch produces large numbers of winter visitors
Close to half a million people joined in the world's largest garden wildlife survey, counting more than eight million birds during the 38th RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. read on read on
RSPB Another satellite-tagged eagle  RSPB Another satellite-tagged eagle "disappears"
RSPB Scotland has issued an appeal for information following the disappearance of a satellite-tagged Golden Eagle near Strathdon, Aberdeenshire. read on read on
RSPB Puffins set to benefit from Heritage Lottery Fund grant RSPB Puffins set to benefit from Heritage Lottery Fund grant
An RSPB Scotland project to aid conservation efforts for Puffins has been awarded £49,800 by the Heritage Lottery Fund. read on read on

The information in this article was believed correct at the time of writing. BirdGuides accepts no responsibility for errors, or for any consequences of acting on information in the article. The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily shared by BirdGuides Ltd.

hide section Reader comments (2)

Would be good to provide a link to the report in this and similar posts - easier than doing a google search.
   Steve, 11/04/17 09:46Report inappropriate post Report 
It can be downloaded from the BTO website: https://www.bto.org/sites/default/files/publications/state-of-uk-birds-2016.pdf
   Bill Haines, 11/04/17 19:35Report inappropriate post Report 

Back to top Back to top

Latest edition Latest edition
Search articles Search articles
All articles All articles
Popular articles Popular articles
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Terms of Sale | Cookie Policy | About us | Advertise | Contact us
BirdGuides, Warners Group Publications PLC, The Chocolate Factory, 5 Clarendon Road, London N22 6XJ
© 2017 BirdGuides and Warners Group Publications plc. All Rights Reserved. Company Registered in England no. 2572212 | VAT registration No. GB 638 3492 15
Sales: or tel. 0800 919391 · International Sales: +44 (0)1778 391180 · Office: or tel. 020 8826 0934

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites