Mixed fortunes for birds in 2023 Red List update


The recent 2023 IUCN Red List update has provided both positive and negative news stories among some of the world's threatened bird species.

Several species have been reclassified to a less threatened category, including three species of stork from Asia: Greater Adjutant, Lesser Adjutant and Painted Stork. The former two species ae now listed as Near Threatened, having previously been Endangered and Vulnerable respectively, while the latter has moved from Near Threatened to Least Concern. 

Painted Stork was downlisted to Least Concern in the 2023 update (Jon Mercer).

Another success story is that of Millerbird, an Acrocephalus warbler endemic to the Hawaiian islands, which has been downlisted from Critically Endangered to Endangered thanks to translocation efforts.

However, there are some losers in the latest update. Citron-throated Toucan has experienced considerable population declines, moving from Least Concern to Near Threatened due to the ongoing effect of forest loss in South America, while Palm Cockatoo has been uplisted from Least Concern to Near Threatened due to habitat loss.

A notable change in Europe involves Great Bustard, which is now treated as Endangered having previously been Vulnerable.

In the 2023 update, several species were assessed for the first time since they were described. Wangi-wangi White-eye, found on a single Indonesian island, debuted as Endangered due to trapping pressure from the Indonesian songbird trade, while Principe Scops Owl, endemic to São Tomé and Príncipe in Africa's Gulf of Guinea, was listed for the first time as Critically Endangered.

Dr Ian Burfield, Global Science Co-ordinator at BirdLife International, said: "Birds are well studied and great indicators of wider environmental health. The uplisting of any species to a higher threat category is a worrying signal that more action is needed. Conversely, the downlisting of iconic species like Greater and Lesser Adjutant to lower categories shows that conservation works, especially when it is sufficiently resourced and supported by local communities."

Find out more at www.iucnredlist.org.