(adjective) Describes a species that is threatened with extinction. The leading authority for determining a species' endangered status is the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and there are several levels of endangered status, from vulnerable to threatened to endangered to critically endangered. Smaller organizations or governments may determine if a species is endangered in their region, using the same overall qualifications.
There are many factors that go into listing a bird species as endangered. Overall population numbers are considered, as well as how the population numbers are changing – increasing or decreasing – over time. Other considerations for endangered status include breeding success, habitat availability, species adaptability and food availability, as well as artificial threats such as hunting and poaching.
More than 1,200 bird species are considered endangered to some degree, which accounts for more than 10 percent of all bird species in the world, with some birds of every bird type endangered. Once a species is declared endangered, many countries enact laws to protect the bird against hunting, as well as protecting the necessary habitat for the bird to survive. Captive breeding programs, more extensive monitoring and other steps are frequently taken to help protect endangered birds. As birds recover and their populations grow, they can be "delisted" and are no longer considered endangered.
Examples of endangered birds include the spoon-billed sandpiper, California condor and whooping crane. The bald eagle and peregrine falcon are examples of previously endangered birds that have been successfully recovered and are now thriving in the wild.
Photo – Tricolored Blackbird © Alan Vernon
Threatened, Vulnerable, At Risk