Birds in Europe


Europe is home to more than 520 regularly occurring wild bird species, with a total estimated breeding population of around two billion pairs. Millions more migrate through the continent on passage to Africa, whilst millions of others from the Arctic or Russia spend the winter in Europe.

  • At present, 53 (10%) of these species are considered to be of global conservation concern, and are listed as Threatened or Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List. These range from species endemic to single islands, to widespread species occurring in many countries. BirdLife takes action to improve the status of these species and prevent extinctions.

  • BirdLife Europe has made two assessments of the population status of all species at European level. In 1994, 38% were considered to be in an unfavourable condition. By 2004, this figure had increased to 43%. The third assessment is currently underway, with results due in 2015.

  • BirdLife Europe’s first assessment of the population status of species in the European Union showed a similar picture, with 48% of species considered to be in an unfavourable condition in 2004. The results of that assessment form the basis of the European Union’s target to increase by 50% the proportion of species in a secure or improving condition by 2020. The first measure of progress towards that target will be published in the second assessment in 2015.

Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe.

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