Birds in Europe


Europe is home to more than 530 regularly occurring wild bird species, with a total estimated breeding population of around two billion pairs. Millions more migrate through the continent en route to Africa, and 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.

  • In two Birds in Europe volumes, BirdLife Europe assessed 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%.

  • BirdLife Europe’s first assessment of the population status of species in the European Union (EU) 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 EU’s target to increase by 50% the proportion of species in a secure or improving condition by 2020.

  • The 2015 European Red List of Birds forms the third assessment at European level and the second at EU level. The results, including detailed species factsheets, can be found on the BirdLife International DataZone. The EU level Red List assessment formed the basis of the first measure of progress towards the EU’s 2020 target for birds, as published in the European Environment Agency’s 2015 technical report on the State of Nature in the EU: Reporting under the Birds and the Habitats Directives.

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.

Programme news