Europe and Central Asia
22 Jan 2015

Science in 2015: assessing European bird populations

Treecreeper © Ariel Brunner
By BirdLife Europe

In 1994, 38% of the species were considered to be in an unfavourable condition. By 2004, this figure had increased to 43%. If we look only at the EU the number grows to  48%. The 2015 assessment will measure the progress towards the European Union’s target to increase by 50% the proportion of species in a secure or improving condition by 2020.

2015 will be an important milestone in the assessment of European bird populations. During 2012-2014 the European Commission has financed the assessment of the extinction risk of bird species in the European Union and at pan-European level. BirdLife International is leading the consortium of the European Bird Census Council, Wetlands International, IUCN, BTO, Sovon, RSPB, Czech Society for Ornithology and BirdLife Europe that will produce the inventory 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%. If we look only at the EU, 48% of species was in an unfavourable condition in 2004. This third assessment will measure the progress towards the European Union’s target to increase by 50% the proportion of species in a secure or improving condition by 2020.

The core outputs from the project will be a set of online factsheets summarising the geographic distribution, population size and trend, habitat and ecology, major threats, conservation measures and regional (pan-European and EU) Red List status of each of the c. 520 wild bird species occurring naturally and regularly in Europe, plus a report providing an overview of the main results.

The assessment of the European bird populations will also be of great help for another project of BirdLife Partners: the review of illegal killing, trapping and trade of wild birds in the Mediterranean. This scientific review is the first comprehensive quantitative Pan-Mediterranean situation analysis of the scope and scale of illegal killing of birds. This data compilation will serve as a basis for setting conservation priorities in relation to illegal killing of migratory birds in the Mediterranean, advancing a clear advocacy agenda working with governments and international conventions,  focussing further programme of investment in and support to BirdLife Partners to address illegal killing and monitoring of changes over time to assess the impact of conservation measures including the Birds Directive, Bern Convention, CMS/AEWA/Raptor MoU, and actions of BirdLife Partners.

One of the key objectives of this initiative is to compile existing and new information on the worst locations for illegal killing, the practices used and numbers of individuals per species illegally killed or trapped. In order to achieve this, 26 BirdLife Partners in the Mediterranean region and the BirdLife Partner from Georgia have compiled the relevant data on illegal killing in their country. These results will be presented in the second half of 2015.




Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on the ECA section of this website are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe.