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All of BirdLife’s work is underpinned by scientific research. Our science is used to set priorities, inform action on the ground, and shape policy and advocacy.

Robust science underpins BirdLife’s conservation programmes, policy and advocacy and communications. Through our commitment to rigorous data-gathering and analysis, we ensure that scarce resources are targeted effectively. BirdLife Partners undertake scientific research and priority setting at a national level.

These efforts are supported by the BirdLife Secretariat, working in close collaboration with a diverse range of universities, academic institutes, government agencies, non-governmental organisations and other bodies across the world. This work generates a vast array of data and information, which the Secretariat manages in extensive global datasets on species, sites and other aspects of conservation.

Our scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals make BirdLife a world-leader in conservation science. We identify the bird species at greatest risk of extinction, the most important sites for their conservation, the most urgent threats to address, the actions required to tackle them and the policies needed to sustain nature. We develop and produce biodiversity indicators to measure the impact of actions and track progress towards global targets for nature conservation.

All our data, information, analyses and summaries are freely available through the BirdLife Data Zone, while our research is summarised in periodic State of the World’s Birds reports.

Data Zone

The Data Zone is a window into the scientific work of BirdLife International. Browse factsheets detailing our Red List assessments for all the world’s birds and important sites for their conservation, explore interactive dashboards and read 300+ case studies.

State of the World’s Birds

BirdLife’s periodic flagship science publication uses birds to assess the condition of our ecosystems as a whole, and is now established as one of the most authoritative and influential syntheses of its kind.

Our latest scientific reports

Global science team

Dr Stuart Butchart
Chief Scientist

Stu leads BirdLife’s Science Division, providing strategic oversight for the team’s work to develop and manage BirdLife’s global scientific datasets and undertake research to underpin BirdLife’s Conservation Programmes. He has worked on assessing the extinction risk of the world’s birds for the IUCN Red List, launching BirdLife’s Preventing Extinctions Programme, developing biodiversity indicators (including the Red List Index), establishing the KBA Partnership and was a Coordinating Lead Author for the IPBES Global Assessment. He has published widely on the state of the world’s birds, the threats to them, the solutions required, and the impact of conservation.

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Dr Ian Burfield
Global Science Coordinator (Species)
Benjamin Olewine Fellow

Ian provides scientific input on species to BirdLife’s conservation programmes, especially the Preventing Extinctions Programme, to help inform action and underpin BirdLife’s policy, advocacy and communications. As coordinator of the Red List Authority for birds, he oversees BirdLife’s ongoing work to reassess and document the extinction risk of the world’s 11,000 species. He also supervises the development and promotion of BirdLife’s scientific journal, Bird Conservation International. Ian joined the Global Science Team in 2013 after a decade with BirdLife Europe, where he assessed species’ regional conservation status, validated proposed Important Bird Areas, developed indicators and reporting frameworks, and promoted monitoring.


Dr Olivia Crowe
Global Science Coordinator (IBAs/KBAs)

Olivia coordinates BirdLife’s global science work on Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) and Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs). She supports the BirdLife Partnership to apply scientific standards (IBA Criteria and KBA Standard) to the identification, delineation and documentation of important sites. She leads the development of technical aspects of IBA and KBA monitoring, and co-chairs the KBA Technical Working Group contributing to technical documents, processes and bodies under the KBA Programme. She also currently oversees the development of the World Database of KBAs.