World Bird Day: Half of Spain’s species are threatened

Half of the birds in Spain are endangered and at risk of disappearing if action is not taken. to reverse the damage caused by the pressure of human activity. Pollution, habitat destruction, intensive agricultural activities and climate change are pushing the rich Spanish avifauna into progressive decline, a problem that, far from being reversed, has continued to grow over the past 20 years.

Spain is the second richest country in Europe in terms of bird life. Every year, 622 species live or move in our country, 572 of which are native.expressing the “significant custodian responsibility” with which it has to protect all this biodiversity. However, when World Migratory Bird Day is celebrated, the reality is very different, as conservation efforts over the past two decades have been insufficient to reverse the impact of economic and industrial activities.

This is highlighted by: Red Book of Birds of Spain 2021, this highlights that 56-56% of the most common species in our country have problems in improving their lives in environments that are either hostile or directly extinct.

reddish tail area of ​​interest


According to the scenario that prevailed 18 years ago, the situation got worse. – The last published Red Book dates back to 2004 -. Of all the species assessed at the time, only 24 have lowered their threat level and are therefore in a better position than then. This is the case with the bearded vulture, the Bonelli eagle, the black vulture, the vulture, the Egyptian vulture, or the black kite.

17% more threatened species than 18 years ago

On the contrary, most of the threatened species remained the same or deteriorated. Specifically, 33 species worsen their situation and 60 other species retain the same category. This means that the threatened avifauna in Spain has grown by 17% compared to 18 years ago.

On this occasion, the Red Book increased the number of studied birds. It included 359 bird species (there were 175 in 2004). This extension of the study made it possible to evaluate 57% of the species that make up the Spanish avifauna (622), and 62.8% (572) of the native or naturally found birds in the country. Of the examined species, 90 (25.1%) were in the threatened category (critical, endangered or vulnerable), 12 (3.3%) of the species or populations could be included in the extinction category, and 51 (14.2%) species were in an imminent state. it was detected. threaten.

Percentages vary according to the bird’s lifestyle. Only 42% of the species that breed in our country -that is, those that stay in the same place throughout their lives- have optimal living conditions; A figure that rises to 56% for animals that migrate or hibernate.

Most threatened seabirds and wetland birds

The worst-off species are those found in wetlands and marine environments (such as coastal areas). nine were found to be critically endangered. Endangered species are mainly birds from semi-natural habitats, such as agrosystems or decica, where 19 species have been identified.

balearic minute hand Maties Rebassa


Generally, pollution is the most common threat to birds, affecting 76.29% of species studied. There are several types of pollution that affect them. For example, pesticides and pesticides used in intensive farming practices reduce the presence of insects and reduce the reproductive potential of birds when consumed.

This Contamination of soil and wetlands by lead Microplastics, hydrocarbons and light pollution used in fishing are the things that affect seabirds the most. This effect affects spoonbill, Bulwer bird, gray shrike, Balearic shearwater, Canary Cory shearwater, brown eggplant and European eggplant.

This change of ecosystems It affects 70% of the Spanish avifauna and is the second cause of the threat to these animals. Such contamination is particularly evident in birds associated with wetlands, which are highly affected by their drying up and drainage, riparian deforestation, or overexploitation of aquifers. These practices threaten the existence of black storks, eggplants, Moorish moths, marble teal, aquatic warblers, sedges, black nightingales and dart warblers.

This intensive farming practicesLike monocultures, they affect the habitats of many birds by fragmenting and transforming their habitats. Montagu’s Harrier and Montagu’s Harrier, Corn Vulture, Lesser Kestrel, Ortega and Iberian Sand Hen, Little Bustard or Median-billed Harrier are among the taxa most affected.

Example of the Cantabrian capercaillie José Luis Rodriguez


Added for the first time effects from climate changeIt is the fourth reason for the disappearance of specimens, affecting 65% of the species, according to the report. The report warns that the increased frequency of extreme weather events could have serious implications, including high adult and chick deaths, particularly in late spring and early summer. Red Partridge, Bobwhite Quail, Gray Partridge, Red Kite, Bourbon Teal and Western Jackdaw are some of the birds that are already feeling the effects of global warming.

To reverse this situation, from Seo/Birdlife They propose three types of measures: conservation, dissemination and research. To ensure the survival of birds in their natural habitats, it is desirable to regulate pesticide use, change the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), prohibit authorizing projects that affect the breeding or feeding grounds of threatened species, control and eradicate invaders. stopping the hunting of species and declining species.

All this should be supported by research on populations and causes of decline, monitoring programs, and studies in the breeding and wintering grounds of endangered species. On the other hand, experts think that the Natura 2000 Network should be completed given that “the majority of threatened bird populations are located outside the network”.

For more information: https://seo.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Resumen-Libro-Rojo-de-las-Aves-de-Espana-2021.pdf

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Environment department contact address:crisclimatica@prensaiberica.es

Source: Informacion

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