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8 species in IUCN Red List

Red-Headed Falcon - courtesy Wikipedia
Red-Headed Falcon - courtesy Wikipedia

Birds, one of the best indicators of the environment, have slipped deeper into the danger zone in India, thanks to relentless habitat destruction. The latest IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List (2014) indicates that a total of 173 bird species in the country are now Threatened. The latest IUCN list shows that the newly discovered small colourful bird Bugun Liocichla from the North-East is now Critically Endangered, as compared to the earlier safer status of Vulnerable. Moreover, based on studies conducted by BNHS-India, BirdLife International (UK) and other partner organizations, eight other bird species have newly entered the threatened list.

Yunnan Nuthatch - by L Shyamal on Wikipedia


Andaman Teal-
by John Keulemans
on Wikipedia
Species in danger

The eight species of birds newly added to the list include Woolly-necked Stork, Andaman Teal (both uplisted from Least Concern to Vulnerable), Andaman Green Pigeon, Ashy-headed Green Pigeon, Red-headed Falcon, Himalayan Griffon, Bearded Vulture and Yunnan Nuthatch (all uplisted from Least Concern to Near Threatened). When a species is “uplisted”, it means that it has moved up on the threatened ladder, deeper into the danger zone.

In an earlier revision of the IUCN list that took place in November 2013, five species had been added to the threatened list, which includes Great Stone Plover, Alexandrine Parakeet, Grey-headed Parakeet, Blossom-headed Parakeet and Red-breasted Parakeet.

Ashy-headed Green Pigeon - by Gronvold and Baker on Wikipedia

Distribution and threats

Bugun Liocichla, first described by modern science in the 1990s, has till now been reported from a few areas such as Eaglenest Sanctuary and Bomdila in Arunachal Pradesh, India. It is likely to exist in other areas of the state and some neighbouring areas of Bhutan and China. Woolly-necked Stork, although found in most parts of India, is facing rapid population decline. Andaman Teal is found only on Great Coco Island and Andaman Islands of India with less than 1000 individuals recorded till now. Andaman Green Pigeon is also endemic to the Andaman and Nicobar islands of India and a couple of thousand individuals may exist. Ashy-headed Green Pigeon is confined to the north-eastern states of India. Red-headed Falcon is still found in declining numbers in most parts of India (except the Himalayan ranges) and several neighbouring countries. But it has disappeared from many areas and in Pakistan it has declined partly due to the falconry trade.

Found only in the Himalayan ranges, Himalayan Griffon is likely to decline further due to the impact of diclofenac use in livestock, as in the case of several other vulture species. Bearded Vulture or Lammergeyer is also found in the Himalayan ranges in India and similar habitats in other parts of Asia, Africa and Europe. It has been facing moderately rapid population decline. Yunnan Nuthatch found in Yunnan province of China, has been recorded only in Arunachal Pradesh in India. Habitat loss from a variety of factors such as infrastructure development and forest fires and poaching and use of chemicals are jeopardizing the existence of these and other threatened species.

Woolly-necked Stork - by Kaipally on Wikipedia


Worldwide phenomenon

A similar situation exists globally with 13% of all bird species on the threatened list. Moreover, from among the 350 species, newly recognized and assessed the world over by BirdLife International and IUCN, over 25% have been listed as threatened.

Species such as Belem Curassow from Brazil and Desertas Petrel from Madeira Islands have been listed as Threatened. In the case of the Blue-bearded Helmetcrest, a beautiful hummingbird from Colombia, it may already be too late, as the species has not been seen for nearly 70 years. Somali Ostrich, which is found in Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya, is now recognised as a distinct species and listed as Vulnerable. Its population is thought to be in rapid decline because of hunting and egg-collection. The latest IUCN study also helps identify the places most important for birds, which need urgent protection.

Several areas of South East Asia are still expected to host extremely rare and endemic species such as Sangihe Dwarf Kingfisher and Cebu Brown Dove and many others not yet documented. Newly recognised species such as Javan Flameback and Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher are now severely threatened. These areas need immediate conservation attention to protect the remaining habitat.

The total number of species recognised by BirdLife in the 2014 Red List is 10,425. Among them category-wise break-up is as follows: Extinct: 140; Extinct in the Wild: 4; Critically Endangered: 213; Endangered: 419; Vulnerable: 741; Near Threatened: 959; Least Concern: 7,886 and Data Deficient: 62. Species are assigned to a particular category based on whether they meet criteria linked to population trends, population size and structure and geographic range. Species listed as Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable are collectively described as Threatened.

Bearded Vulture - by Richard Bartz on Wikipedia

Himalayan Griffon - by Jan Reurink on Wikipedia

Bugun Liocichla


IUCN Red List of Threatened Birds (2014) - India:

CommonName Scientific Name Category
Himalayan Quail Ophrysia superciliosa CR
Pink-headed Duck Rhodonessa caryophyllacea CR
Baer's Pochard Aythya baeri CR
Forest Owlet Heteroglaux blewitti CR
Great Indian Bustard Ardeotis nigriceps CR
Bengal Florican Houbaropsis bengalensis CR
Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea CR
Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius CR
Jerdon's Courser Rhinoptilus bitorquatus CR
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis CR
Red-headed Vulture Sarcogyps calvus CR
White-bellied Heron Ardea insignis CR
Slender-billed Vulture Gyps tenuirostris CR
Indian Vulture Gyps indicus CR
Siberian Crane Leucogeranus leucogeranus CR
Christmas Island Frigatebird Fregata andrewsi CR
Bugun Liocichla Liocichla bugunorum CR
Manipur Bush-quail Perdicula manipurensis EN
Green Peafowl Pavo muticus EN
White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala EN
White-winged Duck Asarcornis scutulata EN
Narcondam Hornbill Rhyticeros narcondami EN
Lesser Florican Sypheotides indicus EN
Masked Finfoot Heliopais personatus EN
Spotted Greenshank Tringa guttifer EN
Black-bellied Tern Sterna acuticauda EN
Greater Adjutant Leptoptilos dubius EN
Yellow-breasted Bunting Emberiza aureola EN
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug EN
Black-chinned Laughingthrush Strophocincla cachinnans EN
Nilgiri Blue Robin Myiomela major EN
White-bellied Blue Robin Myiomela albiventris EN
Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus EN
Oriental Stork Ciconia boyciana EN
Red-breasted Goose Branta ruficollis EN
Nicobar Scrubfowl (Megapode) Megapodius nicobariensis VU
Swamp Francolin Francolinus gularis VU
Chestnut-breasted Partridge Arborophila mandellii VU
Western Tragopan Tragopan melanocephalus VU
Blyth's Tragopan Tragopan blythii VU
Sclater's Monal Lophophorus sclateri VU
Cheer Pheasant Catreus wallichii VU
Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris VU
Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis VU
Dark-rumped Swift Apus acuticauda VU
Pale-backed Pigeon (Yellow-eyed Pigeon) Columba eversmanni VU
Nilgiri Woodpigeon Columba elphinstonii VU
Pale-capped Pigeon Columba punicea VU
Sarus Crane Antigone antigone VU
Black-necked Crane Grus nigricollis VU
Wood Snipe Gallinago nemoricola VU
Indian Skimmer Rynchops albicollis VU
Pallas's Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus VU
Nicobar Sparrowhawk Accipiter butleri VU
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga VU
Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca VU
Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus VU
Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus VU
Grey-sided Thrush Turdus feae VU
Kashmir Flycatcher Ficedula subrubra VU
White-browed Bushchat Saxicola macrorhynchus VU
White-throated Bushchat Saxicola insignis VU
Beautiful Nuthatch Sitta formosa VU
White-naped Tit Parus nuchalis VU
Yellow-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus xantholaemus VU
Grey-crowned Prinia Prinia cinereocapilla VU
Bristled Grassbird Chaetornis striata VU
Broad-tailed Grassbird Schoenicola platyurus VU
Marsh Babbler Pellorneum palustre VU
Rusty-throated Wren-babbler Spelaeornis badeigularis VU
Tawny-breasted Wren-babbler Spelaeornis longicaudatus VU
Jerdon's Babbler Chrysomma altirostre VU
Slender-billed Babbler Turdoides longirostris VU
Black-breasted Parrotbill Paradoxornis flavirostris VU
Yellow Weaver Ploceus megarhynchus VU
Green Avadavat Amandava formosa VU
Snowy-throated Babbler Stachyris oglei VU
Nilgiri Pipit Anthus nilghiriensis VU
Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis VU
Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris VU
Indian Spotted Eagle Clanga hastata VU
Great Slaty Woodpecker Mulleripicus pulverulentus VU
Asian Houbara Chlamydotis macqueenii VU
Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus VU
Hooded Crane Grus monacha VU
Socotra Cormorant Phalacrocorax nigrogularis VU
Red-faced Malkoha Phaenicophaeus pyrrhocephalus VU
Woolly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus VU
Andaman Teal Anas albogularis VU
White-cheeked Partridge Arborophila atrogularis NT
Satyr Tragopan Tragopan satyra NT
Tibetan Eared-pheasant Crossoptilon harmani NT
Mrs Hume's Pheasant Syrmaticus humiae NT
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca NT
Yellow-rumped Honeyguide Indicator xanthonotus NT
Andaman Woodpecker Dryocopus hodgei NT
Malabar Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros coronatus NT
Ward's Trogon Harpactes wardi NT
Blyth's Kingfisher Alcedo hercules NT
Brown-winged Kingfisher Pelargopsis amauroptera NT
Lord Derby's (Derbyan) Parakeet Psittacula derbiana NT
Nicobar Parakeet Psittacula caniceps NT
Andaman Scops-owl Otus balli NT
Andaman Boobook (Andaman Hawk-owl) Ninox affinis NT
Andaman Woodpigeon Columba palumboides NT
Andaman Cuckoo-dove Macropygia rufipennis NT
Nicobar Pigeon Caloenas nicobarica NT
Andaman Crake Rallina canningi NT
Asian Dowitcher Limnodromus semipalmatus NT
Lesser Fish-eagle Icthyophaga humilis NT
Grey-headed Fish-eagle Icthyophaga ichthyaetus NT
Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus NT
Andaman Serpent-eagle Spilornis elgini NT
Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus NT
Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster NT
Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor NT
Black-headed Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus NT
Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis NT
Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala NT
Andaman Treepie Dendrocitta bayleyi NT
Andaman Drongo Dicrurus andamanensis NT
Rusty-bellied Shortwing Brachypteryx hyperythra NT
Black-and-rufous Flycatcher Ficedula nigrorufa NT
Nilgiri Flycatcher Eumyias albicaudatus NT
Firethroat Luscinia pectardens NT
Grey-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus priocephalus NT
Nicobar Bulbul Hypsipetes nicobariensis NT
Rufous-vented Prinia Prinia burnesii NT
Long-billed Bush-warbler Bradypterus major NT
Tytler's Leaf-warbler Phylloscopus tytleri NT
Chestnut-backed Laughingthrush Garrulax nuchalis NT
Rufous-throated Wren-babbler Spelaeornis caudatus NT
Giant Babax Babax waddelli NT
Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus NT
Beach Thick-knee Esacus magnirostris NT
Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis NT
Rufous-rumped Grassbird Graminicola bengalensis NT
Long-tailed Parakeet Psittacula longicauda NT
Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax NT
Falcated Duck Mareca falcata NT
Grey-headed Parakeet Psittacula finschii NT
Blossom-headed Parakeet Psittacula roseata NT
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa NT
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata NT
River Lapwing Vanellus duvaucelii NT
River Tern Sterna aurantia NT
South Nicobar Serpent Eagle Spilornis klossi NT
Laggar Falcon Falco jugger NT
Japanese Quail Coturnix japonica NT
Great Stone Plover Esacus recurvirostris NT
Alexandrine Parakeet Psittacula eupatria NT
Red-breasted Parakeet Psittacula alexandri NT
European Roller Coracias garrulus NT
Austen's Brown Hornbill Anorrhinus austeni NT
Blackish-breasted Babbler Sphenocichla humei NT
Long-tailed Wren-babbler Spelaeornis chocolatinus NT
Chevron-breasted Babbler Sphenocichla roberti NT
Mangrove Pitta Pitta megarhyncha NT
Kerala Laughingthrush Strophocincla fairbanki NT
Red Kite Milvus milvus NT
Buff-breasted Sandpiper Calidris (Tryngites) subruficollis NT
Great Snipe Gallinago media NT
Jouanin's Petrel Bulweria fallax NT
Swinhoe's Storm-petrel Hydrobates monorhis NT
Andaman Green Pigeon Treron chloropterus NT
Ashy-headed Green Pigeon Treron phayrei NT
Red-headed Falcon Falco chicquera NT
Himalayan Griffon Gyps himalayensis NT
Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus NT
Yunnan Nuthatch Sitta yunnanensis NT
Nicobar Scops-owl Otus alius DD
Large-billed Reed-warbler Acrocephalus orinus DD
Sillem's Mountain Finch Leucosticte sillemi DD
Compiled by BNHS and BirdLife International    
Note: Species marked in red are the new additions    
CR- Critically Endangered 17  
EN- Endangered 18  
VU- Vulnerable 81  
NT- Near Threatened 54  
Data Deficient 3  
Total 173  


Author info

Atul Sathe's picture

Manager-Communications, BNHS-India

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