Quantcast

100 Rarest Birds in the World

From large to small and colorful to camouflaged, birds have long captured the interest and curiosity of bird watchers and nature enthusiasts, but continued threats to their survival leave many with questionable futures.

Scientists from Yale University, the Zoological Society of London and collaborating universities have taken on the task of identifying who the rarest species are and have come up with a list of the world’s 100 most unique and rare birds according to how Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) they are as part of the EDGE program, which is working to identify the most vulnerable species on the planet. Below, a slideshow highlights 25 of the species on the EDGE list:

[slideshow_deploy id='351603']

According to EDGE, one in eight species of birds is now threatened with extinction. Not only are the birds featured on the list living close to the brink, but they are considered highly unique because of the way they look, live and behave.

After examining some 10,000 bird species from around the world scientists based their findings on both how unique they are and how threatened they are to identify the top 100. Their findings were published in the journal Current Biology.

The list includes species who span more than 170 countries, while 62 percent of the species included are endemic to their countries, which means they aren’t found anywhere else in the world.

Scientists hope the project will help raise awareness and public interest in these birds, in addition to helping support global conservation efforts and funding for conservation projects to ensure their future survival.

Carly Waterman, EDGE program manager at the Zoological Society of London, said that about half the birds on the list are getting little to no conservation attention and that without action we stand to lose many other species, including the dodo’s closest relatives, the tooth-billed pigeon or "little dodo," who came in at number 34 on the list.

Topping the list is the world’s largest bird, the giant ibis. With only 230 pairs left in the wild in Cambodia, the giant ibis is considered critically endangered and continues to suffer from habitat loss, human disturbances, predation of its eggs and may be further threatened by hunting.

The second spot is held by the New Caledonian Owlet, who has not been seen since 1998 and is believed to have fewer than 50 individuals left in the wild. The California condor came in third. Condors have been the focus of a recovery effort through captive breeding and reintroduction, but are still considered critically endangered. Their main threat has been lead poisoning, but California’s recent ban on lead ammunition could give them a fighting chance at survival.

The fourth spot is held by New Zealand’s kakapo, a large, flightless parrot who is now extinct in its natural range and exists only on three managed islands. Thanks to conservation efforts, its population has increased, but there are only an estimated 125 individuals in the wild. Without threats, these birds can live to be 90-years-old.

New Caledonia’s national emblem the kagu, known as the "ghost of the forest" because of its striking pale coloring, came in fifth. After suffering from the pet trade and a demand for its beautiful feathers in the 1900s, the kagu’s numbers continued to drop because of habitat loss and predation by domestic dogs and other animals. Kagus are now considered endangered with a population estimated to range between 1,500-3,000 in the wild.

“By identifying these top 100 species, we can now focus our efforts on targeted conservation action and better monitoring to help ensure that they are still here for future generations to come,” said lead author Professor Walter Jetz from Yale University. “As we show, conservation priorities can be adjusted to better conserve the avian tree of life and the many important functions it provides.”

--------

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

USGS Climate Change Study Predicts Bleak Future for Birds and Reptiles in Southwest 

15 Endangered Species You Can Spot in U.S. National Wildlife Refuges

Report Showing Americans Support the Endangered Species Act Delivered to Every Member of Congress

--------

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
Rice University marine biologist Adrienne Correa takes samples at a reef in Flower Garden Banks. Jesse Cancelmo / Rice University

Hurricane Harvey Runoff Threatens Coral Reefs

Hurricane Harvey's record rains didn't just unleash a torrent of floodwaters into the Gulf of Mexico—this freshwater could be harming coral reefs which require saltwater to live, according to new research.

After Harvey dumped more than 13 trillion gallons of rain over southeast Texas, researchers detected a 10 percent drop in salinity at the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, located 100 miles off the coast of Galveston, Texas.

Keep reading... Show less

Pruitt Wants to Make the EPA Less Accountable to the Public

When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) breaks the law by missing deadlines, allowing polluters to violate regulations that protect our health and environment, one way the public holds it accountable is by taking the agency to court. Scott Pruitt and his corporate polluter allies see this as a problem, so Monday, the administrator moved to curtail the agency's practice of settling lawsuits with outside groups, making it easier to skirt the law.

"Pruitt's doing nothing more than posturing about a nonexistent problem and political fiction," John Walke, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's Climate and Clean Air program said in reaction. "His targeting of legal settlements, especially where EPA has no defense to breaking the law, will just allow violations to persist, along with harms to Americans."

Keep reading... Show less
Oil on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. Julie Dermansky

Nearly 400,000 Gallons of Oil Spews Into Gulf of Mexico, Could Be Largest Spill Since Deepwater Horizon

Last week, a pipe owned by offshore oil and gas operator LLOG Exploration Company, LLC spilled up to 393,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, reminding many observers of the Deepwater Horizon explosion seven years ago that spewed approximately 210 million gallons of crude into familiar territory.

Now, a report from Bloomberg suggests that the LLOG spill could be the largest in the U.S. since the 2010 BP blowout, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

Keep reading... Show less
Shutterstock

Big Food Is Worried About Millennials Avoiding Animal Products

By Nathan Runkle

Hundreds of leaders from fast-food chains, marketing agencies and poultry production companies recently gathered in North Carolina for the 2017 Chicken Marketing Summit to play golf and figure out how to make you eat more animals.

One session focused on marketing chicken to millennials. Richard Kottmeyer, a senior managing partner at Fork to Farm Advisory Services, explained to the crowd that millennials are "lost" and need to be "inspired and coached." His reasoning? Because there are now "58 ways to gender identify on Facebook." Also, because most millennial women take nude selfies, the chicken industry needs to be just as "naked" and transparent.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

Strange Days: Ex-Hurricane Ophelia Batters Ireland Under Orange Skies

By Dr. Jeff Masters and Bob Henson

Ex-Hurricane Ophelia hit Ireland hard with full hurricane-like fury on Monday, bringing powerful winds that caused widespread damage and power outages. At least two deaths have been reported from trees falling on cars, and The Irish Times said at least 360,000 ESB Networks customers lost power in Ireland because of the storm.

Keep reading... Show less
GMO
PBouman / Shutterstock

EPA Limits Use of Problematic Herbicide Dicamba—But Is That Enough?

By Dan Nosowitz

Dicamba has been in use as a local pesticide for decades, but it's only recently that Monsanto has taken to using it in big, new ways. The past two years have seen the rollout of dicamba-resistant seed for soybean and cotton, as well as a new way to apply it: broad spraying.

But dicamba, it turns out, has a tendency to vaporize and drift with the wind, and it if lands on a farm that hasn't planted Monsanto's dicamba-resistant seed, the pesticide will stunt and kill crops in a very distinctive way, with a telltale cupping and curling of leaves, as seen above. Drift from dicamba has affected millions of acres of crops, prompting multiple states to issue temporary bans on the pesticide. Farmers have been taking sides, either pro-dicamba or anti, and at least one farmer has been killed in a dispute over its use.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Runoff from a farm field in Iowa during a rain storm. Lynn Betts / U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Drinking Water for Millions in Rural America Contaminated With Suspected Carcinogen

Drinking water supplies for millions of Americans in farm country are contaminated with a suspected cancer-causing chemical from fertilizer, according to a new report by the Environmental Working Group.

The contaminant is nitrate, which gets into drinking water sources when chemical fertilizer or manure runs off poorly protected farm fields. Nitrate contaminates drinking water for more than 15 million people in 49 states, but the highest levels are found in small towns surrounded by row-crop agriculture. Major farm states where the most people are at risk include California, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Kansas.

Keep reading... Show less
www.youtube.com

Trump's Approval Rating on Hurricane Response Sinks 20 Points After Puerto Rico

President Trump's approval rating for overseeing the federal government's response to hurricanes fell by 20 points after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, a CNN poll conducted by SSRS revealed.

Trump's approval rating for responding to hurricanes Harvey and Irma stood at 64 percent in mid-September. Just a month later, the rating dropped to 44 percent.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

Get EcoWatch in your inbox