In late 2018, BirdLife International and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature announced they had updated the conservation status of 93 bird species around the world on IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species. The Red List, dubbed the “barometer of life,” keeps a record of how close species are to extinction.
Scientists updated the listings for no fewer than 21 bird species that are found in various parts of the United States, Canada, and the Bahamas, raising the threat status for most of them and lowering it for others. Here’s a summary of the changes.
Up-listed to Critically Endangered
Newell’s Shearwater. This seabird nests principally on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i while small colonies occur elsewhere in the state. Its population size is estimated between 10,000 and 20,000 adults. Threats include introduced predators, attraction to artificial light, collisions with powerlines, and habitat alteration. The bird requires “targeted conservation work” to prevent future declines. A recent bit of good news is that a colony of this species may have been found on Oahu, where it was believed to have vanished by the late 1700s.
Bahama Nuthatch. This bird is found only on Grand Bahama Island and was feared lost to extinction after a hurricane struck in 2016. Surveys in 2018, however, located a handful of individuals.
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