Threatened birds occur in all major habitat types but the majority (77.9%) are found in forests. Threatened species show a lower tolerance of human modified habitats (30.8% compared with 48.5% of all birds) and a large proportion occur in just one or two habitats (50.3%). Those that live in forest show a high dependency on the habitat and do not tolerate perturbation.
Birds are found across the world in all major habitat types. Most threatened birds show a clear preference for certain types of habitat, with 24.8% occurring in just one major type (e.g. forest, grassland) and 50.3% in one or two. Forests are one of the most important habitats for birds as shown in Fig. 1, supporting an impressive 77.9% of threatened bird species, with 27.4% partially or exclusively supported by shrubland, 16.0% by inland wetlands, and 16.1% by grasslands. Marine habitats support a higher than expected proportion of threatened birds (12.6%), while savannas are of lower importance than expected (8.2%). Only 30.8% of threatened species use an artificial habitat (compared with 48.5% of all birds), which as would be expected suggests that threatened species may be less tolerant of habitat modification. These species depend on adjacent natural or semi-natural habitats for breeding or feeding, but are able to use human-modified habitats to some extent.
Threatened birds are found in all forest types; tropical/subtropical moist lowland and montane moist forest are the most important habitats supporting 48.8% and 38.8% of species respectively, with tropical/subtropical dry forest supporting 14.5%., as depicted in Fig. 2. These forest types are also the most important for threatened mammal species, highlighting their extreme importance to wider conservation efforts (Hilton-Taylor 2000). Threatened forest birds are highly dependent on intact habitat for their survival; 19.2% of all bird species can be found in degraded forest but only 8.2% of threatened birds use such habitat, and for the majority of these it is only of marginal importance. The vast majority of threatened species for which forest represents a major or suitable habitat type (92.7%) show a strong dependency on the habitat; 70% of all threatened birds have high or medium dependence on forest, as outlined in Fig. 3.
Related Case Studies in other sections
Hilton-Taylor, C. (2000) 2000 IUCN Red List of threatened species. Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK: IUCN.
Compiled: 2004 Last updated: 2017
BirdLife International (2017) Threatened birds occur in all habitats, but the majority are found in forest. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 04/12/2022