Threatened birds occur in nearly all countries and territories

Egyptian Vulture, © Juan M. Simon

The vast majority (98.7%) of countries and territories worldwide support at least one of the 1,460 threatened bird species. Of these threatened birds 790 (54.1%) are confined to just one country or territory, highlighting the need for national prioritisation and support. However, 232 threatened bird species exist in five or more countries, underlining the fact that there is equally a need for international cooperation.

Density map of globally threatened birds across the world
Analysis of data held in BirdLife’s World Bird Database (2008)

Nearly all countries and territories of the world (244, or 98.7%) hold one or more globally threatened bird species (i.e. a species falling within the categories of Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List), which are therefore national priorities for conservation action. Some regions and countries stand out as having particularly high densities of threatened species, for example, the tropical Andes, Atlantic Forests of Brazil, the eastern Himalayas, eastern Madagascar, and the archipelagos of South-East Asia. In total, 790 threatened birds (54.1%) have ranges confined to just one country, and 82 countries (33.3%) have one or more such ‘endemic’ threatened birds, with certain countries being particularly important for these endemics. Conversely, the ranges of some threatened birds may cross the borders of several countries. Leach’s Storm-petrel Hydrobates leucorhous tops the list, occurring regularly in 129 countries across Europe, Asia, North America, and Africa. In total, 37 species have ranges that encompass 30 or more countries, and 232 species are recorded from five or more countries. Hence the political responsibility for saving threatened species rests both nationally and as a shared international effort.

Related Species


BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008. CD-ROM. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International.

Compiled: 2004    Last updated: 2017   

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BirdLife International (2017) Threatened birds occur in nearly all countries and territories. Downloaded from on 22/09/2023