Extinction criteria of IUCN

Extinction criteria of IUCN

Extinction criteria of IUCN

RedlistIn the latest assessment in 2008, 1,226 species are considered threatened with extinction (i.e. in the categories of Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable and Extinct in the Wild). This represents 12.4% of the total of 9,856 extant bird species in the world. An additional 835 species are considered Near Threatened, giving a total of 2,061 species that are urgent priorities for conservation action.
A total of 134 species are documented as having gone extinct since 1500. A further four species are now extinct in the wild and survive only in captive populations. Although extinctions have been better documented in birds than any other group of organisms, these totals are likely to be underestimates because extinction is difficult to document. A number of other species currently categorised as Critically Endangered have probably gone extinct too, but cannot be designated as such until we are certain. Fifteen such species are categorised as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) or Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct in the Wild). Thus, a total of 153 species may have been lost in the last 500 years.
Extinctions are continuing: 18 species were lost in the last quarter of the 20th century, and three species are known or suspected to have gone extinct since 2000. The last known individual of Spix’s Macaw Cyanopsitta spixii (classified as Critically Endangered: Possibly Extinct in the Wild) disappeared in Brazil towards the end of 2000, the last two known individuals of Hawaiian Crow Corvus hawaiiensis (classified as Extinct in the Wild) disappeared in June 2002, and the last known individual Po‘ouli Melamposops phaeosoma (classified as Critically Endangered: Possibly Extinct) also from the Hawaiian Islands, died in captivity in November 2004. (quotation birdlife.org)

Red List changes in 2008

Common name Scientific name 2007 2008 Reason for change
Little Spotted Kiwi Apteryx owenii VU NT genuine (since first assessment)
Bruijn’s Brush-turkey Aepypodius bruijnii VU EN knowledge
Helmeted Curassow Pauxi pauxi VU EN genuine (recent)
Gorgeted Wood-quail Odontophorus strophium CR EN knowledge
Caucasian Grouse Tetrao mlokosiewiczi DD NT genuine (recent)
Coturnix adansonii LC NR taxonomy (no longer valid/recognised)
Roll’s Partridge Arborophila rolli NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Malaysian Partridge Arborophila campbelli NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Swan Goose Anser cygnoides EN VU knowledge
Blue-winged Goose Cyanochen cyanoptera NT VU knowledge
Baer’s Pochard Aythya baeri VU EN genuine (recent)
Northern Rockhopper Penguin Eudyptes moseleyi NR EN taxonomy (newly split)
Tristan Albatross Diomedea dabbenena EN CR genuine (since first assessment)
Buller’s Albatross Thalassarche bulleri VU NT knowledge
Atlantic Petrel Pterodroma incerta VU EN knowledge
Yelkouan Shearwater Puffinus yelkouan LC NT knowledge
Peruvian Pelican Pelecanus thagus NR NT taxonomy (newly split)
Sooty Falcon Falco concolor LC NT knowledge
New Britain Goshawk Accipiter princeps NT VU genuine (since first assessment)
Cuban Black Hawk Buteogallus gundlachii NR NT taxonomy (newly split)
Ferruginous Hawk Buteo regalis NT LC knowledge
Andaman Crake Rallina canningi DD NT knowledge
Himantopus melanurus LC NR taxonomy (no longer valid/recognised)
Mountain Plover Charadrius montanus VU NT knowledge
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata LC NT genuine (since first assessment)
Long-billed Curlew Numenius americanus NT LC knowledge
Spoon-billed Sandpiper Eurynorhynchus pygmeus EN CR genuine (recent)
Fairy Tern Sterna nereis LC VU genuine (recent)
Yellow-legged Pigeon Columba pallidiceps EN VU knowledge
Pied Cuckoo-dove Reinwardtoena browni LC NT genuine (since first assessment)
Liverpool Pigeon Caloenas maculata NR EX other
Marquesan Ground-dove Gallicolumba rubescens EN VU knowledge
Mindoro Imperial-pigeon Ducula mindorensis VU EN knowledge
Marquesan Imperial-pigeon Ducula galeata CR EN genuine (since first assessment)
Red-knobbed Imperial-pigeon Ducula rubricera LC NT genuine (since first assessment)
Finsch’s Imperial-pigeon Ducula finschii LC NT genuine (since first assessment)
Blue-eyed Cockatoo Cacatua ophthalmica LC VU genuine (since first assessment)
Sun Parakeet Aratinga solstitialis LC EN knowledge
Violaceous Coucal Centropus violaceus LC NT genuine (since first assessment)
Bismarck Masked-owl Tyto aurantia DD VU genuine (since first assessment)
Glaucidium californicum LC NR taxonomy (no longer valid/recognised)
Russet Hawk-owl Ninox odiosa LC VU genuine (since first assessment)
Amazilia handleyi VU NR taxonomy (no longer valid/recognised)
Scissor-tailed Hummingbird Hylonympha macrocerca VU EN knowledge
Purple-backed Sunbeam Aglaeactis aliciae CR EN knowledge
Black Inca Coeligena prunellei EN VU knowledge
Pteroglossus mariae LC NR taxonomy (no longer valid/recognised)
Pteroglossus sanguineus LC NR taxonomy (no longer valid/recognised)
Pteroglossus erythropygius LC NR taxonomy (no longer valid/recognised)
Ramphastos citreolaemus LC NR taxonomy (no longer valid/recognised)
Ramphastos culminatus LC NR taxonomy (no longer valid/recognised)
Ramphastos cuvieri LC NR taxonomy (no longer valid/recognised)
Chinese Barbet Megalaima faber NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Taiwan Barbet Megalaima nuchalis NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Zambian Barbet Lybius chaplini NT VU knowledge
Gurney’s Pitta Pitta gurneyi CR EN knowledge
Rufous Flycatcher Myiarchus semirufus LC EN knowledge
Rondonia Bushbird Clytoctantes atrogularis CR VU knowledge
Ashy Antwren Myrmotherula grisea VU NT knowledge
Rio Branco Antbird Cercomacra carbonaria VU NT knowledge
Roraiman Antbird Schistocichla saturata NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
White-masked Antbird Pithys castaneus DD NT knowledge
Phlegopsis barringeri LC NR taxonomy (no longer valid/recognised)
Tachira Antpitta Grallaria chthonia EN CR knowledge
Hoary-throated Spinetail Synallaxis kollari VU EN knowledge
Bolivian Recurvebill Simoxenops striatus VU NT knowledge
Rufous Scrub-bird Atrichornis rufescens NT VU genuine (recent)
Mallee Emuwren Stipiturus mallee VU EN genuine (recent)
Bismarck Melidectes Melidectes whitemanensis LC NT genuine (since first assessment)
Dark Batis Batis crypta NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Reunion Cuckooshrike Coracina newtoni EN CR genuine (since first assessment)
Vireo swainsonii LC NR taxonomy (no longer valid/recognised)
Santa Cruz Shrikebill Clytorhynchus sanctaecrucis NR EN taxonomy (newly split)
Mariana Crow Corvus kubaryi EN CR genuine (since first assessment)
Corvus minutus EN NR taxonomy (newly lumped)
Collared Crow Corvus torquatus LC NT knowledge
Brazza’s Martin Phedina brazzae DD LC knowledge
Stelgidopteryx ridgwayi LC NR taxonomy (no longer valid/recognised)
Dorst’s Cisticola Cisticola guinea DD LC knowledge
Apalis kaboboensis DD NR taxonomy (no longer valid/recognised)
Baumann’s Greenbul Phyllastrephus baumanni DD LC knowledge
Phyllastrephus lorenzi NT NR taxonomy (no longer valid/recognised)
Bismarck Thicketbird Megalurulus grosvenori DD VU genuine (since first assessment)
Bougainville Bush-warbler Cettia haddeni NR NT taxonomy (newly described)
Benguet Bush-warbler Bradypterus seebohmi NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Timor Bush-warbler Bradypterus timorensis NR NT taxonomy (newly split)
Russet Bush-warbler Bradypterus mandelli NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Javan Bush-warbler Bradypterus montis NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Tahiti Reed-warbler Acrocephalus caffer VU EN knowledge
Pitcairn Reed-warbler Acrocephalus vaughani VU EN knowledge
Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata LC NT genuine (since first assessment)
Black-browed Babbler Malacocincla perspicillata VU DD knowledge
Taiwan Scimitar-babbler Pomatorhinus musicus NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Sumatran Wren-babbler Rimator albostriatus NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
White-throated Wren-babbler Rimator pasquieri NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Taiwan Wren-babbler Pnoepyga formosana NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Grey-bellied Wren-babbler Spelaeornis reptatus NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Chin Hills Wren-babbler Spelaeornis oatesi NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Pale-throated Wren-babbler Spelaeornis kinneari NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Chevron-breasted Babbler Sphenocichla roberti NR NT taxonomy (newly split)
Visayan Pygmy Babbler Stachyris pygmaea NR NT taxonomy (newly split)
Bold-striped Tit-babbler Macronous bornensis NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Mindanao Miniature-babbler Micromacronus sordidus NR DD taxonomy (newly split)
Rufous-crowned Laughingthrush Garrulax ruficeps NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Cambodian Laughingthrush Garrulax ferrarius NR NT taxonomy (newly split)
Rufous-cheeked Laughingthrush Garrulax castanotis NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Buffy Laughingthrush Garrulax berthemyi NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Orange-breasted Laughingthrush Garrulax annamensis NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Taiwan Hwamei Garrulax taewanus NR NT taxonomy (newly split)
Bhutan Laughingthrush Garrulax imbricatus NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Assam Laughingthrush Garrulax chrysopterus NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Silver-eared Laughingthrush Garrulax melanostigma NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Malayan Laughingthrush Garrulax peninsulae NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Vietnamese Cutia Cutia legalleni NR NT taxonomy (newly split)
Collared Babbler Gampsorhynchus torquatus NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Black-crowned Fulvetta Alcippe klossi NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Taiwan Fulvetta Alcippe formosana NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Streak-throated Fulvetta Alcippe manipurensis NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Black-browed Fulvetta Alcippe grotei NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Black-headed Sibia Heterophasia desgodinsi NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Indochinese Yuhina Yuhina torqueola NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Black-headed Parrotbill Paradoxornis margaritae NR NT taxonomy (newly split)
Regulus teneriffae LC NR taxonomy (no longer valid/recognised)
Madeira Kinglet Regulus madeirensis NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Hodgson’s Treecreeper Certhia hodgsoni NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Manipur Treecreeper Certhia manipurensis NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Sichuan Treecreeper Certhia tianquanensis VU NT knowledge
Floreana Mockingbird Mimus trifasciatus EN CR genuine (recent)
Chestnut-capped Thrush Zoothera interpres LC NT knowledge
Somali Thrush Turdus ludoviciae CR VU knowledge
Rubeho Akalat Sheppardia aurantiithorax NR EN taxonomy (newly described)
Kurdish Wheatear Oenanthe xanthoprymna NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Monticola bensoni NT NR taxonomy (no longer valid/recognised)
Jameson’s Antpecker Parmoptila jamesoni NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Arabian Grosbeak Rhynchostruthus percivali NR NT taxonomy (newly split)
Somali Grosbeak Rhynchostruthus louisae NR NT taxonomy (newly split)
Akialoa lanaiensis EX NR taxonomy (no longer valid/recognised)
Akialoa stejnegeri EX NR taxonomy (no longer valid/recognised)
Akekee Loxops caeruleirostris EN CR genuine (recent)
Iiwi Vestiaria coccinea NT VU knowledge
Orange-backed Troupial Icterus croconotus NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Yellow-breasted Bunting Emberiza aureola NT VU knowledge
Junco insularis CR NR taxonomy (no longer valid/recognised)
Brewer’s Sparrow Spizella breweri NT LC taxonomy (newly lumped)
Gough Bunting Rowettia goughensis VU CR knowledge
Caqueta Seedeater Sporophila murallae NR LC taxonomy (newly split)
Amaurospiza relicta NT NR taxonomy (no longer valid/recognised)

Plate 1: overview of all species and their current status

IUCN Red List categories

Reason for change

This is a code assigned by BirdLife whenever a species’s IUCN Red List Category is changed. The codes are:

Genuine (recent)

The change in category is the result of a genuine status change that has taken place since the last complete assessment. For example, the change is due to an increase in the rate of decline, a decrease in population or range size or habitat, or declines in these for the first time (owing to increasing/new threats) and therefore new thresholds are met relating to the IUCN Red List criteria.

Genuine (since first assessment)

The change in category is the result of a genuine status change that took place prior to the last complete assessment, but since the first complete assessment () and that has only just been detected owing to new information/ documentation. If this new information had been available earlier, the new category would have been assigned during the previous assessment(s).

Criteria revision

The change in category is the result of the revision of the IUCN Red List Criteria (currently v. versions). These largely relate to criteria A, A, A, D and the removal of the ‘Conservation Dependent’ category.


The change in category is the result of better knowledge, e.g. owing to new or newly synthesised information or better understanding of application of the IUCN Red List criteria.


The new category is different from the previous one (which may be ‘Not Recognised’) owing to a taxonomic change adopted during the period since the previous assessment. Such changes include: newly split (the taxon is newly elevated to species level), newly described (the taxon is newly described as a species), newly lumped (the taxon is newly lumped with another species) and no longer valid/recognised (either the taxon is no longer valid e.g. because it is now considered to be a hybrid or variant, form or subspecies of another species, or the previously recognised taxon differs from a currently recognised one as a result of a split or lump).


The previous category was applied in error (excluding those cases covered under Knowledge).


The change in category is the result of other reasons not easily covered by the above, and/or requires further explanation


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