European Red List of Birds

European Red List of Birds

In the early 1990s, BirdLife International initiated a focused data collection on birds abundance and population trends across Europe. Three projects were devoted to the subject, which covered all European countries and outlined the pattern of quantities and dynamics over the ten-year periods: the 1980s, the 1990s and the 2000s.

“Birds in Europe: their conservation status”, the book by G.M.Tucker and M.F.Heath, was

published in 1994. It was the first review of the conservation status of European birds, carried out by BirdLife International. The main goal of the project was to identify bird species requiring special attention to their protection (Species of European Conservation Concern – SPEC). Data on numbers and trends of national populations were collected for all bird species in the beginning of the 1990s during implementation of the project ‘Birds in Europe 1’ almost in all European countries, including Russia. More than 400 ornithologists were involved in data collecting.

Ten years later, in 2002, the project ‘Birds in Europe 2’ was launched with the view of compilation and analysis of new data on numbers and trends of European birds. Results of the Russian part of the project were published in 2004 in the brochure Estimation of numbers and trends for birds in the European part of Russia (edited by Alexander Mischenko).

In 2013–2014, BirdLife International implemented the new project ‘European Red List of Birds’. In fact, it was the third stage of two previous projects, but the entrusted tasks were more ambitious. Collation and synthesis of the relevant data on each species were required to yield current estimates of the national populations, as well as evaluation of population trends and shifts of the ranges in 1980 through 2012 and in 2000–2012 (or the closest time intervals). The list of relevant key bibliographical references was to be compiled. In Russia, the project was successfully implemented by BirdsRussia team of 27 experts representing different state institutions and NGOs.

The European part of Russia is the vast terrain stretching meridionally from the Barents to the Black and Caspian seas; its latitudinal extent is the distance from the Gulf of Finland to the Urals. It lies within several geographical zones (tundra, taiga, broad-leaved forests, and steppes). It is obvious that the entire area could by no means be surveyed, so data on many bird species are missing. The principal tasks of the Project ‘European Red List of Birds – Russia’ were analysis and integration of bird census data  obtained from the recent publications, scientific reports and non-published information provided by local ornithologists.

In April 2017 a booklet covering the Project results was issued. Data on 406 bird species of Russia were shown in table form. Considering huge and usually hard-to-approach areas and landscapes diversity of European Russia, and also extremely low financing of ornithological issues and poorly developed network of qualified birdwatchers, it seems impossible to receive accurate data on birds abundance and distribution dynamics. Nevertheless, acquired results allow a fairly objective comparison of population tendencies nowadays and at the turn of the 1990s and 2000s. Comparison of the results with those in other European countries allows better understanding of Russian contribution to conservation of different species populations.

Project Leader, BirdsRussia vice President, PhD Alexander Mischenko


More on BirdLife International: European Red List of Birds project

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