Posted by: Danielle | August 11, 2010

15 Endangered Birds From Around The World With Pictures

Some of these birds are the rarest in the world. And every species on this list is under threat because of activity by people.

1. Crested Ibis

The Crested Ibis also known as the Japanese Crested Ibis or Toki, is a large (up to 30 inches long) white plumed bird. Its head is partially bear showing its red skin.  At one time the Crested Ibis was common throughout Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, and Russia. Its habitat is usually found in the mainlands and wetlands, and they make their nests on treetops. The Crested Ibis has now disappeared from most of its former range. The population in the wild in Korea, Taiwan,Russia and Japan are lost, the last remaining bird in the wild in Japan died in October 2003. The remaining wild population can only be found in Shaanxi province in China. Extensive captive breeding programs in Japan and China have been developed to help save the species. For the last 22 years China has bred and protected this species. In 2002 there were a total 130 colonies in China. There is a plan to introduce 60 Crested Ibis into the wild in Japan in 2015.

Ongoing habitat loss, small population size,limited range,winter starvation, and persecution in the last century have brought this species to the brink of extinction.

2. Kakapo

The Kakapo is one of the few species of flightless birds that have made it into the 21st century. This species is only found in New Zealand, and it is the worlds only flightless parrot.

Historically one of their biggest threats was habitat and the Maori people.(a native group in New Zealand). The Kakapo was considered by Maori to be a delicacy,  and they were hunted for their meat. And also their feathers and skins which were used to make coats, would would require up to 11,000 feathers to make. Presently habitat loss continues to be a large threat, but they also have been threatened by the introduction of dogs and cats into the area.

They are critically endangered as of February 2010 only 123 Kakapo are thought to be alive today, every living individual has been named except for very young chicks. Since 1891 conservation efforts have been started to try to save the species, the most recent project has been ongoing since 1989, attempts to save the species have not been largely successful.

3. Kiwi

The Kiwi is a flightless bird from New Zealand and is a national symbol for them. It is around the size of a domestic chicken, and the smallest living ratite, and lay the largest egg in proportion to their body size. There are five recognized species of Kiwi all of which are endangered.

Historically the Maori had hunted the Kiwi because the feathers were important to them, and were used in ceremonial cloaks. Today the feathers are still used but they are taken from Kiwi that die naturally. One of the biggest threats to the Kiwi are domestic dogs and other imported pets including the stoat (a type of weasel). They are a small flightless bird so their defenses are extremely limited.  Loss of habitat is also a large factor. Not only is it a threat to it’s food resources, but the kiwi has fewer places to hide from its many predators.

The five subspecies of Kiwi (all are considered endangered) and their remaining population are:

Great Spotted Kiwi– around 20,000

Little Spotted Kiwi– extinct in mainland, 1350 remain on Kapiti Island

Rowi– number not known. Species was discovered in 1994.

Tokoeka-300 left

North Island Brown Kiwi-35,000 remaining

4. Atlantic Puffin

A seabird species in the auk family, it is also known as the common puffin, and is the only species found in the Atlantic Ocean.

The population of these birds were greatly reduced in the nineteenth century when they were hunted for their meat and eggs. They are still hunted and eaten today, but this is not as great of a threat as other factors. The more recent population decline can be attributed to the increased population of gulls and skuas, as well as the introduction of: rats, cats,dogs,foxes onto some islands used for nesting, contamination due to toxic residues, drowning in fishing nets, declining food resources, and climate change. An estimated 70,000 birds are left.

5. Maleo

This bird is native to the Indonesian Island of Sulawesi, and is found in it’s tropical lowland and hill forests.

The population of Maleo in recent decades has decreased dramatically from around 25,000 to just 14,000 today. Ongoing habitat loss,limited range,high chick mortality rates (do to introduced animals such as dogs and cats), over hunting, and egg snatching (Maleo eggs are considered a local delicacy)

6. Philippine Eagle

The Philippine Eagle is also known as the Great Philippine Eagle, or the Monkey-Eating Eagle, it also goes by the name of  ”Haribon” which means bird King. It is one of the tallest, rarest, and powerful birds found in the world today. A bird of prey that belongs to the Accipitridae family, it is unique to the Philippines, hence its name.

It is believed that between 180 to 500 survive in the Philippines. They are threatened by deforestation through logging, and the expansion of agriculture in the area. The forest is being lost at a high rate, and much of the Philippines Eagle’s habitat is owned by logging companies. Pollution, mining, exposure to pesticides (which affect breeding), and poaching are also major threats.

7. ‘I’iwi

The ‘I’iwi is also called the Scarlet Hawaiian Honeycreeper is a Hawaiian finch and is a highly recognized symbol of Hawaii.

This species is listed as vulnerable by the IUCN, but it could soon be at threated status if current trends continue. They total number on Hawaii’s eight major islands is 350,000. Although they are still relatively common on Hawaii it is rare on O’ahu, and Molokai, and they are no longer found on Lana’i. The decline can mostly be blamed on habitat loss, as native forest are being cleared for farming,grazing, and development.

They are also susceptible to fowlpox, and avian influenza. A study has shown that 90% of ‘I’iwi that are exposed to either disease die, and the other 10% are weakened but survive. Scientists are hoping to solve this issue by removing alien (non-native) species of plants and animals from critical habitats. Another large threat is avian malaria which is spread by mosquitoes. More than half of ‘I’iwi that die from avian malaria contract it from a single mosquito bite.

8. Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker is or was one of the largest woodpeckers in the world. Found in the southeastern forests of the United States, their numbers have dwindled to the point where it is uncertain whether or not any are alive today.

Heavy logging and hunting devastated their populations in the late 1800s. It was generally considered extinct in the 1920′s but two were found only to be shot to be taken as specimens. In 1938 20 individuals where found to be found living in a forest owned by the Chicago Mill And Lumber Company. The company brushed aside pleas from four southern governors, and the National Audubon Society, that the land should be publicly purchased and set aside as a reserve, and completely cut down the forest. In 1944 the last known Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, a female, was lost. Since then there have been many reported sitings of this bird. And since that day their have been many expeditions to find a single bird, but they have all been unsuccessful. It seems very unlikely that this species is still alive today.

9. Prairie Chickens

Both the greater prairie chicken and their subspecies attwter’s prairie chicken are endangered. And the other subspecies was the Heath Hen which is extinct.

Greater Prairie Chicken-A large bird in the grouse family, the Greater Prairie Chicken was once abundant in the Untied States being found mainly on the great plains, and on a small portion of the eastern coast.

They are now threatened, habitat loss, and over hunting are blamed for this step decline in population. They were almost extinct in the 1930s, and now live on small reserved parts of the prairie.The population is thought to be around 459,000 individuals.

They are not effected by the severe winter weather, but the threat to them is the heavy spring rains, which heavily affect the chick population. Another natural threat is drought, which destroys food. Human interactions are by far their greatest threat.

Attwater’s Prairie Chicken-A highly endangered subspecies of greater prairie chickens. 100 years ago, well over a million Attwater’s Prairie chickens were found in the western gulf coastal grasslands. Today less than 1% of their habitat remains. In 1998 only 260 remained, with less than 60 living in the wild.

Loss of habitat is the main cause of this dramatic decline in numbers. There were once 6 million acres of coastal grassland today less than 200,000 remain.


Heath Hen-The Heath Hen lived on the eastern coast of the United States.  During the time when America was first being colonized the Heath Hen was extremely common. By the 18th century they were called “poor mans food” because they were so cheap and plentiful.

They were hunted intensely and by 1870 there were only 300 left. By 1890 the population had declined to 120-200 mainly due to predation by feral cats, and poaching. By the end of the century only 70 remained. By 1927 only a dozen were left, only two of these were females. By the end of that year only a handful of them remained, all males. By 1928 only one male remained, he was nicknamed “Booming Ben”, he died in 1932.

Heath Hens were the first bird America tried to save from extinction. And although the attempts to save this species ultimately failed, it paved the way for conservation of other species.

10. Takahe

The Takahe, also known as the South Island Takahe is a flightless bird native of New Zealand. It was thought to be extinct after the last four specimens were taken in 1898. But after a carefully planned and thorough search was conducted by Geoffrey Orbell in 1948 the bird was rediscovered.

225 Takahe are alive today. Their near extinction is due to loss of habitat, over hunting, and introduced predators to the area. The birds are long lived and they reproduce slowly meaning it takes several years to reach maturity. And present recovery efforts are being hampered by infertility among the remaining birds as a result of inbreeding.

A related species the North Island Takahe is extinct and it is only known from skeletal remains.

11. Gorgeted Puffleg

An extremely rare hummingbird, found only in Colombia. This species was discovered in 2005 but not confirmed as new until 2007. Its only known habitat is the cloud forests of the Serrania Del Pinche (Choco region).

Its main threat because forests are being cleared for agriculture, especially coca farming. The current numbers are unknown but the species is believed to be near extinction.

12. Bengal Florican

The Bengal Florican is also known as the Bengal Bustard. A very rare bird species from tropical southern Asia. They are now almost extinct with anywhere between 500 to 1,000 being alive today.

Their decrease is due to being restricted to tiny fragments of grassland scattered throughout South and South East Asia. Their habitats are being converted for agriculture particularly rice production. Poaching remains an ever present threat to the remaining population.

13. Imperial Woodpecker

Its closely related and similar looking to the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker (also found on this list see #8), and is often called the “Mexican Ivorybill”,and the Pale-Billed Woodpecker. If this species isn’t extinct it is the world’s largest woodpecker species.It was widespread until the early 1950′s found in parts of Mexico.

The last known confirmed Imperial Woodpecker was shot in 1956. Its former habitat is almost completely gone and it has not been seen in 50 years, which have led many ornithologists to believe it is extinct. But a study in 2006 showed that the Imperial Woodpecker did in fact survive into the 1990′s, though that report states that the chance of their continued survival is unlikely. However it has yet to be confirmed, and there is a slim possibility.


Found only in New Caledonia, it is the only surviving member of the family Rhynochetidae. It is an almost flightless bird and it builds a ground nest made of sticks.

The Kagu has been threatened because of the introduction of cats,pigs,rats, and dogs. New Caledonia lacked mammals prior to the arrival of humans with the exception of bats. Rats have had a major impact on the Kagu’s nests, accounting for 55% of nesting losses. The initial decline of this species was due to substance hunting, and by capture as pets. Habitat loss caused by the mining and foresting industry have also had negative effects on the Kagu.

15. Recurve-Billed Bushbird

The Recurve-Billed Bushbird is found in the dense stands of secondary vegetation at the northern part of the Andes in Colombia and Venezuela. The bird is listed as endangered by the IUCN.

Habitat loss is a major threat to the species. A large part of extremely important, uninhabited forest is being rapidly taken down to make room for short term cash crops. And the Venezuelan government has made little effort to control or regulate the illegal deforestation.


Facts About Extinction And Endangerment:

– 1 in 4 mammals, 1 in 8 birds species are at a high risk of extinction in the near future

-1 in 3 amphibians and almost half of all tortoises and fresh water turtles are threatened

-The current rate of extinction is estimated to be between 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than the natural extinction rate

-16,928 plant and animal species are known to be threatened with extinction. This may be a gross underestimate because only less than 3% of the worlds 1.9 million species have been assessed by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature)Red List Of Threatened Species

-In the last 500 years, human activity has forced at least 869 species into extinction or extinction in the wild

-Habitat loss and degradation affect 83% of all threatened birds, 83% of all threatened mammals, and 91% of all threatened plants

-All 22 species of Albatross are under threat as as a result of long line fishing

-A total of 8,457 plants are under threat of extinction, this accounts for 3% of the world’s described plants. As only 4% of the earth’s plants have been described the number could be much higher

-The total number of known animal species under threat of extinction has increased from 5,205 in 1996 to a total of 8,462 today

-Indonesia, China, and Brazil are the countries with the most threatened birds and mammals


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