The latest survey of bird species has been completed by BirdLife International for the IUCN Red List, and despite worldwide conservation efforts, more birds are endangered now than ever before. According to their survey, 1,227 species (12 percent) are classified as globally threatened with extinction. The IUCN Red List now lists 192 species of bird as Critically Endangered, which is the highest threat category.

A recently discovered species from Colombia, the Gorgeted Puffleg (Eriocnemis isabellae), appears for the first time on the IUCN Red List, classified as Critically Endangered. The puffleg, a flamboyantly coloured hummingbird, only has 1,200 hectares of habitat remaining in the cloud forests of the Pinche mountain range in south-west Colombia and eight percent of this is being damaged every year to grow coca.

That’s a photo of the Gorgeted Puffleg. Sadly, that’s probably all most of us will ever see of them, unless part of the population is brought in for a captive breeding program. I’ll try not to be too much of a downer, though. There’s some good news!

In Brazil, Lear’s Macaw (Anodorhynchus leari) has been moved from Critically Endangered to Endangered. Named after the English poet, this spectacular blue parrot has increased four-fold in numbers as a result of a joint effort of many national and international non-governmental organizations, the Brazilian government and local landowners

Beautiful, aren’t they? These Lear’s macaws are at risk of smuggling and poaching, but international protections and careful surveillance of their nesting areas have helped to reduce threats. Other species, such as the Chatham Petrel (Pterodroma axillaris) and Mauritius Fody (Foudia rubra) have also been rescued from the brink of extinction by conservation efforts. No new extinctions were reported.

IUCN – More Critically Endangered birds on IUCN Red List than ever.