Threatened bird species

What you should know about this indicator

Birds are listed for countries included within their breeding or wintering ranges. Threatened species are the number of species classified by the IUCN as endangered, vulnerable, rare, indeterminate, out of danger, or insufficiently known.

Limitations and exceptions: Reporting the proportion of threatened species on the Red List is complicated by the fact that not all species groups have been fully evaluated, and also by the fact that some species have so little information available that they can only be assessed as Data Deficient (DD). For many of the incompletely evaluated groups, assessment efforts have focused on species that are likely to be threatened; therefore any percentage of threatened species reported for these groups would be heavily biased (i.e., the percentage of threatened species would likely be an overestimate).

Since IUCN has evaluated extinction risk for less than 5 percent of the world's described species, IUCN cannot provide an overall estimate for how many of the planet's species are threatened. For those groups that have been comprehensively evaluated, the proportion of threatened species can be calculated, but the number of threatened species is often uncertain because it is not known whether Data Deficient species are actually threatened or not.

Due to variations in consistency and methods of collection, data quality is highly variable across countries. Some countries update their information more frequently than others, some have more accurate data on extent of coverage, and many underreport the number or extent of protected areas. Also, because of differences in definitions, reporting practices, and reporting periods, cross-country comparability of threatened species is limited.

In order to ensure global uniformity when describing the habitat in which a taxon (a taxonomic group of any rank) occurs, the threats to a taxon, what conservation actions are in place or are needed, and whether or not the taxon is utilized, a set of standard terms, called Classification Schemes, are being developed, for documenting taxonomy on the IUCN Red List.

Statistical concept and methodology: Species assessed as Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN) or Vulnerable (VU) are referred to as "threatened" species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species collects and disseminates information on the global threated species.

Proportion of threatened species is only reported for the more completely evaluated groups (i.e., >90% of species evaluated). Also, the reported percentage of threatened species for each group is presented as a best estimate within a range of possible values bounded by lower and upper estimates:

Lower estimate = % threatened extant species if all Data Deficient species are not threatened, i.e., (CR + EN + VU) / (total assessed - EX)

Best estimate = % threatened extant species if Data Deficient species are equally threatened as data sufficient species, i.e., (CR + EN + VU) / (total assessed - EX - DD)

Upper estimate = % threatened extant species if all Data Deficient species are threatened, i.e., (CR + EN + VU + DD) / (total assessed - EX)

Additional information on ecology and habitat preferences, threats, and conservation action are also collated and assessed as part of Red List process.

Multiple sources compiled by World Bank (2024) – processed by Our World in Data
Last updated
May 20, 2024
Next expected update
May 2025
Date range

Sources and processing

This data is based on the following sources

The World Development Indicators (WDI) is the primary World Bank collection of development indicators, compiled from officially-recognized international sources. It presents the most current and accurate global development data available, and includes national, regional and global estimates.

Retrieved on
May 20, 2024
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World Bank's World Development Indicators (WDI).

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Multiple sources compiled by World Bank (2024) – processed by Our World in Data

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Multiple sources compiled by World Bank (2024) – processed by Our World in Data. “Threatened bird species” [dataset]. International Union for Conservation of Nature (via World Bank), “World Development Indicators” [original data]. Retrieved July 20, 2024 from