An endangered species is any species of fish, animal, or plant that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Subspecies and distinct populations of birds may also be listed. There are approximately 1500 endangered species, 900 in the United States. A “threatened species” is any species of bird or any other organism that is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future. There are 230 threatened species in the United States. A candidate species is one whose status warrants listing but whose listing is precluded by lack of administrative resources and/or funding. See the IUCN Red Lists for a list of worldwide threatened species and an informative explanation of what being in danger of extinction really means. Today it is estimated that one of every eight bird species in the world is at risk of extinction and in the U.S. and England it is closer to one in four. See also Extinct Birds.
The population dropped dramatically worldwide after the 1940’s due to DDT, illegll hunting, and illegal taking of young falcons by would-be falconers. But the protection afforded by the Endangered Species Act has allowed the Peregrine to recover and the bird was removed from the endangered list in 1999. More information from the Peregrine Fund.
Crested Shelduck (Tadorna cristata)
“The crested shelduck is classified as a member of the order Anseriformes (Screamers and ducks) and is a member of the family Anatidae. It is classified as a critically endangered species due to an estimated population of less than 50 mature crested shelducks. The species may already be extinct – it is kept in the critically endangered category because of recent unconfirmed reports of sightings. If the species still exists, it can be found in eastern Asia.”
“The United States was once home to a rich and diverse avian population, with birds such as the passenger pigeon, the Carolina parakeet and the dusky seaside sparrow winging through our skies. But several centuries of land development, hunting and human encroachment has thrown our nation’s birds into crisis, resulting in extinction for some and threatened status for many. Today, the U.S. and Wildlife Service reports that as many as 91 species are threatened or on the verge of extinction.” (Text: Katherine Butler, from Mother Nature Network)
Quick Fact: New Zealand has the highest percentage of endangered birds in the world.