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Do you understand the conservation status of British birds?

You might enjoy watching birds in your garden, as they grab bird seed from the feeder, but have you ever thought about how endangered they might be?

The RSPB places all British birds into one of three conservation categories. Here follows a general outline of each category within the “traffic light” system:

The green list

Green is for go, and all is good. Bird species on this list are fortunate enough not to be considered endangered at this time.

The amber list

If a bird is on the amber list, then we need to approach with caution. Such birds are known to be declining in terms of population or their breeding range, or are of endangered status in Europe. The amber list also includes birds that declined in number prior to 1995, even if their numbers have climbed since. Rare breeders and non-breeders are also included, as are those whose breeding sites are few.

The red list

Birds on the red list include those whose populations or breeding ranges have declined severely during the last 25 years, or those whose numbers fell prior to 1995 and have not since recovered. Any species that are under threat globally are also included.

Good and bad news

Birds on the red list are obviously of primary concern, but it’s not all bad news. While those joining the red list recently include sea birds such as kittiwakes and puffins, red kites are one success story, having moved to the green list after featuring on the cover of the RSPB’s very first red data book.

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