43 species of birds are currently endangered , according to the Red List of bird species in Romania. The list was compiled by the Environment Ministry, the Romanian Ornithological Society (SOR), and the Bird and Nature Conservation Society Milvus.
The list quantifies birds’ risk of extinction according to criteria such as population size, population trends, and the surface occupied in Romania. A total of 259 bird species were analyzed, namely all species that nest regularly in the country and a selection of „winter guest” species, SOR explained.
Of the 259 analyzed species, 12 have disappeared over the past century from the population nesting in the country. 43 species (16.6%) are endangered (at risk of extinction), 27 species (10.42%) are nearly threatened species, and 180 species (69.5%) are not threatened at the moment. In the case of 3 species – the white-headed duck (Oxyura leucocephala), the common pochard (Aythya ferina), and the Eurasian coot (Fulica atra) – two separate evaluations were carried out for nesting and wintering, with different listings in these categories.
7 species are critically endangered, with 6 of them classified for the nesting period – the common goldeneye (Bucephala clangula), the smew (Mergellus albellus), the black kite (Milvus migrans), the eastern imperial eagle (Aquila heliaca), the great bustard (Otis tarda), the gull-billed tern (Gelochelidon nilotica) – and one, the lesser white-fronted goose (Anser erythropus), only for the wintering period.
„Anthropogenic threats and pressures are more intense for bird species in humid areas and open habitats such as meadows, grassland, and arable land. Most threatened species or species with negative population trends are in these habitats. For instance, open lands are threatened by increasingly intensive agriculture, the use of pesticides, and monocultures preferred over mosaic landscapes, with vegetation patches. Humid areas are threatened by draining, fish farming or intensive fishing, which can result in direct deaths because of birds getting caught in nets. The consequences of climate changes add to these anthropogenic threats and pressures”, Ciprian Fântână, SOR’s conservation director, explained.
A list of species of priority interest was developed following the results of the research for the Red List. It covers 95 species for which Romania is responsible for ensuring their preservation. At the same time, 19 species were found with a high percentage (of over 30%) of the European population in Romania. Of these, three are vulnerable ones, either nationally or globally: the great white pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus), vulnerable nationally because the entire population nests in one area of the country; the red-breasted goose (Branta ruficollis), vulnerable both nationally and globally; and the lesser grey shrike (Lanius minor), vulnerable nationally.
The Red List is a first step in identifying the species that need urgent protection and establishes the legal framework to prioritize conservation actions, SOR said. The list was officially approved for the first time through a minister’s order.
The Red List is available here.