IberiaNature A guide to the natural history of Spain
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Endangered birds in Spain

Novemeber 2004. The new Red Book of Birds in Spain has just been published. Of the 390 species and subspecies of birds present in Spain (not including migrants, etc), 99 are in some way threatened. These include15 are in critical danger , 39 in danger and 45 vulnerable . A further 32 are classified as almost threatened and 25 classified as having insufficient data to be able to establish their true status. Being classified as in critical danger means the bird has a 50% chance of becoming extinct over the next decade - or within three generations - whichever is longer.
This is the most complete study of birds in Spain since the 1992 publication of Libro rojo de los vertebrados de España ( Click here for full article from SEO )

7 species are noted mentioned as being extinct in Spain (2 at a world level - the Canary Islands Oystercatcher and a subspecies of Canary Islands Stonechat (from the Chinijo archipiélago). The last sure record of the former was one killed in 1913 with "a long and rather fortunate shot", in the words of the ornithologist who pulled the trigger. There were several reliable sightings since, between 1969 and 1981. (two from Tenerife and two from Senegal ) . Its decline was probably due to overharvesting of shellfish and disturbance by people, although rats and cats have also been blamed.

33 (25%) of the taxons of the four categories are found exclusively in the Canaries - 76% of which are endemics, clearly demonstrating the particular biodiversity of the Canaries whose small surface area makes Canarian species particularly vulnerable to extinction

Unsurprisingly, the single most important cause o the current status of birds in Spain as everywhere else is loss of habitat. Human disturbance is also cited as playing a key role along with the spread of intensive agriculture and livestock farming. Others factors mentioned are: rural abandonment, direct persecution, competition from and being preyed upon by invasive species, electrocution and/or collisions with electricity lines and pylons, the building of infrastructures, the pollution and poor management of wetlands, intensive forestry, poisoning (imperial eagle), and urban expansion. Many of these are clearly interlinked. On the positive side, the Spanish bird organisation SEO and the Ministry of the Environment seem to be seeing eye to eye on many issues these days.

Spain has still by far the biggest and most varied bird populations in Western Europe .

In Critical Danger (50% chance of extinction - see above) 15 species including:

Balearic Shearwater

Pardela Balear



Common Guillemot

Arao Común

Ferruginous Duck

Porrón Pardo

Gran Canary Blue Chaffinch

Pinzón Azul de Gran Canaria

Lesser Grey Shrike

Alcaudón Chico

Marbled Duck

Cerceta Pardilla


Águila Pescadora

Red-knobbed Coot

Focha Moruna

In Danger: 39 species including:

Bonelli's Eagle

Águila-Azor Perdicera

Capercaillie (2 subspecies)

Urogallo (2 subspecies)

Cream-coloured Courser

Corredor Sahariano

Egpytian Vulture


Houbara Bustard

Avutarda Hubara



Laurel Pigeon

Paloma Rabiche

Red Kite

Milano Real

Spanish Imperial Eagle

Águila Imperial

White-headed Duck

Malvasía Cabeciblanca

Vulnerable species 45 species including:

Audouin's Gull

Gaviota Audouin

Black Stork

Cigüeña Negra

Bulwer's Petrel

Petrel de Bulwer

Collared Pratincole


Common Teal

Cerceta Común

European Storm-petrel

Paíño Europeo

Glossy Ibis


Great Bustard


Grey Partridge

Perdiz Pardilla

Kentish Plover

Chorlitejo Patinegro


Gaviota Tridáctila

Lesser Kestrel

Cernícalo Primilla

Little Bustard


Little Shearwater

Pardela Chica

Black (Monk)Vulture

Buitre Negro

Montagu's Harrier

Aguilucho Cenizo


Ánade Rabudo


Lagópodo Alpino

Red-crested Pochard

Pato Colorado

Short-toed Lark

Terrera Común

Slender-billed Gull

Gaviota Picofina



White-faced Storm-petrel

Paíño Pechialbo