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IUCN Releases Bird Update to Red List

7 June 2012: According to the 2012 International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species update for birds, the risk of extinction has increased substantially for close to 100 species of Amazonian birds. The assessment is based on the rate of deforestation occurring in the region. Of particular concern are species with longer life spans, such as the Rio Branco Antbird and the Hoary-throated Spinetail.

The 2012 IUCN update is a comprehensive review of the world's 10,000-plus bird species, undertaken once every four years. The update shows declines in the tropics and northern Europe. Over one million long-tailed ducks have disappeared from the Baltic Sea over the last 20 years, resulting in the species being uplisted to Vulnerable. The Velvet Scoter is now listed as Endangered. In Africa, the White-backed and Rueppell's Vultures are rapidly declining because of poisoning and habitat loss, and have been reclassified as Endangered.

The update also includes downlisted species, such as the Restinga Antwren, a small bird from coastal, south-east Brazil, which was Critically Endangered. New surveys have found it to be more widely distributed than previously thought. A new protected area has been created covering its core distribution. In the Cook Islands, the Raratonga Monarch has been downlisted to Vulnerable following effective control of alien invasive predators like black rats. [IUCN Press Release]