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6.02.2005

One-fifth of Earth's bird species in danger

JOHANNESBURG, June 1 (Reuters) - More than a fifth of the planet's bird species face extinction as humans venture further into their habitats and introduce alien predators, an environmental group said on Wednesday.

While there have been some success stories of species that reappeared or recovered, the overall situation of the world's birds is worsening, BirdLife International said in its annual assessment of the feathered fauna.

"The total number (of bird species) considered to be threatened with extinction is now 1,212, which when combined with the number of near threatened species gives a total of exactly 2,000 species in trouble -- more than a fifth of the planet's remaining 9,775 species," BirdLife said.

Several species from Europe appear in the list for the first time, including the European roller, for which key populations in Turkey and European Russia have declined markedly.

BirdLife, a global alliance of conservation groups, said 179 species were categorised as critically endangered, the highest level of threat. They include the Azores bullfinch, one of Europe's rarest songbirds that has fewer than 300 left.

Article found at Signs of the Times