Bird extinction

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The extinct 'Dodo bird'

Out of the approximately 10,400 known bird species, about 1,300 (13%) are classified as threatened with extinction, 9% as near threatened and of the remaining 78% many populations are declining.[1] There is a general consensus among scientists who study these trends that if human impact on the environment continues as it has one-third of all bird species and an even greater proportion of bird populations will be gone by the end of this century.[2]

Since 1500, 150 species of birds have become extinct.[3] Historically, the majority of bird extinctions have occurred on islands, particularly those in the Pacific. These include countries such as New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea.

Causes of bird extinction[edit]

Human activity is the greatest cause of bird extinction around the world. The top human causes of bird extinction involve: the increased human population, destruction of habitat (through development for habitation, logging, animal and single-crop agriculture, and invasive plants), bird trafficking, egg collecting, pollution (in fertilizers impacting native plants and diversity, pesticides, herbicides directly impacting them as well as the plant and animal food birds eat, including the food for their food source further down along the food chain), and climate change and global warming.[4] Due to the increase in human population, humans are armed with more compelling destructive technology and invading within a variety of bird species natural habitats.[5]


As climate change is caused by a variety of activities. The effect that climate change has on bird extinction is immense. Due to the rapid changes in temperature and climate the bio diverse earth can not progress with these factors.[5] Severe weather conditions and long seasons, as well as a chemical atmosphere within their surroundings, makes it difficult for many species of birds to keep up with.[5] In Hawai'i, climate change is responsible for the decline in the population in Hawaiian forest birds and is resulting in an increase of avian malaria (plasmodium relictum). Because the dynamics of malaria are influenced by ambient temperature and participation patterns, the predicted climate changes are expected to increase the occurrence of avian malaria.[6]

Sea level rise may flood islands killing the birds and other animals native to islands causing extinction.


Each species of birds carries defense mechanisms like resistances and the ability to fight disease.[5] With the changing climate and atmosphere, many species are losing their ability to fight particular diseases. These bird species are becoming more susceptible to disease, which results to the downfall of extinction. The most common disease affecting birds is Salmonellosis, which originates from the Latin name of salmonella. Infected birds pass bacteria in their fecal droppings. Other birds then become ill when they eat food contaminated by the droppings.[7]


  1. ^ IUCN 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-3. <>. Downloaded on 07 December 2016.
  2. ^ Ceballos and Ehlrich, Gerardo; Anne and Paul Ehlrich (2015). The Annihilation of Nature: Human Extinction of Birds and Mammals. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 1421417189 - via open edition. "65"
  3. ^ Loehle, Craig; Eschenbach, Willis (2012-01-01). "Historical bird and terrestrial mammal extinction rates and causes". Diversity and Distributions. 18 (1): 84–91. doi:10.1111/j.1472-4642.2011.00856.x. ISSN 1472-4642. 
  4. ^ Diamond, J. M.; Ashmole, N. P.; Purves, P. E. (1989-11-06). "The Present, Past and Future of Human-Caused Extinctions [and Discussion]". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences. 325 (1228): 469–477. doi:10.1098/rstb.1989.0100. ISSN 0962-8436. PMID 2574887. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Extinction - Causes". Retrieved 2016-05-17. 
  6. ^ Wei, Liao; Atkinson, Carter T.; LaPointa, Dennis A.; Samuel, Michael D. (2017). "Mitigating Future Avian Malaria Threats to Hawaiian Forest Birds from Climate Change". PLoS ONE. 12 – via Academic OneFile. 
  7. ^ "Common Bird Parasites & Diseases". Mass Audubon. Retrieved 2016-05-17.