Birds in danger of extinction in Spain

birds in danger of extinction in Spain

In the field of environmental observation, birds play a crucial role as they serve as indicators of the state of our environment, whether in bustling cities or serene rural areas. The SEO/Birdlife organization highlights that it is in these rural areas where the decline in bird populations is most pronounced. Their data reveal that of the almost 300 species of birds protected in Spain, 137 face threats of varying degrees that endanger their existence.

In this article we are going to review what are the endangered birds in Spain and its current status.

Causes of bird habitat deterioration

By implementing monocultures, using chemicals and eliminating barriers, agricultural practices have intensified. However, this intensification has resulted in the absence of insects, small reptiles, rodents and ultimately birds in our fields. It is crucial to recognize the impact of these practices on the health of ecosystems.

The impact of human activity on the natural habitats of these avian creatures forces them to seek refuge in contemporary structures and urban gardens, albeit with considerable challenges. Birds find it difficult to acclimatize to the environment that we have created for them, where the use of pesticides and the abandonment of rural regions make it difficult for them to access cereals and the small prey on which they depend for their sustenance.

Birds in danger of extinction in Spain

cantabrian capercaillie

cantabrian capercaillie

The preservation of mountain forests is symbolized by the Cantabrian capercaillie, a bird known for its distinctive features such as its vibrant tail, red eyebrows and unique mating rituals. Unfortunately, the Cantabrian populations of this species are currently facing a terrible situation, on the verge of extinction.

The capercaillie faces a critical conservation status, since it has disappeared from extensive areas of northern Castilla y León and has experienced a significant decrease of 30% in Catalonia. In Aragon, the population was reduced to less than 40 men in 2011, and is now considered absent in Galicia. The presence of capercaillie is almost non-existent in Cantabria and Navarra, which highlights the seriousness of its conservation situation.

The elusive and unassuming nature of this creature makes it a challenge to locate as it remains silent for most of the year. However, their footprints and droppings can help in their detection. Once you are lucky enough to find it, its appearance is truly impressive, particularly when it gracefully takes flight.

marbled teal

This particular duck, adorned with distinctive brown tones, has established itself as the predominant nesting bird at the mouth of the Guadalquivir, with flocks exceeding a thousand individuals.

The current breeding population of this species in Spain is very variable due to variations in habitat quality. However, it is usually around 200 pairs. The majority of these individuals, which represent 80% of the population, are found in the El Hondo wetland in Alicante. Unfortunately, the species has almost disappeared as a breeding species within the boundaries of the Doñana National Park.

Lesser Shrike

In our country, this bird is classified as “Critically Endangered” due to its rarity in the Iberian avifauna, which makes it a symbol of the decline of agricultural birds. The greatest danger facing birdlife is the intensification of agriculture. Ecologists emphasize the need for both a comprehensive conservation plan and agricultural policies that support the preservation of bird species in agricultural habitats.

The decline in the population of this species, which feeds mainly on insects, highlights the vulnerable state of birds associated with crops in Spain. These birds are predominantly found in specific and isolated areas of Aragon and Catalonia.

Balearic Shearwater

Balearic shearwater

The path to extinction of this particular seabird remains constant and gradual, mainly due to its limited breeding area in the Balearic Islands. With a small breeding population of only 3.193 pairs, it has the defining characteristics of one of the most endangered bird species.

The decline of these animals can be largely attributed to predation of their breeding colonies by introduced mammals, primarily rats and cats, and, to a lesser extent, to accidental mortality caused by entanglement in fishing gear.

A 2004 study highlighted the precarious state of the Balearic shearwater and predicted a decline that could lead to the species' extinction within a few decades. Unfortunately, despite more than ten years having passed, the prospects for this species have not improved.

According to the results of the study, the Balearic shearwater is on the verge of extinction, despite the numerous alterations that have occurred.

red kite

The red kite, a medium-sized bird of prey, has experienced a significant population decline in recent times, and the Doñana Natural Area continues to be one of the few remaining breeding sites for this species in Andalusia. The alarming lack of productivity observed in the Doñana stronghold in 2015 raises concern about the potential extinction of the red kite in Andalusia. This particular bird is classified as "endangered" in the Red Book of Birds of Spain and "critically endangered" in the Red Book of Endangered Vertebrates of Andalusia.

The survival of Spain's remaining red kites is endangered by several factors, including the use of toxic decoys, fatal encounters with power lines and competition with other bird species. The Iberian imperial eagle is also a contributing factor to this threat.

Iberian Imperial Eagle

iberian imperial eagle

The Iberian imperial eagle, a bird on the brink of extinction, faces a significant threat from power lines. The habitat of this raptor is limited to the western Mediterranean region and it breeds mainly in the southwest and center of Spain.

The unfortunate deaths of these animals are the result of a collision, when they unknowingly collide with an invisible wire, or electrocution, when they land on a wire that lacks insulation.

Throughout 15 years, A total of 120 imperial eagles have tragically perished from this cause, leaving behind only 220 breeding pairs. Despite some progress in restoring the population, it is imperative that we continue to implement conservation strategies to ensure its full recovery.

According to experts, it is not only the responsibility of the government to allocate funds for the preservation of electrical infrastructure, but also the duty of electrical companies to contribute. However, the existing regulations place a heavy financial burden on the State and the Autonomous Communities when modifying power lines, while these companies are not affected by the consequences of accidents caused to their infrastructure.

Bearded Vulture

It is a distinctive symbol of the Aragonese Pyrenees due to its unique ability to consume bones. This remarkable bird of prey possesses a large number of acid-secreting cells that aid in the digestion of its challenging diet.

In just two decades, the bearded vulture It has gone from a bird facing serious threats to a major tourist attraction for local residents living in the mountainous regions it calls home.

The Bearded Vulture Conservation Foundation (BVCF) has managed to increase the population of this majestic bird in Aragon, thanks to its efforts. With a wingspan of up to three meters, the bird is easily recognizable by its red-rimmed eyes and distinctive white head.

Despite ongoing efforts to conserve their population, bearded vultures residing in the Pyrenees and the Sierra de Guara still face significant risks from power lines, rodenticide products, and certain recreational activities.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about birds in danger of extinction in Spain and their current status.

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