Puffin under real threat of extinction says RSPB

Puffins, swifts and kestrels are among 23 birds that have been moved on to the Red list. Credit: RSPB

Puffins, swifts and kestrels are among 23 birds that have been moved on to the 'Red list' across the island of Ireland.

The report by RSPB NI and Birdwatch NI shows over a quarter of birds here are now Red listed - that figure is higher than anytime in history.

Wading birds such as snipes and lapwings have also joined the Red List, along with swifts due to a decline in their breeding population.

54

birds are on the Red list.

79

birds are on the Amber list.

78

birds are on the Green list.

Speaking about the findings, RSPB NI Principal Conservation Scientist Gillian Gilbert said: “It is extremely alarming to see a quarter of bird species on the island of Ireland now on the Red List.

“It’s sad to see swifts and kestrels, among other species, facing such declines, while anyone who has visited the Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre will know and love the puffins, kittiwakes and razorbills on the sea stacks and should rightly be concerned that they are now on the Red list.

“Because these seabirds are doing poorly across Europe and indeed across the world, this makes the birds we have across the island of Ireland crucially important and we need to do everything we can to protect them."

Natural ecosystems globally face a myriad of pressures including climate change, habitat loss and pollution, but this report shows how nature here is in trouble.

Gillian Gilbert

Ms Gilbert continued: "Therefore, support for our work and our campaigns calling for targets in law to revive our world are more important than ever." Despite the bad news, there are some positives, with 64 species remaining on the Green list.

Tufted ducks, wigeons and pintails have all moved down from the Red list to the Amber list, while great spotted woodpeckers have expanded their range across Ireland.

Robins have also moved from the Amber list to the Green list. “With robins, it is thought that the severe weather in the two winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11 led to declines in their numbers and we are now seeing a recovery from that,” Gillian added.