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RSPB: Puffin and Turtle Dove among British birds added to IUCN Red List (BirdGuides)

Four of the UK's bird species, including Puffin and Turtle Dove, have today [Thursday 29 October 2015] been added to the list of birds considered to be facing the risk of global extinction. The latest annual revision of birds on the IUCN Red List, which has been announced by BirdLife International on behalf of the IUCN, doubles the number of UK bird species considered to be facing the risk of extinction to eight.
The IUCN Red List assesses the threat of extinction for each bird species. Those with no immediate threat of extinction are listed as Least Concern. Those species considered to be facing a threat of global extinction are listed in three levels of descending threat: Critically Endangered; Endangered; and Vulnerable.
Shockingly, a further 14 UK species are considered to be Near Threatened, meaning that any further deterioration in their status could see them added to the Red List too.

Turtle Dove
Turtle Dove has declined massively in Britain (Photo: Chris Griffin)

Martin Harper, RSPB's Conservation Director, said: "Today's announcement means that the global wave of extinction is now lapping at our shores. The number of species facing extinction has always been highest in the tropics, particularly on small islands. But now the crisis is beginning to exact an increasingly heavy toll on temperate regions too, such as Europe.
"The erosion of the UK's wildlife is staggering and this is reinforced when you talk about Puffin and Turtle Dove now facing the same level of extinction threat as African elephant and lion, and being more endangered than Humpback Whale."

First for Britain: Chestnut Bunting (BirdGuides)

The week at a glance (21st - 27th of October)

Few people paid much attention to a report of a Yellowhammer on Papa Westray, Orkney, last Monday until a poor-quality photo emerged late on the Tuesday evening, suggesting it might be something altogether rarer. It was not until 24 hours later, late on Wednesday evening, that further images emerged and served to confirm suspicions — the bird, with its rich chestnut hue on the upperparts, face and in particular tertial fringes, was surely a Chestnut Bunting!
With no sign of the bird since it was briefly seen on the Tuesday, the automatic assumption was that it had gone — a potential first for Britain seemingly slipped through the net and rendered untwitchable. It was therefore something of a surprise when, in mid-afternoon on Saturday, news of its continued presence on Papay reached the airwaves. Game on — and so it proved: the bird was still there and showing well to all comers throughout Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Chestnut Bunting
Chestnut BuntingPapa Westray, Orkney (Photo: Chris Bromley)

Chestnut Bunting has a chequered history in the Western Palearctic. Though there are clearly a number of recent records from other countries that fit the typical pattern of vagrancy for Far Eastern passerine migrants, all of Britain's previous records have been assigned to Category E — in most cases, probably rightly so, the best candidates for wild birds being the adult females seen on Out Skerries from 2–5 September 1994 and Fair Isle on 6–7 September 2002. There can be no denying that the appearance of a first-winter on British shores in mid-October changes everything, and one would anticipate that this will ensure the species is upgraded from Category E to A.

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