It's now Red 70.

I've just read that the swift, house martin, greenfinch and the Bewick's swan are now all on the UK Red List.  The only good news is that the white-tailed eagle has now moved to amber.  That'll irritate the bird killers.

Our herring gulls are red listed birds.  Think about that the next time you hear some flaming idiot calling for a cull of them.

  • Thanks for posting. The RSPB didn't provide the link from their page so here is the list.

    Got to say I am not surprised by the additions, and can guess a few more that will be added in coming years. e.g. chaffinch (even though it is currently on the green list!).

    Also got to say I think the criteria is at best 'confusing' and would say slightly dubious. I don't think the Red List criteria should include, "Historical population decline in UK during 1800–1995" That is far too unrealistic and out of date. The most obvious examples in the red list that make no sense to me are cirl bunting and redpoll, but I would suggest tree sparrow and house sparrow are other examples of no longer needing urgent action to halt declines. Although it can help build headlines having big lists, it muddies the waters and as I said, can confuse, when species that are increasing are classed as currently needing "urgent action". 

    Amber is even more 'confusing' as how can the criteria have avocet, osprey and marsh harrier UK population trends matching criteria that raise "concern"?

  • I see RSPB have written a blog too about it. Possibly what you saw first Clare? Here. I looked it up on the main website. I see chaffinch was mentioned on that blog! It also mentions song thrush and pied flycatcher being downgraded from Red to Amber. They add to my confusion/doubts about the criteria as like I said, it's hard to argue they should be classed in the same bracket in UK as avocets and marsh harriers in terms of trend!

  • In reply to Robbo:

    I first saw it in the Guardian. Funnily enough the article didn't mention either the song thrush or the pied flycatcher.

    EDIT:  Thanks for the link.  Blimey, I think Chris Packham and co. are going to need to bring out a new Red List book.

    Our herring gulls are red listed birds.  Think about that the next time you hear some flaming idiot calling for a cull of them.

  • In reply to Robbo:

    Link to an open access pdf of the source report

    britishbirds.co.uk/.../BB_Dec21-BoCC5-IUCN2.pdf
  • In reply to Robbo:

    " I don't think the Red List criteria should include, "Historical population decline in UK during 1800–1995""

    If you scan through the listings and reasons there species with HD (and only as part of the assessment) are:

    Corn bunting
    Twite
    Red-backed shrike
    Merlin
    Hen harrier
    Red-necked phalarope
    Black-tailed godwit
    Black grouse

    All of them have further reasons for listing. Historic decline does not appear to be used on its own.
  • In reply to tuwit:

    tuwit said:
    " I don't think the Red List criteria should include, "Historical population decline in UK during 1800–1995""

    All of them have further reasons for listing. Historic decline does not appear to be used on its own.

    Agreed. Affected section of my unclearly worded 3min post corrected as below.....

    "Also got to say I think the criteria is at best 'confusing' and would say slightly dubious. I don't think the Red List criteria, FOR EXAMPLE, should include, "Historical population decline in UK during 1800–1995""

  • In reply to Robbo:

    HD covers things like prior extirpations. There are species with HDrec (either following natural recolonisation or by reintroduction; osprey for the former, white-tailed eagle for latter). HDrec is considered as one of the criteria for moving from red to amber, and covers a 25 year period of measurement. The white-tailed eagle is now HDrec/ amber. So HD still has a purpose (IMO). HD is also a baseline for further measurements/assessments. It will very likely remain in conjunction with other criteria. I look on that criteria as a back-story/history against which other criteria are (or can be assessed) and I've not seen a listing based solely on HD.

    I note that the rook has moved to amber, based on a european-wide assessment.

    Pinguinus impennis is listed as a 'former breeder' in the report. Not much chance of it ever returning as a breeder or non-breeder. It has gone the way of the norwegian blue.

    (And, yes, the chaffinch is pretty much at the same risk as the greenfinch.)
  • I have no problem with the principle of the traffic light system, or the categories. HD as a baseline, again, no problem. What I raised concern about was how it all hangs together and translates into the headline rankings. I can rattle off a lot of species that in my lifetime have boomed, or increased, but are languishing in red and amber categories, and unless criteria are tweaked, will never be on the green list.

    Just one example, if something was always rare and remains rare, using it as an additional 'one' to the 'red' total cannot be justified as proof that nature is in crisis.
  • In reply to Robbo:

    How it hangs together is long-term study and science.

    Would you care to share your list of species that have boomed (or increased) during your lifetime and are now languishing in red and amber?

    Locally I have increased the spadger population. That is in my immediate locality. When I moved here there were few spadgers. Nesting opportunites for the spaders has been increased. I've lost the coal tits and I'm fairly certain as to the reason why. Likewise I can't watch treecreeepers from the kitchen window anymore. I know why (90%+ confidence level). I'm at the point where I may lose my (small and local) breeding population of green woodpeckers (three young turned up the patch this year). Again, I'd have relatively high confidence on the reason. If it turns out that they don't disappear I'd have to reappraise my assessment of reasons. The greater woodpeckers buggered off the year we moved in. I'm fairly certain as to the 'why'.

    I see very few starlings (as in less than five in approaching a decade), yet others not that many miles away from me express opinions that they should be 'pest' species. Locally I have seen a decline in house martins. I counted out the departures about three or four years back. Nothing like that number since (90+% reduction). I have my suspicions over the (local) reduction, which has multiple factors. But longer-term measurement may indicate it was a decadal fluctuation.

    "Just one example, if something was always rare and remains rare, using it as an additional 'one' to the 'red' total cannot be justified as proof that nature is in crisis."

    Which one is that? And why does it remain rare?

    One exception does not negate a general trend.
  • In reply to tuwit:

    Rather than share a list, I'll remind you I've already provided examples.

    I can help you solve your house martin mystery as you have provided all the evidence needed in your post. Mystery solved here, here and here.

    Black redstart as one example.

    To conclude, you think the report is faultless and great. I think it is crucially important, but unnecessarily sensationalises using an absolute maximum number which leaves it open to critics being able to pick it off. I don't want to be able to. I want it watertight not tabloid.