The Philippine eagle, great Philippine eagle or monkey-eating eagle is the national bird of the Philippines and one of the rarest raptors in the world. There are only about 400 nesting pairs left of this bird, the largest among the eagles in terms of weight and wing surface. The main threats they face are deforestation and illegal hunting – killing one is punishable by up to 12 years in prison in the Philippines. One of the reasons for their decline is their slow reproduction; they take seven years to mature sexually and females lay a single egg every two years.
Northern bald ibis
The northern bald ibis, recognizable by its jet-black plumage and bare red face, shares its genus with only one other species. Unlike most of its family, it is non-wading. This bird experienced a population crash in the 1950s due to human activity – especially the introduction of pesticides. It disappeared from most of its range except from two Morocan sites. In fact, 95% of its wild population can be found in only one subpopulation in Morocco. Exceptional conservation efforts are being undertaken by the Waldrapp Team that has taken it upon themselves to hand-rear them and release them into the wild.
One of the rarest and largest penguins in the world can be found north of the Antarctic Ocean and along the coast of Southern New Zealand. One of the main threats that this striking bird faces are habitat loss and land predators – mainly feral cats, stoats, ferrets and dogs – that have been introduced by humans, as well as increased tourism. Sadly, tourism contributes to high stress rates among birds, as increased visits to nesting sites result in less breeding success and weaker fledglings that are less likely to make it. Climate warming has also contributed to increased disease rates, notably avian malaria and avian diphtheria. Notable conservation efforts are being undertaken by the Otapahi Reserve in New Zealand and Dunedin Wildlife Hospital.
There are only about 400 specimens left of the largest flying bird in North America that can soar up to 15,000 feet or 4,500 meters high. In the 70s, this stunning creature faced extinction with only about a dozen pairs left. However, thanks to a captive breeding program undertaken mainly by the California Condor Recovery Plan its population grew in the 90s and is now increasing. Its main threat is lead poisoning due to bullets left in carcasses by hunters. Notable conservation efforts are being undertaken by the Friends of the California Condor, Wild & Free Nonprofit.
The Bali myna or Bali starling is a bird endemic to the island of Bali whose population, despite being endangered, is slowly but surely growing thanks to government efforts and public awareness. The main threats they face are poaching and habitat loss. A few years ago, there used to be less than 100 of these birds left. That number has risen to 303 as of 2020. Notable conservation efforts are being undertaken by the Bali Safari Park that runs a conservation program to rehabilitate once captive birds and release them back into the wild.
There are only about 280,000 specimens of this diurnal owl left in the world. They can be found in Canada, Scandinavia, Russia and the British Isles. Despite them being protected under the US Migratory Birds Act their population is decreasing. This is potentially due to climate changes that have an effect on the population of lemmings, their primary prey. Notable efforts to document their population are being undertaken by the Owl Research Institute.
This glossy black bird known also as the tropical turkey is the largest species in its family. They live in the undisturbed tropical forests of Central and northern South America. Because, sadly, few forests remain perfectly undisturbed, its population is declining due to deforestation, human encroachment and increased predation by snakes.
African grey parrot
The African grey parrot, also known as the Congo grey parrot, is a bird hailing from Equatorial Africa and experiencing a rapid decline in population due to illegal trafficking. These birds are incredibly intelligent and exceptional mimics that can learn how to speak, which makes them sought-after exotic pets and profitable for traffickers. Importing it has been banned in the US since 1992 and the EU since 2007, but it is still the most heavily traded wild bird. Other threats to its population include poaching and deforestation.