Biodiv Sci ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (5): 568-577.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2015294

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Assessment of red list of birds in China

Yanyun Zhang1, Zhengwang Zhang1, Lu Dong1, Ping Ding2, Changqing Ding3, Zhijun Ma4, Guangmei Zheng1,*()   

  1. 1 Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity Science and Ecological Engineering, College of Life Sciences, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875
    2 College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058
    3 School of Nature Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083
    4 Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity Science and Ecological Engineering, Institute of Biodiversity Science, Fudan University, Shanghai 200438
  • Received:2015-10-25 Accepted:2016-01-04 Online:2016-05-20 Published:2018-08-09
  • Contact: Zheng Guangmei


There are 1,372 bird species, including 77 endemic species in China. The over-exploitation of resources, habitat loss, fragmentation, and environmental pollution challenges the conservation of Chinese birds. In order to comprehensively evaluate the status of threatened birds in China, the Red List of Vertebrates (Bird) in China, supported by the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the People’s Republic of China, was initiated. According to IUCN red list criteria, this evaluation was accomplished by 27 researchers following the steps: confirm the evaluated species, data collection, preliminary evaluation, preliminary check, interactive check and finalization. Our evaluation demonstrated that three species (white stork Ciconia ciconia, siberian spruce grouse Falcipennis falcipennis, and sarus crane Grus antigone) are characterized as Regionally Extinct (RE), 15 species among them are Critically Endangered (CR), 51 species are Endangered (EN), 80 species are Vulnerable (VU), 190 species are Near Threatened (NT), 876 species are characterized as of Least Concern (LC), and 157 species are Data Deficient (DD). Overall, 146 bird species (10.6% of the birds of China) were threatened (including CR, EN, and VU), and of these, 29 endemic species (37.7%) were listed as threatened. The proportion of threatened birds from different orders and regions were calculated, and the major threat factors to the birds of China were analyzed. Top two families with the highest proportion of threatened bird species are Pelecanidae and Bucerotidae, 100% species of these families were listed as threatened. Terrestores and raptors were more threatened birds across different ecological groups, and 25.2% and 23.2% species listed as threatened birds respectively. There is great difference on the number and proportion of threatened species in different administrative regions. Thus, this work is important to the conservation of the birds of China.

Key words: birds, red list, conservation, endemic, threatened