Thursday, December 28, 2006

The 50 Rarest Birds in the World

When we talk of seeing "rare birds" in NJ, we're usually talking about vagrant birds that are common elsewhere but somehow make their way to NJ. The true rare birds in the world are those whose populations are seriously in danger or who breed in a very remote area. Take a look at the 50 Rarest Birds in the World. If you've seen any of these yourself, please share your story!


Jeffrey said...

I dispute the list, not because I doubt that the birds listed are in serious trouble; they are. But there are other species (many) not included that surely must be among the 50 rarest. For example the Bald Ibis (Waldropp) has an estimated population of only 350 birds, much lower than many on the list, but it is absent. Poo-uli, an Hawaiian Honeycreeper is down to two individuals, both probably male. So, sadly the situation is more dire than that list indicates.

As for me, my rarest bird to date is the Yellow-shouldered Blackbird, a Puerto Rican endemic whose population in the 1980s was determined to be about 750 birds, but is now about 2500 pairs, or 5,000 birds. Rare-still endangered, but not the rarest of the rare. BTW--they are easily seen. There is a great acount of a bird on this list on (Banded Ground-Cuckoo in Ecuador, in which the author had to stand in a swarm of biting army ants to observe a brief glimpse of the creature...Not so easy.

Jeffrey said...

Sorry to hog the comment list, but speaking of Puerto Rico, the rarest bird on that island, a US Territory, also didn't make the cut on the website: Puerto Rican Parrot (Amazona vitatta) is down to some 30 individuals in the wild.

Susan Gets Native said...

What a sad list. They are all so beautiful. Seems that South America and Asia are well-represented, huh?

Patrick Belardo said...


Thanks for your comments. The list is by no means comprehensive and I'm not sure what sources they used to create it and I couldn't find information on their web site. You're right about the birds missing from the list. I'm sure there are many more we could ass.

The rarest bird I've seen is probably Great Green Macaw in Costa Rica with only about 3700 individuals globally and only 30 pais in all of Costa Rica.

Also, I read that Banded Ground-Cuckoo report the other day. Very interesting!


There is definitely a slant in that direction. It's sad how many of the birds are from southeast Asia especially.

dguzman said...

I also noticed the South America/Southeast Asia representation. I'm guessing deforestation, especially heavy in both those areas due to population growth?

Anonymous said...

I'll dispute this list too but with some good news! Zinos petrel whilst still well up that unfortunately named creek without a paddle is increading quite nicely following rat extermination in the breeding colony and is up to 80 pairs plus - I believe a new colony of 10ish pairs has been found as well

there is still hope!

Hopkinja said...

Just happened to find this list today. I agree with the others that there's plenty of rarer and more endangered species.

That said, I've seen one of the species on the list, black-faced spoonbill. I tried and missed several times in the past few years - once in Taiwan and twice in Korea - before finally seeing 17 of them on Jeju Island, Korea, last winter.

I was also on a birding tour in Ubatuba, Brazil, this past September, when our guide thought he found a kinglet calyptura. He was unable to get us on the bird before it disappeared, and several hours of searching that day and the next failed to turn it up again.