8 Bird Species, Including a Blue Macaw, Are Declared Extinct
Eight bird species, including one from Hawaii, have most likely gone extinct this century, The Guardian reports. This announcement is the result of a new statistical analysis of critically endangered birds by BirdLife International, whose findings were published in the journal Biological Conservation.
Five of these species are native to South America, where much of the forest has been destroyed by practices like unsustainable agriculture and logging. While four of the eight species have been labeled by BirdLife as extinct or near-extinct, the nonprofit organization reports that three species have been completely wiped out. These include two Brazilian birds—the cryptic treehunter and the Alagoas foliage-gleaner—and the Hawaiian poo-uli.
Also known as the black-faced honeycreeper, the poo-uli (alternately spelled poʻo-uli) was last spotted on the Hawaiian island of Maui in 2004. There have been some attempts to breed them in captivity, but those were unsuccessful.
There is still a glimmer of hope for the Spix’s macaw, a bright blue Brazilian parrot that's extinct in the wild. Captive macaws are currently being bred in hopes of eventually reintroducing them to their habitat.
Other species on BirdLife’s extinct or near-extinct list include the Pernambuco pygmy-owl from Brazil and the glaucous macaw from Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil.
These findings are especially worrisome because bird extinctions typically occur on isolated islands where they're vulnerable to invasive predators—not on major continents like South America. Not only are extinctions continuing, but they’re also “accelerating,” according to BirdLife International chief scientist Stuart Butchart. He told The Guardian he hopes the new classification will “inspire a redoubling of efforts to prevent other extinctions.”
[h/t The Guardian]