Many birders and bird-watchers in western and central Nebraska have noticed the unfortunate absence in recent years of a distinctive, entertaining and familiar bird species, the black-billed magpie (Pica hudsonia). In the late 1990s, black-billed magpies were found over most of the state, except the extreme east and southeast. They occurred as far east as western Lancaster and Saunders counties during that time. In other areas, especially the west, magpies were fairly common and could be reliably seen with little effort. Since about 2000, black-billed magpies have declined sharply.
With its unmistakable fiery red plumage, which was used to decorate the robes worn by Hawaiian royalty in ancient times, the Iiwi Depranis coccinea (pronounced ee-EE-vee), or Scarlet Honeycreeper, is tightly entwined with Hawaiian folklore. Endemic to the islands, it was once abundant in forests through-out the archipelago, but now finds itself largely restricted to high-elevation forests on the islands of Hawaii, Maui and Kauai, where temperatures are too low for regular disease transmission.
Populations of several long-distance migratory songbirds in Eurasia are in peril, drastically illustrated by the recent range-wide population collapse in the Yellow-breasted Bunting Emberiza aureola. There are signals of a strong decline also in the Rustic Bunting E. rustica, but no range-wide assessment of population trends in this superabundant and widespread bunting species has yet been undertaken. The conservation status of Rustic Bunting is ‘Least Concern’ on the global IUCN Red List, but it has recently been upgraded to ‘Vulnerable’ on the European Red List.
Birds are vanishing from indigenous forests, especially in the Eastern Cape, and mopane worms - a key part of life in Limpopo - are in significant decline. Separate academic studies have revealed the new threats to biodiversity caused by environmental changes and loss of habitat. A team from Stellenbosch University and the Department of Environmental Affairs, which analysed 25 years of citizen science data collected by the Southern African Bird Atlas Project, found that half the country's 57 forest-dwelling bird species are vanishing.
Iedereen kent de roep van de koekoek (Cuculus canorus), maar slechts weinig mensen hebben de ‘vogel die zijn eigen jongen niet grootbrengt’ ooit in het echt gezien. Het aantal koekoeken neemt al decennialang af. De koekoek is tegenwoordig een schaarse broedvogel met naar schatting tussen de 6.000 en 8.000 vrouwtjes. Er zijn slechts enkele gebieden waar het aantal koekoeken stabiel is gebleven, of zelfs sinds de eeuwwisseling is toegenomen. De koekoek is nagenoeg uitsluitend een insecteneter. Hij eet voornamelijk rupsen, waaronder behaarde die door andere vogels niet worden opgegeten.
When a team of researchers travelled around Ghana to conduct a Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus) census, they encountered a very pronounced generation gap. “The older people we surveyed remember the Grey Parrot well”, says Stuart Marsden, Professor of Conservation Ecology at Manchester Metropolitan University, and one of the leaders of the study. “The species used to roost in large trees in their thousands. They remember them being common sights around the villages, as pests who would eat their fruit.
Matkoppen Parus montanus broeden in vochtige bossen. Ze nestelen in verrot en zacht hout. In het voorjaar en vroege zomer bestaat het voedsel vooral uit insecten, insectenlarven, spinnen en andere kleine diertjes. Volgens SOVON daalde het aantal broedparen in de periode 1990-2007 significant. Op de zuidelijke zandgronden kreeg de Matkop rond 1995 een forse klap: toen verdween in een keer 40% van het broedbestand. Sindsdien vertoont de Matkop in deze gebieden een gestage achteruitgang.
Hawfinches (Coccothraustes coccothraustes) used to be regularly seen each winter in places with plenty of mature trees such as Studley Royal, Fountains Abbey, Woolley Woods, Bretton Country Park or Roche Abbey. A particularly good place was Duncombe Park, Helmsley where hawfinches used to be seen feeding on berries on the Yew Walk near the house. But hawfinches seem to have all but disappeared from these places with the trees around the chapel at Clumber Park, north Nottinghamshire and the nearby Rufford Country Park the nearest (fairly) reliable places to see them.
The mosquito-borne disease avian malaria (Plasmodium spp.) has impacted both captive populations and wild individuals of native New Zealand bird species. However, whether or not it is a cause of concern to their wild populations is still unclear. In Hawaii, the disease has been a major factor in the population declines of some native forest bird species, often limiting their elevational distribution due to an inverse relationship between force of infection and elevation. While studies have investigated latitudinal patterns of infection in New Zealand, elevational patterns are unexplored.
A disease that is killing greenfinches (Carduelis chloris) and chaffinches (Fringilla coelebs) in the UK has now spread to Europe, scientists report. A paper in the journal Ecohealth confirms that the disease has been found in Finland, Norway and Sweden and is at risk of moving further afield. The disease, called trichomonosis, is caused by a parasite and was first seen in finches in the UK in 2005. Since then, the country's greenfinches have declined by 35% and chaffinch populations have fallen by 7%.