Since 1970, the number of secretaries in Kenya has declined by an estimated 94 percent.
Photo: Wolfgang Kaehler / LightRocket / Getty Images
One in eight bird species worldwide is now threatened with extinction.
This is the result of the current "State of the World's Birds" report by the non-profit international organization Birdlife, which systematically compiles data from research and species protection every four years.
In almost half of all bird species, the number of animals is shrinking, only six percent of the species still have growing populations.
North America alone is said to have lost three billion birds since 1970.
According to this, there were another 600 million animals in the area of the European Union, which only has around a fifth of the area.
According to the report, the development is also dramatic in other regions of the world.
"We have lost more than 160 bird species in the past 500 years and the rate of extinction is accelerating," said Lucy Haskell, Birdlife's chief scientific officer.
"In the past, most of the species that became extinct lived on islands, but unfortunately we are now seeing an increasing number of losses on the continents as well."
Threats from agriculture, forest dieback and climate change
Agriculture, according to the report, is the biggest threat to birds due to the use of machinery and chemicals, endangering around three-quarters of all threatened species.
Forest dieback is also a major problem for many birds, especially species that call giant, old trees their home.
For example, the harpy, a large species of bird of prey, nests on large, mature trees that are frequently cut down.
Last but not least, global warming is making life difficult for the animals: Around a third of the threatened birds are threatened by climate change consequences such as storms, forest fires and droughts - and the trend is rising.
According to the authors of the study, the most important solution is to preserve or renature the habitats that are essential for the survival of birds.
Birdlife has identified 13,600 regions in which to pursue this as an example.
In addition, projects are needed to specifically protect endangered species.
According to the report, the success of some species protection projects in recent years also gives reason for hope.
Without these projects, up to 32 bird species would have become extinct in the past 30 years, including the northern bald ibis, the researchers write.
The preservation of nature and biodiversity must be given top priority in future political decisions.