SCIENCE

ENDANGERED BIRDS OF ARMENIA

Adult bird. Photo: L. Avanzini

Угрожаемые виды, концепция разработанная международным союзом охраны природы, и описывающая то то и то то. Базовые установки МСОП, приняты большинством государств и находят свое отражение на уровне страны в виде законов и положений.

В Армении, все виды находящиеся под угрозой исчезновения, регулируются законом о фауне и флоре или животном мире РА, а их консервационные статусы определены в последнем издании Красной Книги Армении.

Согласно последней оценке, проведенной BirdLinks в 2020 году, природоохранные статусы 376 видов птиц зарегестрированных в Армении, распределились среди международно принятых категорий угрожаемых видов, следующим образом:


Threatened species is an international conservation concept of IUCN, adopted by most states and at the country level is reflected in the form of laws and local Red Books. So in Armenia, threatened species are regulated by the Law on Fauna.

According to the latest assessment of the conservation status of 376 bird species in Armenia, carried out by BirdLinks for the Red Book of Armenia 2022, it was distributed as follows:

 

Extinct in the wild – 1 species

MacQueen's Bustard
Photo by I. Ukolov.

Species are considered regionally extinct if their mature individuals have not been found on the territory of the country for more than 50 years.
So, the last specimens of the MacQueen's Bustard were registered in Armenia at the end of the 40s of the XXth century and, judging by the total development of semi-desert biotopes in the Armavir province, there is no chance of natural restoration of this population.

Critically endangered – 6 species

Critically Endangered species are those that meet one or more criteria, namely, their number in nature does not exceed 50 mature individuals, their number has decreased or may decrease by 80% within 10 years, their habitat is less than 100 km2.

Common Crane
Photo by Filiep T'Jollyn

The Common Crane has survived only in Lake Arpi National Park and possibly in IBA Tashir Wetlands, where more than half of its habitat is swampy dried up for agricultural purposes. The species constructs nests right in the swamps - on hummocks and mounds, and the eradication of swampy areas sharply increases the factor of direct disturbance and, accordingly, is critical for the species. All these factors have led to the fact that we have no more than 5-7 breeding pairs.

Dalmatian Pelican
Photo by Arnt Kvinnesland

For nesting the Dalmatian Pelican requires islands to protect its chicks from ground predators. Today, there is such an island on the Arpi Lich lake, however, the entire lake can barely feed 3 pairs, which limits the Armenian population of this species.

Black Stork
Photo by Paul Watts

The Black Stork is very sensitive to disturbance, preferring deep forests and alpine meadows and wetlands. The penetration of forestry into undeveloped forest interior and the expansion of hayfields to wet meadows increases the disturbance factor, reduces the area of forage lands and drives birds away from their homes, leading to a decrease in the population, which today does not exceed 8 nesting pairs.

White-headed Duck
Photo by Srikanth Rajan

White-headed Duck is one of the most vulnerable ducks, which was under the pressure of poaching for so long that its habitat was reduced to 10 km2 in the Armash wetlands, and the number barely reaches 15 breeding pairs.

Sociable Lapwing
Photo by Srikanth Rajan

Sociable Lapwing is a rare migratory species for Armenia, recorded only a few times in the marshes of Armash and Yeghegnut. Globally, this species is assessed as Critically Endangered and the main threat to it in Armenia is the lack of safe resting points during migration.

Marbled Teal
Marbled Teal @ John Doe

Marble teal - ten years ago, there were at least 40 nesting pairs, meeting in the swampy areas of the Ararat Plain and in Lake Sevan. This gullible duck constantly becomes a victim of poaching, as a result of which its population has decreased by more than 80%, barely reaching 6-7 breeding pairs.

Endangered - 22 species

Endangered species are those that meet one or more of the following criteria: the number of which in nature does not exceed 250 mature individuals, their number has decreased or may decline by 50% within 10 years, and their habitat is less than 5000 km2.

BIRDS OF PREY
Photo by I. Ukolov.

This includes 8 species of diurnal birds of prey, which are subject to the following main types of threats: poaching of these birds as trophies or pests, ruining their nests for keeping in captivity, poisoning with pesticides accumulating through the food chain, death on power transmission towers.

WATER BIRDS
Photo by Anders Kovac

This includes 4 species of Ducks, 2 species of Rails, 1 species of Sandpipers and 1 species of Cocks, which are subject to the following two types of threats: drainage of wetlands, destruction of coastal thickets by arson, and poaching.

BIRDS OF FOREST
Photo by Tim Melling

This includes 1 species of Woodpeckers and 1 species of Owls, whose populations are declining due to unsustainable forest management, which includes the reduction and fragmentation of forest areas due to the industrial felling of thick-stemmed trees and sanitary felling of dead and hollow trees.

BIRDS OF STEPPES AND SEMIDESERTS
Photo by Nick Brischuk

This includes 1 species of Bustards, 1 species of Sandgrouses, 1 species of Pigeons and 2 species of Passerine birds, which are influenced by three main factors: increasing development of natural biotopes due to plowing new fields and setting up new gardens, overgrazing, causing a range of consequences from degradation of vegetation cover to soil erosion, and poaching of bustards, sand grouses and pigeons.

Vulnerable - 43 species

Vulnerable species are those that meet one or more of the following criteria: the number of which in nature does not exceed 1000 mature individuals, their number has decreased or may decrease by 30% within 10 years, and their habitat is less than 20,000 km2.

BIRDS OF PREY
Photo by I. Ukolov.

This includes 14 species of diurnal birds of prey and 1 species of owls, the number of which is primarily affected by poaching of these birds as trophies or as pests and directed poisoning with baits. Also, there are frequent cases of ruining their nests for keeping chicks in captivity. To a lesser extent, they are affected by poisoning with pesticides and heavy metals that accumulate through the food chain and death on power transmission towers.

WATER BIRDS
Photo by Anders Kovac

This includes 2 species of Duck, 1 species of Grebes, 1 species of Ibises, 1 species of Rails, 1 species of Cranes, 2 species of Sandpipers, 1 species of Kingfishers, and 3 species of Passerines, which are subject to the following types of threats: drainage of wetlands, pollution of water bodies with pesticides, poaching, destruction of coastal thickets by arson, and fragmentation of rivers due to the expansion of small hydroelectric power plants.

BIRDS OF FOREST
Photo by Tim Melling

This includes 1 species of Owls and 3 species of Passerines, whose populations are declining primarily due to the reduction and fragmentation of forest areas due to the industrial felling of thick-stemmed trees. Also, the sanitary felling of hollow trees has a significant negative impact on their number.

BIRDS OF STEPPES AND SEMIDESERTS
Photo by Nick Brischuk

This includes 2 species of Cocks, 1 species of Bee-eaters, and 3 species of Passerine birds, the distribution and abundance of which is primarily affected by the increasing development of semi-deserts through the creation of new gardens. The Cocks are also affected by poaching.

BIRDS OF HIGH MOUNTAINS

This includes 2 species of chickens and 3 species of passerine birds, the distribution of which is directly affected by the decrease in the alpine biotope, which occurs under the influence of climate change. In addition, poaching also affects the number of two species of chickens.

Near Threatened - 31 species

Species that can potentially fall into the Vulnerable category are considered to be Near Threatened, because they meet one or several criteria: their number has decreased by 22-25% over the past 10 years, there is a tendency to reduce their range (however, it is more than 20,000 km2), they are regional endemics, they are highly specialized for the food object or habitat and there is a potential threat to their food object or habitat, they are represented by one population and their number in nature does not initially exceed 2,000 mature individuals.

Least Concern - 259 species

Least Concern are species that are widespread, show no significant decline in numbers and range, are not endemic or highly specialized species.

Data Deficient - 14 species

The Data Deficient Species are those, for which the available information is insufficient for a proper assessment of the conservation status. In particular, there may be a lack of up-to-date data on the number, dynamics of population change over the past decade, on its range or on the characteristics of biology and threats.

Do you want to contribute to protection of birds in Armenia?

Photo by A. Khachatryan

If you are interested to the problems of birds and are ready to help them in crisis situations, if you take care of the environment and think about what kind of world our children will live in, then you will probably be interested in Bird Conservation Guide. In this section you can get familiar with various bird conservation activities, clarify the dates and take part in those, should you wish to.

Threatened Bird Species News