The Red List is a list of birds in the UK, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man that are the most threatened and have experienced dramatic population declines. It includes some of our rarest birds, like hen harriers but also birds like house sparrows and starlings, which have suffered huge declines.
Why a bird is placed on the red list
They are threatened with global extinction
They have undergone a severe historical population decline in UK since 1800
Breeding numbers in the UK have fallen by at least half in the last 25 years, or longer
Their breeding range in the UK has had a severe contraction of at least 50% in the last 25 years or longer
Why a bird is placed on the amber list
They are classed as threatened with extinction from Europe
There has been a moderate (25-50%) decline in breeding in the UK during the last 25 years or longer
Their UK breeding range has contracted between 25% and 50% over last 25 years or longer.
There has been a moderate (25-50%) decline in the non-breeding population in the UK during the last 25 years or longer
There was a severe decline in their numbers during 1800–1995, but they are now recovering - their population size has more than doubled over last 25 years
They are a rare breeder – only 1 to 300 breeding pairs in UK
They are rare non-breeders - less than 900 individuals
They only live in a few localised places – the definition is that more than half of the UK breeding or non-breeding population lives in 10 or fewer sites
Their UK population is internationally important - at least 20% of the European breeding or non-breeding population is in UK
These are the birds which are not showing moderate or severe declines and do not fit into any of the categories above. This sounds relatively positive, but big changes can happen quickly. In the latest report, birds such as the greenfinch and ptarmigan moved straight from the Green to the Red List because of large declines in their numbers.