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Background    Reproduction    Migration     Ecological roles of birds    Recently extinct birds    Threatened and endangered birds

Recently extinct birds

A hundred bird species have vanished since 1600, nearly all due to human activities, chiefly habitat loss, overhunting, and introduced predators. Island birds are especially vulnerable. Below are some of these birds, the year each was last seen in the wild, and the cause(s) of extinction.

  • King Island Emu (Australia). 1850. Hunting and burning.

  • Atitlan Grebe (Guatemala). 1986. Introduced fish and habitat loss caused by earthquake.

  • Guadalupe Storm-Petrel (Mexico). 1912. Introduced cats.

  • Pallas’ Cormorant (Bering Sea). 1852. Hunting for meat and feathers.

  • New Zealand Bittern (New Zealand). 1900. Habitat loss.

  • Pink-headed Duck (India and Myanmar). 1935. Habitat loss and hunting.

  • Guadalupe Caracara (Mexico). 1900. Intentionally eliminated by hunting and poisoning.

  • Himalayan Quail (West-central Himalayas). 1876. Habitat loss and possibly hunting.

  • Bar-winged Rail (Fiji). 1973. Introduced mongooses and cats.

  • Canarian Oystercatcher (Canary Islands). 1950. Overharvesting of food and eggs..

  • White-winged Sandpiper (Tahiti and Moorea). 1790. Introduced rats.

  • Great Auk (North Atlantic Ocean). 1844. Hunting.

  • Rodrigues Solitaire (Rodrigues Island). 1770. Hunting and introduced cats.

  • Red-moustached Fruit-Dove (Marquesas Islands). 1950. Introduced owls, rats, and cats.

  • Paradise Parrot (Eastern Australia). 1927. Habitat degradation, over-collecting, and cats.

  • Snail-eating Coua (Madagascar). 1834. Over-collecting, deforestation, introduced cats.

  • Laughing Owl (New Zealand). 1970. Over-collecting, habitat loss, introduced predators.

  • Jamaican Poorwill (Jamaica). 1859. Introduced predators.

  • Bogota Sunangel (Colombia). 1909. Habitat degradation.

  • Bush Wren (New Zealand). 1972. Introduced weasels and rats.

  • Banggai Crow (Banggai Island). 1900. Habitat loss and degradation.

  • Grand Cayman Thrush (Grand Cayman Island). 1938. Deforestation and hurricanes.

  • Chatham Islands Fernbird (Chatham Islands). 1900. Fires, overgrazing, rats and cats.

  • Lord Howe Gerygone (Lord Howe Island). 1928. Nest predation by rats.

  • Piopio (New Zealand). 1963. Introduced rats and habitat loss.

  • Guam Flycatcher (Guam). 1983. Introduced snakes.

  • Vanderbilt’s Babbler (Sumatra). 1940. Unknown.

  • Robust White-eye (Lord Howe Island). 1928. Introduced rats.

  • Kaua’i Oo (Hawaiian Islands). 1987. Rats, pigs, and mosquito-borne diseases.

  • Huia (New Zealand). 1907. Overhunting and habitat destruction.

  • Kaua’i Akialoa (Hawaiian Islands). 1969. Habitat loss.

  • Norfolk Starling (Norfolk Islands). 1923. Hunting, competition with introduced birds.

  • Bonin Grosbeak (Bonin Islands). 1900. Habitat loss and introduced predators.

  • Slender-billed Grackle (Mexico). 1910. Habitat loss.

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The huia (Heteralocha acutirostris) from New Zealand has already vanished. © Paddy Ryan

Stephens Island wren (Traversia lyalli) is now extinct due to cat predation introduced by humans. © Paddy Ryan

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