Navigation path

High level navigation


Page navigation

Additional tools

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Print version
  • Decrease text
  • Increase text

Wild Birds: Bird species of the European Union

List of birds of the European Union – August 2015

This is an updated version of the list of bird species (see here EU Bird List and Read-me note) that are considered to be covered by Article 1 of the Birds Directive (bird species naturally occurring in the wild state in the European Territory of the Member States to which the Treaty applies). This list, which has been agreed with the Member States, takes into account the recent enlargements of the EU, natural changes to the distribution of species, and taxonomic improvements. For the first time, it also provides an indication as to which species are considered to be migratory species. The previous list dates back to 1999.

As well as the Birds Directive, this list shall also be used for the implementation of the Directive 2008/99/EC on the protection of the environment through criminal law and the Directive 20014/35/EC on environmental liability with regards to the prevention and remedying of environmental damage.

In November 2014, at the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP 11), a resolution was adopted to use the Handbook of the Birds of the World (HBW) and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World (Volume 1) (del Hoyo & Collar 2014) as the standard reference for bird taxonomy and nomenclature for non-passerine species. This same reference is used for the updated EU bird list, CMS and the IUCN Red List. Volume 2 (passerines) of the HBW-BirdLife Checklist is expected to be published in late 2016.   

All bird species mentioned in this list have been grouped according to four different categories, as follows:

    • ‘Native' ('Regular’) Category A species  - those recorded in an apparently wild state since 1950, which occur regularly and naturally within the EU.
    • ‘Vagrant’ Category A species  - those species recorded in an apparently wild state since 1950, but which do not occur regularly or predictably within the EU.
    • 'Pre-1950' Category B species  - those species recorded in an apparently wild state only before 1950, some of which are now globally extinct.
    • 'Introduced' Category C species  - those released or escaped species which have established a self-supporting breeding population.

Species covered by Article 1 of the Birds Directive comprise all those listed in Categories A and B (both native (regular) and vagrant), as well as the three Category C (introduced)  species that are listed on Annex II of the Birds Directive, i.e. Phasianus colchicus, Meleagris gallopavo and Branta canadensis.

The listing of a species in the 'migratory column' under Category A (column P) does not automatically imply an obligation to classify SPAs for a species. The identification and delimitation of SPAs must be based exclusively on scientific criteria (ornithological criteria).

The bird list of 1999 is available here.

This list was prepared with the assistance of the N2K Group and BirdLife International in the framework of the Service Contract N° 070307/2012/635359/SER/B2.