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Wild Birds: Bird species of the European Union

List of birds of the European Union – August 2018

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 enlargements of the EU, natural changes to the distribution of species, and taxonomic improvements. Some other amendments were made (a.o. addition of a column with EU27 Red List categories and of a column “Reason for change (2015 vs. 2017)”). It also provides an indication as to which species are considered to be migratory species. The first list dates back to 1999 and the second one to 2015.

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 2014/35/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. The 2018 update of the EU list of birds follows the publication of Volume 2 (passerines) of the HBW-BirdLife Checklist in 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 (both “regular native” and “vagrant”) and B, plus Meleagris gallopavo.

The listing of a species in the 'migratory column' under Category A (column R) 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 previous lists are available here: the 1999 EU Bird List and the 2015 EU Bird List and Read-me note.

This list was prepared with the assistance of the N2K Group and BirdLife International in the framework of the Service Contract N° 070202/2017/766291/SER/ENV.D.3.