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Geographic Patterns

The highest absolute numbers of bird species are found in Russia and Turkey. Russia, the Baltic states and eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, Black Sea and Caucasus regions show a higher species richness than northwest Europe.

The distribution of threatened birds in Europe   shows Russia and Turkey as the countries with the highest richness of threatened species (38 and 35 species, respectively, representing nearly 10 % of all species in those countries). Spain and Portugal, together with the Macaronesian islands, as well as France, also have high proportions of threatened species (26, 22 and 21 species, respectively). The Caucasus region also has high richness of threatened species. In Azerbaijan, for example, 7% of species (23 species) are threatened and in Georgia 6% (18 species). Some regions in the Baltic states and Eastern Europe have higher threatened species richness. For example 7% of species in both Ukraine and Estonia are threatened (21 and 16 species, respectively). Norway, parts of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland have high numbers of threatened species, mainly marine birds. In Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands more than 10% of species are threatened.

An endemic species is defined as having its global range restricted to European political boundaries. Birds, as is the case with other taxa, are not confined according to administrative borders so this definition would not capture all species whose global range is concentrated in Europe. Near-endemic species are defined as species whose global range is concentrated (more than 75%) in Europe.

There are 91 bird species endemic or near-endemic to Europe, and their distribution shows the richest areas located in temperate and central Europe. The Mediterranean and Macaronesian islands have many endemic bird species, such as the Madeira and Dark- and White-tailed Laurel-pigeons (Columba trocaz, C. bollii and C. junoniae), the Cyprus Wheatear and Warbler (Oenanthe cypriaca and Sylvia melanothorax), and the Corsican Nuthatch (Sitta whiteheadi). The Caucasus region also has a number of species endemic or near-endemic restricted to the Caucasus mountains, such as Caucasian Snowcock (Tetraogallus caucasicus) and Caucasian Grouse (Lyrurus mlokosiewiczi).

Of the species endemic or near-endemic to Europe, more than 10% (10 species) are threatened and 12% (11 species) are Near Threatened. Of the 39 species endemic or near-endemic to the EU 27, nearly 20% (7 species) are threatened and 13% (5 species) are Near Threatened.