World Migratory Bird Day 2010 focuses on globally threatened migratory birds

PRESS RELEASE (7 May 2010): english françaisespañol


The Secretariats of the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (UNEP/AEWA) and the Convention on Migratory Species (UNEP/CMS) are pleased to announce the countdown for World Migratory Bird Day 2010. This two-day awareness raising campaign will take place globally for the fifth consecutive year from 8-9 May 2010.

World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) aims to inspire people to take action for the conservation of migratory birds and encourages national authorities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), clubs and societies, universities, schools and individuals around the world to organize events and programmes, which help draw attention to migratory birds around a central theme each year.
This year’s theme is “Save migratory birds in crisis – every species counts!” It is closely linked to the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) declared by the United Nations for 2010.

The WMBD 2010 theme aims to raise awareness on globally threatened migratory birds, with a particular focus on those on the very edge of extinction – the Critically Endangered migratory birds. In line with the International Year of Biodiversity, the 2010 WMBD theme also highlights how migratory birds are part of the biological diversity of our world and how the threat of extinction faced by individual bird species is a reflection of the larger extinction crisis threatening other species and the natural diversity that underpins all life on earth.

Migratory birds in crisis

A staggering 1,227, or 12,4% of the total 9,865 extant bird species in the world are currently classified as globally threatened and 192 of these are considered Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of threatened species, i.e. they face an extremely high risk of becoming extinct.

An estimated 19% of all known birds and about 30 of the 192 Critically Endangered bird species are considered to be migratory and undertake regular cyclical movements between their breeding and non-breeding areas.

Some prominent examples of “migratory birds in crisis” being highlighted in the context of this year’s WMBD campaign include the Slender-billed Curlew (Numenius tenuirostris), the Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita), the Sociable Lapwing (Vanellus gregarius), the Waved Albatross (Phoebastria irrorata) and the Orange-bellied Parrot (Neophema chrysogaster) – all of which are migratory and listed as Critically Endangered.

Migratory birds as indicators

By focusing on “migratory birds in crisis” during the International Year of Biodiversity, World Migratory Bird Day 2010 is also highlighting the role played by birds as indicators, enabling us to clearly see and highlight the negative effects our current way of life is having on the planet and it’s biodiversity.

As one of the best researched taxa, birds serve as vital indicators for the state of biodiversity and the biological health of the ecosystems they inhabit. If a bird species becomes threatened with extinction it is often a clear sign that the conditions of the required habitats have changed and that other species that depend on them may also be affected.

Migratory birds rely on several different habitats to survive – often across several continents. They need areas to breed, rest, feed and to raise their young. The conservation of migratory birds depends to a large extent on the conservation of their habitats, thereby simultaneously benefiting other species.

WMBD 2010 during the International Year of Biodiversity

The International Year of Biodiversity (IYB), declared by the General Assembly of the United Nations for the year 2010, is an appreciation of the value of biodiversity and the vital role it plays in all our lives. However, it is not only a celebration, but also an invitation to take action to safeguard the variety of life on earth. Humankind relies on this diversity, because it provides us with food, fuel, medicine and other essentials which we need to survive.

Yet species are disappearing at an unprecedented rate because of human activities, amongst other threats, and these losses are irreversible. In fact, the current rate of extinction is a thousand times faster than the natural one. For birds, the natural rate of extinction is one bird per century, but in the last thirty years alone, 21 bird species have become extinct. Without immediate action, many of the “migratory birds in crisis” will no longer exist in ten year’s time.

World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) 2010 is an opportunity to take action and to draw international attention to those migratory birds which are threatened by extinction and to highlight them as flagship species during the International Year of Biodiversity.

Further Information:

World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD)

World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) is a global initiative devoted to celebrating migratory birds and for promoting their conservation worldwide. It is being organised by the Secretariats of the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) – two international wildlife treaties administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) – and other partners.

People and dedicated organisations around the world will be using the event to draw attention to migratory birds that are threatened by extinction. Activities to mark WMBD include bird festivals and bird watching trips, public discussions, exhibitions, presentations, bird rallies and other educational and public events.

Event organizers are encouraged to register their events on the WMBD website and can order the WMBD 2010 poster and other information materials to support their events by writing to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For more information please visit: www.worldmigratorybirdday.org

WMBD Partners

How many bird species have become extinct in the last 30 years?