© Marcel Burkhardt
Red List and priority species
What is the situation of birds in Switzerland? To answer this question, it is necessary to pull together and interpret the results of the different monitoring projects. A periodic status assessment is an important basis for conservation at the national and international level. Species requiring conservation action are identified and monitored to measure the success of such actions.
The conservation status of birds is assessed on the basis of standard national or international procedures and criteria (e.g. IUCN criteria and guidelines for determining Red List categories). The results are published in scientific journals and disseminated in various ways to a wider public. Lists of threatened species and of species of conservation concern are revised every ten years.
The Red Lists of threatened species are established since 2000 according to IUCN criteria and published by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). The Red List of breeding birds has been revised in 2010. It replaces the list established in 2000 and published in 2001.
The most recent national Red List shows that almost 40 % of breeding bird species are threatened. An additional 16 % are classified as Near Threatened. In agricultural habitats and wetlands the number of threatened species is particularly high.
The comparison between the lists published in 2001 and 2010 shows that overall the conservation status of breeding birds has not improved. A detailed analysis reveals clearly that the situation has even deteriorated. This is due to the fact that most positive changes concern species whose populations are still described as “depleted”, whereas species that had to be reclassified in higher threat categories suffered strong declines.
Species of national conservation concern
Red Lists according to IUCN criteria evaluate the risk of extinction at global level or of disappearance from the region concerned, in the present case, from Switzerland. They should not be used directly to set conservation priorities. The international importance of the national populations in particular, but also other parameters, such as the necessity and urgency to take action, have to be considered to define species of particular conservation concern. In collaboration with SVS/BirdLife Switzerland we developed a procedure to determine species of conservation concern (Keller & Bollmann 2001, Keller & Bollmann 2004) and to identify species in need for recovery programmes (Bollmann et al. 2002). These lists were also revised in 2010.
The list of species of national conservation concern contains 118 species. It includes threatened species as well as species for which Switzerland has an international responsibility. From an international point of view, Switzerland has a particularly high responsibility for alpine species and for wintering waterbirds. Fifty bird species require special recovery programmes.
The revised lists were published in “Der Ornithologische Beobachter”: PDF
The documentation contains additional information on the classification: PDF
BirdLife International published the first European Red List according to IUCN criteria in 2015. Data concerning distribution, populations and trends of birds in Switzerland were provided by the Ornithological Institute. 14 Swiss bird species are categorised as threatened at the European level. European Red List
Rote Liste Brutvögel.Gefährdete Arten der Schweiz, Stand 2010. Umweltvollzug Nr. 1019.
Liste rouge Oiseaux nicheurs -Espèces menacées en Suisse, état 2010. L'environnement pratique no 1019.
Lista rossa Uccelli nidificantiSpecie minacciate in Svizzera, stato 2010. Pratica ambientale no 1019.
Die prioritären Vogelarten der Schweiz: Revision 2010.
Die prioritären Vogelarten der Schweiz: Dokumentation zur Revision 2010.
A Case Study in Applying the IUCN Regional Guidelines for National Red Lists and Justifications for their Modification.
From Red Lists to Species of Conservation Concern.
Für welche Vogelarten trägt die Schweiz eine besondere Verantwortung?
Rote Liste der gefährdeten Brutvogelarten der Schweiz.
Liste rouge des oiseaux nicheurs menacés de Suisse.
Lista Rossa degli uccelli nidificanti minacciati in Svizzera.