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Climate change threatens tropical birds

February 16, 2012

sciencecodex.com

Rainbow-billed toucans like the one shown here normally are confined to lower elevations in Costa Rica, but global warming is allowing them to colonize mountain forests, where they compete with resident birds for food and nesting holes, and prey on their eggs and nestlings. (Photo Credit: Cagan Sekercioglu, University of Utah)

SALT LAKE CITY — Climate change spells trouble for many tropical birds – especially those living in mountains, coastal forests and relatively small areas – and the damage will be compounded by other threats like habitat loss, disease and competition among species.

That is among the conclusions of a review of nearly 200 scientific studies relevant to the topic. The review was scheduled for online publication this week in the journal Biological Conservation by Çağan Şekercioğlu (pronounced Cha-awn Shay-care-gee-oh-loo), an assistant professor of biology at the University of Utah.

There are roughly 10,000 bird species worldwide. About 87 percent spend at least some time in the tropics, but if migratory birds are excluded, about 6,100 bird species live only in the tropics, Şekercioğlu says.

He points out that already, “12.5 percent of the world’s 10,000 bird species are threatened with extinction” – listed as vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (http://www.redlist.org).  Şekercioğlu’s research indicates about 100 to 2,500 land bird species may go extinct due to climate  Full article here

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