Birds have fascinated humans for thousands of years. They are found across the globe and are adapted to almost all the environments this planet has to offer. The diversity within this group is staggering. They can weigh as little as 2g or as much as 155kg. Some have incredibly elaborate and colourful plumage, displaying colours that no human eye can perceive. Other species use camouflage, which makes them almost invisible against the background of their native habitat.

Birds have been declining at an alarming rate with one in eight species threatened with extinction. Some of these endangered birds are the only surviving representative of a whole avian group. If these species disappeared, we would be losing an irreplaceable part of avian evolutionary history.

The EDGE top 100 birds list identifies the most Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered avian species in the world. We must conserve these species to safeguard the greatest amount of evolutionary history possible.

About the top 100 EDGE birds

  • The top 100 EDGE birds include species from 20 of the 29 living orders of birds, with 20% belonging to the Passeriformes, more commonly known as the songbirds
  • 10 of the top 100 species belong to the family Accipitridae, which includes the eagles, hawks and kites.
  • 62% of the species are country endemics
  • The top 100 EDGE birds are found in more than 170 countries
  • India has the highest number of EDGE birds with 14 species
  • The Philippines has the highest number of endemic EDGE birds with 9 species.

Explore the bird tree of life with OneZoom

Click here to download the full 2014 EDGE birds list

We thank Walter Jetz, Gavin Thomas, Jeffrey Joy, David Redding, Klaas Hartemann and Arne Mooers for developing the EDGE Birds priority list.

For more information please see:

Jetz et al., Global Distribution and Conservation of Evolutionary Distinctness in Birds, Current Biology (2014)