EDGE Birds have landed

EDGE Birds represent millions of years of unique evolutionary history. They are not only threatened with extinction, but are also highly unique in the way they look, live and behave. ZSL’s EDGE of Existence programme has launched the top 100 EDGE bird list in the hope of bringing much needed attention to these extraordinary and threatened species. To ensure a future for these remarkable feathered creatures the EDGE programme is developing a project to protect EDGE birds in the Philippines and is looking for new Fellows to champion EDGE bird species.

The Giant Ibis, New Caledonian Owlet-nightjar and California Condor have topped the list of species close to extinction. You can view the entire list here.

Below we have highlighted ten of the most unique and threatened EDGE Birds (number indicates EDGE rank):

1. Giant ibis (Thaumatibis gigantea) – occupying the top spot on the EDGE birds list this striking bird is the world’s largest ibis. It is the national bird of Cambodia and, owing to its rarity and exceptional size, holds near-mythical status for bird-watchers, naturalists and conservationists.


4. Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus) – the world’s heaviest parrot, the New Zealand kakapo is also unusual in being nocturnal and flightless. The male kakapo produces a loud ‘boom’ call to attract potential mates which can be heard up to 5 kilometres away.


8. Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) – one of the largest and rarest eagles on the planet, this incredible predator was formerly thought to prey exclusively on monkeys. It is now known to prey on a variety of animals ranging from rodents and bats to pigs and monitor lizards.


11. Spoon-billed sandpiper (Eurynorhynchus pygmeus) – this small wading bird has a unique spatula-shaped bill.  Every year the birds undertake an incredible 8,000 km journey from their breeding grounds in northeast Russia to their main wintering grounds in Bangladesh and Myanmar.


12. Northern bald ibis (Geronticus eremita) – once widespread across Northern Africa and Europe, this distinctive, red-faced bird has declined to just 200 breeding wild adults. There are more than 2,000 individuals in captivity, including a population at ZSL London Zoo.


28. Secretarybird (Sagittarius serpentarius) – so-called because it supposedly resembles an old-fashioned secretary carrying quill-pens tucked behind his ears, this unmistakable African bird has an incredible method of stalking its prey, which it often stamps on before swallowing whole.

 

34. Tooth-billed pigeon (Didunculus strigirostris) – also known as the ‘little dodo’ this archaic, pigeon-like bird is found only on the island of Samoa. With fewer than 250 adults estimated to survive, urgent action is needed to save the species from the fate of its infamous relative, the dodo.


42. Lesser florican (Sypheotides indicus) – this iconic black and white florican is best known for the male’s elaborate aerial courtship displays in which the male leaps vertically in the air in a flurry of wings and legs to attract a mate.

 

56. Juan Fernandez firecrown (Sephanoides fernandensis) – this beautiful, fiery hummingbird is found on only one island off the coast of Chile. During territorial disputes, the firecrown will hover in front of the intruder and flash its crown of stunning, iridescent plumage.

 

73. Greater adjutant (Leptoptilos dubius) – this enormous prehistoric-looking stork grows to 1.5 m high with a wingspan of 2.5m. The name ‘adjutant’ actually refers to a military rank – it was given to this bird on account of its stiff, marching walk.

Discover the top 100 EDGE Bird list here
Apply to become an EDGE Fellow
Get involved and support EDGE birds

Comments

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  1. Jacob M. Ngwava said,

    on April 10th, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Great Job! Well done and keep it up EDGE team!!!

  2. Steve G said,

    on April 10th, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    Fantastic work. Let’s hope we can save this birds before it;s too late. It would be a crying shame if they were lost forever when a simple list exists to point them out to the world.

  3. kayo said,

    on April 11th, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Great news! Keep up with the wonderful job!

  4. Dave Jenks said,

    on April 12th, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Great website.
    After David Attenborough ….. Nisha Owen following her authoritative appearance on BBC Breakfast show.
    DGJ

  5. spas said,

    on April 14th, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    lets hope we can save the birds on the most hotspotted areas of the world like new caledonia and new zealand.

  6. Tammy said,

    on April 18th, 2014 at 1:42 am

    Loved viewing this list of birds. It would be so awesome to get some shots of these endangered birds. Great job! Thanks for posting.

  7. Aaron said,

    on May 19th, 2014 at 5:06 am

    Very nice! Any plans for EDGE Fish or Reptiles?

  8. Jack Stewart said,

    on May 20th, 2014 at 9:47 am

    Hi Aaron. Thanks for the comment. We are extremely keen to create top 100 priority lists for fish and reptiles but we must wait until we have a full phylogenetic tree and a comprehensive IUCN red list assessment in order to create the list accurately. When we have those for either fish or reptiles we will produce a list.

  9. Aaron said,

    on May 26th, 2014 at 2:49 am

    Ah, that makes sense. IUCN has some notable gaps in its fish and reptile lists.

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