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EDGE Birds

Birds are declining at an alarming rate, with one in six species threatened with extinction. Some of these endangered birds are EDGE species and are the only surviving representative of a whole avian group. If these species disappear, we will lose an irreplaceable part of avian evolutionary history.

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 2 grams or as much as 155 kg. 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.

Philippine eagle - EDGE birds
The Critically Endangered Philippine Eagle © Alain Pascua – –


The Top 100 EDGE Bird 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.

  • The top 100 EDGE Birds include species from 23 of the 36 living avian orders, with 17% belonging to the Passeriformes, more commonly known as the songbirds.
  • 11 of the top 100 species belong to the order Accipitriformes. 10 from the family Accipitridae, which includes the eagles, hawks and kites, and the sole species in the family Sagittariidae – the Secretarybird.
  • More than half of the Top 100 species are country endemics.
  • 73 of the Top 100 EDGE Birds are threatened by the introduction of crops, and together are impacted by 37 distinct threats
Top 100 EDGE birds threats
The ten most common threats to Top 100 EDGE Birds. Numbers represent the number of species impacted by each threat. Data from IUCN Red List.


Click here to explore the Top 100 EDGE Bird List.

Click here for the latest EDGE Birds List.

When creating our EDGE Birds list, we follow the taxonomy of BirdLife International.

We thank Walter Jetz, Gavin Thomas, Jeffrey Joy, David Redding, Klaas Hartemann and Arne Mooers for developing the original EDGE Birds priority list. For more information please see the original EDGE Bird List paper.


Use OneZoom to explore the avian tree of life!