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 Sunday, 29 December, 2002, 00:16 GMT
Capercaillie under threat
Scots pine forest
Global warming and human interference are blamed
The capercaillie is Scotland's most threatened bird, according to new research by a wildlife and conservation body.

The research also shows the Black grouse is second in the endangered league, with corn bunting, twite and hen harrier joint third.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Scotland issued the warning list to highlight exactly where efforts needed to be directed to save species.

The top ten of endangered species is based on bird numbers and their long-term population trends.

Capercaillie
Capercaillie numbers have been scrutinised

The fall in capercaillie numbers to around 1,000 birds in Scotland - its only UK habitat - has been blamed on the loss of suitable habitat and climate change.

The recovery of the sea eagle and red kite had been hindered by human persecution, the RSPB said.

Both these birds have been the focus of reintroduction programmes in Scotland in recent years.

Society spokesman Andy Myles said: "RSPB Scotland works for the protection of birds and we try to focus on the success stories as much as possible.

"It is necessary to pause every so often, however, and assess the birds that are most under threat.

"This end of year assessment is valuable in identifying where our efforts need to be targeted."

'Environmental indicator'

He added: "It is highly noticeable that the various threats are largely man made.

"We will continue to work with farmers, landowners, foresters, local communities and government at all levels to improve the situation for birds.

"But we do so in the belief that birds are an excellent indicator of the state of our environment overall."

The most threatened birds in Scotland are:

  • Capercaillie

  • Black grouse

  • Corn bunting/twite/hen harrier

  • Corncrake/chough

  • Ring ouzel

  • Sea eagle/red kite.

See also:

02 Dec 02 | Scotland
27 Jul 02 | Scotland
27 Jun 00 | Scotland
20 Apr 00 | Scotland
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