Page last updated at 10:19 GMT, Thursday, 28 May 2009 11:19 UK

Revival of threatened crossbill

Female Scottish crossbill (Pic: RSPB Images)
The Scottish crossbill is only found in upland Scots pine forests

The Scottish crossbill, which is the UK's only unique species of bird, has been taken off a conservation charity's endangered list.

The RSPB said the birds' population was thought to be stable enough to no longer be classed among the country's most threatened birds.

The bird is one of the few success stories of the 2009 assessment.

The number of species red-listed has risen 5% since 2002 to more than one in five of all the UK's bird species.

The cuckoo, lapwing, yellow wagtail - a bird found in the south of Scotland - and herring gull are deemed to be urgently in need of conservation action, and have been added to the revised list.

Climate change

Arctic skua - a visitor best seen on Shetland and Orkney - is the only bird to go straight from the green list to the red.

The RSPB said the growing number of charismatic, widespread and familiar birds now on the list was "scandalous".

Last year, the organisation warned that climate change threatened the Scottish crossbill with extinction.

Its population is only found in Scots pine forests, both ancient Caledonian forest and new commercial plantations.

Great Auk painting
The great auk ranks among Scotland's best known extinctions

The species can be seen in the Highlands, Cairngorms and upland areas of Perthshire and Argyll, according to the RSPB.

A survey funded by the RSPB and Scottish Natural Heritage found approximately 13,000 individuals of the endemic finch, meaning it is now amber-listed.

The number of red-listed species has risen to 52 (21%) out of 246 birds assessed, which is up from 40 species (16%) when the last assessment was done in 2002.

Most birds on the red list have seen their range or populations decline by more than half in recent years, or have undergone historical declines since 1800, from which they have not fully recovered.

The house sparrow, starling and song thrush are among the once-common British birds now on the list.

Some 21 red-listed bird species are summer visitors, most of which spend the winter in sub-Saharan Africa.

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