Birds in the EU are less abundant than a few decades ago. Since 2000, it is estimated that the number of common birds has decreased by 10%.
The presence of common birds is an indicator of biodiversity because many of them need specific habitats to breed and find food. These habitats are often also home to many endangered plant and animal species. In particular, the population of common farmland birds is in continuous decline (24% since 2000). However, after many years of decline, it appears that numbers of common birds have begun to level off.
It is even estimated that the population of common forest birds has increased by 3% between 2000 and 2020.
Source dataset: env_bio3 (sources: European Bird Census Council (EBCC); national BirdLife organisations; Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB); Czech Ornithological Society (CSO)
Major population losses of common farmland bird species could be reversed by the farm-to-fork strategy, which aims to reduce overall use and risk of chemical pesticides by 50% by 2030 , and the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, aiming to return at least 10% of agricultural land to land with high diversity landscape features and expand the area under organic farming to represent 25% of total EU agricultural land by 2030.
These strategies are part of the initiatives of the European Green Deal, which is one of the 6 priorities of the European Commission for 2019-24. To find out more, you can consult Eurostat’s interactive visualization tool which displays statistics relevant to the European Green Deal. It presents an overview of 26 indicators for the EU, Member States and EFTA countries, divided into 3 main themes: Reducing our climate impact, protect our planet and our health and enable a green and just transition.
Check out our interactive visualization tool here:
For more information:
- Bird monitoring in the EU is carried out under the aegis of the common pan-European bird monitoring programme. The system helps standardize data collection and analysis practices across countries and produces three indices of common bird populations – the index for all common birds (168 species), the index for common birds farmland (39 species included in the common bird index) and the common forest bird index (34 species included in the common bird index).
- 2020: data are estimated.
- Malta: data not available. Therefore, the EU indices are based on 26 EU Member States.
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