Extinct birds

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Since 1600, over 100 species of birds have been made extinct, and the speed of extinction seems to be increasing. The most hit area is Hawaii, where about 30% of the all extinct bird species originally lived. Guam has lost over 60% of its native species in the last 30 years.

There are today about 10.000 species of birds, and 1186 of them are considered to be under threat of extinction. Except for 11 species, the threat is man-made.

Extinct species

Moas (Dinornithiformes). Large flightless birds on New Zealand, that were already extinct in 1642 when Europeans landed there.

Dodo (Raphus cucullatus). A meter-high flightless bird on Mauritius. It was hunted to extinction in the late 17th century, the last specimen killed in 1681. Of the 45 bird species originally found on Mauritius, only 21 have escaped extinction.

Great auk (Alca impennis or Pinguinus impennis). At 75 centimeters, the flightless Great Auk was the largest of the auks. It was hunted to extinction for food and down for mattresses. The last pair were killed July 3, 1844.

Labrador duck (Camptorhynchus labradorius). This eider-like sea duck was never very common. Although it has been hunted for food, it probably died out because of decline of mussels and shellfish due to pollution. The last one was seen at Elmira, New York in 1878.

Passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius). The Passenger pigeon was once probably the most common bird in the world. It was hunted close to extinction for food in the late 19th century. The last one died in the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914.

Carolina parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis). The only parrot in eastern US, the Carolina parakeet was hunted to extinction for its plumage and to prevent damage to crops, as well as because of descruction of its habitats. The last one dies in the Cincinnati Zoo in 1918.

Ivory-billed woodpecker (Campephilus principalis). This 50 centimeter long woodpecker is officially listed as "Endangered", although the last positive sighting was in Cuba in 1987. The reason is probably loss of habitat.

Bachman's warbler (Vermivora bachmanii).

Heath hen (Tympanuchus cupido).

Hawaiian akialoa (Hemignathus obscurus).


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