Scissor-tailed hummingbird
Venezuela’s scissor-tailed hummingbird has an existing habitat of less than 100 square miles of humid mountain forest. It is currently considered threatened with extinction, and computer models indicate this species will be among the most likely to go extinct by the end of the century if global warming continues. Image credit: Cagan Sekercioglu, University of Utah

A new paper on tropical birds and climate change by Çağan Şekercioğlu, Richard Primack of Boston University, and Janice Wormworth was released online in Biological Conservation this week.

See coverage in the NY Times Green Blog

Here are some words about the article from the University of Utah media release:

“Climate change spells trouble for many tropical birds – especially those living in mountains, coastal forests and relatively small areas – and the damage will be compounded by other threats like habitat loss, disease and competition among species.

“That is among the conclusions of a review of nearly 200 scientific studies relevant to the topic. The review was scheduled for online publication this week in the journal Biological Conservation by Çağan Şekercioğlu (pronounced Cha-awn Shay-care-gee-oh-loo), an assistant professor of biology at the University of Utah.

“There are roughly 10,000 bird species worldwide. About 87 percent spend at least some time in the tropics, but if migratory birds are excluded, about 6,100 bird species live only in the tropics, Şekercioğlu says.

“He points out that already, “12.5 percent of the world’s 10,000 bird species are threatened with extinction” – listed as vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (

“Şekercioğlu’s research indicates about 100 to 2,500 land bird species may go extinct due to climate change, depending on the severity of global warming and habitat loss due to development, and on the ability of birds to find new homes as rising temperatures push them poleward or to higher elevations. The most likely number of land bird extinctions, without additional conservation efforts, is 600 to 900 by the year 2100, Şekercioğlu says.”

University of Utah Media Release

Read the Biological Conservation article

New York Times Green blog coverage

The article was also mentioned on Al Gore’s blog