Manx BirdLife has completed a major new study entitled ‘Birds of Conservation Concern in the Isle of Man (BoCCIoM) 2021’, resulting in the publication of the first ever ‘Red List of Birds’ for the Island.
BoCCIoM 2021 is the first comprehensive assessment of the conservation status of wild birds in the Isle of Man. The assessment builds on the work of the Manx Bird Atlas and many other bird censuses and surveys undertaken across the Island as well as recent and historic literature.
Of 332 species recorded on the official Manx List of Birds, 166 resident and frequently visiting species were fully assessed using detailed data on their breeding, wintering and migratory populations and ranges, as well as short-term and long-term changes in their fortunes. The 166 species that were not assessed are those that only infrequently visit the Island.
Of the 166 species that were fully assessed, 48 (29%) were Red-listed as being of the greatest conservation concern. A further 68 (41%) were Amber-listed as being of moderate concern, with 50 (30%) Green-listed as being of least concern.
The Black List of species that no longer breed on the Island now stands at fourteen.
The Red List
The Red List primarily represents species whose decline on the Island is of gravest concern. Curlew, Puffin, Skylark and Tree Sparrow are among those Red-listed. Corn Crake, Whinchat and Yellowhammer are also Red-listed for now – as required by the internationally accepted methods of the assessment – though Manx BirdLife expects to add these to the Black List in the very near future as they have almost certainly been lost as Manx breeding birds.
While Eider, Oystercatcher, Redwing and Meadow Pipit remain a relatively common sight on the Island, their overseas populations are considered to be threatened and so they too are put on the Red List.
BoCCIoM 2021 does provide some good news. The Island is home to nearly a third of all British Chough and has significant populations of Hen Harrier, Shag and Peregrine among others. For these species, the Isle of Man has a heightened international responsibility to safeguard its healthy populations.
Neil Morris, Managing Director of Manx BirdLife and Director of the BoCCIoM 2021 project said, “The assessment reveals the state of wild birds in the Isle of Man. Overall, it is not a happy picture. Our birds are being pushed off the Island, their habitats are disappearing and their populations are declining. Diversity and abundance are probably at a historic low.”
Morris continued, “We are indebted to Chris Sharpe who undertook the mammoth task of compiling all the data for the assessment. And we are grateful to the Scheinberg Family for their support and to the many people who over the years have helped to collect the datasets needed to produce this seminal assessment.”
Manx BirdLife hopes the results of BoCCIoM 2021 will enable Government, as well as wildlife conservation groups and researchers here on the Island and overseas, to prioritise their future efforts on the species of greatest concern. The assessment provides an authoritative and definitive update to the benchmark data of the Manx Bird Atlas. It highlights the need for continued, standardised monitoring of Manx bird populations and of the need to close vital gaps in scientists’ knowledge of birds’ needs, behaviours and habitats on the Island.
BoCCIoM 2021 is endorsed by the Manx Ornithological Society, Manx Wildlife Trust, Manx National Heritage and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
A paper by Neil Morris and Chris Sharpe describing the project and its findings will be published in the September 2021 issue of the renowned ornithological journal, British Birds. The full results of the assessment are available for free and in full – including the new Red, Amber, Green and Black Lists – on Manx BirdLife’s website at http://manxbirdlife.im/bocciom/.
Summary booklet including Red and Amber Lists: http://manxbirdlife.im/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/BoCCIoM-2021-TABLES-vWEB04-2021-07-30.pdf.
Full results including Red, Amber, Green and Black Lists: http://manxbirdlife.im/bocciom/.
About Manx BirdLife
Manx BirdLife is the wildlife conservation charity based in the Isle of Man working to protect wild birds and their habitats. Founded in 1997 under the name Manx Bird Atlas, the charity was renamed Manx Birdlife in 2008.
Through research, education, advocacy and conservation action, Manx BirdLife’s aim is to ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy and cherish the Isle of Man's diverse natural heritage.
In partnership with Island Aggregates and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Manx BirdLife is creating a major new wetland nature reserve at the Point of Ayre.
Manx BirdLife can be found on Twitter @ManxBirdLife and on Facebook/ManxBirdLife and Facebook.com/ManxBirdLifePointofAyre.
Neil G. Morris, Managing Director, Manx BirdLife, 35 New Road, Laxey IM4 7BG
firstname.lastname@example.org, 07624 455972