Recent maps reveal trouble spots for the world’s imperiled birds.
In South America, two swaths light up with unusually high concentrations of birds at risk of extinction: southeastern Brazil plus a strip along the northwest coast of the continent, say nine eminent biologists in a status review of biodiversity in the May 30 Science.
Warmer colors indicate a greater number of birds classified as vulnerable or worse by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. This pattern contrasts with a map showing where the most bird species live. Species remaining to be discovered and eventually added to the map are likely to be vulnerable ones.
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The authors’ analysis suggests that newly discovered birds are more likely than older, well-known species to be naturally rare and have small ranges. Both are disadvantages for withstanding the pressures of human activity.