Every 24 hours, 150-200 plant, insect, bird, and mammal species go extinct, according to scientists.
This is nearly 1,000 times the “natural” or “background” rate and, according to many biologists, is greater than anything the world has seen since the dinosaurs went extinct nearly 65 million years ago.
Birds tend to feel the brunt of ecological pressures from humans more than other animals. Loss of habitat, climate change, loss of food sources, introduced predators and human predation have rendered lots of bird species extinct.
The list below shows only a fraction of what amazing birds we have lost over the centuries due to humans over hunting and ruining their habitats.
1. Dodo Bird (†Raphus cucullatus)
The Dodo bird is an extinct species of flightless bird that was native to the island of Mauritius. The Dodo bird is perhaps best known for its large size and its big, awkward appearance.
The Dodo bird was a very slow runner and was not able to fly, which made it easy for sailors and other animals to hunt them. Dodo birds were also known to be very friendly and trusting of humans, which contributed to their demise. The last Dodo bird is believed to have died in 1681, and the species is now extinct.
The Dodo bird was first discovered by Portuguese sailors in 1507, who gave the island of Mauritius its name. It quickly became a popular target for sailors and other animals looking for an easy meal. Dodo birds were hunted for their meat, which was considered to be tough and unpalatable. As a result of this hunting pressure, the Dodo bird population rapidly declined.
Despite its extinction, the Dodo bird has become an important symbol of conservation. The Dodo bird reminds us that even seemingly helpless and defenceless animals can become extinct if we do not take care of them. We must work hard to protect all species, no matter how small or unimportant they may seem.
2. Carolina Parakeet (†Conuropsis carolinensis)
The Carolina Parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis) was a species of neotropical parrot that was native to the eastern, mid-west and plain states of the United States. It was the only member of the genus Conuropsis and is believed to be closely related to the Aratinga parrots of South America.
The Carolina Parakeet was a small to medium-sized parrot, measuring about 9 inches (23 cm) in length from beak to tail. The Carolina Parakeet had green plumage with yellow accents on the wings and tail. It was a social bird and typically lived in flocks of 4 to 40 individuals.
It was a generalist feeder and ate a variety of fruits, seeds, and nuts. The Carolina Parakeet was also known to eat crop plants such as corn, wheat, and rice. The bird lived in massive, noisy flocks of up to 200 – 300 birds.
The Carolina Parakeet was once widespread in the south-eastern United States but declined rapidly in the late 19th and early 20th centuries due to habitat loss and hunting. The Carolina Parakeet was mainly hunted for its plume and used in women’s fashion accessories like hats and dresses.
It was last seen in the wild in 1904 and is now extinct. A small number of Carolina Parakeets were kept in captivity but none survived past the 1920s.
3. Bachman’s Warbler (Vermivora bachmanii)
The Bachman’s Warbler (Vermivora bachmanii) was a small songbird that was endemic to the southeastern and Midwestern United States and wintering in Cuba. The last confirmed sighting of this species was in 1988, and it is now considered extinct.
This warbler was named after John Bachman, a 19th-century naturalist from South Carolina. The Bachman’s Warbler was a small bird, measuring only 4-5 inches in length. It had a yellow breast and belly, with a grayish-brown back. The male birds also had a black cap on their heads.
This warbler fed primarily on insects, which it caught by foraging in the trees and shrubs. Its breeding habitat was in dense and swampy woods.
The Bachman’s Warbler was first described in 1832, but it was not until the late 19th century that its breeding habitat was discovered.
The warbler was thought to be extinct by the early 20th century, but a small population was found in the 1930s in the swamps of Louisiana.
This warbler declined rapidly in the latter half of the 20th century, due to habitat loss and degradation.
4. Mysterious Starling (Aplonis mavornata)
The Mysterious Starling (Aplonis mavornata) was a small songbird that was found on the island of Mauke, Cook Islands.
The Mysterious Starling was a dark brown bird with yellow eyes. It had a long, curved beak that it used to eat insects. This bird was also known for its beautiful singing voice.
The Mysterious Starling lived in forests and was also known to visit gardens. The last sighting of this bird was in 1892, and it is thought to have become extinct due to habitat loss and introduced predators.
5. Tasmanian Emu (†Dromaius diemenensis)
The Tasmanian Emu was a large, flightless bird that was native to the island of Tasmania.
The Tasmanian Emu was likely driven to extinction by a combination of factors, including hunting by European settlers and the introduction of predatory animals such as foxes and cats to Tasmania. The loss of the Tasmanian Emu is a tragic example of human-caused extinction, and highlights the need for conservation efforts to protect endangered species.
6. Arabian Ostrich (†Struthio camelus)
The Arabian Ostrich was a subspecies of ostrich that was native to parts of the Arabian Peninsula. They had become extinct by the early twentieth century.
The Arabian Ostrich was slightly smaller than other ostriches, and had a more reddish plumage. The exact reasons for its extinction are not known, but it is thought that hunting and habitat loss played a role. The widespread introduction of firearms and, later, motor vehicles marked the beginning of this subspecies’ extinction.
Today, the Arabian Ostrich is remembered as an important part of the region’s natural history.
7. Great Auk (†Pinguinus impennis)
The Great Auk (Pinguinus impennis), also known as the Garefowl, was a large, flightless bird that was native to the rocky areas of the North Atlantic. The last known individual died in 1844, and the species is now extinct.
The Great Auk was black and white, with a thick layer of down feathers that kept it warm in the cold waters of the North Atlantic. It had a long, pointed beak that it used to catch fish, and its wings were small and useless for flying.
Great Auks lived in large colonies on rocky islands, where they would build their nests out of seaweed and feathers. They laid a single egg per year, which was incubated by both parents for 39 to 44 days before the egg hatched.
8- Pagan Reed-warbler – Acrocephalus yamashinae
The Pagan Reed-warbler (Acrocephalus yamashinae) was a species of bird that was endemic to the Pagan Island in the Northern Mariana Islands. It was sometimes considered a subspecies of the nightingale reed warbler. The last sighting of this bird was in 1963 and it is now presumed extinct. Surveys in the 1970s, 1980s, 2000, and 2010 all found no trace of the species.
The Pagan Reed-warbler was a small songbird with brown upperparts and paler underparts. It had a brown streaked head and a thin bill. The exact size of this bird is unknown but it was similar in size to other reed-warblers.
The Pagan Reed-warbler was found in grassy areas near freshwater wetlands. Its diet consisted of small insects and other invertebrates.
The main threat to the Pagan Reed-warbler was habitat loss due to human activity on the island. The Pagan Island was used for farming and grazing, which resulted in the loss of wetlands and grassy areas. In addition, the introduction of predatory animals such as cats and rats also posed a threat to this bird.
9. Seychelles Parakeet (†Psittacula wardii)
The Seychelles Parakeet (Psittacula wardii) was a species of parrot that was endemic to the Seychelles. It was considered extinct by 1906.
The Seychelles Parakeet was a medium sized parrot, measuring around 41 cm in length. It had a green body with a yellow head, and a red beak. The bird was found on the islands of Mahe, Praslin and Silhouette.
The Seychelles Parakeet was first described by British ornithologist Edward Blyth in 1866. The bird was common at the time, but its population declined rapidly due to habitat loss and hunting. The last specimen was collected in 1881.
The Seychelles Parakeet is thought to have become extinct due to a combination of factors, including habitat loss, hunting and introduced predators. They came under intense persecution by farmers and coconut plantation owners. The bird was also hunted for its plumage, which was used to make hats and other ladies’ accessories.
10. Laysan Rail (†Porzana palmeri)
The Laysan Rail (Porzana palmeri) was a small, flightless bird that was native to the Hawaiian island of Laysan. It became extinct as a result of habitat loss caused by domestic rabbits and, ultimately, World War II.
This bird was first described by scientific explorer Henry Palmer in 1874, who noted its small size and lack of wings. It was one of several extinct Hawaiian rail species, including the Oahu Railway (Porzana sandvicensis) and the Kauaʻi Nukupuʻu (Porzana kauaiae).
11. Passenger Pigeon (†Ectopistes migratorius)
The Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) was a North American bird species that became extinct in the early 20th century. The last known individual of the species, a female named Martha, died in captivity in 1914.
The Passenger Pigeon was once the most abundant bird species in North America, with a population in the billions. However, due to habitat loss and overhunting, the species declined rapidly in the 19th century and became extinct in the wild by 1903.
The Passenger Pigeon was a small bird, similar in size to a mourning dove. The adult birds had grayish-brown plumage with white on their bellies, and a small patch of red on their lower wings. The males also had iridescent feathers on their necks. The bird fed mainly on mast, and also fruits and invertebrates.
The Passenger Pigeon was a highly social bird, living in large flocks that could number in the millions. The birds were known for their distinctive cooing call, which could be heard for miles.
12. Least Vermilion Flycatcher – Pyrocephalus dubius
The Least Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus dubius) was a small bird in the flycatcher family. It was found in North and South America, and was last seen in the wild in 1987. The reason for its extinction is not known for sure, but it is thought to be due to habitat loss and insects that they relied on for food.
The Least Vermilion Flycatcher was a brightly coloured bird, with a red body and black wings. It was one of the smallest flycatchers, measuring just 11 cm in length. The males and females looked alike, but the males were slightly larger than the females.
13. Lyall’s Wren (aka Stephen’s island Wren) († Traversia lyalli)
The Stephen’s island Wren (Traversia lyalli) was a small, sparrow-like bird that prehistorically was endemic to the whole of New Zealand but historically only found in Stephen’s island. The species was first described by English ornithologist Robert Fallow in 1873, and is believed to have become extinct sometime between 1875 and 1885.
The exact cause of the bird’s extinction is unknown, but it is thought to have been due to a combination of factors, including habitat loss, predation by introduced animals, and disease. Its last refuge was Stephen’s Island.
The Stephen’s island Wren was a small bird, with a body length of around 10 cm (4 inches). The bird was brownish-grey in colour, with a lighter underbody. The wings and tail were dark brown, and the bird had a white stripe above its eyes.
The Stephen’s island Wren was found only on Stephen’s Island, which is located off the coast of New Zealand. The island is small, with an area of just 4.6 square km (1.8 square miles). The island is also isolated, being located around 35 km (22 miles) from the nearest mainland.
The bird was first collected by English ornithologist Robert Fallow in 1873, and was described in a paper published in the journal ‘Ibis’ in 1874. The bird was named after the island on which it was found, and was given the scientific name Traversia lyalli.
14. North Island Piopio – Turnagra tanagra
The North Island Piopio was a species of bird that was endemic to the North Island of New Zealand. The last known specimen was collected in the 1870s, and the species was declared extinct in the early 1900s.
The introduction of foreign predatory mammals such as cats and rats to New Zealand’s North Island is primarily responsible for the extinction of the North Island piopio, with habitat loss and predation by mustelids also playing a role beginning in the 1880s.
The North Island Piopio was a small bird, measuring just over 10cm in length. It had a brown body with dark streaks, and a whitish underside. The beak was curved and the legs were short.
The North Island Piopio was a forest bird, and was found in both native and exotic forests. It fed on insects, berries, and nectar.
15. New Zealand Quail (†Coturnix novaezelandiae)
The New Zealand Quail (Coturnix novaezelandiae) was a species of quail that was native to New Zealand.
However, due to widespread exploitation of Maori for food purposes, they had become extinct by 1875.
There is very little information about their appearance or behavior, as they were only observed by Europeans for a brief period of time.
What is known is that they were a small, plump bird with dark brown plumage and a light brown throat.
16. Lord Howe Gerygone – Gerygone insularis
The Lord Howe Gerygone (Gerygone insularis) was a small brown and greyish bird that was endemic to the Lord Howe Island group. It was also known as the “rain-bird” due to its activity after it rained.
There have been no sightings of the species since 1928, and it is thought to be extinct.
The accidental introduction of the black rat, thanks to a shipwreck, is thought to be the main cause of its demise, as the rats preyed on the birds and their eggs. Deforestation also played a role in the extinction of the Lord Howe Gerygone, as it destroyed the bird’s habitat.
17. Labrador Duck (†Camptorhynchus labradorius)
The Labrador duck (Camptorhynchus labradorius) was a North American bird that became extinct sometime after 1878.
The Labrador duck was a small bird, similar in size to a mallard. The male had black and white plumage while the female had grey plumage. The Labrador duck was found in the north eastern United States and Canada, from Newfoundland to Virginia. It nested in hollow trees near water.
The Labrador duck fed on aquatic invertebrates, such as mollusks, crustaceans, and worms.
The exact cause of the Labrador duck’s extinction is unknown, but it is thought to be due to overhunting and a decline in food sources.
18. Oahu Akialoa – Akialoa ellisiana
The Oahu Akialoa was a small Hawaiian honeycreeper in the subfamily Carduelinae of the family Fringillidae (finches), that was endemic to the island of Oahu. The bird is now extinct as a result of forest clearance and introduced disease.
The Oahu Akialoa was an insectivorous long-billed bird that inhabited native dry forest on the windward side of Oahu, at elevations between 1,000 and 2,000 feet (300-600 meters).
It was a dull green species with a bright green rump and tail, a dark olive-gray back, and speckled yellow and green on the head.
It was primarily an insectivore, probing through the bark for arthropods and probing flowers for nectar with its long bill.
19. Laughing Owl (Sceloglaux albifacies)
The Laughing Owl was a small, nocturnal owl that was found in New Zealand. It was the only endemic owl species in New Zealand and was also one of the most distinctive looking owls, with its large eyes, long legs and big head.
The Laughing Owl population was plentiful when the first European settlers arrived, but it was largely depleted by 1914 and became extinct shortly after.
The laughing owl’s plumage was yellowish-brown with dark brown stripes. The scapulars and occasionally the hind neck had white straps.
20. Laysan Honeycreeper – Himatione fraithii
The Laysan Honeycreeper is one of the many extinct birds. It was a small bird that was found on the Hawaiian island of Laysan. The last known specimen was filmed in 1923, and the species is believed to have gone extinct sometime after.
The cause of the Laysan Honeycreeper’s extinction is thought to be due to the introduction of rabbits to Laysan. The rabbits caused great damage to the vegetation on the island, which in turn led to a decline in the populations of insects, seeds, and other plants that the Laysan Honeycreeper depended on for food.
21. Chatham island Penguin (†Eudyptes chathamensis)
The Chatham penguin, also known as The Chatham island penguin and the Chatham crested penguin, was a species of penguin that was native to the Chatham Islands of New Zealand.
It is only known from subfossil bones and went extinct around 450 years ago, when Polynesians arrived in the Chathams.
22. Bishop’s Oo – Moho bishopi
The Bishop’s Oo was only found in the montane forests of the Hawaiian island of Molokai and Mount Olokai. Maui has subfossil bone finds on Mount Olinda, which is about 4,500 feet above sea level.
Henry C. Palmer, a bird collector for Lord Rothschild, discovered it in 1892. It was about 29 centimetres long. The tail had grown to 10 centimetres in length.
The plumage was glossy black in general, with yellow feather tufts on the maxillaries (upper bill), beneath the wings, and on the undertail coverts. Their songs were simple two-note takes that could be heard for miles.
23. Mauritius Blue Pigeon (Alectroenas nitidissimus)
The Mauritius Blue Pigeon is an extinct species of pigeon that was endemic to Mauritius.
It is reported that the Mauritius blue pigeon became extinct due to deforestation and hunting by escaped slaves.
24. Marianne White-eye – Zosterops semiflavus
Marianne white-eye (Zosterops semiflavus), also known as Seychelles chestnut-sided white-eye or Seychelles yellow white-eye, is a small bird in the white-eye family that is now extinct.
They became extinct between 1870 and 1900 due to the habitat destruction through agricultural development.
25. Elephant Bird (†Aepyornis maximus)
The Elephant Bird was a large, flightless bird that lived on the island of Madagascar. It was related to the ostrich and the rhea, and is thought to have weighed up to 730 kg (1,600 lb) and stood 3 m (9.8 ft) tall, which would have made them the largest bird on earth.
They became extinct around 1000 AD, though scientists aren’t entirely sure why.
26. Bonin Grosbeak – Carpodacus ferreorostris
The Bonin Grosbeak was a species of bird that was endemic to the Bonin Islands (also known as the Ogasawara Islands) in Japan. The bird was last seen in 1828 and is believed to have become extinct around 1830.
The Beechey Pacific expedition discovered the Bonin grosbeak in 1827, collecting two specimens on Chichi-jima.
The Bonin Grosbeak was a small finch type bird that ate fruits and buds primarily picked up from the ground or low shrubs. It was rarely seen sitting in trees.
The Bonin Grosbeak is believed to have become extinct due to the introduction of cats and rats to the Bonin Islands. These animals would have preyed on the birds, leading to their decline in numbers. Habitat destruction would have played a massive part in their extinction.
27. Marianne White Eye (†Zosterops semiflavus)
The Marianne White Eye (Zosterops semiflavus) was a small bird that was endemic to the French island of Marianne, in the eastern Caribbean Sea. It is also known as Seychelles chestnut-sided white-eye or Seychelles yellow white-eye.
It was described as a complete species by Edward Newton In 1867 and named Zosterops semiflava. It was later classified as a subspecies of the Mayotte white-eye.
It appears to have gone extinct between 1870 and 1900 as a result of habitat destruction caused by agricultural development.
28. Saint Helena Dove (†Dysmoropelia dekarchiskos)
The Saint Helena Dove was a species of extinct bird that was native to the island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean.
It was thought to have been hunted to extinction shortly after the island’s discovery in 1502.
29. Kangaroo island Emu (†Dromaius baudinianus)
The Kangaroo island Emu (Dromaius baudinianus) was a species of emu that was endemic to Kangaroo Island in Australia. It became extinct around 1827.
It is thought to have succumbed to hunting pressure some years before permanent settlers arrived in 1836.
The Kangaroo island Emu fed mainly on plants, berries, grass and seaweed.
30. Norfolk island Kaka (†Nestor productus)
The Norfolk island Kaka (Nestor productus) was a species of parrot that was native to the Norfolk Island, an Australian territory located in the Pacific Ocean. The bird was last seen in the wild in the early 19th century and probably became extinct around that time.
The Norfolk kākā was first described by the naturalist Johann Reinhold Forster and his son Georg following the discovery of Norfolk Island by James Cook on 10 October 1774.
31. Reunion Shelduck (†Alopochen kervazoi)
The Reunion Shelduck (Alopochen kervazoi) was a species of sheldgoose that was endemic to the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean. The last record of the species appears to be Père Bernardin’s report in 1687. The species most likely went extinct in the 1690s.
The Reunion Shelduck was a large bird, measuring up to 90 cm in length. It had a black head, neck and breast, with the rest of its plumage being white. The wings were particularly striking, with their black tips and white bases.
The Reunion Shelduck was overhunted for food by the island’s settlers.
32. Hawaiʻi ʻōʻō (†Moho nobilis)
The Hawaiʻi ʻōʻō (†Moho nobilis) was a species of extinct bird that was endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. The last known sighting was in 1934 on the slopes of Mauna Loa.
The Hawaiʻi ʻōʻō was a member of the extinct genus Moho, which included four other species that were endemic to the Hawaiian Islands.
33. Hawaiʻi Mamo (†Drepanis pacifica)
The Hawaiʻi Mamo (Drepanis pacifica) was a species of extinct Hawaiian honeycreeper. The last known individual died in 1898 after being shot.
The Hawaiʻi Mamo was a small bird, measuring just 20 cm from beak to tail. The male had a striking yellow body with black wings, while the female was mostly olive-green in color. Both sexes had long, curved beaks that they used to feed on nectar from native Hawaiian flowers.
The Hawaiʻi Mamo was once common across the Hawaiian Islands, but habitat destruction and introduced predators led to a steep decline in numbers. The last known individual was seen on the island of Maui in 1934, and the species was formally declared extinct in 1998.