The latest State of the UK’s Birds report highlights declines in many of our breeding and wintering waterbirds.
Of the 46 native wintering waterbird populations listed in the latest State of the UK’s Birds, 26 have undergone a short-term decline whilst 16 have been decreasing since the mid-1980s. Amongst these are Pochard, Goldeneye and Tufted Duck, numbers of which have dropped sharply in parts of western Europe, including the UK, the Republic of Ireland and the Netherlands. Large increases in some species, such as Goldeneye and Tufted Duck, have been recorded in the Baltic Sea, indicating a shift in their wintering distribution. However, for Pochard the evidence is less clear and it seems the decline recorded in the UK may be an indication of wider problems facing this species.
The 2013 report also highlighted significant changes in the breeding ranges of a number of wader species over the last 20 years; Snipe, Curlew and Lapwing have disappeared from many lowland areas, particularly in southern Britain, mainly due to habitat loss though drainage of wetlands and wet grassland, and increased agricultural pressures.
The full report can be downloaded here.