London, May 20 : The latest assessment of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has determined that one in eight bird species are facing the threat of extinction because of climate change.
According to a report in New Scientist, the organization released an update of its Red List of endangered birds, which names 1226 species as threatened.
Of these, 26 have become more threatened since last year. The conservation status of just two of the species has improved.
Changes in the bird population are linked to extreme weather events - in particular, death rates are highest during the very dry La Nina years, which are becoming more frequent.
Elsewhere, plans to tackle climate change are actually causing the bird populations to decline.
In Papua New Guinea, increased cultivation of the palm oil - a source of biofuel - has accelerated deforestation. This, in turn, poses a new threat to bird species including the New Britain Goshawk.
As an example of how climate change is making the situation worse for birds, the IUCN cites the Australian Mallee Emuwren. This tiny wren is just 15 centimetres long and males of the species have a bright blue face and throat.
Severe droughts in southern Australia have combined with forest fires to ravage the areas where the bird lives. The largest population now numbers just 100 and is constrained to a 100 square kilometre plot of land.
The IUCN warns that a single forest fire could have dramatic consequences, and has listed the species as "endangered".
Also, eight bird species have been upgraded to "critically endangered", among them the Floreana Mockingbird of the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador.
These birds live on two small islands, Champion and Gardner-by-Floreana, with a total population of fewer than 60.
According to Stuart Butchart of BirdLife International, "Species are being hit by the double whammy of habitat loss and climate change."
"As populations become fragmented, the effect of climate change can have an even greater impact, leading to an increased risk of local extinctions," he added.