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Genetic distinctness to guide global bird conservation

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The giant ibis stands tall at the top of the list
Scientists list the world's most distinctive and endangered birds.
Scientists in the UK and US chose the birds based on their rarity, but also how distinctive their appearance, behaviour and evolutionary history was.
The list of birds contains several of the world's largest and most striking, as well as other unusual species threatened with extinction.
Included are the tooth-billed pigeon, known as the little dodo, the Philippine's eagle and a type of kiwi.
Scientists at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), UK and Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, US created the list as part of the EDGE of Existence programme, which seeks to document the most uniquely vulnerable species on the planet.
Details of the exercise are published in the journal Current Biology.

View the full article on BBC Nature
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The South American oilbird is the planet's top-ranked most evolutionarily distinct bird species. Photo taken by Walter Jetz in Humboldt's Cave, Venezuela. Credit: Walter Jetz
A Yale-led research team has developed a new approach to species conservation that prioritizes genetic and geographic rarity and applied it to all 9,993 known bird species.


"To date, conservation has emphasized the number of species, treating all species as equal," said Walter Jetz, the Yale evolutionary biologist who is lead author of a paper published April 10 in Current Biology. "But not all species are equal in their genetic or geographic rarity. We provide a framework for how such species information could be used for prioritizing conservation."

Read the full article on PhysOrg

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The world's first ranking of evolutionary distinct birds under threat of extinction has been published by a team of international scientists. These birds include a cave-dwelling bird that is so oily it can be used as a lamp and a bird that has claws on its wings and a stomach like a cow. The new rankings will be used in a major conservation initiative called the Edge of Existence program at the London Zoo. The zoo has already identified several species like the huge monkey-eating Philippine eagle that are at once distinct, endangered, and suffer from lack of attention.uxlfyniN2HQ


Read the full article on ScienceDaily

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