a1 BirdLife International, David Attenborough Building, Pembroke Street, Cambridge CB2 3QZ, UK.
a2 Birdlife International, David Attenborough Building, Pembroke Street, Cambridge CB2 3QZ, UK and Department of Zoology, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ.
a3 BirdLife Europe and Central Asia Regional Office, Avenue de la Toison d'Or 67, 1060 Brussels, Belgium.
a4 BirdLife Middle East Regional Office, Khalda, Salameh El-Ma'aaytah Street, Building No. 6, Amman, Jordan.
a5 BirdLife Africa Partnership Secretariat. P. O. Box 3502 – 00100, Nairobi, Kenya.
a6 Nature Conservation Sector, Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, 30 Misr Helwan El-Zyrae Road, Maadi, Cairo, Egypt.
a7 Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN)/BirdLife Jordan, PO Box 6354, Jubeiha-Abu-Nusseir Circle, 11183 Amman, Jordan.
a8 Syrian Society for Conservation of Wildlife (SSCW)/BirdLife Syria, Mezzeh, Damascus, Syria.
a9 Sociedad Española de Ornitología (SEO)/BirdLife Spain, C/Melquiades Biencinto, 34, 28053 Madrid, Spain.
a10 Palestine Wildlife Society (PWLS)/BirdLife Palestine, PO Box 89, Biet Sahour, Palestinian Authority Territories.
a11 BirdLife Malta, 57/28, Triq Abate Rigord, Ta' Xbiex XBX 1120, Malta.
a12 Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society (GONHS)/BirdLife Gibraltar, PO Box 843, Gibraltar.
a13 Albanian Ornithological Society (AOS), Qendra “Don Bosko”, Rr. “Don Bosko”, Tirana, Albania.
a14 Lega Italiana Protezione Uccelli (LIPU)/BirdLife Italy, Via Udine 3/a, 43100 Parma, Italy.
a15 Groupe de Recherche pour la Protection des Oiseaux au Maroc (GREPOM)/BirdLife Morocco, Résidence Oum Hani4, Im.22, Apt.3 Salé, 11160 Morocco.
a16 Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA)/BirdLife Portugal, Avenida João Crisóstomo, n 18 - 4. Dto. 1000-179 Lisboa, Portugal.
a17 Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux (LPO)/BirdLife France, 8 rue du Docteur Pujos, CS 90263, 17305 Rochefort cedex, France.
a18 University of Tripoli, Zoology Department, Tripoli, Libya.
a19 Association “les Amis des Oiseaux” (AAO)/BirdLife Tunisia, Avenue 18 janvier 1952, Ariana Center, Bureau C 208/209, 2080 Ariana, Tunisia.
a20 DOPPS/BirdLife Slovenia, Tržaška cesta 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.
a21 Macedonian Ecological Society (MES)/BirdLife Macedonia, ul. Vladimir Nazor 10, Skopje 1000, Macedonia.
a22 Hellenic Ornithological Society (HOS)/BirdLife Greece, Themistokleous str. 80, Athens, 10681, Greece.
a23 Naše ptice, 71000 Sarajevo, Bosnia and Hercegovina.
a24 BIOM association/Birdlife Croatia, Biankinijeva 12b, Zagreb, 10000, Croatia.
a25 Laboratoire d’écologie et environnement, Université de A. Mira, Béjaïa, Algeria.
a26 Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI)/BirdLife Israel, Hanegev 2, Tel-Aviv, 66186, Israel.
a27 Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL)/BirdLife Lebanon, Awad Bldg, 6th Floor Abdel Aziz Street, P.O.Box: 11-5665, Beirut, Lebanon.
a28 Bird Protection and Study Society of Serbia (BPSSS)/BirdLife Serbia, Radnička 20,a 21000 Novi Sad, Serbia.
a29 SABUKO Society for Nature Conservation, 5 Akhmed Mealshvili Street, Batumi 6010, Georgia.
a30 Center for Protection and Research of birds of Montenegro (CZIP)/BirdLife Montenegro, Piperska 370A, I ulaz, Podgorica 81000, Montenegro.
a31 Ornithological Society of the Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asia (OSME), c/o The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2DL, UK.
a32 BirdLife Cyprus, P.O. Box 28076, Nicosia 2090, Cyprus.
Illegal killing/taking of birds is a growing concern across the Mediterranean. However, there are few quantitative data on the species and countries involved. We assessed numbers of individual birds of each species killed/taken illegally in each Mediterranean country per year, using a diverse range of data sources and incorporating expert knowledge. We estimated that 11–36 million individuals per year may be killed/taken illegally in the region, many of them on migration. In each of Cyprus, Egypt, Italy, Lebanon and Syria, more than two million birds may be killed/taken on average each year. For species such as Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla, Common Quail Coturnix coturnix, Eurasian Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs, House Sparrow Passer domesticus and Song Thrush Turdus philomelos, more than one million individuals of each species are estimated to be killed/taken illegally on average every year. Several species of global conservation concern are also reported to be killed/taken illegally in substantial numbers: Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata, Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca and Rock Partridge Alectoris graeca. Birds in the Mediterranean are illegally killed/taken primarily for food, sport and for use as cage-birds or decoys. At the 20 worst locations with the highest reported numbers, 7.9 million individuals may be illegally killed/taken per year, representing 34% of the mean estimated annual regional total number of birds illegally killed/taken for all species combined. Our study highlighted the paucity of data on illegal killing/taking of birds. Monitoring schemes which use systematic sampling protocols are needed to generate increasingly robust data on trends in illegal killing/taking over time and help stakeholders prioritise conservation actions to address this international conservation problem. Large numbers of birds are also hunted legally in the region, but specific totals are generally unavailable. Such data, in combination with improved estimates for illegal killing/taking, are needed for robustly assessing the sustainability of exploitation of birds.
(Received July 11 2015)
(Accepted December 14 2015)