List of 11 Critically Endangered Species of Birds in India

According to the official website of Birds Of India, 182 species of Indian birds are classified as Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, and Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. Trade in these species is outlawed worldwide due to the threat of global extinction they face. In particular, the conservation of birds in India is impacted by the fact that many of these species are indigenous to the Indian Subcontinent.

List of 11 Critically Endangered Birds 

1. Great Indian Bustard

The Great Indian Bustard is a most endangered species of bird found only in India and adjoining regions. Bustard is one of the largest flying species of bird with a weight of up to 15 kg and about 1 m tall from the ground. The largest land bird habitat in the scrub, tall grass, semi-arid grasslands and semi-desert regions of Rajasthan. Due to heavy hunting and habitat loss, the bird is disappearing from many regions of India. It’s the state bird of Rajasthan. There is a wildlife sanctuary called Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary at Solapur, Maharashtra.

2. Red Headed Vulture

The Red-headed Vulture also known as Indian Black Vulture or King Vulture is one of the species of Old World vultures found in the Indian Subcontinent. Due to the use of Diclofenac in veterinary medicine population of this species declined drastically in recent years. Indian Vulture, Slender-billed Vulture and White-rumped Vulture are the few more species of vultures found in India and fall in the category of critically endangered species of birds.


3. Forest Owlet

Forest Owlet is a highly endangered species of the typical owls family and endemic to forests of central India. Small Forest Owlet was considered extinct but later rediscovered and a small number population makes this species critically endangered in India. Melghat Tiger Reserve, Taloda Forest Range and the forest area of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are the best place to find this small jungle owl. Forest Owlet is the state bird of Maharashtra.

Image source:

4. Spoon Billed Sandpiper

Spoon Billed Sandpiper is the world’s most threatened bird species and fall in the category of critically endangered in India too. Extremely small population, habitat loss and loss of breeding grounds takes spoon-billed sandpiper chicks on the verge of extinction. Main grounds in India are Sundervan delta and neighbouring countries.


5. Jerdon’s Courser-

The nocturnal bird, Jerdon’s Courser is the most threatened and enigmatic bird of India, Specially endemic to southern Andhra Pradesh. Jerdon’s Courser is listed as a critically endangered bird.  It was about to be declared as extinct but again appeared but remains critically endangered due to habitat loss. This bird is usually found in the Godavari river valley, Sri Lankamalleshwara Sanctuary and in the Eastern Ghats forest range.


6. Bengal Florican

The Bengal Florican is a rare species of bustard family and native to the Indian Subcontinent only. Bengal Florican is one of the most threatened species and is almost extinct at other places of the world, less than 1,000 only young Bengal Floricans are disturbed in the Indian Subcontinent. It’s the world’s rarest bustard but Poaching and land conversion for agriculture took its habitat and tagged it as endangered species.


7. White Bellied Heron

The Great White-bellied Heron also known as Imperial Heron is a large heron found in the foothills of the Great Himalayas to the eastern Himalayas ranges. The tall dark and grey heron is large species with the longest neck and no black stripes on the neck. The disappearance of wetlands, poaching and habitat destruction are the major concern for the heron.

8. Himalayan Quail

The amazing and beautiful Himalayan quail belongs to the pheasant family and is located only in the western Himalayas of Uttarakhand and north-west region of India. The Himalayan Quail is one of the very critically endangered species of Indian birds. Destruction of habitat put it on the verge of extinction. The building of Quail is medium-sized and flies to the close area only.

9. Sociable Lapwing

The sociable Lapwing is a migratory bird from the open grassland of Kazakhstan and is found only in the northwest region of India. The medium-sized lapwing is very attractive with longish black legs, a dark belly and a short black bill. Habitat destruction is the main reason for this species to be put on the list of endangered birds.

10. Siberian Crane

The stunning Siberian White Cranes are migratory birds and visit India during the winter season. Beautiful  Siberian Cranes are among one of the most endangered species of birds in the world. In the last few years population of the migratory Siberian cranes has decreased slightly and fallen under the threat of extinction.


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11. Yellow-breasted Bunting

The Yellow-breasted Bunting belongs to the Emberizidae family of birds. Illegal trapping and hunting in the wintering areas led to the species demise. In some regions of China and SE Asia, it is sold for human consumption, where it is enjoyed as a delicacy. In grassy meadows near marshes or rivers, there are a few scattered trees and bushes where the Yellow-breasted Bunting breeds. It frequents gardens, agricultural regions, rice fields, reedbeds, and scrub throughout the winter. Depending on the season, it consumes crustaceans, seeds, and other plant components. The nest is usually built somewhat above the ground in the thick foliage and is on the ground in a depression protected by tussock or roots. 

Yellow Breast BruntingSource: e-bird

India is home to numerous endangered bird species, including the Indian vulture, Great Indian bustard, Siberian crane, Jerdon’s courser, and Forest owlet. Habitat loss, poaching, and pollution threaten their survival. Conservation efforts, such as protected areas and awareness campaigns, are crucial to preserve these beautiful and ecologically important birds.

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