European wild bird indicators, 2009 update

This report presents the fifth update of the European wild bird indicators produced by the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme (PECBMS). The indicators cover the period until the year 2007 and are computed for Europe and its regions (West, North, Central & East and South Europe), and EU, New and Old EU states for common farmland, common forest, and all common birds. Both single European and BioGeo regional species habitat classification are used to assess if each bird species belongs to farmland, forest or other habitat. The report also briefly describes methods used for computation of indices and indicators and sources of data.

The individual species indices that are used for computation of European indicators were produced for 136 European common birds. These indices were published in November 2009 on the EBCC website and can be found in the special report. For computation of regional indicators for West, North, Central & East, and South Europe or for EU, New and Old EU states, the regional and EU individual species indices are used, respectively.


Computation of individual species indices
Firstly, individual national species indices are produced. These are based on count data from annually operated national breeding bird schemes spanning different time periods. Currently, 22 European countries of those that are involved in the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme network provided their national indices in 2009. The countries are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom. These individual national species indices are computed using a software package named TRIM which allows for missing counts in the time series and yields unbiased yearly indices and standard errors using Poisson regression (Pannekoek & van Strien 2001).
The next step is the hierarchical combination of individual national indices into individual supranational species indices (regional, European or EU indices). This combination is also computed in the TRIM and in doing so, the national indices are weighted by estimates of national species population sizes (derived from Birds in Europe 2 (BirdLife International 2004)). Weighting is used because different countries hold different proportions of each species´ European population. Although national schemes differ in field methods, these differences do not influence the supranational results because the indices are standardised before being combined. More detailed information on computation methods and data quality control is summarized in the special report.
The computation methods are also described in the papers by Van Strien et al. (2001) and Gregory et al. (2005).

Computation of indicators
Indicators (multi-species indices) are a geometric mean of the set of individual (either European, EU or regional) species indices. By using the geometric mean, the species are weighted equally in the indicators. In case, the species indices are provided for a time period of a different lenght, the method of chain index (e.g. Ter Braak et al. (1994)) is used in the indicator computation.

Species habitat classification
Species habitat classification for main habitat types (farmland, forest and other) has been developed using improved procedure accepted at the PEBCMS workshop in Prague in 2005. This procedure is based on species classification within four main biogeographical regions (Atlantic, Boreal, Continental and Mediterranean). For details on species classification see. For assessing if each bird species belongs to farmland, forest or other habitat type, we use either species habitat classification on a regional level (BioGeo regional species habitat classification) or we linked together these regional species habitat characteristics to set up a single European species habitat classification.

In the tables below, you can find the set of main European, EU and regional indicators produced in 2009.
For the complete information on an indicator (graph, list of species and list of countries), click on an indicator name in the ´Indicator´ column.
For the list of species only, click on a number in the ´No. of species´ column.
For the list of countries only, click on a name of region in the ´Region´ column.
For drawing and comparing graphs for several indicators at once, tick a check box at left side of an indicator name and click on a button ´Show graphs for selected indicators´ below the table to confirm and proceed your selection. You can also draw graphs for all indicators at once (´Select all´) or quickly deselect your choice (´Reset´).

In 2012, we modified the presentation of indicator´s graph which influenced the older articles on the indicators. In this article, at each graph of the indicator, List of species and their trends (above the graph) shows only the simple list of species, and the information on the trend clasification and base year is not available. Similarly, the numbers of species in each indicator (below the graph) is missing. Both information is available only in the newest version of the indicators.

For comparison, the previous version of indicators produced in 2008 can be found here

Note: We recommend cautious interpretation of year by year changes in the indicators values and readers should also pay attention to lists of species and countries. For any use of the results presented in this report, we strongly recommend to consult PECBMS coordination unit (EuroMonitoring (at)

Common bird indicators, Europe, single European species habitat classification

IndicatorRegionTime periodNo. of
All common birdsEurope1980-2007136-8
Common farmland birdsEurope1980-200736-48
Common forest birdsEurope1980-200729-2

Common bird indicators, EU, single European species habitat classification

IndicatorRegionTime periodNo. of
All common birdsEU1980-2007136-8
Common farmland birdsEU1980-200736-48
Common forest birdsEU1980-200729-2
Common farmland birdsNew EU1982-200725-38
Common farmland birdsOld EU1980-200734-47

Regional common bird indicators, single European species habitat classification

IndicatorRegionTime periodNo. of
Common farmland birdsCentral & East Europe1982-200723-47
Common forest birdsCentral & East Europe1982-200726-10
Common farmland birdsNorth Europe1980-200714-43
Common forest birdsNorth Europe1980-200724-23
Common farmland birdsSouth Europe1989-200733-23
Common forest birdsSouth Europe1989-200722-23
Common farmland birdsWest Europe1980-200722-47
Common forest birdsWest Europe1980-2007265

Regional common bird indicators, BioGeo regional species habitat classification

IndicatorRegionTime periodNo. of
Common farmland birdsCentral & East Europe1982-200721-40
Common forest birdsCentral & East Europe1982-200733-1
Common farmland birdsNorth Europe1980-200714-36
Common forest birdsNorth Europe1980-200716-19
Common farmland birdsSouth Europe1989-200742-8
Common forest birdsSouth Europe1989-200730-12
Common farmland birdsWest Europe1980-200725-32
Common forest birdsWest Europe1980-2007297

a) Trend - change (in %) in an index value between the first and last year of a time period

The success of the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme owes much to the co-operation, goodwill and expertise of the PECBMS network.

Above all, very special thanks to the many thousands of skilled volunteer counters responsible for data collection.

Many thanks go to the individuals and organisations responsible for national data collation from volunteers and further data analysis: Norbert Teufelbauer, Christian Vansteenwegen, Anne Weiserbs, Jean-Paul Jacob, Anny Anselin, Thierry Kinet, Anotoine Derouaux, Svetoslav Spasov, Zdeněk Vermouzek, Josef Chytil, Jiří Reif, Henning Heldbjerg, Michael Grell, Anne Eskildsen, Andres Kuresoo, Jaanus Elts, Risto A. Väisänen, Fréderic Jiguet, Johannes Schwarz, Martin Flade, Tibor Szep, Olivia Crowe, Dick Coombes, Lorenzo Fornasari, Elisabetta de Carli, Ainars Aunins, Ruud P.B. Foppen, Magne Husby, Przemek Chylarecki, Barbara Archita, Ricardo Martins, Ana Meirinho, Geoff Hilton, Jozef Ridzoň, Katarína Slabeyová, Juan Carlos del Moral, Virginia Escandell, Åke Lindström, Sören Svensson, Hans Schmid, David G. Noble, Kate Risely, Andrew Joys. The national data providers helped not only with data provision but also with many valuable comments.

Arco van Strien and Adriaan Gmelig Meyling contributed with final data analysis and computation procedure. Tomáą Telenský helped very much with this web presentation.

We also thank to Richard Gregory, Ian Burfield, Lukáą Viktora, Norbert Schaffer, David W. Gibbons, Jose Tavares, Sergi Herrando, Dominique Richard and Anne Teller for valuable comments and help with data collation, analysis and for general support.

Other information
The PECBMS project is a joint initiative of the European Bird Census Council (EBCC) and BirdLife International.

Since its beginning in 2001, the PECBMS project has been supported by the Royal Society for Protection of Birds (RSPB, the BirdLife International Partner in the UK). Since January 2006 the project has been funded by the European Commission as well.
Sole responsibility lies with the authors and the European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained in this document.

Other significant partners of the project are: Statistics Netherlands, Czech Society for Ornithology (CSO, BirdLife International Partner in the Czech Republic), British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), Dutch Organisation for Field Ornithology (SOVON), and others.

BirdLife International. 2004. Birds in Europe: Population Estimates, Trends and
Conservation Status
. BirdLife Conservation Series no. 12. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife
Gregory, R.D., van Strien, A., Vorisek, P., Meyling, A.W.G., Noble, D.G., Foppen, R.P.B., Gibbons, D.W. 2005. Developing indicators for European birds. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B. 360: 269-288.
Pannekoek, J. & van Strien, A.J. 2001. TRIM 3 Manual. Trends and Indices for Monitoring Data. Research paper no. 0102. CBS Voorburg, The Netherlands: Statistics Netherlands (available at
Ter Braak, C.J.F., Van Strien, A.J., Meijer, R. & Verstrael, T.J. 1994. Analysis of monitoring data with many missing values: which method? In: E.J.M. Hagemeijer & T.J. Verstrael (eds.), 1994. Bird Numbers 1992. Distribution, monitoring and ecological aspects. Proceedings of the 12th International Conference of IBCC and EOAC, Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands. Statistics Netherlands, Voorburg/Heerlen & SOVON, Beek-Ubbergen, pp. 663-673.
Van Strien, A.J., Pannekoek, J. & Gibbons, D.W. 2001. Indexing European bird population trends using results of national monitoring schemes: a trial of a new method. Bird Study 48: 200-213.

Petr Voříąek and Jana ©korpilová

1 February 2010

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