With ranges that can span continents and even hemispheres, habitats that can include city streets or empty tundras, and social groups that can range from two to thousands, this group is one of the most diverse classes of animals. Birds are ecological indicators of a healthy habitat, and they can be among the first species to suffer when climate change, chemical or oil pollution, or infectious diseases take root in an ecosystem. WCS works to conserve birds and their habitats from the fertile plains of Arctic Alaska to the tropical beaches of Indonesia.
The Andean condor, one of the largest birds in the world in the world, is the official symbol of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.
The common loon, an icon of the Northern Forest, is a waterbird that rarely comes to shore. Loons subsist on a diet of fish and other aquatic animals, so water and air pollution pose major threats.
These natives of India and Southeast Asia can grow to six feet tall, with a wingspan of up to eight feet. British Colonial troops named the birds for their stately manner.
During breeding season, Magellanic penguins gather in huge, noisy colonies along the coastlines of South America. Commercial fishing depletes the penguins’ food base, and oil pollution poses another threat.
These birds of prey, named for the white undersides of their large wings, can soar to 9,000 feet and range from Pakistan to Vietnam. Their populations have plummeted 99.9 percent within a decade.