Review of illegal killing and taking of birds in the Mediterranean


In 2015 BirdLife International led a project aiming to review scope and scale of illegal killing and taking of birds in the Mediterranean region. As part of this work, information on the species affected and the number of individuals illegally killed/taken each year, the worst locations and the illegal practices used were compiled for 27 Mediterranean countries of the Middle East, North Africa and Europe, using a diverse range of data sources and incorporating expert knowledge .

The datasets for each country were then made available online for peer-review (previously on this page) and these revised datasets were used in our analysis.

We estimated that 11-36 million individual birds per year may be killed illegally in the Mediterranean region. At the 20 worst locations, 7.9 million individuals may be illegally killed per year, representing 34% of the mean estimated annual regional total number of birds illegally killed/taken for all species combined. For species such as Blackcap, Common Quail, Eurasian Chaffinch, House Sparrow and Song Thrush, more than one million individuals of each species are estimated to be killed/taken illegally on average in the region every year.

The results of the study were published in Bird Conservation International and a layman’s report of the assessment “The Killing” was published and launched at the August 2015 British Birdwatching Fair and across the Mediterranean region.

For more information about this project, please see Birdlife Stop Illegal Bird Killing website or contact



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