The IUCN-SCC Heron Specialist Group

Conservation Assessments

Several formalized approaches are used globally to assess the status of species and sites for their conservation priority. HeronConservation conducts assessments itself and also partners with other organizations to assist in their evaluations for herons. The conservation products of these assessments are: Heron Red List, Waterbird Population Estimates for Herons, Conservation Status of Heron Populations, and Important Bird Areas for Herons.

Heron Red List

The Heron Red List is the listing of the conservation classification for all the species of the herons of the world. This is a portion of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the global assessment of the conservation status of species. BirdLife International is the listing authority for birds. HeronConservation partners with BirdLife International on its periodic assessments for herons. IUCN assessments are done at the species level, and so reflect status at that scale. As of 2010, one heron was classified as Critically Endangered, five were classified as Endangered, two as Vulnerable, and two as Near Threatened. Please see the full Heron Red List.

Waterbird Population Estimates for Herons

Estimates of the numbers of herons comprising species and populations are essential for conservation planning and implementation. Change in population sizes is an important determinant of its conservation status. The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands uses population sizes of waterbirds as evaluative tools in assessing the international importance of wetlands. BirdLife International also uses population sizes of birds in assessing the importance of areas for birds. On behalf of the Ramsar Convention, Wetlands International conducts periodic assessments of population sizes for waterbirds. HeronConservation partners with Wetlands International in estimating population size for herons. Please see the current Waterbird Population Estimates for Herons.

Conservation Status of Heron Populations

The strategy of HeronConservation is to encourage conservation action at the local level. To assist in these actions, HeronConservation assesses the conservation status of each population of herons. It makes its evaluations at the level of populations of conservation concern, irrespective of taxonomic status. In this way, the HeronConservation process differs in scope and scale from the IUCN process resulting in the Heron Red List, which is at the species level. Please see the current Conservation Status of Heron Populations.

Important Bird Areas for Herons

The identification, protection, and management of specific habitat sites are critical for heron conservation, perhaps the most critical action to be undertaken on their behalf. All sites used by herons are important to the maintenance of local populations. Some, however, are more critical as they support a species listed as threatened or a biologically significant portion of a species or regional population. BirdLife International evaluates sites for their importance and those meeting criteria are called Important Bird Areas. Please see the Important Bird Areas for Herons.