The RSPB today called for urgent action to cut greenhouse gas emissions to avoid a 'calamitous' impact on birds.

A new report published today by the conservation charity shows that if climate change is not slowed down, the potential distribution of average bird species by the end of this century will shift nearly 342 miles (550km) to the north-east – equivalent to the distance from Plymouth to Newcastle.

The report, A Climatic Atlas of European Breeding Birds, maps potential change in distribution of all the continent's regularly occurring nesting birds against a temperature rise of 3C. It shows that the average European bird's distribution will be reduced in size by 20%, and its future range will overlap its current by only 40%.

Three-quarters of all Europe's nesting birds are likely to suffer declines in range, according to the report, published as a partnership between the RSPB, Durham and Cambridge universities, Lynx, BirdLife International and the European Bird Census council. Some species, including the black-throated diver, snow bunting, capercaillie and dotterel, could be left with few areas of suitable climate in the UK.


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