A landmark study has found one in six Australian birds are now threatened. Here are some of the species most likely to be headed to a museum, unless more is done

There seems to be a perversity to human nature, in that we don’t really care about wild creatures until there are so few left that we can put a name to them. Think Martha, the last passenger pigeon, or the haunting images of Benjamin the last thylacine, pacing around its cage at Hobart zoo in 1936.

The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2020 (released this week by CSIRO Publishing) bandies a lot of names of birds you may never have heard of, which are now classified as on the path to extinction – 214 to be exact, around one in six of Australia’s bird species and subspecies. It can all be too much to take in. So here is a guide to six birds of which there are so few left in the wild that we could easily remember them all if they had individual names.

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