European Red List


The European Red List (ERL) is a review of the status of European species according to IUCN Regional Red Listing guidelines. It identifies those species that are threatened with extinction at the European level (pan-Europe and the European Union), so that appropriate conservation action can be taken to improve their status.

The European Red List initiative started in 2006 and is funded by the European Commission. It is compiled by IUCN’s Global Species Programme and the IUCN European Union Representative Office, with the help of hundreds of dedicated experts from the IUCN Species Survival Commission and partners.

To date, 9,735 European taxa have been assessed;

  • Vertebrates: mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds (coordinated by BirdLife International) and fishes (freshwater and marine).
  • Invertebrates: butterflies, dragonflies, freshwater molluscs, bees and selected species of saproxylic beetles and terrestrial molluscs.
  • Selected plants: aquatic plants, priority crop wild relatives, medicinal plants and plants listed under policy instruments (such as the Habitats Directive, Bern Convention, CITES and the EU Wildlife Trade Regulation).

Of the taxa assessed to date, 45% (4,382) are endemic to Europe and do not occur anywhere else in the world. At least 1,677 of the taxa assessed to date are threatened with extinction, four species are no longer found in the wild, and 36 species have already gone extinct in Europe (although seven of those still exist outside continental Europe). Among the extinct species are many freshwater fishes such as the Bezoule Coregonus bezola, the freshwater mollusc Graecoanatolica macedonica, unique to Lake Dojran in Macedonia, and the plant Pensée de Cry Viola cryana. 2,250 taxa are considered Data Deficient as a result of there being insufficient information available to determine their extinction risk and more research is needed for these taxa. This is particularly the case for bees, marine mammals, saproxylic beetles, marine fishes, crop wild relatives and some other plant species, and freshwater molluscs.

Individual species assessments can be searched and consulted on this website through the search function above (Under the "European Initiative search").

The European Commission is furthermore funding the assessment of the remaining saproxylic beetles and terrestrial molluscs, as well as all native grasshoppers (Orthoptera), mosses (Bryophytes) and ferns (Pteridophytes), and a further selection of vascular plants (all native trees and selected woody shrubs). These additional assessments will be completed by 2018. Results and analysis, such as number of threatened species, species richness maps or major threats, as well as background information, are displayed on the European Red List website of the European Commission.

An overview factsheet of all the groups assessed by June 2015 can be found here. This factsheet includes an updated way of calculating the percentage of threat within a taxonomic group and makes the European Red List results comparable to the global Red List.


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