This factsheet takes a look at some of the challenges that animals might have to face in the future.  How does climate change affect them?


Tropical Birds

A new study has found that we could lose a whopping 900 species of tropical birds by the year 2100.  The study has been researching the possible effects of climate change on tropical birds from rainforest, mountain, desert and coastal habitats around the world.  

Manakin © Dario Sanches CC BY-SA 2.0The world's temperature is set to rise as global warming traps the sun's heat in our atmosphere.  At worst, it is predicted that we could experience an average global temperature rise of 3.5 degrees C within 100 years - this doesn't sound like much but it would lead to major disruptions for plants, animals, humans, weather and habitats.  With this kind of rapid change, plants and animals would need to adapt to new conditions quickly or face possible extinction.  

For birds that migrate, finding new suitable habitats is less of a challenge but most tropical bird species aren't migratory and stay in one small area all year around.  If that area changes and becomes too hot or cold, or a food source disappears due to temperature changes, finding a new habitat could prove a real challenge.  There are fears that species living near the sea may suffer from increasing numbers of hurricanes and increasing salt levels in the soil and air that may affect plants, which provide vital supplies of food.  Tropical birds living in mountainous areas may have to fly to higher altitudes - something that might not suit their little bodies.  Others in dry areas such as deserts may suffer from a loss of water.

But what about other groups of animals, not just birds?  When it comes to climate change, birds are thought to be the most resilient of creatures.  For other ground dwelling or canopy living animals there may be even greater obstacles ahead.

Birds such as the scissor-tailed hummingbird in Venezuela, the regal sunbird from Africa and many species of manakins are particularly vulnerable.  This new study hopes to predict the possible effects of climate change on animals and help find solutions to help save them - which may involve people moving animals to new areas.

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