The most critically endangered species on our list of the ten most critically endangered animals is the ivory-billed woodpecker, which lives—or lived—in the Southeastern part of the US as well as Cuba. This huge woodpecker was considered extinct until 2004, when a handful of tantalizing reports of sightings in Arkansas and Florida began to trickle in. However, definitive proof for the ivory-bill’s continued existence has remained elusive, and if a population does exist, it is likely to be tiny and extremely vulnerable. The ivory-billed woodpecker owes its near- or complete extinction to habitat loss (logging) as well as over-exploitation by humans, who hunted it for its feathers.
The Kakapo parrot of New Zealand is a unique creature in several ways. Not only is it the world’s heaviest parrot, weighing up to 9 pounds (4 kilograms) but it is the world’s only only flightless parrot, as well as the only nocturnal one. The bird was once common on both of New Zealand’s main islands. However, by the early 1970′s it was thought to have been driven into extinction by such prolific human-introduced invasive predators as rats and cats, which killed the helpless young birds in their nests on the ground. Tiny populations were later found on a couple of smaller, more remote islands. Despite an intensive program of breeding and protection by the New Zealanders, currently there are fewer than 150 kakapos left in the wild—so few that almost all of them have names given to them by conservationists.
The brown kiwi is a stocky nocturnal bird that is native to New Zealand. A flightless bird, the brown kiwi feeds by walking slowly through the forest poking its long, slender bill — which is highly sensitive to touch — into the ground in search of worms, insects and larvae. It was once found throughout New Zealand, but is now restricted to fragmented forests and seriously threatened by non-native predators...