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Bird charity calls for climate change action

Growing evidence climate change is devastating some of Scotland's unique species is supported by a major new report, according to a nature ­conservation charity.

RSPB Scotland is calling for greater effort to tackle an issue threatening the country's natural heritage.

Birds such as kittiwakes, dotterels and snow buntings are among the most vulnerable according to the charity, as are Scotland's rare machair grassland habitats.

The call comes on the day the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change publishes its update on the scale of the threat.

RSPB Scotland said coastal habitats and wildlife are suffering from rising sea levels, extreme weather and warming oceans.

It says governments must take urgent action to cut greenhouse gas ­emissions and halt the damage caused to ecosystems. From its own research, the charity says climate change is behind a steep fall in the number of kittiwakes breeding in Scotland.

Bird counts on some RSPB sites around Orkney point to an 87% drop in kittiwakes since 2000.

Research suggests that warmer sea temperatures are affecting the abundance of their main source of food, sand eels, raising fears of extinction.

Fears have also been raised over dotterel, a bird that breeds only on the highest mountain tops.

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