Endemic is one of those confusing words, with two very distinct meanings depending on how it is being used. Often used on television to mean “widespread” or “common”, as in “corruption is endemic”, in the birding world endemic means something quite different. To a birder, or indeed to any naturalist, endemic refers to a species that is found in one location and no other. As there is no accepted upper limit for the size of such a location, we could say that all birds are endemic to the Earth, but usually the term is used in reference to smaller geographical areas, such as deserts or countries. There are two distinct forms of endemism; firstly we have what are called ‘neoendemic’ birds, which are those that have evolved in one place and have never been found anywhere else, such as the famous Galapagos finches. Then there are ‘paleoendemic’ birds that were formerly widespread and have for various reasons dwindled until only one population remains, a situation that unfortunately looks like becoming more common. The number of endemic species in an area does not seem to be related to the size of that area either; whereas Sri Lanka has nearly 30 birds endemic to the island, Britain’s only endemic bird is the Scottish Crossbill, once thought to be a subspecies of Crossbill, but granted species status in the late 20th Century.