This paper describes a survey of the birds in Moldova Region (Romania) in the present day. Its focus is on ecological information and distribution, as well as on rare and endangered species. As well as providing information for ecologists, the survey will contribute to future archaeozoological work in the Moldova Region, where the bird fauna of the past is still not well known. During 2008–2012, we set up a monitoring programme that aimed to estimate the diversity of bird species. To build a complete database for Moldavian bird species, it was necessary to make observations in the different habitat types: wetlands, anthropogenic areas, pastures, orchards and forest ecosystems. As a result of this programme, compared with 1837, when Cihac reported over 200 species of birds, now there are now an estimated 284 species. The increased number of species recorded in the Moldova Region is due to the enrichment of ornithological information on the one hand and on the other hand to the higher number of ornithologists who are doing research in the field. Some species have expanded their distribution further north (e.g. long-legged buzzard), but the unequivocal climate change, the drastic changes of habitat and changed agricultural policies have all led to the extinction of species such as the great bustard, little bustard, vultures and others. The main factors that affect the bird populations at a local level in this region are the changes in the agricultural and forestry policies, the changes in weather-related parameters that have a deep impact on habitats but also the lack of ecological education of the population. Unlike in other similar regions, in Moldova, human impact has had a very low influence on the distribution of bird species, but we cannot say the same for bird numbers that have declined in recent years. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.