We built on an existing framework and developed metrics to provide an overview of the achievements and continuing needs for research, management and threat alleviation for an entire class of animals on a continent. We applied this framework in an assessment for all Australian bird species and subspecies that have been listed as threatened or near threatened at any time within the past 25 years (238 total). For these 238 species we identified 181 threats. Our results showed some remarkable successes in bird conservation, but also that few threatened Australian birds have had all their threats adequately reduced. Without the decades of investment in research, management and policy that they have received, the conservation status of Australian threatened birds would be far worse.