Wind energy development contributes substantially to achieve climate protection goals. Unintended side effects, especially on wildlife, have long been discussed and substantial research has evolved over the last decade. At this stage, it is important to identify what we have learnt so far, as well as which predominant uncertainties and gaps remain. This review article aims to consolidate the state of knowledge, providing a qualitative analysis of the main effects of wind energy development on- and offshore, focusing on frequently studied species groups (bats, breeding and resting birds, raptors, migratory birds, marine mammals). We reviewed over 220 publications from which we identified predominant hypotheses that were summarized and displayed in tables. Journal publications, conference contributions, and further studies have been considered. We found that research focusing on offshore wind energy within the last couple of years has increased significantly as well, catching up with the vast amount of onshore studies. Some hypotheses have been verified by numerous publications and a consensus has been reached (e.g., correlation between bat activity and weather factors), while others are still being debated more (e.g., determination of migratory corridors) or remain unknown (e.g., effect on population level). Factors influencing potential effects were mainly related to species characteristics (morphology, phenology, abundance, behavior, and response to turbines) or site characteristics (landscape features, weather, and habitat quality). Consolidating the state of research provides the groundwork for the identification of mitigation measures and advanced planning approaches. However, the quantification of effects remains challenging and uncertainties will always persist.