In Brazil, 64 recovery plans are currently focused on single or multiple species. We aimed to evaluate whether there is a difference in effectiveness and efficiency in the implementation of the two types of animal protection plans. We selected 16 plans, eight of each type. In addition, we analysed which of the 12 operational attributes of elaboration and execution contributed to the effectiveness (percentage of completed actions and threat reduction assessment) and efficiency (cost per action completed and cost per threat reduction) of the Brazilian action plans. Some metrics were obtained using questionnaires, while others were from the monitoring data sheets. Mann–Whitney tests and selected generalized additive models indicated that the single-species plans completed a higher percentage of actions, but there were no differences in threat reduction or efficiency metrics between the two action plans. In general, the percentage of completed actions was positively influenced by the coordination centre, time of participation of articulators, number of monitoring meetings, number of articulators, articulators’ exchange rate and rate of exclusion of actions. The results of this plan performance assessment could help participants make adjustments and assist in the design of future plans.