Many people wonder how many birds are in the world and how many types of birds we know. After all, they are all around us, but their actual numbers might surprise you.
To find out more about bird populations and similar facts, just scroll down.
How Many Birds Are in the World?
(National Geographic, 2021, BirdSpot.UK, 2018)
According to recent estimates, the current bird population ranges between 50 and 430 billion worldwide. Moreover, the number of different bird species is approximately 9,700.
This wide range results from the inability to precisely estimate the billions of birds flying all over the world. Furthermore, it’s tough to track birds’ migration routes, and there is a lack of scientific data in some areas.
In 2018, there were 23.7 billion Chickens in the world.
The most common bird in the world is the domestic Chicken, which is not a surprise considering their versatility and importance to our diet. For example, in 2017, the US produced 106.7 billion eggs.
However, the most abundant wild bird is the Red-billed Quelea, with about 1,5 billion individuals.
Almost one-third of the bird species in the world live in South America.
(Guinness World Records, 2020, Birds of Colombia, 2022)
Scientists have spotted 3,445 species in South America, or almost one-third of the worldwide bird species in 2020. Moreover, some stats show that 50% of all bird species live in the Amazon rainforests and Indonesia.
Furthermore, only one country — Colombia — boasts 1,979 different species of birds, of which 84 are endemic.
There are approximately 650 million Dark-eyed Juncos in the US.
(North American Nature, 2021)
Today, there are around 650 million Dark-eyed Juncos in North America, making them the most common species here. Right after the Dark-eyed Junco is the House Sparrow, with approximately 540 million individuals.
The third place is reserved for our everyday friend, the Mourning Dove, with an estimated 400 million individuals in North America.
The population of birds in the US is further enriched with 320 million American Robins, 230 million Chipping Sparrows, and 200 million European Starlings.
Scientists found three new bird species in South America and Indonesia.
(Sci-news, 2021, Research Gate, 2016)
The Tanagers are the second largest family of birds, with 4% of the avian species. However, in 2000, on the slopes of the Andes in Bolivia and Peru, scientists spotted for the first time the Inti Tanager, a new bird breed.
Not much was known about it until 2011, when a breeding population was discovered. However, it hasn’t been fully described until 2021.
Furthermore, in 2016, ornithologists found two new species of birds from the genus of Cyornis and Zosterops. Sadly, the continuous poaching and environmental alterations are endangering them, too!
In 2019, there were nearly 3 billion fewer birds in the US than in 1970.
(Science.org, 2019, Audubon, 2019, Denver Post, 2019)
According to recent studies, the US bird populations have decreased by 29% since 1970. For illustration, only in the grasslands the US saw more than a 50% decline, or nearly 720 million birds lost.
Today, the bird population in the US counts around 7.2 billion individuals. However, about half a century ago, the population counted 10.1 billion individuals.
One of the reasons for this loss is illnesses, which are not always well understood. For example, songbirds in the US can die from a disease that makes them unable to fly. This, aside from making them sick, also turns them into easy prey.
More than half of North American breeding birds are migratory.
(All About Birds, 2021, WLRN, 2021, The Spruce, 2021)
There are more than 650 different breeding species in North America, and of that number, more than half are migratory. Miami, Florida, is one of the best places for bird observation if you’d like to witness the spectacle of the annual migration of billions of birds.
Of course, North America also has non-migratory species, like the scavenging birds of prey, woodpeckers, owls, tits and chickadees, etc.
The US has 1,162 of the total 9,700 bird species.
(Avibase.bsc, 2022, Rainforests Mongabay, 2019)
In 2019, the US was in the 23rd position regarding the number of species, but only 860 were reported then. On the other hand, Columbia was the number 1 country by bird density, and Peru, Brazil, and Indonesia held the following three places.
As of today, 80 endemic species are roaming the air of the US.
One town in Colombia has 562 different species of birds.
(Nature of Cities, 2021)
We’re talking about the Colombian city of Santiago de Cali, located in the western Andes. Here, one can find 562 bird species, which is even more than the number of bird species living on the whole territory of Europe. As a result, Cali is called “The Bird Capital of the World”!
In a 2014 research, scientists agreed on a median of 112,5 bird species per city. However, as you can see, some can have much more than that. On the other hand, some cities, like Jerusalem, may be home to only 24 species.
Texas is the state with the most bird species in the US.
From the 770 species observed at the time of writing, the state of Texas provides habitat for 477, more than half of them. Eastern-Screech Owl, Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, and Barred Owl have all been spotted in this state.
Following Texas are the states of California, Florida, Arizona, and New Mexico, with 449, 387, 365, and 299 species, respectively.
More than 80% of Alaskan bird species migrate every season.
(National Park Service, 2019)
There are more than 300 bird species in Alaska. The majority of them migrate every year to six continents around the world.
Some of them, like Bar-tailed Godwits and Bristle-thighed Curlews, fly non-stop for 2,500-6,000 miles over the ocean. Some others, like the Pacific Golden-Plover, can cover 3,000-mile migration in just 3 days!
We’ve reached the end of our flight, and we’ve seen between 50 and 430 billion birds worldwide.
Now you know the answer to the question of — how many birds are in the world? We hope that these stats made you love and care for birds even more!