We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Different Types of Bird Species?

Mary Elizabeth
By
Updated Mar 05, 2024
Our promise to you
AllThingsNature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At AllThingsNature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Birds are feathered vertebrates of the class Aves, most of which are capable of flight and have an active metabolism and all of which have beaks, no teeth, and lay eggs. Although birds evolved from a common ancestor, there are around 30 orders of birds, around 180 families, around 2000 genera, and about 10,000 bird species. The most efficient way to type the bird species is by the orders they belong to.

The order Anseriformes, which includes ducks, geese, swans, and their relatives, has 161 bird species. Members of this order are found in every part of the world except the Antarctic. The order Galliformes includes a number of game birds, including guineafowl, pheasants, quails, turkeys, grouse, and partridges. This order has over 250 bird species.

The order Caprimulgiformes consists of birds collectively called nightbirds. These include the oddly named nightjars and frogmouths. The order Apodiformes consists of hummingbirds, with 328 species, and swifts.

The order Balaenicipitiformes has shoebill or whale-headed storks, while Ciconiiformes has other storks and related birds, such as herons, ibises, and spoonbills, and Charadriiformes includes other shorebirds, such as puffins, lapwings, plovers, gulls, terns, sandpipers, and snipe. The order Coliiformes only includes mousebirds, but Columbiformes contains doves, pigeons, and dodos.

Kingfishers, hornbills, bee-eaters, hoopoes are in the order Coraciiformes, while cuckoos and roadrunners and their relatives are members of the order Cuculiformes. The order Falconiformes is characterized as containing diurnal birds of prey, and these include eagles, hawks, kites, vultures, condors, and falcons. There are 233 species of eagles, hawks, and their relatives alone, while in contrast, the order Gaviiformes has five species of loon, and that is all.

The order Galbuliformes has puffbirds and jacamars, and the order Gruiformes consists of coots, cranes, and rails. The order Mesitornithiformes has the mesites, Musophagiformes has the turacos, and Opisthocomiformes has the hoatzin. The order of perching birds, Passeriformes, has 95 families, and includes thrushes, swallows, crows, jays, flycatchers, orioles, birds-of-paradise, fantails, vireos, honeyeaters, lyrebirds, waxwings, mockingbirds, nuthatches, starlings, wrens, cardinals, grosbeaks, sparrows, buntings, finches, tanagers, blackbirds, larks, chickadees, and titmice.

There are six families and 67 bird species in the order Pelecaniformes, including pelicans, anhingas, cormorants, frigates, and boobies. The order Phoenicopteriformes, another small order, has the five species of flamingos. Woodpeckers, honeyguides, and toucans are members of the order Piciformes, and the 22 species of grebes are members of the order Podicipediformes.

Albatrosses and petrels, classified as tub-nosed seabirds are members of the order Procellariiformes, while parrots, cockatoos, parakeets, lorikeets, lories, and their relatives are members of the order Psittaciformes. The seventeen species of penguin are members of the order Sphenisciformes, and the over 200 species of owls belong to the order Strigiformes.

The trogons belong to the order Trogoniformes. The buttonquail belongs to the order Turniciformes, and paleognath birds — such as cassowaries, emus, rheas, ostriches, and kiwis — belong to the order Sturthioniformes. The tinamous belongs to the order Tinamiformes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many different types of bird species are there?

According to the International Ornithologists' Union, there are over 10,000 recognized bird species worldwide. This number is constantly evolving due to new discoveries and taxonomic revisions. Birds are categorized into orders, families, genera, and species, reflecting their evolutionary relationships and diverse adaptations to virtually every habitat on Earth.

What are the major bird groups?

Birds are broadly classified into two groups: Paleognathae, which includes flightless birds like ostriches and emus, and Neognathae, comprising all other birds. Neognathae is further divided into numerous orders, such as Passeriformes (perching birds), Falconiformes (birds of prey), and Anseriformes (waterfowl), each with unique characteristics and ecological roles.

Which bird species are the most common?

The most common bird species vary by region, but the House Sparrow and the European Starling are widespread across many continents due to their adaptability to human-altered environments. The Red-billed Quelea is considered the most numerous wild bird on Earth, with populations in sub-Saharan Africa estimated in the billions.

What distinguishes bird species from one another?

Bird species are distinguished by a combination of physical characteristics, behaviors, vocalizations, and genetics. Differences can include plumage color and pattern, beak shape, size, wing structure, mating rituals, and habitat preferences. These traits are often adapted to specific ecological niches, resulting in the vast diversity of bird species observed today.

How do scientists classify new bird species?

Scientists classify new bird species through meticulous research that includes field observations, morphological comparisons, vocalization analysis, and genetic testing. When sufficient evidence suggests that a population is distinct from other known species, it can be formally described and named according to the rules of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature.

Are bird species at risk of extinction?

Yes, bird species are at risk of extinction, with habitat loss, climate change, pollution, and hunting posing significant threats. The IUCN Red List estimates that approximately 14% of bird species are threatened with extinction. Conservation efforts are crucial to protect these species and maintain the ecological balance they contribute to.

AllThingsNature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary Elizabeth
By Mary Elizabeth
Passionate about reading, writing, and research, Mary Elizabeth is dedicated to correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to writing articles on art, literature, and music for AllThingsNature, Mary works as a teacher, composer, and author who has written books, study guides, and teaching materials. Mary has also created music composition content for Sibelius Software. She earned her B.A. from University of Chicago's writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont.

Discussion Comments

Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth

Passionate about reading, writing, and research, Mary Elizabeth is dedicated to correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to writing articles on art, literature, and music for AllThingsNature, Mary works as a teacher, composer, and author who has written books, study guides, and teaching materials. Mary has also created music composition content for Sibelius Software. She earned her B.A. from University of Chicago's writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont.
AllThingsNature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

AllThingsNature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.