Birds: Different Types, Definition, Photos, and More

Birds, members of the class Aves, include more than 10,400 living species. Their feathers distinguish them from all other classes of animal; no other animals on earth have them. If you see an animal with feathers, it’s undoubtedly a bird. Like mammals, birds are warm-blooded vertebrates with four-chambered hearts. However, they are more closely related to reptiles and are believed to have evolved from dinosaurs. Their forelimbs have been modified into wings over many millions of years of evolution, they lay hard-shelled eggs and they have exceptional vision – the most acute of their senses. Most birds are diurnal, meaning they sleep at night. Most can fly, but flightless species exist.

Five Top Bird Characteristics

Certain identifying characteristics distinguish birds from other classes of animals. Five especially important distinguishing characteristics of birds include:

Feathers

All birds have feathers, which are actually highly evolved scales. In fact, birds have scales on their feet – the clearest reminder of their close relation to reptiles. As noted above, feathers are not found on any other class of animal. Like nails and hair on humans, feathers are made out of keratin. They serve a number of purposes, from providing warmth to assisting in the ability to fly. Most birds shed, or molt, their feathers one or two times per year. Contour feathers help birds to fly effectively and create a streamlined body shape. Soft, fluffy feathers provide warmth. Flight feathers, found on the wings and tail, provide loft. Male birds also often use their feathers to attract mates.

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Wings

Wings are a primary characteristic of birds, but they are found on other types of animals too. For example, bats are flying mammals with wings, and many types of insects have wings. Strong muscles in the chest help to propel wings, allowing for flight. Bird bodies are curved specifically to give lift to the wings. Different wing shapes provide different advantages, depending on species. For example, wings that have sharp, narrow tips allow for greater speed. Wings that are longer than they are wide make it easier for birds to soar for extended periods of time. Elliptical, evenly shaped wings, which are most notably found on songbirds, allow for small, quick movement. Birds that are capable of swimming, like penguins and puffins, have wings that are shaped like flippers.

Beaks

All bird species have beaks, or bills – bony concentrations that are surrounded by layers of keratin. The shape of a bird’s beak provides strong clues about its dietary habits. Although some birds have tumia, sharp ridges along the edges of their beaks, none possess true teeth. Therefore, the beak plays a crucial role in feeding. Birds that primarily subsist off of seeds, for example, tend to have strong, cone-shaped beaks. Ducks, geese and other types of waterfowl have broad, flat beaks that are designed to help them strain food from water. Meat-eating birds like owls and hawks have sharp, hooked beaks that they use to grind, tear and rip their prey to shreds.

Eggs

Egg laying is another characteristic that is common to all birds, or members of the Aves class. However, it is not unique to this class of animals, as reptiles, fish, amphibians and insects also all lay eggs. Birds’ eggs have hard shells that are mostly made out of calcium; a layer of hardened mucus helps to keep them intact. Within an egg, the embryo gets its nutrition from the yolk and the egg white, which is known as albumin. The vast majority of bird species build nests for their eggs and proceed to care for the hatchlings until they are capable of fending for themselves. In most species, both males and females play important roles in caring for the young.

Nearly all birds incubate their eggs. Exceptions include megapodes, or mound builders, which rely on external heat sources like decaying vegetation, and brood parasites. The latter, including cuckoos and cowbirds, prefer to lay their eggs in other birds’ nests. Some birds, like murres and certain penguin species, don’t use nests at all, choosing instead to rest eggs on the tops of their feet during incubation. Incubation periods range from 11 to 80 days depending on species.

A set of eggs that is laid at one time is called a clutch. Anywhere from one to 20 eggs or so may be found in a single clutch. Some birds engage in determinate laying, meaning that they lay the same number of eggs per clutch every time. Most birds engage in indeterminate laying, meaning that the number per clutch varies.

Skeleton

Flightless species of birds have heavy bones that are filled with marrow. Birds that are capable of flight – in other words, most birds – have lightweight skeletons made up of hollow bones. Their skeletons have many fused bones, including collarbones, which help them to brace their wings effectively during flight. Birds have large breastbones, or sternums, that provide sturdy points of attachment for muscles of the wings.

Notable Types of Birds

Today, there are more than 10,400 extant bird species in the world. Across North America and South America, there are more than 4,400 species of the Aves class. Approximately 2,700 different species are found in Asia, and another 2,300 or so are found in Africa. More than 500 species are found in Europe west of the Ural Mountains, and more than 700 species are found in Russia. Costa Rica has one of the highest concentrations of bird species – roughly 800.

Some of the most notable types of birds include:

  • Birds of Prey – This group is made up of more than 300 species of birds, including eagles, hawks, ospreys, falcons and vultures.
  • Cranes – This group, which includes coots and rails, boasts more than 200 species.
  • Game Birds – Perhaps the best-known type of bird, game birds include chickens, turkeys, quails and megapodes. There are approximately 250 species of game birds in the world.
  • Herons and Storks – More than 100 species are found in this group, which includes egrets, spoonbills and ibises.
  • Hummingbirds and Swifts – The smallest category of birds, this group includes more than 400 different species.
  • Ostriches – The ostrich, the most famous flightless bird, is also the only species in its genus. It also holds the distinction of being among the largest birds.
  • Owls – Another important type of bird is the owl. There are more than 200 species of owls across the world.
  • Parrots and Cockatoos – This colorful group, which includes macaws, cockatiels and budgerigars, consists of more than 350 species. They are popularly kept as pets.
  • Penguins – There are roughly 20 species of this flightless bird in the world.
  • Perching Birds – Also known as passerines, this group includes more than 5,000 species, making it the largest and most diverse. Common types of perching birds include crows, swallows, jays, finches, sparrows, wrens, starlings and larks.
  • Pigeons and Doves – This group includes more than 300 bird species. Pigeons are famous for ferrying messages for humans, and have been used in such a way since Roman times. They were also used during World War I and II and the Korean War.
  • Shorebirds – More than 350 species are found in this group, including sandpipers, terns, oystercatchers and gulls.
  • Waterfowl – Ducks, geese, swans and many other birds belong to this group, which includes more than 150 species.
  • Woodpeckers and Toucans – Known for their distinctive beaks, this group is made up of more than 400 species.

Evolution of Birds

The evolution of birds has been a topic of much debate for many centuries. Today, the most commonly accepted theory, the theropod ancestor hypothesis, posits that birds evolved from theropod dinosaurs during the Jurassic period, which happened between 165 million and 150 million years ago. Theropod dinosaurs were two-legged dinosaurs, and the T. Rex is included among their ranks.

The earliest known bird on the fossil record, archaeopteryx, was a hybrid between a bird and a dinosaur. It had feathered wings like a bird but also had sharp teeth and a long, bony tail like a dinosaur. This and other types of early birds diversified rapidly throughout the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. They quickly became capable fliers and exhibited extremely rapid growth rapids. However, their populations were decimated by the major extinction event that eliminated dinosaurs entirely. After that point, modern birds diversified at an explosive rate, and there are now more than 10,000 different species all across the world.

Types of Birds

A Adelie Penguin
Adelie Penguin

Eats up to 2kg of food per day!

A African Fish Eagle
African Fish Eagle

African fish eagles belong to the genus of sea eagles

A African Grey Parrot
African Grey Parrot

When a grey parrot named Yosuke got lost, it was reunited with its owner after giving the owner's name and address.

A African Jacana
African Jacana

The males raise the young

A African Penguin
African Penguin

The only penguin species in Africa!

A Albatross
Albatross

The largest wingspan of any bird in the world!

A Amazon Parrot
Amazon Parrot

These parrots can be trained to be "talking birds" that mimic human speech

A American Robin
American Robin

The color “Robin egg blue” is named after the hue of their eggs.

A Avocet
Avocet

Has a curved, upturned beak!

A Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

Bald eagles have 20/5 vision, which is much sharper than a human's

A Barn Owl
Barn Owl

Found everywhere around the world!

A Barn Swallow
Barn Swallow

Older offspring help care for new hatchlings.

A Barred Owl
Barred Owl

Like other owls, the barred owl swallows its prey whole.

A Baya
Baya

The baya constructs a massive nest out of plant fibers

A Bearded Vulture
Bearded Vulture

These birds eat a diet of bones

A Bird
Bird

Not all birds are able to fly!

A Bird Of Paradise
Bird Of Paradise

There are around 50 different species!

A Black-Capped Chickadee
Black-Capped Chickadee

Black-capped chickadees weigh less than half an ounce!

A Blackpoll Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler

They migrate for the longest distance of any warbler.

A Blue Gray Gnatcatcher
Blue Gray Gnatcatcher

Joy and happiness are the spiritual meaning of this bird.

A Blue grosbeak
Blue grosbeak

Blue grosbeak parents take off the head, legs and wings of an insect before feeding it to their baby.

A Blue Jay
Blue Jay

Blue jays rub ants on their feather to remove harmful acids

A Blue Tit
Blue Tit

The blue tit can hang upside down from branches

A Bobolink
Bobolink

In spring, the male bobolink is the only North American bird who is dark below and light colored above. This makes identification easy.

A Booby
Booby

Seabirds found across the South Pacific!

A Budgerigar
Budgerigar

Natively found in Australia!

A Burrowing Owl
Burrowing Owl

The burrowing owl lives in underground burrows

A Cactus Wren
Cactus Wren

It is the largest wren in the United States

A Canada Warbler
Canada Warbler

These birds travel more than 3,000 miles during migration!

A Carolina Parakeet
Carolina Parakeet

The Carolina parakeet is one of the few parrots that lived as far north as the United States

A Cassowary
Cassowary

Can reach speeds of 30mph!

A Chestnut-Sided Warbler
Chestnut-Sided Warbler

They inhabit regrowing forests

A Chickadee
Chickadee

Chickadees are named for the sound they make: Chick-a-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee!

A Chicken
Chicken

First domesticated more than 10,000 years ago!

A Chinese Geese
Chinese Geese

They are excellent “guard geese”

A Chinstrap Penguin
Chinstrap Penguin

There are 7 million breeding pairs!

A Chipping Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow

Gets its nickname "hair bird" due to the fact that it lines its nest with animal hair

A Cinereous Vulture
Cinereous Vulture

This vulture can fly at great heights. At least one was found a few thousand feet from the top of Mount Everest.

A Cockatiel
Cockatiel

They have crests that rise or fall depending on their emotions

A Cockatoo
Cockatoo

Highly social, smart, and chatty bird.

A Common Buzzard
Common Buzzard

The most common raptor in the UK!

A Common Loon
Common Loon

Also known as the Great Northern Diver

A Common Raven
Common Raven

A group of ravens is called an unkindness or a conspiracy.

A Cooper’s Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk

Eyes change color as they age

A Crane
Crane

Many are critically endangered species!

A Crested Penguin
Crested Penguin

Has long yellow eyebrows!

A Crow
Crow

A group of these birds is called a Murder.

A Dark-Eyed Junco
Dark-Eyed Junco

They are called snowbirds because many subspecies reappear in the winter.

A Dodo
Dodo

Native to the island of Mauritius!

A Duck
Duck

Rows of tiny plates line their teeth!

A Dunnock
Dunnock

Both male and female dunnocks can have multiple mates every breeding season

A Eagle
Eagle

Has exceptional eyesight!

A Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Bluebird

Bluebirds drop straight down on their prey from their perch, much like leopards.

A Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Phoebe

This passerine bird can sing its song without ever hearing another bird vocalize first.

A Eclectus Parrot
Eclectus Parrot

Does not squawk like other parrot species.

A Egyptian Goose
Egyptian Goose

A duck species that resembles a goose when flying

A Elegant Tern
Elegant Tern

Have a lifespan of 20 years or more

A Emperor Penguin
Emperor Penguin

The world's largest species of penguin!

A Emu
Emu

The largest bird in Australia!

A Eurasian Jay
Eurasian Jay

The Eurasian jay has the ability to mimic other sounds

A Eurasian Nuthatch
Eurasian Nuthatch

Its song has been compared to a toy horn.

A European Bee-Eater
European Bee-Eater

They can eat up to 250 bees per day!

A European Robin
European Robin

Male robins are so aggressive and territorial that they will attack their own reflections.

A European Starling
European Starling

European starlings are accomplished mimics, often copying songs or sounds of other birds and animals (frog calls, goats, cats), or even mechanical sounds and human speech!

A Fairy-Wren
Fairy-Wren

They forage in groups

A Falcon
Falcon

The fastest creatures on the planet!

A Ferruginous Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk

The ferruginous hawk comes in both light and dark morphs

A Flamingo
Flamingo

Sleeps on just one leg!

A Frigatebird
Frigatebird

Found inhabiting tropical islands and coasts!

A Galapagos Penguin
Galapagos Penguin

Found around the Equator!

A Gentoo Penguin
Gentoo Penguin

Found throughout the sub-Antarctic!

A Goldcrest
Goldcrest

The goldcrest never starts moving and needs to consume for most of the day to survive. Therefore, in the colder months, it's best that eat 90% a day.

A Golden Masked Owl
Golden Masked Owl

While flying high above this owl can hear a mouse moving in the tall grass of field!

A Golden Oriole
Golden Oriole

Migrates between Europe and Asia!

A Golden-Crowned Kinglet
Golden-Crowned Kinglet

They huddle together for warmth

A Goose
Goose

There are 29 different species!

A Goshawk
Goshawk

The goshawk is a popular choice among European falconers

A Gouldian Finch
Gouldian Finch

The male Gouldian finch bobs its head and fluffs its feathers to court a female.

A Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

Their wingspan is larger than an eagle’s; both males and females help hatch the eggs; rich in symbolism

A Great Crested Flycatcher
Great Crested Flycatcher

This species makes use of some truly unusual nesting material, including snakeskin and garbage

A Great Egret
Great Egret

The male egret performs an elaborate courtship display to attract a mate

A Great Potoo Bird
Great Potoo Bird

At night, they make a terrifying low call that sounds like a distressed moan or growl.

A Grebe
Grebe

They swim like frogs

A Green Bee-Eater
Green Bee-Eater

Mainly eats honeybees!

A Green Heron
Green Heron

Uses bait to catch prey

A Grey Heron
Grey Heron

Male grey herons are picky about their mates. They'll reject a female that they don't fancy.

A Griffon Vulture
Griffon Vulture

Can spot a dead animal from thousands of feet away

A Grouse
Grouse

Feathered legs and toes!

A Guinea Fowl
Guinea Fowl

Found in a vairety of African habitats!

A Hairy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker

They are natural pest controls

A Harpy Eagle
Harpy Eagle

Talon's the size of a grizzly bear's claws!

A Harris Hawk
Harris Hawk

Their vision is eight times better than a human's

A Hawaiian Crow
Hawaiian Crow

Once believed to be a family guardian spirit in Hawaii

A Hawaiian Goose
Hawaiian Goose

They have the longest breeding season of any goose.

A Hawk
Hawk

While the Ferruginous hawk is the largest specie in the USA, Asia’s Upland buzzard is the biggest overall.

A Hepatic Tanager (Red Tanager)
Hepatic Tanager (Red Tanager)

Parents and their young sing sweetly to each other

A Heron
Heron

Inhabits wetlands around the world!

A Honey Buzzard
Honey Buzzard

Honey buzzards are medium-sized raptors that earned their names by raiding the nests of bees and wasps.

A Hooded Oriole
Hooded Oriole

Hooded orioles have a strong sweet tooth that makes nectar and jelly among its favorite foods.

A Hoopoe
Hoopoe

Stunning bird with a stinky way to deter predators!

A Hornbill
Hornbill

The bird has a massive horn on its bill!

A House Finch
House Finch

The house finch can become redder depending on what it eats

A House Sparrow
House Sparrow

The house sparrow has been introduced all over the world

A House wren
House wren

The wren’s epithet, aedon, comes from a Greek queen who accidentally killed her only son. She was actually aiming for her nephew, and Zeus took pity on her and turned her into a nightingale.

A Humboldt Penguin
Humboldt Penguin

Found on the South American coast!

A Hummingbird
Hummingbird

Beat their wings up to 80 times per second!

A Ibis
Ibis

Found in swamps, marshes and wetlands!

A Ivory-billed woodpecker
Ivory-billed woodpecker

The ivory-billed woodpecker can drill into wood with its sharp beak

A Jacana
Jacana

The jacana has the ability to swim underwater

A Jackdaw
Jackdaw

The jackdaw tends to mate for life with a single partner

A Junglefowl
Junglefowl

The term "pecking order" comes from junglefowls' hierarchies among both sexes

A Kakapo
Kakapo

The heaviest species of parrot in the world!

A Keel-Billed Toucan
Keel-Billed Toucan

It's beak can reach nearly 20 cm long!

A Kestrel
Kestrel

Can hang suspended on wind currents

A Killdeer
Killdeer

The killdeer feigns injury to draw a predator away from its nest.

A King Penguin
King Penguin

More than 2 million breeding pairs!

A King Vulture
King Vulture

The king vulture is the second largest New World vulture species

A Kingfisher
Kingfisher

Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!

A Kiwi
Kiwi

Only found in the forests of New Zealand!

A Kookaburra
Kookaburra

The laughing kookaburra is one of four kookaburra species.

A Kori Bustard
Kori Bustard

It's easily identified by its crest, large size, and wingspan

A Lappet-faced Vulture
Lappet-faced Vulture

Lappet-faced vultures are tidy and wash their heads in a body of water after they’ve eaten

A Linnet
Linnet

While linnets are monogamous during mating season, they do not mate for life. While breeding pairs are together, the males are highly territorial and will defend the nesting site and the surrounding area.

A Little Penguin
Little Penguin

The smallest species of penguin!

A Long-Eared Owl
Long-Eared Owl

Ear tufts make it look bigger!

A Long-Tailed Tit
Long-Tailed Tit

Often hangs upside down while feeding!

A Lorikeet
Lorikeet

The lorikeet has a long brush-like tongue with fine hairs on it

A Lyrebird
Lyrebird

Lyrebirds mimic birds of prey to deter predators such as birds of prey.

A Macaroni Penguin
Macaroni Penguin

Gather in colonies of up to 100,000 members!

A Macaw
Macaw

The largest species of parrot in the world!

A Magellanic Penguin
Magellanic Penguin

Threatened by oil spills!

A Magnolia Warbler
Magnolia Warbler

They line their nests with fungi strands

A Magpie
Magpie

They are found across Europe, Asia and Africa!

A Mallard
Mallard

With an appropriate tail wind, the mallard can travel hundreds of miles a day

A Marabou Stork
Marabou Stork

The marabou stork does not have a voice box.

A Mexican Eagle (Northern crested caracara)
Mexican Eagle (Northern crested caracara)

The northern crested caracara mates for life with its partner

A Mississippi Kite
Mississippi Kite

The Mississippi kite tends to form a monogamous pair bond for life

A Mountain Bluebird
Mountain Bluebird

Depending on the time of the year, the mountain bird can live as far north as Alaska.

A Mourning Dove
Mourning Dove

It is almost always the male who makes the famous sad sound, which is a wooing call

A Muscovy Duck
Muscovy Duck

Unlike most duck species, the Muscovy is silent and only makes noise when excited or threatened.

A Myna Bird
Myna Bird

For a nice price, the mynah bird makes a good pet.

A Nicobar pigeon
Nicobar pigeon

Unlike other pigeons, Nicobar pigeons don't fly in haphazard flocks but in columns or single file.

A Night Heron
Night Heron

When they feel threatened juvenile night herons vomit their stomach contents.

A Nightingale
Nightingale

Named more than 1,000 years ago!

A Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal

Males are a bright red color, also called "cardinal red"

A Northern Flicker
Northern Flicker

Northern Flickers often make their homes in dead trees.

A Northern Potoo
Northern Potoo

You can find them near golf courses in urban areas

A Northern Screamer
Northern Screamer

They are closely related to magpie geese

A Orange-Crowned Warbler
Orange-Crowned Warbler

Often mistaken for the Tennessee Warblers, which are equally dull.

A Ortolan Bunting
Ortolan Bunting

The tradition of hiding your face with a napkin or towel while eating this bird was begun by a priest who was a friend of the great French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.

A Ostrich
Ostrich

The largest bird in the world!

A Owl
Owl

The owl can rotate its head some 270 degrees

A Parakeet
Parakeet

Monk parakeets are the only parakeets that actually build nests. They’re also the only parakeets to nest in great colonies.

A Parrot
Parrot

Can live for up to 100 years!

A Parrotlet
Parrotlet

Parrotlets aren't the world's tiniest parrot — that would be the pygmy parrot of Australasia.

A Partridge
Partridge

Long-lost civilizations have immortalized male partridges in art, depicting them as a symbol of fertility.

A Peacock
Peacock

Most commonly found on the Indian mainland!

A Pelican
Pelican

Can have a wingspan of up to 3 meters!

A Penguin
Penguin

Spends 75% of it's time hunting for food!

A Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon

Fastest animal on Earth

A Pesquet’s Parrot (Dracula Parrot)
Pesquet’s Parrot (Dracula Parrot)

It’s one of only three parrots with naked faces.

A Pigeon
Pigeon

They can find their way back to their nests from up to 1300 miles away.

A Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker

Pairs establish territories and remain all year

A Pine Siskin
Pine Siskin

When foraging, pine siskins hang upside down to pick through the leaves and bark, collecting seeds from coniferous trees.

A Pink-Necked Green Pigeon
Pink-Necked Green Pigeon

They make whistling and quacking noises

A Potoo
Potoo

The potoo’s eyelids have slits that let them see even when their eyes are closed.

A Prairie Chicken
Prairie Chicken

They inflate their orange neck patches during their mating displays

A Puffin
Puffin

Can remain in the water for up to 2 minutes!

A Purple Finch
Purple Finch

The intensity of the plumage can change based on what the bird eats

A Quail
Quail

Inhabits woodland and forest areas worldwide!

A Quetzal
Quetzal

The tail feathers of the male can be 1m long!

A Red Finch
Red Finch

Red finches can form flocks of over 100 birds.

A Red Kite
Red Kite

This bird moves its tail to steer its body like a rudder on a boat.

A Red-Billed Quelea Bird
Red-Billed Quelea Bird

Is the most populous bird in the world

A Red-Shouldered Hawk
Red-Shouldered Hawk

Red-Shouldered Hawks reuse the same nesting area each year.

A Red-winged blackbird
Red-winged blackbird

The male red-winged blackbird can sing to attract mates

A Ring-billed Gull
Ring-billed Gull

The ring-billed gull feeds on vast quantities of human waste and garbage.

A Ringed Kingfisher
Ringed Kingfisher

Dives from perches to capture its prey!

A Robin
Robin

There are more than 45 species in Australia alone!

A Rockhopper Penguin
Rockhopper Penguin

There are 3 different species!

A Rooster
Rooster

Will mate with the entire flock!

A Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rose-breasted grosbeaks are closely related to cardinals

A Roseate Spoonbill
Roseate Spoonbill

The only Spoonbill in the western hemisphere!

A Royal Penguin
Royal Penguin

Can reach speeds of 20mph!

A Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated hummingbirds can beat their wings more than 50 times per second.

A Ruddy Turnstone
Ruddy Turnstone

They flip over stones to find prey

A Savannah Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow

The Savannah sparrow gets its name because one of the first of this type of bird was found in the city of Savannah, Georgia.

A Scarlet Macaw
Scarlet Macaw

Like many parrots, the scarlet macaw is capable of vocal mimicry.

A Sea Eagle
Sea Eagle

The sea eagle tends to mate for life with a single partner

A Seagull
Seagull

Some gulls are capable of using tools

A Sedge Warbler
Sedge Warbler

Males never sing the same song twice

A Senegal Parrot
Senegal Parrot

As a pet, the Senegal parrot is capable of "talking" to its owner

A Sharp-Shinned Hawk
Sharp-Shinned Hawk

In captivity, sharp-shinned hawks can live up to 13 years. However, in the wild, this number is significantly reduced to 3 years!

A Shoebill Stork
Shoebill Stork

Adults greet each other by clattering their bills together.

A Silkie Chicken
Silkie Chicken

Silkie hens are excellent mothers and will tid-bit food with her young. This means she goes over to the food or treats, has a bite, then calls the chick over to her to share. Silkie hens will raise any bird as their own and have been known to patiently sit on a clutch of duck or geese eggs until they hatch.

A Skua
Skua

Skuas will chase other birds until they give up their catch

A Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl

One of the largest owl species in the world!

A Song Sparrow
Song Sparrow

Pumps its tail when it flies!

A Song Thrush
Song Thrush

A male song thrush can have over 100 phrases in his repertoire of songs and can imitate pet birds, telephones and other man-made objects.

A Sparrow
Sparrow

There are 140 different species!

A Sparrowhawk
Sparrowhawk

The sparrowhawk is named after the fact that it hunts down and consumes sparrows

A Spixs Macaw
Spixs Macaw

One of earth's rarest animals!

A Stork
Stork

They can’t sing like other birds.

A Summer Tanager
Summer Tanager

They remove bee stingers by rubbing them against a tree

A Swan
Swan

Populations have been affected by pollution!

A Tawny Owl
Tawny Owl

The most widespread owl in Europe!

A Thrush
Thrush

The American robin is called the robin because its red breast reminded European settlers of the robin back in the old country.

A Toucan
Toucan

There are more than 40 different species!

A Tree swallow
Tree swallow

The tree swallow can make more than a dozen distinct vocalizations

A Treecreeper
Treecreeper

Their tailfeathers help them maintain their balance on a tree trunk

A Tropicbird
Tropicbird

Nests on tropical islands and cliffs!

A Turkey
Turkey

Closely related to pheasants and chickens!

A Uguisu
Uguisu

Their guano is used in face creams!

A Umbrellabird
Umbrellabird

Migrates up and down the mountains!

A Ural owl
Ural owl

The Ural owl can rotate its head up to 270 degrees

A Vermilion Flycatcher
Vermilion Flycatcher

They have a fast song that lasts up to 10 syllables at max.

A Vulture
Vulture

There are 30 different species worldwide!

A Wandering Albatross
Wandering Albatross

Featured in “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”

A Weaver Bird
Weaver Bird

The weaver constructs an elaborate nest for the breeding season

A Western Tanager
Western Tanager

They migrate farther north than any other tanager.

A Whimbrel
Whimbrel

The fastidious whimbrel sometimes washes off its prey before it eats it.


A Whinchat
Whinchat

The whinchat can imitate the songs of at least a dozen other tpes of birds!

A White-Tailed Eagle
White-Tailed Eagle

It is one of the biggest birds of prey.

A Whooping Crane
Whooping Crane

This species is named after the loud whooping sound it makes

A Willow Warbler
Willow Warbler

This bird molts twice a year.

A Woodpecker
Woodpecker

There are 200 different species!

A Yellow-Eyed Penguin
Yellow-Eyed Penguin

The rarest species of penguin!

A Zebra Finch
Zebra Finch

The male zebra finch creates a unique song by drawing inspiration from its parent or tutor

List of Birds

More Great Birds Content

Birds: Different Types, Definition, Photos, and More FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are the four types of birds?

There are far more than only four types, or categories, of birds in the world. If “type” refers to “species,” then the figure is closer to around 10,400. Birds can be classified into different categories in a number of ways, including flightless birds versus birds that are capable of flight and birds that live mostly on land or near water.

How are birds identified?

Birdwatching, a popular pastime, involves identifying birds in the wild. Four things are looked to when identifying birds: their size and shape, their behavior, their habitat and their color patterns. By learning the basics of each of these categories, birdwatchers can identify birds in the wild more quickly – an important aspect of the sport.

Why do birds bathe?

Bathing is a vital part of feather maintenance. Water helps to loosen up dirt and other debris that has worked its way into the feathers. Once freed of dirt, the feathers are easier to preen. During preening, birds rearrange their feathers and dispense oil from the preen gland, ensuring that their feathers remain waterproof. This also traps an insulating layer of air beneath, helping to keep the bird warm.

Which birds cannot fly?

Some of the best-known examples of flightless birds include penguins, ostriches, emus, cassowaries and kiwis.