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Bird Species Profiles

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There are approximately 10,000 bird species in the world, and learning about different bird families is the perfect way to sharpen identification skills, study similar birds and better appreciate avian diversity. The bird families below are organized by related characteristics to help you quickly identify and learn about the birds you see in your backyard, on local field trips and at birding hotspots around the world.
  1. Waterfowl
  2. Birds of Prey
  3. Pigeons & Doves
  4. Songbirds
  1. Hummingbirds
  2. Warblers
  3. Sparrows & Finches
  4. Gulls, Terns & Seabirds

Waterfowl

Mute Swan

Waterfowl can be some of the most rewarding birds to identify, and some of the easiest birds for novice birders to learn about. The birds here include ducks, geese, swans, loons, pelicans, coots, gallinules, grebes and related species.

Birds of Prey

Brahminy Kite

Owls, hawks, falcons, kites and vultures are all types of birds of prey, and different raptors can be found all over the world. From backyard accipiters to endangered eagles, these majestic birds can be rewarding to observe and identify.

Pigeons & Doves

Common Bronzewing

The common urban pigeon may be the most familiar of these bird species, but pigeons and doves can be found throughout the world with dozens of different species. Some are drab while others are fancy and colorful, and all are worth seeing.

Songbirds

White Breasted Nuthatch

The most diverse grouping of birds, songbirds represent dozens of bird families and thousands of species. Among the most familiar and popular are thrushes, orioles, jays, chickadees, wrens, tanagers, pipits, waxwings and grosbeaks.

Hummingbirds

Calliope Hummingbird

Among the tiniest birds on the planet, hummingbirds are also some of the most fascinating for birders. These flying jewels have more than 300 species, all of which are found only in the Western Hemisphere.

Warblers

Yellow Warbler

Warblers are colorful, active songbirds that often herald the coming of spring in the northern hemisphere. With distinctive markings and unique vocalizations, warblers are highly sought after in the field.

Sparrows & Finches

Eurasian Tree Sparrow

The dozens of species of sparrows and finches, as well as their related crossbills, juncos and buntings, are some of the most familiar backyard birds throughout the world. Studying these birds, however, reveals their unique characteristics and stunning diversity.

Gulls, Terns & Seabirds

Common Tern

Seabirds spend much of their lives on, above or in the sea. These can be some of the most challenging birds to see and identify, but the related gulls and terns that are also common near the ocean and seas are much more familiar to many birders.

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