World Facts

The Most Common Birds in the World

If it looks like a chicken, walks like a chicken, and clucks like a chicken, it just may be among the most populous bird species on earth.

Though most of the birds listed herein can be found living in abundance in the wild across large portions of the world, the most populated bird is technically the domestic chicken. However, the most common wild bird is the red-billed quelea, which is found in Sub-Saharan Africa. There are an estimated 1.5 billion red-billed queleas on the planet. The red-billed quelea is well-known for living in large social groups which can often present themselves as large swarms. These swarms have been known to greatly damage crops.

In the past, birds like the passenger pigeon used to be plentiful before they became extinct. The passenger pigeon met its demise through overhunting in the late 19th and early 20th century. Today, many bird populations are known to be decreasing throughout the globe. All of the birds listed below, however, are characterized as "Least Concern" by the IUCN.

All population figures as estimates as it is hard to determine the exact number of individuals alive for every bird species.

1. Birds With the Largest Populations

Mourning Dove - 475 Million

The mourning dove is one of the most plentiful birds in existence, with an estimated population of around 475 million. This bird is found across North America, and migrates from the northern section of the continent to the southern section during the winter time. The mourning dove has plumage that is grey in colour and features black spots. The main appetite of the mourning dove is seeds.

Red-Billed Quelea - 1.5 Billion

Found across Sub-Saharan Africa, the red-billed quelea is another one of the world's most populated bird species. The bird, which has three separate species, is found where climates are not too extreme. It is estimated that about 1.5 billion red-billed queleas exist in the wild, which makes it the world's most populous non-domesticated bird. The red-billed quelea travels in groups so large that it can appear like a large cloud overhead.

Domestic Chicken - 22.67 Billion

The domestic chicken is the most common bird species in the world with an estimated population of 22.67 billion. The chicken has managed to attain a significant level of cultural and culinary dominance in the human world. The widespread use of this bird as a source of food became more common after large scale industrial production started in the 20th Century, and currently chicken is an important part of almost all global cuisines. Not just food, the chicken is also held sacred by some cultures of the world as a symbol of nurturing and fertility. Egyptians, Zoroastrians, and Romans each held the bird in high regard within their cultures. Thus, the domestic chicken continues to influence people and cuisines worldwide, as its numbers climb to skyrocketing figures. It goes without saying, of course, that a nice hen's egg or three can also make any meal a little better, whether boiled, fired, scrambled, or poached.

Most Populous Bird Species In The World

Rank´╗┐Bird TypeEstimated Population
1Domestic chicken 22.67 Billion
2Red-billed quelea 1.5 Billion
3Mourning Dove 475 Million
4American Robin310 Million
5Common pheasant 160 Million to 219 Million
6Red winged blackbird210 Million
7Chipping Sparrow200 Million
8Common Starling100 Million to 199 Million
9Common swift95 Million to 164 Million
10Yellow-rumped warbler130 Million

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