Which bird species is the most common in the world?

Which bird species is the most common in the world?

The most common bird in the world is defined as the species of bird that breeds the most, and therefore has the most numbers.

There are two categories: 1) non-wild, domesticated bird, and 2) wild bird.

The most common non-wild bird in the world is the chicken.


The most common wild bird species in the world was the Red-Billed Quelea (Quelea quelea) in the Ploceidae family from sub-Saharan Africa. There was an estimated adult breeding population of 1.5 billion pairs. A 2021 study by Corey Callaghan and his team of researchers at the University of New South Wales, Australia, used citizen science data on bird sightings from the online database, called eBird, to build a model that estimated global numbers for each species. Richard Gregory at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in the United Kingdom says that eBird data can be useful, but it may not be exact because there is not enough information in the database on tropical birds and birds in Africa. For example, the new analysis of bird populations estimated the number of Red-Billed Quelea at 95 million.

Red-Billed Quelea (male)

Just four wild bird species have over a billion individuals, and they are the most common wild bird species in the world. 

House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) are the most common, followed by European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), Ring-Billed Gulls (Larus delawarensis), and Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica). 

House Sparrow
European Starling

Location of photographs: Red-Billed Quelea, Kenya

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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