RESEARCH: The four most common wild bird species in the world

There are 50 billion wild birds on Earth – but four species dominate – says a New Scientist article on 17 May 2021.

Earth has around 50 billion wild bird species according to a new global estimate, but most species are very rare and only a handful number in the billions.

Just four wild species have over a billion individuals, and they are the most common wild bird species in the world. This is in contrast to 1,180 species that have less than 5,000 individual birds each.

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Violet-Backed Starling

The Violet-Backed Starling (Cinnyricinclus leucogaster) is a small bird. It is also called the Plum-Coloured Starling or the Amethyst Starling.

The male and female Violet-Backed Starling have very different appearances. The male has an iridescent violet-coloured back with a white underbelly. The female is brown with flecks on her white underbelly. The male has a dark-violet-black face. Both have a dark-grey beak and dark-grey legs. Both have yellow eyes with dark pupils.

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Wattled Starling

The Wattled Starling (Creatophora cinerea) is a small African bird. It is also called the Locust Bird.

The Wattled Starling is grey-brown with black wings and a black tail. It has a white rump and short wings. It has a pale pink-white beak, pale pink-grey legs, and dark eyes.

When males are ready to breed, the skin on their heads becomes yellow with twisted black wattles (hanging or drooping skin).

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Superb Starling

The Superb Starling (Lamprotornis superbus) is a northeastern African bird. It belongs to the Passeriforme Order, and the Sturnidae family.

The Superb Starling has a black head, iridescent bluish-green feathers on its back, chest, wings and tail, with an orange-coloured stomach. There is a white bar between the stomach and the chest. Its eyes are white. The juvenile has no white stripe between its stomach and chest, and its eyes are black, not white.

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