What Is The Most Common Bird In The World? | Bird Spot (2024)

The most common bird in the world is the domestic chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus). In 2023 it was estimated that there were about 24 billion chickens in the world up from 23.7 billion in 2018 and 14.38 billion in the year 2000.

Chickens are mainly kept for egg-laying and meat with China alone producing 529 billion eggs in 2017. The world’s second leading egg producer, the United States, produced 106.7 billion eggs in the same year and 19.71 million metric tons of meat in 2019.

However, the most abundant wild bird is the red-billed quelea (Quelea quelea), a sparrow-sized bird in the weaver family with a population of about 1.5 billion breeding birds.

Also known as the red-billed weaverorred-billed dioch, the red-billed quelea is native to sub-Saharan Africa and can be found in tropical and subtropical areas with a semi-arid climate although it avoids forests, deserts, and colder areas such as those at high altitudes.

Red-billed queleas have mainly brown plumage but during breeding season 75% of males develop a black facial mask bordered with pink or rust coloured feathers. Occasionally they will develop a white mask bordered with black. They have a stout, cone-shaped bill which is red in females outside of breeding season and males all year round, and orange or yellow in females during breeding season.

Their bills have evolved to crack open seeds which make up the majority of their diet, preferring grains of 1-2 mm in size, such as wild grasses and rice. Due to their sheer numbers, red-billed queleas can cause extensive damage to cereal crops including millet, teff, barley, and oats, and due to this they are sometimes known as ‘Africa’s feathered locust’.

They are sociable birds and feed in flocks of millions of birds. They usually feed on the ground and as birds at the back of the flock run out of food they will fly over the birds in front to reach a fresh feeding area which gives the impression of a rolling cloud.

Governments in a number of African countries have attempted to lessen or eradicate the population of the red-billed quelea by spraying avicides or detonating fire-bombs on colonies during the night. However, these have been largely unsuccessful and population management is now focused on areas most likely to attack vulnerable fields.

The top 10 most abundant birds in the world

Species of birdPopulation size
1Domestic chicken30 billion
2Red-billed quelea1.5 billion
3Mourning dove475 million
4American robin310 million
5Common pheasant160-220 million
6Red-winged blackbird210 million
7Chipping sparrow200 million
8Common starling100-199 million
9Common swift95-164 million
10Yellow-rumped warbler130 million

Note – as of May 2021, the estimated population of the red-billed quelea has dropped dramatically. Find out why here.

7 Responses

  1. Why aren’t western blue Jays moved to the east coast?

  2. What is the pigeon to dove ratio?

  3. I don’t know but seriously here in Australia I swear I see a million sea gulls at any beach(lol) I would of thought they would at least come in the top 3 of wild birds.

    1. The catch with seagulls is that, while they are abundant, they are not a hom*ogenous species. Seagull is more of an umbrella term, and typically many species of seagulls cohabitate in a given area. So while they all look similar to us, there may be several different species in that group of 50 “seagulls” that we see roaming the beach.

      That being said, some other lists of most abundant bird species includes the ring-billed gull in the top 5, and places estimates around 1 billion. Estimating bird populations yields vastly different results based on researcher assumptions, and every study I’ve seen has a different “top 10” list of most abundant species.

      1. Yes, gulls are 50 or so different species.

  4. We have a visiting brown bird that is shaped like a cardinal but it’s beak is brown also.

Leave a Reply

What Is The Most Common Bird In The World? | Bird Spot (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kerri Lueilwitz

Last Updated:

Views: 6015

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (47 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kerri Lueilwitz

Birthday: 1992-10-31

Address: Suite 878 3699 Chantelle Roads, Colebury, NC 68599

Phone: +6111989609516

Job: Chief Farming Manager

Hobby: Mycology, Stone skipping, Dowsing, Whittling, Taxidermy, Sand art, Roller skating

Introduction: My name is Kerri Lueilwitz, I am a courageous, gentle, quaint, thankful, outstanding, brave, vast person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.