There are many unique bird species in the world, and each group has its own characteristics and behaviors. Whether you are interested in birds of prey, waterfowl, hummingbirds or owls, there is a wide range of different species.
Diurnal Birds of Prey (Accipitriformes)
Some of the most popular birds of prey are those that are diurnal, meaning they hunt during the day. Diurnal birds of prey include eagles, hawks, kites, and harriers. These birds typically have sharp vision and strong claws and beaks that help them to take down their prey.
One of the most well-known diurnal birds of prey is the bald eagle. This large bird has distinctive white feathers on its head, which gives it its name. Bald eagles are found throughout North America and live in a variety of habitats, including forests, wetlands, and coastal areas.
Waterfowl Birds (Anseriformes)
Another group of birds are the waterfowl. These birds are found throughout the world, and include ducks, geese, swans, and other species that spend a lot of time in or around water. Waterfowl have strong legs and webbed feet to help them navigate through the water with ease. They also have long, flat bills that they use to filter food from the water.
Some of the most well-known waterfowl species include the mallard, who is found throughout North America, and the Canada goose, which lives in a variety of habitats in both North America and Europe.
Hummingbirds & Swifts (Apodiformes)
These small birds belong to the order Apodiformes, which also includes the swifts. Hummingbirds are found in North America, South America, and parts of Asia, while swifts can be found throughout the world. Hummingbirds are known for their small size and ability to fly quickly and hover in the air. They feed on nectar from flowers.
Swifts are similar to hummingbirds in that they are small birds that can fly quickly and easily. However, swifts do not hover like hummingbirds do. Instead, they fly around in a straight line, catching insects in the air as they fly. Swifts can be found throughout the world and are often active at evening.
Kiwis & Extinct Birds (Apterygiformes)
The order Apterygiformes, which includes the kiwis and many extinct species. The kiwi is one of the few flightless birds, meaning it does not have strong wings that allow it to fly. Instead, these birds use their small wings for balance and specialty tasks such as grooming or cleaning their feathers.
Many extinct birds also belong to this order.
Hornbills & Hoopoes (Coraciiformes)
The Coraciiformes order includes a variety of different birds, including the hornbills and the hoopoes. Hornbills are large birds that live in Africa and Asia. They have large bills that they use to eat insects, fruits, and other small animals.
Hoopoes are small birds that live in Europe, Africa, and Asia. They have distinctive crowns on their head, which is where they get their name. These birds eat insects, spiders, and other small animals.
Nightjars, Frogmouths & Oilbirds (Caprimulgiformes)
The Caprimulgiformes order includes a variety of different birds, including the nightjars, frogmouths, and oilbirds. Nightjars are found throughout the world and are active at night. They have large eyes that help them see in the dark and they eat insects.
Frogmouths are also found throughout the world and are active at night. These birds have large mouths that they use to eat insects.
Oilbirds are found in South America and live in caves. These birds have a special oil gland that produces a substance that they use to help them preen their feathers. Oilbirds also eat fruit.
The Cariamiformes order includes a variety of different birds, including the seriemas. Seriemas are found in South America and they eat insects, small reptiles, and other small animals. They are also known for their distinctive crest on their head.
Emus & Cassowaries (Casuariiformes)
The Casuariiformes order includes a variety of different birds, including the emus and the cassowaries.
Emus are found in Australia and New Zealand and they eat insects but are mostly herbivores. They are also known for their large size and distinctive feathers.
Cassowaries are also found in Australia and New Guinea and are known for their large size and bright coloration. Unlike emus, cassowaries are omnivores, eating insects as well as fruits,.
The Charadriiformes order includes a variety of different birds, including the shorebirds and the wading birds. Shorebirds are found throughout the world near the coast or other aquatic habitats. They are known for their long legs and webbed feet, which help them hunt for small fish and other prey in shallow water.
Storks, Herons & Vultures (Ciconiiformes)
The Ciconiiformes order includes a variety of different birds, including the storks, herons, and vultures. Storks are found throughout the world and are known for their long legs and necks. These birds eat fish, amphibians, reptiles, and small mammals.
Herons are also found throughout the world and are known for their long legs and necks. In addition to fish, herons also eat insects, small birds, reptiles, amphibians, and other small animals.
Vultures are found throughout the world and are known as scavengers. These birds specialize in eating dead animals and are often associated with death and decay. They have strong stomachs that help them digest the dead animal matter they eat.
The Coliiformes order includes a variety of different birds, including the mousebirds. Mousebirds are found in Africa and South America and they eat insects, fruits, and other small animals. They are also known for their distinctive tails.
Pigeons and Dodos (Columbiformes)
The Columbiformes order includes a variety of different birds, including the pigeons and the dodos. Pigeons are found all over the world and are known for their ability to find their way home after long journeys. They eat seeds, fruit, and other plant matter.
Dodos were once found on Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, but they are now extinct. These birds were flightless and had reduced wings that caused them to be very clumsy on the ground. Dodos also ate fruit and other plant matter.
Kingfishers, Rollers, & Bee-eaters (Coraciiformes)
The Coraciiformes order includes a variety of different birds, including the kingfishers, rollers, and bee-eaters. Kingfishers are found all over the world and they eat fish, amphibians, reptiles, and small mammals. These birds are known for their bright plumage and their ability to dive into water to catch their prey.
Rollers are also found all over the world and they eat insects, small birds, reptiles, amphibians, and other small animals. They are known for their unique hunting behavior, which involves flying high in the air and then dropping down to catch their prey.
Bee-eaters are found throughout Africa and Asia and they eat insects, small reptiles, and other small animals. These birds are known for their distinctive, colorful feathers and their ability to catch their prey while in flight.
Cuckoos, Roadrunners & Koels (Cuculiformes)
The Cuculiformes order includes a variety of different birds, including the cuckoos, roadrunners, and koels. Cuckoos are found throughout the world and they eat insects and other small animals. They are known for their unique egg-laying behavior, where they lay eggs in the nests of other birds.
Kagus & Sunbitterns (Eurypygiformes)
The Eurypygiformes order includes a variety of different birds, including the kagus and the sunbitterns. Kagus are found in New Guinea and they eat insects, small mammals, and other small animals. They are also known for their distinctive calls.
Sunbitterns are found in Central and South America and they eat insects, small fish, and other small animals.
The Falconiformes order includes a variety of different birds, including the falcons. Falcons are found all over the world and they eat small mammals, reptiles, and other small animals. They are known for their speed and agility, which helps them catch their prey.
Peregrine falcons are the fastest animals on earth, clocking in speeds of up to 200 miles per hour. These birds eat small mammals, reptiles, and other small animals.
They are known for their speed and agility, which helps them catch their prey.
The Phoenicopteriformes order includes a variety of different birds, including the flamingos. Flamingos are found in Africa, Asia, and Europe and they eat small fish, crustaceans, and other small animals.
They are known for their bright plumage and their long necks.
Chickens & Turkeys (Galliformes)
The Galliformes order includes a variety of different birds, including chickens and turkeys. Chickens are found all over the world and they eat seeds, fruit, and other plant matter. They are known for their distinctive clucking sounds.
Turkeys are also found all over the world and they eat insects, fruits, and other small animals. These birds are known for their large size and their distinctive calls.
Gaviiformes are a order of birds that contains five living species in two genera. They are commonly known as loons. Gaviiformes are the most primitive order of living birds, and their closest living relatives are the crocodiles.
They are found in North America, Europe and Asia. Four species are found in North America, while one species is found in Eurasia. Gaviiformes are large birds, with long necks and legs. They have webbed feet, which help them to swim well.
Loons are excellent divers, and can stay underwater for up to a minute at a time. They eat fish, frogs and other small aquatic animals. They are known for the distinctive calls they make, which can be heard from a long distance away.
Cranes & Rails (Gruiformes)
Cranes and rails are a large, diverse clade of long-legged wading birds. They include the well-known representatives of the genera Grus (typical cranes) and Rallus (rails, gallinules, and coots), as well as many other less familiar species. These birds inhabit wetlands across the globe, although they are especially prevalent in tropical areas.
Cranes are generally large birds, with long necks and legs. They are omnivorous, feeding on a variety of small animals, as well as plants and fruits. Rails are typically smaller than cranes, with shorter necks and legs.
Cuckoo Rollers (Leptosomiformes)
Leptosomiformes are a small order of passerine birds. They are characterised by their extremely long tails, which often account for more than half of their total length. Their common name is derived from the Old World cuckoo, which is also a leptosome.
The Mesitornithiformes are a group of birds that includes the mesites. The mesites are small to medium-sized birds that are found in Africa and Madagascar. The Mesitornithiformes are thought to be closely related to the pigeons and doves, and they share some similarities with these birds.
For example, mesites have long legs and necks, and they are able to fly long distances.
Turacos & Plantain Eaters (Musophagiformes)
The Musophagiformes order of birds contains the turacos and plantain eaters. These are colorful, long-tailed birds that are found in Africa. They are omnivores, eating both plants and animals.
The Strigiformes order includes a variety of different birds, including owls. Owls are found all over the world and they eat small mammals, reptiles, and other small animals.
The hoatzin is a bird that belongs to the order Opisthocomiformes. Hoatzins are found in tropical areas of South America and they are notable for their unusual appearance and behavior.
Bustards are a group of large, terrestrial birds in the family Otididae. They are native to Europe, Asia, and Africa, and some species also occur in Australia and New Zealand. They are ground-dwelling birds that feed on insects and other invertebrates.
Perching Birds (Passeriformes)
The passerine birds are a large and diverse group of perching birds. They are found on all continents except Antarctica and include the common blackbird, the American robin, and the European sparrow. Many passerines are small and brightly colored, and some species are well known for their singing abilities.
Pelicans & Frigate Birds (Pelecaniformes)
There is a group of birds known as the Pelecaniformes that includes both pelicans and frigate birds. Pelicans are large, aquatic birds that have a long, hooked bill. They use their bill to catch fish, which they then eat whole. Frigate birds are smaller than pelicans and have a thin, curved bill that they use to eat small prey. Both pelicans and frigate birds are found near bodies of water, as they need access to food and water.
Pelicans are some of the largest birds in the world, with a wingspan that can reach up to 12 feet.
The Tropicbirds are a family, Phaethontidae, of tropical pelagic seabirds. The two genera, Phaethon and Tachymarptis, contain three species: the Red-billed Tropicbird, the White-tailed Tropicbird, and the Brown Booby.
Woodpeckers are a group of birds that are characterized by their strong bills and pecking behavior. They have a number of anatomical adaptations that allow them to peck vigorously into trees to extract insects. Woodpeckers are found in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Grebes are a group of aquatic birds that are closely related to loons and divers. They are found in many parts of the world, but most species live in temperate and tropical regions. Grebes are excellent swimmers and divers, and some species can stay under water for extended periods of time.
Albatrosses & Petrels (Procellariiformes)
Albatrosses & Petrels (Procellariiformes) are classified as an order consisting of 460 species. They are generally pelagic and oceanic birds, with only a few breeding on coasts and islands.
These birds have hooked bills with a tube on the side that functions as a nostril. They also have webbed feet, and are capable of long-distance flight. Many species of albatrosses & petrels are endangered due to human activity, such as overfishing and pollution.
Psittaciformes are a group of birds that consist of around 372 species. They are found in most tropical and subtropical regions, including Central and South America, Africa, Australasia, and Polynesia.
Parrots are known for their bright plumage, and some species are capable of mimicry. These birds have curved bills, and most species are able to climb and grip with their feet. Parrots are also social creatures, and live in flocks.
Sandgrouses are opportunistic omnivores and will eat a variety of things, including fruits, seeds, flowers, insects, small reptiles, and mammals.
Rheas or Nandus (Rheiformes)
Rheiformes is a small family of two genera of South American flightless birds, similar to ostriches. The larger genus Rhea includes the greater and lesser rheas, while Nandu comprises the nandus.
Rheas typically weigh between 20 and 40 kg (45 and 90 lb), with some males exceeding 80 kg (180 lb). They have long necks and legs and small wings, which they use primarily for balance while running.
The two species of rheas are the largest extant birds in the Americas by height. Nandus are slightly smaller, at a maximum height of 1.6 m (5 ft 3 in). Rheas live in open grasslands, savannas and shrublands in South America. They forage on the ground for food such as roots, berries and fruit.
The Sphenisciformes order of penguins contains 18 different species, all of which are found exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere. Penguins are flightless birds that have adapted to a life in the water, where they use their wings for propulsion and their feathers for insulation. Penguins are omnivorous, feeding on a variety of prey items.
The Struthioniformes order of birds contains the ostriches. Ostriches are the largest living bird species, and can weigh up to 155 kg (341 lb). They have long necks and legs, and can run at speeds of up to 70 km/h (43 mph). Ostriches are native to Africa, where they live in open habitats such as savannas and woodlands.
The diet of ostriches consists mainly of plants, but they also eat insects and small animals. Ostriches are hunted for their meat, which is considered a delicacy in many cultures.
Boobies & Gannets (Suliformes)
The boobies and gannets are a group of seabirds that belong to the order Suliformes. There are several different types of boobies and gannets, including the brown booby, the blue-footed booby, the red-footed booby, the masked booby, the Nazca booby, the Peruvian booby, the gannet, and the frigatebird. These birds are found throughout tropical and subtropical regions of the world.
The blue-footed boobies get their name from their distinctive blue feet. They have a large, hooked beak that helps them to catch fish.
The Tinamiformes are a family of birds that includes the tinamous. These birds are unique in that they have a mixture of primitive and advanced features. Tinamous are found in Central and South America, they can fly but prefer to walk on the ground.
Trogons & Quetzals (Trogoniformes)
The Trogoniformes are a family of birds that includes the trogons and quetzals. These unique birds exhibit many traits that set them apart from other bird families, including colorful plumage, strong bills for eating insects, and the ability to fly backwards. They are found in forests across Central America and South America.