What Are The Top 10 Most Common Birds

Last Updated on September 4, 2023 by Susan Levitt

As an avian ornithologist, I have spent countless hours studying and observing the world of birds. One question that often arises among bird enthusiasts is: what are the top 10 most common birds? While there are numerous species of birds in the world, some stand out as more commonly seen than others. In this article, we will explore the top 10 most common birds based on their presence in North America.

Birdwatching has become a popular hobby for many individuals around the world. Whether you’re a seasoned birder or just beginning to take interest in our feathered friends, understanding which species are most frequently encountered can be helpful when embarking on your next bird watching adventure. From robins and sparrows to blackbirds and finches, join us as we discover which birds make up the top 10 list of the most commonly sighted species across North America.

The American Robin

The American Robin, also known as Turdus migratorius, is a common sight in North America. This species of bird can be found throughout the continent from Alaska to Mexico and has become one of the most recognizable birds due to its distinctive orange-red breast and gray-brown back.

One key aspect of the Robins’ diet is that they are omnivorous. They enjoy eating fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, and cherries but will also hunt for insects like earthworms and beetles. This adaptability allows them to thrive in many different environments, including suburban areas where they often build their nests on trees or bushes.

Migration patterns are another fascinating characteristic of the American Robin. In springtime, these birds begin their journey northward from their wintering grounds in Mexico and southern parts of the United States. As temperatures warm up, robins migrate further north until they reach Canada’s boreal forests. During autumn months, this process reverses as they make their way back south to avoid colder weather conditions.

Finally, symbolic significance of the American robin in culture cannot be ignored. They have been portrayed in literature, art, music, and even movies over time because of their association with new beginnings and hope. Their appearance at the end of winter signals an end to cold dark days when people start looking forward to warmer weather ahead.

Overall, The American Robin stands out as one of North America’s most widely distributed birds thanks to its unique traits such as omnivorous tendencies and migration habits during seasonal changes. Its cultural significance only adds to its charm for both wildlife enthusiasts and those who appreciate nature from afar alike!

The Northern Cardinal

Having explored the characteristics and habits of the American Robin, we now turn our attention to another common bird species – the Northern Cardinal. This striking red bird is easily recognizable by its bright plumage and crest atop its head.

The Northern Cardinal is a year-round resident in much of North America, preferring habitats such as woodlands, gardens, parks, and suburban areas with dense shrubbery for cover. They are known to be highly territorial birds, defending their preferred feeding and nesting sites fiercely against other males.

Breeding season for this species typically begins in early spring when male cardinals begin singing complex songs to attract potential mates. Females will then evaluate these displays before choosing a mate based on genetic fitness. The pair will then work together to build a nest made from twigs, grasses, and bark fibers.

Unlike some migratory birds who abandon their young after hatching, both parents play an active role in raising their chicks until they fledge. This includes not only providing food but also protection from predators like snakes or cats that may threaten the vulnerable hatchlings. With their strong pair bonds and cooperative breeding behavior, it’s no wonder why these charismatic birds have become one of the most beloved backyard visitors across much of North America!

The Mourning Dove

The Mourning Dove is a common species of bird found throughout North America. This dove is known for its soft cooing call, which can be heard in both urban and rural areas. One interesting fact about the Mourning Dove is that it is one of the most abundant birds in North America, with an estimated population of over 400 million.

Mourning Doves are typically found in open habitats such as fields, woodlands, and suburban areas. They prefer to nest on horizontal branches or ledges, often near human habitation. These doves feed primarily on seeds and grains but will occasionally eat insects as well.

One unique behavior of the Mourning Dove is its ability to drink water by sucking it up rather than scooping it like other birds. They also have a swift flight pattern, capable of reaching speeds up to 55 miles per hour when necessary. Their wings make a whistling sound during flight due to their pointed tips.

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Overall, the Mourning Dove’s habitat ranges from southern Canada to Panama. Its abundance and adaptability make this bird an important member of many ecosystems throughout its range. Understanding the behavior and ecology of this species provides valuable insights into avian biology as a whole.

As we continue to study these fascinating creatures, there is still much to learn about their habits and behaviors. By observing their interactions with each other and their environment, we can gain deeper insight into what makes them so successful in adapting to changing conditions around us. The more we know about them, the better equipped we are to protect not only these birds but all wildlife that share our planet with us.

The Red-Winged Blackbird

The Mourning Dove, with its soft cooing and gentle nature, is a beloved bird by many. However, it doesn’t make the list of the top 10 most common birds in North America. So what are those birds? Let’s take a look.

According to data from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, here are the top 10 most common birds in North America:

Rank Bird Name Scientific Name
1 American Robin Turdus migratorius
2 Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
3 Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
4 House Sparrow Passer domesticus
5 European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
6 Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia
7 Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis
8 Canada Goose Branta canadensis
9 Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata
10 Downy Woodpecker Dryobates pubescens

As an avian ornithologist, studying these species provides insight into their behavior and ecology. Each bird has unique characteristics that allow them to thrive in different habitats and environments. For example, the American Robin is known for its bright orange breast and ability to adapt to urban areas while still thriving in rural ones.

While each of these birds may be common, they all play important roles in maintaining healthy ecosystems. The Red-winged Blackbird, for instance, helps control insect populations through predation while also providing food for larger predators such as hawks and eagles.

In conclusion, understanding the diversity of bird species within our environment is crucial for maintaining healthy ecosystems. While the Mourning Dove may not be among the top 10 most common birds, it is still a valuable member of our avian community. By studying and conserving these species, we can ensure their survival for generations to come.

The American Goldfinch

The American Goldfinch, also known as Spinus tristis, is a common bird found throughout North America. This small but vibrant bird typically measures around 4-5 inches in length and weighs approximately 0.4-0.6 ounces. One of the most distinctive features of this species is its bright yellow plumage during breeding season.

When it comes to breeding habits, American Goldfinches are relatively late breeders compared to other songbirds. They tend to wait until mid-to-late summer when thistle plants begin producing seeds that serve as a primary food source for their offspring. Both male and female goldfinches play an active role in building the nest, which is usually constructed from plant fibers and spider silk.

In terms of diet preferences, The American Goldfinch enjoys a wide range of foods including insects, berries, seeds, and tree buds. During nesting season, however, they rely heavily on thistle seedheads which provide protein-rich nourishment for their young. Interestingly enough, these birds have adapted unique digestive systems that allow them to extract nutrients from difficult-to-digest seeds such as those found in thistles.

Overall, The American Goldfinch is one of the most fascinating birds in North America due to its striking appearance and interesting behaviors. Whether you’re observing them at your backyard feeder or out in nature, there’s no denying the charm and beauty of these little creatures.

The House Sparrow

Having discussed the American Goldfinch in detail, we now turn our attention to another common bird species – the House Sparrow. As an avian ornithologist, I have spent countless hours observing and studying these fascinating creatures.

House sparrows are found across much of the world, but they originated in Eurasia. Over time, they have adapted well to urban environments and can be seen perched atop buildings and telephone wires or flitting about city parks. Interestingly, male house sparrows often form large flocks during winter months while females tend to stay together in smaller groups.

One area of concern for conservationists is habitat destruction. The construction of new roads and buildings has resulted in a loss of nesting sites for many bird species including the House Sparrow. Additionally, changes in agriculture practices such as increased pesticide use have had negative impacts on their food sources.

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Migration patterns also play a significant role in understanding this species. While some populations remain year-round residents within their range, others migrate long distances between breeding and non-breeding grounds. These movements may be influenced by factors such as climate change or availability of resources.

In conclusion, despite being one of the most commonly observed birds worldwide, there is still much to learn about the House Sparrow. As humans continue to alter their environment through development and resource management practices, it will become increasingly important to monitor population trends and take steps towards conservation efforts that support these vital members of our ecosystem.

The Blue Jay

Ah, the Blue Jay – one of the most recognizable birds in North America! This striking bird is known for its vibrant blue feathers and bold personality. As an avian ornithologist, I’ve had the pleasure of studying their behavior and habitat preferences extensively.

Blue Jays are highly adaptable birds that can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, parks, and suburban areas. They prefer deciduous or mixed woodlands with open understories, where they can find plenty of food sources like acorns, nuts, seeds, insects, and even small vertebrates. These intelligent birds have been known to store food for later use by burying it underground – a behavior called caching.

One interesting aspect of Blue Jay behavior is their tendency towards aggression. While they may appear beautiful and gentle at first glance, these birds are actually quite territorial and will fiercely defend their nests from predators or other animals that threaten them. In fact, they have been observed attacking much larger animals such as hawks!

Despite their aggressive tendencies, Blue Jays also exhibit social behaviors within their own communities. They often form monogamous pairs during breeding season and communicate through a range of vocalizations including calls for warning signals or mating rituals.

In summary, the Blue Jay is a fascinating bird species with unique behaviors that make it stand out among other avian species. From its preferred woodland habitats to its caching habits and territorial defense mechanisms, this bird continues to captivate scientists and nature enthusiasts alike with its intriguing qualities.

The Canada Goose

Having just discussed the Blue Jay, it is important to note that this species is not among the top 10 most common birds in North America. So what are these top 10 most common birds? Let’s take a closer look.

At number one on the list is the American Robin. This bird can be found throughout much of North America and is known for its distinctive orange breast and melodious song. While some robins do migrate south for the winter, many stay put year-round.

Coming in at number two on our list is the Red-winged Blackbird. These birds prefer wetland habitats such as marshes and swamps, but they can also be spotted in fields and along roadsides. During migration season, large flocks of these blackbirds can be seen flying overhead.

Third on our list is the Mourning Dove. With their soft cooing calls and plump bodies, these birds are a familiar sight across much of North America. They are often found in open areas with scattered trees or bushes.

Moving down the list to number four brings us to another water-loving bird: the Mallard Duck. These ducks are highly adaptable and can thrive in almost any type of wetland habitat, from small backyard ponds to vast marshes and lakeshores. Many mallards migrate south during the winter months.

It’s fascinating to observe how different bird species have unique habitat preferences and migration patterns. By learning more about each individual bird, we gain a deeper understanding of their role in our ecosystem and can better appreciate their beauty.


In conclusion, as an avian ornithologist, I have thoroughly enjoyed discussing the top 10 most common birds. These species are not only abundant in numbers but also easily identifiable by their unique characteristics and behaviors.

From the vibrant red plumage of the Northern Cardinal to the melodious songs of the American Robin, these birds bring joy and beauty to our daily lives. As we continue to protect and preserve their habitats, may we never take for granted the wonder and diversity of our feathered friends. Let us always appreciate and cherish their presence in nature and strive to learn more about them through observation and research.

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