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Birds Guide

Birds of Europe

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In this article, Europe refers to the geographical continent, not the somewhat larger Western Palearctic, which includes parts of the Middle East and north Africa.

There are about 700 species of bird in the area, and in general the avifauna is similar to Asia north of the Himalayas, which shares the same ecozone. There are also many groups shared with North America.

Conversely, many of the southern hemisphere groups, including the ancient flightless Struthioniformes (ostrich family), and their relatives the tinamous are not represented at all.

The order follows the Voous Order, with the revision of the Anseriformes and Galliformes brought to the start of the list, adopted by all European countries.

European birds include the following families:




  • Gaviidae divers



  • Diomedeidae albatross rare vagrant
  • Procellariidae fulmars, shearwaters, gadfly and other petrels.
  • Hydrobatidae storm-petrels


Ciconiiformes (American taxonomists often include all the raptors in this family.)

  • Ardeidae herons and bitterns
  • Ciconiidae: storks
  • Threskiomithidae ibises and spoonbills
  • Phoenicopteridae flamingos

Accipitriformes (Some classifications also include the Falconidae.)

Falconiformes (Sometimes included in the Accipitriformes.)


  • Rallidae rails and crakes
    Turnicidae buttonquails very marginal in Europe
    Gruidae cranes
    Otidae bustards


  • Haematopodidae oystercatchers
  • Recurvirostridae avocets and stilts
  • Burhinidae thick-knees
  • Glareolidae coursers and pratincoles
  • Charadrfidae plovers
  • Scolopacidae typical waders or shorebirds
  • Stercoraracidae skuas
  • Laridae gulls
  • Sternidae terns
  • Alcidae auks




  • Psittacidae parrots introduced only


  • Cuculidae cuckoos


  • Tytonidae barn owls
  • Strigidae owls




  • Alcedinidae kingfishers
  • Meropidae bee-eaters
  • Coraciidae rollers
  • Upupidae Hoopoe


  • Picidae woodpeckers

Passeriformes perching birds

  • Alaudidae larks
    Hirundinidae swallows and martins
    Motacillidae wagtails and pipits
    Bombycillidae waxwings
    Cinclidae dippers
    Troglodytidae wrens
    Prunellidae accentors
    Turdidae thrushes and chats
    Sylviidae Old World warblers
    Regulidae kinglets
    Muscicapidae Old World flycatchers
    Timaliidae Bearded Tit (and babblers, not in Europe)
    Aegithalidae long-tailed tits
    Paridae tits
    Sittidae nuthatches
    Tichodromadidae Wallcreeper
    Certhiidae treecreepers
    Remizidae penduline tits
    Oriolidae orioles
    Laniidae shrikes
    Corvidae crows and jays
    Sturnidae starlings
    Passeridae sparrows
    Estrildidae waxbills etc introduced
    Vireonidae vireos very rare vagrant
    Fringillidae finches
    Parulidae New World warblers very rare vagrant
    Thraupidae tanagers very rare vagrant
    Emberizidae buntings and American sparrows
    Icteridae icterids very rare vagrant

The links above lead to family accounts and hence to individual species. Taxonomy is very fluid in the age of DNA analysis, so other arrangements may be found.

See also

Home | Up | Endemism in birds | Birds of Africa | Birds of Asia | Birds of Australia | Birds of Europe

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