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How Many Species of Birds Are There in the World? (2024 Update)

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group of birds perching

With just one glance outside, you can see dozens of birds. Wait a couple of minutes, and you can see hundreds of birds flying or foraging for food. Because of how many birds there are just in your backyard, it’s no shock that there are thousands of bird species around the world.

How many species of birds are there? According to most studies, there are around 10,000 species of birds around the globe. Just in the United States, there are over 1,000 species. Because of how many species of birds there are, birds are considered one of the most abundant animal types on the planet.

To learn more about how many species of birds there are in the world, read on. This article looks at how many species there are, how many individual birds there are, and how many are extinct or endangered. Scroll down for more.

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How Many Species of Birds Are There?

According to experts at Princeton University, there is an estimated 9,700 bird species in the world, though there remains some debate about whether this number is correct. According to BirdLife.org, there are nearly 11,000 species worldwide.

Although the specifics about how many bird species there are in the world differs, nearly all estimates hover around the 10,000 species ballpark. So, it’s safe to say that there are around 10,000 bird species around the entire globe.

crane birds
Image By: Piqsels

How Many Birds Are There in The World?

10,000 is only the estimate for bird species. That does not tell us how many individual birds there are on the planet. According to National Geographic’s most recent data in 2021, there is anywhere between 50 billion and 430 billion individual birds on the Earth.

Based on these numbers, there is a 380 billion bird gap in the estimated range, which is obviously less than exact. Even though these imprecise results can be bit annoying, it makes sense why experts can’t give a more exact answer.

There are many uncertainties at play when estimating the number of birds around the globe. Because birds are small and fly, it’s impossible to count each bird one by one. Not to mention, many areas of the world are poorly charted in terms of bird diversity, leaving even more room for doubt.

flock of birds
Image Credit: Piqsels

Related Read: 15 Types of Crane Bird Species

Global Bird Status

Status Number Of Species in 2020 In 2021
Extinct 159
Extinct in the wild 5
Critically endangered 223 221
Endangered 460 459
Vulnerable 798 797
Near threatened 1001 995
Least concern 8460 8427
Data deficient 52 51

BirdLife International updated their State of the World’s Birds for 2021. With this update, they list the diversity and bird goals around the globe. From this content, you can learn about the status of different species.

How Many Bird Species Are Endangered?

According to this research, around 1,481 species are classified as globally threatened. This includes critically endangered, endangered, and vulnerable species. Although this is a large number, each category is down species from the year before. There are 2 less critically endangered species, 1 less endangered species, and 2 less vulnerable species, showing slight improvement from 2020.

great white pelicans
Image Credit: Andrei Prodan, Pixabay

Related Read: 25 Most Beautiful Birds of Prey in the World (With Pictures)

How Many Bird Species Are Extinct?

They estimate that there are 159 bird species that went extinct and 5 extinct bird species in the wild. This exact number varies from site to site, but they are similar everywhere.

The difference between extinct and extinct in the wild is a subtle one. For a species to be classified as “extinct,” there are no more individuals of that species in captivity or the wild. Whenever there are no more individuals in the wild but there are some in captivity, the species is considered “extinct in the wild.”

You might also be interested in: 9 Fascinating Rainforest Birds (With Pictures)


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Final Thoughts

Even though we can’t say for certain how many species of birds populate the Earth, our best guess is around 10,000 species. Even though several studies differ on the exact number of species, nearly all estimate around 10,000.

Based on 2021 data, more nations are taking bird diversity seriously. As we learned, the status of many species is improving, providing hope that the bird diversity is only increasing – not that we necessarily need more birds. Afterall, there are billions of them everywhere!

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Featured Image Credit: Bonnie Taylor Barry, Shutterstock

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.