Have you ever seen one bird and then find yourself seeing the same type of bird over and over? There are some species that are certainly much higher in population for various reasons. No matter what country you’re in, there tends to be one type of bird that has a much higher population than the rest.
When you take the entire world into consideration, though, which birds have the highest population? There’s a unique blend of birds on the list, ranging from songbirds to ones that are eaten on a daily basis. Here’s a look at the five birds with the highest global population, how many there are, and how population numbers are controlled.
There are approximately 34 billion chickens spanning worldwide as of 2022. Making domesticated chickens the most populous bird on the planet. This comes as no surprise to anyone, being that chickens are small, easy to raise, and eaten more than any other livestock in the world. The US is home to the largest population of chickens, over 9 billion.
Native to sub-Saharan Africa, the Red-Billed Quelea population has reached an astounding 1.5 billion. The small birds are on average no bigger than 4.7 inches long and weigh less than an ounce. Farmers in the region deem them as pests, similar to locusts, due to their feeding habits consisting of sorghum, wheat, rice, corn, and many of their other crops.
Mourning Doves are known for their appearances at funerals, symbolizing letting go of a loved one after passing. It’s estimated that there are nearly 350 million Mourning Doves within North America. Their overbreeding, resulting in their dense population, make them prime for hunting and remain the most plentiful game bird in the region. Hunters make out with about 20 million birds after hunting season ceases.
The American Robin is one of the most plentiful species of undomesticated bird within North America, second to the Mourning Dove, with an estimated 311 million scattered throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The American Robin is the state bird of Michigan, Connecticut, and Wisconsin due to their beauty, their impressively colored eggs, and making themselves constant visitors in residents’ backyards.
The Common Pheasant is just that, common, with over 50 million birds worldwide before hunting season begins in early October. The hunting season ends in early February and can bring the Common Pheasant population down to 5 million. The species, of which there are about 50, are native to parts of Asia and Europe, having been introduced to different parts of the world throughout the years for sport. They’re often used for their meat, as they’re easy to butcher and have a similar look and taste to chicken.
The striking Red-Winged Blackbird has a population of up to 150 million in North America. Their breeding grounds mostly consist in Canada and occupy all of the United States and most of Mexico year round. They feed on corn, rice, seeds, insects, as well as small fruits and berries. To farmers, they’re seen as mild pests, but do some good by consuming insects that may attempt to infest and ruin their crops.
Another extremely populous species of bird, the Chipping Sparrow, has grown in numbers over the years and has reached about 1 billion birds. Chipping Sparrows are not deemed as pests, or game birds and are relatively tame, helpful birds that aid in the prevention of invasive insects. They primarily occupy North America as well as parts of Central America in woodlands, parks, and forest areas. Often foraging for their meals, consisting of seeds, small fruits, and of course insects.