Common Bird Types

Tufted Titmouse

With so many bird species, how can you begin to know them? Start with the basic types.

You likely know a number of common birds, like an American Robin or Bald Eagle. But how to grow your knowledge with so many different species out there? One easy way is to break them down into basic, common groups that share similar traits. Below is a brief description of some of the more common bird groups. 

The largest group with half of all bird species; includes warblers, sparrows, robins, nuthatches, and many more.


Northern Cardinal

Swimming birds and waterfowl

Live in water or nearby; includes ducks and loons.

Mallard Duck

Wading birds

Have longs for wading in water; includes herons, egrets, ibis, storks, and cranes.

Great Blue Heron


Meat-eating birds that like to soar in the sky; includes eagles, falcons, hawks, and vultures.

Red-tailed Hawk


Meat-eating birds that feed at night.

Great-horned Owl


A distinctive group that climb tree trucks and hit wood.

Downy Woodpecker


Another distinctive group that hover at flowers and are tiny.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird


Found over bodies of water, along the coastlines or out at sea; includes gulls, pelicans, and terns.


Pigeons and doves

Large-chested birds with short legs and small heads.

Rock Pigeon

Turkey-like birds

Includes wild turkeys, partridge, quail, and grouse.

Wild Turkey

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