You may see sparrows, cardinals, and pigeons non-stop. But the most common wild bird in the world actually lives in Africa. Now, it won’t be common for all of us to see, but it’s the most abundant wild bird, meaning there are more of these birds than any other birds.
What is the most common wild bird?
The most common wild bird in the world, in terms of its sheer abundance, is the Red-billed Quelea.
These birds live in sub-Saharan Africa (south of the Sarahan Desert). And they don’t just fly in flocks, they fly in massive hordes. In fact, if you see a group of these birds, you’re probably looking at 2 million or more in one flock.
According to the Audobon Society (cited below): “They fly in such tightly synchronized masses they can be mistaken at a distance for clouds of smoke.”
How many Red-billed Quelea are there?
It’s estimated that there are around 1.5 billion Red-billed Quelea out there. That makes them the most abundant wild bird in the world. Of course, they’re not common in North America, but if you took all the birds in the world and put them together, the number of Red-billed Quelea would dwarf the populations of most other wild birds.
The Red-billed Quelea is the size of a sparrow and is brown for the most part. Like most birds, the males are more colorful. They often have red and black feathers on their heads.
These birds eat seeds, which they crack open with their beaks. But unfortunately for farmers, they are drawn to crops like millet. And as you can imagine, having 2 million birds descend on your field for a meal can easily strip you of your income.
At times, “Single colonies can cover hundreds of acres, totaling tens of millions of birds,” according to Audobon.
Unfortunately, their tastes include cultivated crops, like millet. But the enormous growth of cereal crops in sub-Saharan Africa has likely led to the birds’ proliferation. — WTF fun facts
Source: “What Is the Most Abundant Wild Bird in the World?” — Audobon Society