Grouping by Geographical Region

As we begin to talk about the birds themselves we need to be consistent in the use of data sources. I use common names as listed in Birds of the World, Recommended English Names published by Gill & Wright on behalf of the International Ornithological Congress (IOC). Corresponding scientific names can be found from this document. In this document a brief description of the geographical region occupied by each species is given. I have prepared a table showing the way in which the families and species in the IOC listing are distributed in various parts of the world.

The IOC listing has geographic data relating to about 10,000 species belonging to about 195 families. The five major land regions are Africa, Asia with which I include India, Australia including New Zealand and Tasmania and Europe and the Americas. The number of families and percentage of the world's species can be shown in the following groups:-

GROUP FAMILIES SPECIES %
Aquatic Regions 43 11
All major land masses 17 25
Old World Regions mainly 93 34
New World Regions mainly 42 30
TOTAL 195 100

1. Aquatic Regions 11%.

The most well known birds found in the Oceans and seas are the Gulls and Terns, Petrels and Shearwaters (3%).
The most well known birds found in Inland Waters are Ducks, Geese and Swans. Rails, Crakes and Coots. Kingfishers, Sandpipers and Snipe, Plovers, Herons(8%).

2. All major land masses 25%.

The most well known groups of birds are those families which have species all the main regions of the world. They include Swifts, Swallows and Martins. Nightjars. Birds of prey including Owls. Larks, Thick-knees, Wagtails and Pipits, Pheasants and related birds. Pigeons and Doves. Parrots. Cuckoos. Thrushes. Crows, Jays and Ravens.

3. Old World Region 34%.

Other well known birds find habitats which suit them in the Old World regions include Warblers, Chats and Flycatchers, Bulbuls, Sunbirds, Cisticolas, Starlings, White-eyes. Waxbills and Monarchs. Weavers and Sparrows. Australasian Warblers, Flowerpeckers, Whistlers, Fantails, Bustards, Drongos.

4. New World Region 30%.

The most well known birds which find suitable habitats in this region include Tyrant Flycatchers, Tanagers, Hummingbirds, Ovenbirds, Antbirds, Antthrushes, Antpittas, Warblers, Blackbirds, Cotingas, Tinamous, Woodcreepers, Vireos, Sparrows, Greenlets, Grosbeaks and Saltators.