BIRDS IN THE WORLD: 400 BILLION; 10,000+ SPECIES of BIRDS; LISTS FOR 200 COUNTRIES, coded for Abundance, Breeding, Migration, Wintering, Endemic

How Many Birds in the World?

10,000 to 13,000 bird species and 200 to 400 billion individual birds  are the rough estimates to the question of how many birds in the world. However, the question about the number of bird species in the world, depends on the taxonomist you ask. There are the splitters, who like to classify every group of birds with some kind of different characteristic as a different species. They list more than 13,000 species. And then there are the "bunchers". They like to keep things simple and only want to recognize  species with very clear distinctions as species. Their list fluctuates around 10,000 species of birds worldwide. That situation lasted for about 2 centuries, starting in the early 1800s when people like Adubon and John Gould started describing the birds of the USA.


But now, for a little over a decade or so, a new brand of taxonomists arose for all species of animals and plants alike: The geneticists. One species at the time they have started to analyse the DNS of closely related species and on the basis of their analysis, new species have been added and other closely related species groups have been bunched. I really don't know anymore what to think. Do we have to catch a bird to take a sample of its DNA in order to identify it? Does every birdwatcher have to carry a mist net to make sure that he/she makes the proper identification? Anyway, I take no position as to how many birds in the world there are. When we built our database, we came to 10,033, by adding up all the official species lists that individual countries recognized. 


A bit of history about BIRDLIST WORLDWIDE, the oldest website providing lists of the birds of the world by country.


World's largest and most comprehensive website ABOUT BIRDS AND NATURE covers it all: 2000 pages about birds, nature, birdwatching, where to go birding, bird and nature pictures, nature conservation, equipment, bird feeding, etc. Let me tell you a bit why and how it all started. First a bit about myself. For a long time, BIRDLIST WORLDWIDE was a fairly anonymous website about birds of the world by country. But then I thought, maybe you, the web visitor, might actually like to know a bit about who is behind these lists of the bird of the world. So let me introduce myself. I am Daan Vreugdenhil, have a PhD in conservation ecology, and dedicated the 4 decades of my career to the conservation of nature, for which I visited some 80 countries and learned to speak 6 foreign languages, my native language being Dutch.


The idea of making a website about the birds of the world by country occurred to me in the mid-nineties when there were still no non-commercial websites on line, providing bird information by country. As a lifetime conservation professional I was - and still am - extremely concerned about the lack of visitation in protected areas in developing countries. World wide, only a few of them enjoy a million visitors  per year or more, the majority of them located in China. the best visited areas in most countries  have a few hundred thousand of visitors per year at best and even the famous waterfalls of Iguaçu National Park on the border between Argentina and Brazil only enjoys approximately 1 million visitors per year. The vast majority of areas get no more than a few hundreds per year! With so few benefits to the countries concerned, these areas are under great threat as their forests are cut down and wildlife is being hunted to extinction.


While working full time on assisting governments in developing countries, I kept on thinking how I could show people the way to find those fabulous national parks and nature reserves, so desperate in need of visitation. One day it occurred to me that birdwatchers are the most active "ecotourists" in the international ecotourism market. And what do travelling ecotourists want: Right, the list of the all birds of the country they intend to visit. So, what if I could offer a website about Birds of the World by country? In those days, the Internet still was small compared to now, and if I remember well, there was only one site that tried to distribute data information by country from its own birding software, which needed to be purchased.



The mission of the website is to contribute to the conservation of nature and to help secure the future of all birds and other species in their natural environments by providing information about birds, protected areas, and nature across the Internet.


Bird Lists of of the World

At the time, there was no database in existence that I was aware off, so I bought the Sibley and "Monroe's A World Check list of Birds", tried to scan it, but that did not work with the software in those days. The names had to be typed by hand. So I hired a bunch of students and young biologists in Latin America to enter more than 13,000 names of species and subspecies of what at the time was  the first complete database in the world listing the birds of the world. So those were the humble beginnings.


I bought all the bird guides I could get me hands on, while my students kept coding away into that database. When I felt I had enough data, I acquired and and went on line in 1998. As the internet developed and grew, more and more data became available, and one country and one state at the time, our data from bird guides were replaced by data from country and state committees for maintaining an official list. However, each committee uses its own methodology and coding, so we had to figure out a way to interpret those data so that you, the birder could have a better idea on when to expect a bird and how great the likelihood would be to actually encounter it. 


We developed a coding system indicating abundance and residing status, such as breeding, migration, wintering, endemic, etc. So depending on the source, the original data are now in the process of being updated and interpreted to our best ability to from the most recent sources available.


Integrated web domains

The real challenge was on how to inform potential travelers to a country about the protected areas? That is why we created a domain about national parks en other protected areas. Moreover, we have tons of really good information on nature and nature conservation. Our most important domain are:


The World Institute for Conservation and Environment, WICE

Originally incorporated (created) in 1989 to support a conservation effort to rescue the greatly threatened Cuyabeno Wildlife reserve with more visitation, by the mid nineties, the World Institute for Conservation and Environment expanded its orientation as it took charge of the creation and hosting of the websites you are now enjoying. It has been involved in many conservation efforts, the latest being the incorporation of the Adopt A Ranger Foundation.


Lists of Birds of the World and other languages

Having traveled to and worked in so many countries, I learned how most people struggle with the names of birds in other languages, so I started collecting names of species in local languages. In fact, it is the single most important obstacle for people to learn recognizing different species. How can you remember and distinguish them, if you can't name them? So far we collected the names of birds in some 20 languages, and completing the entire lists of the List of Birds of the World in Spanish, French, German and Dutch, while some volunteers are currently working on the Portuguese names. I have also put a lot of effort to have at least some key texts in some of the more common European languages. This has been criticized at times by some, always being native English speakers, who of course are completely happy being served in their own language. Well, sorry Anglos, there are more languages around than you learned in school :)


I hope you enjoy our websites, which has been completely created with my own money and lots of un-paid late night hours. If you want to volunteer a bit of your time by helping translating a page or two or by any other way you like, please send me an email.

Dr. Ir. Daan Vreugdenhil





Thank you for visiting BIRDLIST WORLDWIDE about Bird lists of the world. In this linked net of country pages you can find lists of birds, nature, mammals and national parks. About birds Lists of the World provides a bird lists of all countries of the world. There are complete bird lists by country and where available in native languages, placed in ornithological taxonomic order. Together these lists genrate how many birds in the world exist. In All about Birds of the World you can find nature related websites, like about birding, birdwatching, general ornithology, nature, nature conservation, national parks, protected areas, nature reserves, etc.




BIRD LISTS WORLDWIDE is a website of the World Institute for Conservation and Environment, WICE. It is an integrated network of web sites dealing with different topics on nature, nature conservation and natural resources management. Read here why we created  BIRD LISTS WORLWIDE. Our Methodology explains how we produced our information. Our Web Map helps you find your way in the website and the sitemap has all pages. We made this website out of passion for conservation. We spent our own salaries and free time gathering information and publish it online, in total valuing hundreds of thousands of dollars of professional time. Nobody pays us to do this. We simply want to contribute to conservation. If you appreciate our work, PLEASE visit our site Adopt A Ranger and see how you can make a difference for conservation most effectively: By paying one day of the salary of a ranger, you will make a difference in conserving the lives of thousands of birds, other critters and entire forests. Check our sitemap. Enjoy!


Parks Man Dr. Daan Vreugdenhil is author of this website. He dedicated his life to the conservation of nature., He was part of the team that selected the first 39 protected areas of Ecuador, including. Yasuní and Cuyabeno, the latter of which he he later recommended to be expanded from originally 150,000ha to 600,000ha, together with then Cuyabeno director Prof. Dr. Flavio Coello and Parks and Tribes partner. Daan is also the founding father of the Cuyabeno Lodge and co-manager of the Cofan Lodge.

This website and its programs have been created by the renowned conservation biologist "Parks Man" Dr. Daan Vreugdenhil

What makes us different from so many other tour operators?

We are professional explorers and biologists with MSc and PhD.


National Parks Tours Worldwide, a social responsibility and conservation company, is a brand name of the World Institute for Conservation & Environment, registered in the Netherlands with headquarters in the USA.


Phone USA: (++)(1) 304 - 581 - 7740


Skype: ecotravelworldwide