Perching Birds



19 records

With over 5,000 identified species, it has roughly twice as many species as the largest of the mammal orders. It contains over 110 families, the second most of any order of vertebrates.

Most Perching Birds are smaller. The heaviest and altogether largest are the Thick-billed Raven weighing 1.5 kg and measures 70 cm. The Superb Lyrebird and some Birds-of-Paradise, measures around 110 cm due to very long tails. The smallest Perching Bird is the Short-tailed Pygmy-Tyrant, measuring 6.5 cm and weighing 4.2 grams.

The foot of a passerine has three toes directed forward and one toe directed backwards. This arrangement enables the birds to perch upon vertical surfaces, such as trees and cliffs. The toes have no webbing or joining, but in some cotingas the second and third toes are united at their basal third. The hind toe joins the leg at the same level as the front toes. In other orders of birds the toe arrangement is different. The leg muscle of Perching Birds contains a special adaption for perching. It will automatically tighten and become stiff, if the bird starts to lose hold of the branch on which it is perching. This enables them to sleep while perching without falling off. This is especially useful for birds that develop nocturnal lifestyles.

Most passerine birds develop twelve tail feathers. Certain species have stiff tail feathers, which help the birds balance themselves when perching upon vertical surfaces.

The chicks of passerines are altricial; blind, featherless, and helpless when hatched from their eggs. This requires that the chicks receive a lot of parental care. Most perching birds lay coloured eggs.


Babblers, Starlings (Mynas)

Total Records: 26

Babblers live in communities of around a dozen birds, jointly defending a territory. Many even breed communally, with a dominant pair building a nest, and the remainder helping to defend and rear their young. Starlings have strong feet, their flight is strong and direct, and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country, and they eat insects and fruit. Several species live around human habitation and are effectively omnivores.

Chats, Thrushes, Blackbirds

Total Records: 49

Small to medium-sized songbirds with stocky build and short, strong but slender bills, stout legs, and relatively short wings; great variety in color, many larger thrushes more or less spotted beneath, smaller chats varying from plain and brown to boldly patterned and colorful

Crows, Treepies

Total Records: 12

Corvids display remarkable intelligence for animals of their size and are among the most intelligent birds. They are medium to large in size, with strong feet and bills and rictal bristles. Corvids are found worldwide except for the tip of South America and the polar ice caps.

Cuckooshrikes, Minivets

Total Records: 5

Cuckooshrikes are not closely related to either the cuckoos or to the shrikes; the name probably comes from the grey colour of many of the cuckooshrikes. The minivets are belonging to the genus Pericrocotus in the cuckooshrike. There are about 15 species, occurring mainly in forests in southern and eastern Asia. They are fairly small, slender birds with long tails and an erect posture.

Finches, Cardinals

Total Records: 26

Canaries belong to the family Fringillidae, or true finches, along with goldfinches and siskins. Many of the finches belong to famiy Estrildidae. One of the most notable differences between these two families is the shape of their nests. In general, however, they share similar physical characteristics such as the shape of their beaks and their small size.

Flowerpeckers, Sunbirds

Total Records: 136

Flowerpeckers ad sunbirds are distributed through tropical southern Asia and Australasia from India east to the Philippines and south to Australia. The family has a wide range occupying a wide range of environments from sea level to montane habitats. They are small, slender passerines. Many are brightly coloured, often with iridescent feathers, particularly in the males. Their range extends through most of Africa to the Middle East, South Asia, South-east Asia and southern China, to Indonesia, New Guinea and northern Australia. Species diversity is highest in equatorial regions.

Flycatchers, Tits, Warblers

Total Records: 94

Flycatchers, tits and warblers are voracious insectivores, but their hunting strategies differ. Flycatchers tend to sit and wait on an exposed perch, darting out to catch insects in mid-air. Whereas warblers & tits are small and more active insect eaters; they search leaves and flowers, moving from branch to branch to find insects.

Hornbills, Toucans, Turacos

Total Records: 21

Hornbills, Toucans, Turacos

Ioras, Leaf Birds, Bulbuls

Total Records: 18

The ioras are a small family of four species found in south and southeast Asia. The leafbirds are a family of small passerine bird species found in the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Both these were formerly grouped together with fairy-bluebirds in the family Irenidae. Bulbuls are distributed across most of Africa and into the Middle East, tropical Asia to Indonesia, and north as far as Japan. A few insular species occur on the tropical islands of the Indian Ocean.

Kingfishers, Bee-Eaters

Total Records: 15

Kingfishers are small to medium-sized, brightly colored birds having large heads, long, sharp, pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails. Bee-eaters are characterised by richly colored plumage, slender bodies, and usually elongated central tail feathers. All have long down-turned bills and medium to long wings, which may be pointed or round.

Mockingbirds, Waxwings

Total Records: 10

Mockingbirds are best known for the habit of mimicking the songs of other birds and the sounds of insects and amphibians, often loudly and in rapid succession. Waxwings are pinkish-brown and pale grey with silky plumage, a black and white eyestripe, a crest, a square-cut tail and pointed wings. Some of the wing feathers have red tips, the resemblance of which to sealing wax gives these birds their common name.

Parakeets, Macaws

Total Records: 65

Parakeet is a name for any one of a large number of unrelated small to medium sized species of parrot, that generally have long tail feathers. Parakeets breed better in groups, but are usually fine breeding in pairs. Hearing other parakeets encourages a pair to breed, which is why breeding in groups is more successful. However, many breeders choose to breed in pairs because that way they know which parents produced any given birds. Macaws are long-tailed, often colorful New World parrots. Macaws are native to Mexico, Central America, South America, and formerly the Caribbean. Most species are associated with forests, especially rainforests, but others prefer woodland or savannah-like habitats. Proportionately larger beaks, long tails, and relatively bare, light-colored, medial areas distinguish macaws. A macaws facial feather pattern is as unique as a fingerprint.

Pipits, Wagtails

Total Records: 12

Pipits are lark-like in their streaky plumage and long hind claws but smaller and more slender than larks, often longer-tailed. Wagtails are similar in form but even longer-tailed, most species more or less associated with watery habitats.

Pittas, Cuckoos

Total Records: 36

Pittas are secretive, brightly coloured birds that forage on the forest floor. They are long-legged and short-tailed with rounded wings. The cuckoos are generally medium-sized slender birds. Most species live in trees, though a sizeable minority are ground-dwelling.

Rollers, Jays, Hoopoes

Total Records: 8

Rollers resemble crows in size and build, and share the colourful appearance of kingfishers and bee-eaters, blues and pinkish or cinnamon browns predominating.

Shrikes, Orioles, Drongos

Total Records: 45

Shrikes are medium-sized birds with grey, brown, or black and white plumage. They are known for their habit of catching insects and small vertebrates and impaling their bodies on thorns, the spikes on barbed-wire fences, or any available sharp point. This helps them to tear the flesh into smaller, more conveniently sized fragments, and serves as a cache so that the shrike can return to the uneaten portions at a later time. Oriole males are typically black and vibrant yellow or orange with white markings, females and immature birds duller. They are generally slender with long tails and a pointed bill and mainly eat insects, but also enjoy nectar and fruit. Drongos are mostly black or dark grey, short-legged birds, with an upright stance when perched. They have forked tails and some have elaborate tail decorations.

Sparrows, Buntings, Larks

Total Records: 24

The typical sparrows, buntings, and their allies comprise the subfamily Emberizinae, family Emberizidae. The emberizid sparrows and buntings occur in a great variety of habitats, and are widely distributed, occurring on all of the habitable continents except for Southeast Asia and Australia. The greatest diversity of species, however, occurs in the Americas

Swallows, Swifts

Total Records: 38

The swallow are found around the world on all continents, including occasionally in Antarctica. Highly adapted to aerial feeding, they have a distinctive appearance. Swifts are superficially similar to swallows, but are not closely related to any passerine species. Resemblances between swifts and swallows are due to convergent evolution, reflecting similar life styles based on catching insects in flight.


Total Records: 3

These are seed-eating birds with rounded conical bills, most of which are from Sub-Saharan Africa, with fewer species in tropical Asia. A few species have been introduced outside their native range. The weaver group is divided into the buffalo, sparrow, typical, and widow weavers. The males of many species are brightly coloured, usually in red or yellow and black, some species show variation in colour only in the breeding season.