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What Are Birds Classified As – Understanding Avian Taxonomy

There are more than 10,000 different species of birds in the world. And they are divided into different groups based on how they look or their anatomical appearance.

So what are birds classified as? Birds are classified as the biological class Aves in Linnaean taxonomy. Rather than focusing on behavioral traits, birds primarily classified their non-revolutionary traits. There are a total of 42 orders where all different species of birds can be found. For ease of identification, each type of bird has its own scientific name. 

Birds are also divided into categories based on intelligence, hunting skill, speed, beauty, etc. Read on to learn all in detail. 


What Are Birds Classified As?

A bird’s physiological characteristics determine its classification. Birds are classified as members of the Aves family of vertebrates. Approximately 10,000 species of birds have been identified. 

These 10,000 species of birds are divided into several groups, the most common classification divides them into around 42 orders.

The groups Palaeognathae and Neognathae make up the two subgroups of contemporary birds. Birds that cannot fly are classified as Palaeognathae, while all others are classified as Neognathae. 

Additionally, the group is divided into more subgroups, including Inopinaves, Aequorlitornithes, Columbaves, Gruiformes, and Strisores.

With more than half of all bird species belonging to the order Passeriformes (perching birds), this group contains the most species of birds. With around 344 species, the order Columbiformes (which includes pigeons and doves) has the smallest number of bird species.

Binomial Nomenclature and taxonomy of birds

Bionomic names are used to identify organisms, and each species is given two distinct parts to its name. The genus is the first part of the name, and the species is the second. Turdus migratorius, for instance, is the scientific name for the American Robin bird.

The scientific community frequently uses this naming scheme, which was first developed by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in the 18th century. This naming system reduces the possibility of confusion and offers a straightforward and precise way to describe birds. 

The taxonomy of birds is as follows according to Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) report:

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: (numerous families, such as Columbiformes, etc.)

Family: (numerous families, such as Columbidae, etc.)

Genus: (numerous families, such as Columba, etc.)

Species: (numerous families, such as Columba livia, etc.)

What Are The Features Of Birds?

Birds of different species have unique characteristics, yet they possess certain common features. Some birds, for instance, have wings but are unable to fly, while others are better at running than flying. 

Regardless of their species, birds have distinct features such as beaks, wings, feathers, and eggs. Here are some common features of birds


Feathers are found in all birds. Feathers are a distinguishing feature of birds and are critical to their survival. They provide insulation to help the bird regulate its body temperature, aid in flight, and aid in attracting mates through courtship displays. There are no known species of birds without feathers.


Wings are essential to birds because they are what distinguishes them as such. Wings allow for flight, enabling birds to soar through the air, hunt for food, flee from danger, and migrate over great distances. 

They play an important role in a bird’s survival and adaptation to its environment as essential parts of its anatomy.


Bill is another word for the beak. Some bird species have excessively large beaks. For example, songbirds have smaller beaks, while marine birds have longer beaks. 

Beaks can also be thin, thick, sharp, or blunt. Birds use their beaks for a variety of purposes. They mostly use them for fighting, hunting, feeding children, bringing things, and grooming.


All birds lay eggs, which are a crucial part of their reproductive system and a good source of nutrition. The size, shape, and color of eggs can vary among different species, but all eggs have a hard outer shell to protect the developing embryo. 

Inside the egg is the yolk, where the embryo begins to develop when the egg is fertilized. Eventually, this development results in the production of a young bird.

Famous Avian Varieties

Many birds have become popular for a range of reasons, including hunting skills, beauty, and intelligence. Some of the most notable and unique birds include:

Owls: Known for their unique calls and unusual features, such as large, expressive eyes and strange body shapes, owls are often considered mysterious birds.

Peacocks: With iridescent and colorful feathers, peacocks are prized for their attractive appearance. Despite their inability to fly, they use unique movements to attract mates of the opposite gender.

Penguins: Penguins are a popular bird species for their fascinating appearance and behavior. They are flightless but have wings, making them excellent swimmers and divers. 

Their black-and-white plumage helps them blend into their surroundings and effectively hunt in the ocean. Penguins are also social and adorable, further contributing to their popularity.

Parrots: Parrots are popular birds due to their remarkable intelligence and ability to mimic human speech and other sounds. These social and friendly birds are often kept as pets and are prized for their beautiful and vibrant plumage. 

Parrots possess strong cognitive skills and have been extensively studied for their problem-solving abilities. With their talent for mimicry, parrots are truly unique and captivating birds.


Here are additional questions regarding bird classification. If you want to know more, don’t skip this.

Are birds classified based on their behavior?

No, birds are primarily classified based on their physical characteristics, such as anatomy, beak shape, feathers, body structure, and DNA. Behavioral characteristics play a lesser role in bird classification and primarily serve as supplementary information.

How many different bird species are there in the USA?

In the United States, about 800 different species of birds have been identified. These include migratory birds, common backyard birds, endangered species, and common dangers. Despite not being precise, the number can occasionally be high or low.

Are there flightless birds native to the Americas

Yes, there are few flightless birds that are native to America. Greater Rhea is one of them. Additionally, this is the largest flightless bird in America. Steamer Duck is another remarkable flightless bird. You can also find Weka & Penguin, Cassowary, and Kakapo in this list.

Final Words

We hope the answer to the question of what are birds classified as was satisfactory. There are over ten thousand different bird species. Which are divided into several groups based on physical characteristics, particularly anatomical factors. 

Every bird has its own binomial name and belongs to a specific taxonomy. Although bird classification provides a wealth of useful information, many species remain unknown. Knowing the groups of birds aids in understanding their characteristics.

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