National Geographic Society Newsroom

Top 25 Birds of Europe

Wild Bird Trust presents the Top 25 Birds of Europe. Europe is a fairly species poor continent, with about 700 birds recorded. European bird populations are under severe threat from human development, particularly agriculture. A recent review found one third of all birds in Europe to be threatened. Even common birds like the European Turtle...

Wild Bird Trust presents the Top 25 Birds of Europe. Europe is a fairly species poor continent, with about 700 birds recorded. European bird populations are under severe threat from human development, particularly agriculture. A recent review found one third of all birds in Europe to be threatened. Even common birds like the European Turtle Dove has declined drastically, with their population dropping 90% since the 1980s. While overall Europe’s birds are in trouble,  some are bouncing back. Thanks to conservation efforts, birds like the Great Bustard and Common Cranes are recovering.

Here we present 25 of the birds that occur in Europe, we hope you enjoy our selection! Keep an eye on our Facebook page for the them for next week’s Top 25 contest.

The Eurasian Coot adapts well to eutrophic water bodies and man-made environments, as a result their population has expanded in Europe (Edwin Godinho)
Willow grouse In the true Arctic will spend up to 17 hours of the day in their snow burrows (Judi Fenson)
A juvenile Greater Flamingo photographed in Ankara, turkey by Zafer Tekin
The Eurasian Blue Tit is a common garden bird, they especially favour gardens with bird feeders! (Giuliano Mandeli)
The Eurasian Golden Oriole prefers woodland habitats, they are rarely found in areas without trees (Christian Bagnol)
Over the last 60 years, the population density of Whinchats in western Europe has dropped by 50%, this is largely due to the intensification of agriculture (Edwin Godinho)
A European Bee-eater snacking on a Painted Lady butterfly in Bulgaria (Terry Ayling)
A Cattle Egret strides through the dewy grass in Italy (Giuliano Mandelli)
A Northern Gannet breeding pair greeting one another in yorkshire. These pairs often stay together for multiple seasons, perhaps even for their whole life (Edwin Godinho)
A Eurasian Hoopoe photographed in Camargue, France by Christian Bagnol
The Chukar Partridge is native to eastern Europe and central Asia. There are also a number of introduced populations, in the USA, New Zealand and South Africa (Owen Deutsch)
A European Roller in its breeding range in Northern Greece (Antonis Tsaknakis)
The Glossy Ibis’s in Africa and Australia are resident but populations in Europe migrate to Asia for the winter (Christian Bagnol)
Goldcrests eat tiny insects like springtails and aphids (Oana Badiu)
An Osprey with a freshly caught fish in Sweden (Jorg Asmus)
European Robins are common in sub-urban gardens. They have been known to follow gardeners digging, catching insects that are disturbed (John Parkinson)
Sanderlings breed in the tundra, they breed either monogamously or polyandrously, with one female and two males (Brigette Petras)
The Sardinian Warbler occurs widely in the Mediterranean countries of Europe, this one was photographed in Mesologgi, Greece by Antonis Tsaknakis
Breeding White Storks that return to the same nest site every year tend to have higher nest success. This is mainly because older, more experienced birds tend to be more faithful to nest sites (Christian Bagnol)
Global warming is changing the vegetation in the willow grouse arctic habitats. Woody shrubs are becoming more dominant and as the grouse rely on willow shrubs, this may result in the expansion of their range (Anthony Roberts)
Eurasian Treecreepers forage ‘mouse-like’ on trees for insects (Antonis Tsaknakis)
Eurasian Oystercatchers can die in large number in years of low productivity, this is exacerbated by commercial shell fisheries catching their prey (Suranjan Mukherjee)
Common Sandpipers migrate between Eurasia and Africa, southern Asia and Australia, undertaking non-stop flights of up to 4000 km (Jorg Asmus)
A Eurasian Siskin photographed in Ivalo, Finland (Samuel Bloch)
Northern Long-eared Owls rely greatly on their hearing to hunt, they can catch prey in total darkness (Romain Bodereau)

Our mission is to build a global community around the freedom and beauty of birds in the wild as ambassadors for the natural ecosystems that they depend upon. They are the music, decoration, and character of every terrestrial habitat on the planet and have been around since the dinosaurs. They are the witnesses and ambassadors of the awesome power of nature. The wide availability of good, cheap optics has opened their world to us for the last few decades. Amazing, affordable DSLR cameras with long lenses are delivering brilliant digital bird imagery to online communities.

We are in a day-and-age during which more bird species are threatened with extinction than ever before. The Wild Birds! Revolution aims to publish the “Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week” to 1 million people every week by the end of the year. That is a revolution that will change the world! Join thousands of other weekend naturalists, photographers, birders, experts, hikers, nature-lovers, guides, scientists, conservationists and artists that share the thousands of wild bird photographs submitted to the Wild Bird Trust website and Facebook page. Thousands of wild bird enthusiasts are going out every day to photograph our planet’s beautiful birdlife. Pick up your camera, fill your bird feeder, open your heart, and join the Wild Birds! Revolution!!

Edited by Christie Craig, Campaign Manager


Top 25: Birds of America

About National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 14,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories and content. To learn more, visit or follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Meet the Author

Steve Boyes
Steve Boyes has dedicated his life to conserving Africa's wilderness areas and the species that depend upon them. After having worked as a camp manager and wilderness guide in the Okavango Delta and doing his PhD field work on the little-known Meyer's Parrot, Steve took up a position as a Centre of Excellence Postdoctoral Fellow at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology. He has since been appointed the Scientific Director of the Wild Bird Trust and is a 2014 TED Fellow. His work takes him all over Africa, but his day-to-day activities are committed to South Africa's endemic and Critically Endangered Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus). Based in Hogsback Village in the Eastern Cape (South Africa), Steve runs the Cape Parrot Project, which aims to stimulate positive change for the species through high-quality research and community-based conservation action. When not in Hogsback, Steve can be found in the Okavango Delta where he explores remote areas of this wetland wilderness on "mokoros" or dug-out canoes to study endangered bird species in areas that are otherwise inaccessible. Steve is a 2013 National Geographic Emerging Explorer for his work in the Okavango Delta and on the Cape Parrot Project.