how many species of birds are there 2022

How many species do we share our planet with? How many of these species have we found and identified?

It is such a basic and fundamental question to understanding the world around us, but how many species do we share our planet with?

That we wouldn’t know this number, or at least have a reasonable estimate, is practically unimaginable. However, the question is still one that stumps taxonomists around the globe.

The number of species that we have identified and described versus the actual number of species is a crucial distinction. These figures are significantly different since we have only discovered a small portion of the world’s species.

The first question to address is how many species we know that we know, before looking at estimates of the total number of species. Species that we have identified and named.

The IUCN Red List tracks the number of described species and updates this figure annually based on the latest work of taxonomists. In 2021, it listed 2.13 million species on the planet. In the chart, we see the breakdown across a range of taxonomic groups – 1.05 million insects, over 11,000 birds, over 11,000 reptiles, and over 6,000 mammals.

These numbers may be a little excessive, especially for lesser-known groups like plants or fungi. This is due to the fact that certain species that have been described are actually synonyms—they are just different names for already-known species. 1 Synonyms are eliminated through an ongoing review process, and the majority are eventually eliminated; however, species are frequently added more quickly than synonyms can be located and eliminated. 2 To provide an estimate of the potential magnitude of this effect, Costello et al. According to estimates made in 2013, approximately 2020% of the species described were likely unidentified synonyms, or duplicates. 1 They estimated that the 1. 9 million species that were known at the time were actually closer to just one. 5 million unique species.

Should we presume that this 20%220%%20synonym%22%20figure%20held%20true, then our 12 million described species might actually be closer to 1. 7 million.

Nevertheless, we are aware that all of these estimates are below the true number of species. Our comprehension of the rate of species extinction and changes in global biodiversity is seriously impacted by the vast number of undiscovered species.

If we are unaware that a particular species even exists, we may also be unaware that it has already or will soon go extinct. Unavoidably, some species will become extinct before we even know they were once there.

As Robert May summarised in a paper published in Science3:

There are many different estimates of the number of species that have been determined by researchers. As May notes, there are many orders of magnitude of difference between this and anywhere from 3 to well over 100 million. According to some more recent research, this amount could reach one trillion.

Camilo Mora and associates provided one of the most frequently used estimates, estimating that there are roughly 8 7 million species on Earth today. 4 Costello et al. (2009) estimated 11 million species; Scheffers et al. (2013) estimated 5 ± 3 million; and Chapman (2009) reviewed the range in the literature. (2012) choose not to give a concrete figure at all. 5 Newer research indicates that the actual figure is likely in the billions.

Why is there such a wide range of opinions regarding the number of species?

The first challenge is even defining what a ‘species’ is. Even within well-known taxonomic groups, like birds or reptiles, the classification of species is subject to change. 6 Science continues to advance our knowledge of organisms and how they relate to one another. This could refer to “splitting” a species into several or “combining” “separate species” into one. One glaring illustration of this was when the Red-bellied Pitta, which was once a single bird species, was divided into twelve different species by a BirdLife International Review.

Developing estimates for groups with less research than mammals, birds, and reptiles is the second challenge. The majority of the differences are found in fungi, insects, and other smaller microbial species. It is clearly difficult to come to an agreement on such tiny and inaccessible lifeforms. While there are 350,000–400,000 described species of beetles, there are only 6000–7000 known species of mammals. 7.

For bacteria and archaea, the largest area of uncertainty in species estimates is This can range from mere thousands to billions. 8 A 2017 paper by Larsen et al. According to estimates, there are between one and six billion species on Earth, of which bacteria account for 90% or more. 9.

To be honest, we don’t really know the answer to the question, “How many species are there?” Estimates range from a few million to billions, covering several orders of magnitude. Most recent estimates lean towards the higher range. The largest area of uncertainty relates to small lifeforms, such as bacteria and archaea, of which we have only partially described.

In February 2024, this article was updated with additional discussion on the uncertainty of global species population estimates.

Numerous individuals and organizations have contributed to our articles and data visualizations. Please mention the supporting data sources in your citations of this article. This article can be cited as:

We Can Bend the Curve to Bring Birds Back

According to research published in Science in 2019, the United States and Canada have lost 3 billion breeding birds since 1970, or one in four birds. With new scales of conservation actions that benefit not only birds but wildlife and people as well, this sharp decline in abundance can be reversed. When birds thrive, we all win.

Action Needed—70 Bird Species Are at a Tipping Point

The State of the Birds 2022 report warns of sharp declines in bird populations in almost every habitat. According to the report, 70 Tipping Point species have seen a decline in breeding populations of at least half since 1970 and are projected to see another decline in breeding populations of at least half in the next 50 years.

Therefore, let’s assist birds before they become endangered, before it takes decades of effort, additional funding, and protections to bring them back. The quickest and most successful course of action is proactive conservation, and the time to act is now.


How many bird species are there in the world 2022?

Currently, there are 10,824 species of bird described in the world, depending on the source of information. However, this does not imply there are “ONLY” 10,824 species of bird. It means that scientists have either described or recognized “ONLY” 10,824 species of bird.

Are there 400 billion birds?

The number they came up with was 200 to 400 billion individual birds. Compared to 5 billion people, this amounts to about 40 to 60 birds per person.

What is the number 1 killer of birds?

Min Range
Median/Avg. Estimated
Electrocutions Loss et al. 2014c
Burning -Solar Towers
Cats Loss et al. 2013a

How many species of birds are on Earth today?

Birds: a treasure of biodiversity According to the International Ornithological Committee, there are an estimated 11,000 different species of birds in the world classified into 44 Orders, 253 Families, and 2,384 Genera. However, most estimates hover at around the 10,000 mark.