Common North American urban birds

Birds you might expect to see or hear in an urban landscape

Sometimes you see birds only as a dark shape against a lighter background, you don't see the colors or markings very well. Knowing a little about general bird shape, size, and some characteristic ways of moving, as well as what kinds of birds to expect seeing, can help you to tell what kind of bird it is without seeing all of the details.

There are several kinds of birds that are most commonly seen in urban areas in the United States. Links to species accounts for each of these birds follows, accompanied by a short description of characteristic behaviors or shapes.

European starlings

house sparrows

pigeons or rock doves

American robins

mourning doves

American crows

and various kinds of gulls, particularly near large bodies of water.

University of Michigan Museum of ZoologyNational Science Foundation

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BioKIDS is sponsored in part by the Interagency Education Research Initiative. It is a partnership of the University of Michigan School of Education, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, and the Detroit Public Schools. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant DRL-0628151.
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