Bird Distribution

By Dave Hanks

I distinctly remember the text book I was given in my first year of teaching. The numbers of animal (and plant) species given were way less than what the facts actually are. Thank goodness, I became more knowledgeable as I grew older and now question things I read in any book.

Birds are some of the more numerous animals in the world. I guess that is why they receive more of my attention – although I like mammals equally as much. There are around 9000 bird species on this planet, with the most widespread species being predators. A species will usually disburse (if not impeded by barriers) to any location where they can find conditions that they can survive in.

Listed in order, from the fewest species to the most, are the six bird regions of the earth:

North America (Nearctic Region) = 650 species

Europe, Northern Asia, and Sahara (Palaearctic Region) = 750 species

Australia (Australian Region) = 1,200 species

Southern Asia (Oriental Region) = 1,500 species

Africa (Ethiopian Region) = 1,900 species

South and Central America (Neotropical Region) = 2,900 species

As you can see, our region has the fewest birds - while the numbers in South America can be overwhelming. There are many species, of all forms of life, in the Amazon jungle that have never even been classified yet.

Pictured is the ENGLISH ROBIN. This is a very common bird to be found all over Europe. The American Robin has been named after it, although the two species have little in common other than a reddish breast and the fact that humans do not affect either species. The English Robin is in the CHAT Family, while ours is a THRUSH. Ours is also much larger than this little European bird. The English Robin was originally called a Redbreast; it later became the Robin Redbreast, and finally the English Robin.

I have often wondered why some animals have the names they sport, when the name doesn’t seem to fit the species.

(The English Robin – Small and plump)