More than 70% of all bird species – over 5,000 species altogether – are perching birds, or Passerines. They have feet with three toes pointing forwards and one backwards, to help them cling to a perch.
Perching birds sing – this means that their call is not a single sound, but a sequence of musical notes.
Songbirds, such as thrushes, warblers and nightingales, are perching birds with especially attractive songs.
Usually only male songbirds sing – and mainly in the mating season, to warn off rivals and attract females.
Sparrows are small perching birds found in many parts of the world. Sparrows are seed-eaters with the house sparrow specializing in grain. Changes in farming practices are thought to account for this bird’s dramatic decline in numbers in Britain.
Starlings often gather on overhead cables ready to migrate.
Sparrows are small, plump birds, whose chirruping song is familiar almost everywhere.
Starlings are very common perching birds which often gather in huge flocks, either to feed or to roost.
All the millions of European starlings in North America are descended from 100 set free in New York’s Central Park in the 1890s.
Many perching birds, including mynahs, are talented mimics. The lyre bird of southeastern Australia can imitate car sirens and chainsaws, as well as other birds.
The red-billed quelea of Africa is the world’s most abundant bird. There are over 1.5 billion of them.