List of birds of Belgium
This is a list of the bird species recorded in Belgium. The avifauna of Belgium include a total of 436 species, of which nine have been introduced by humans, and 195 are rare or accidental. Also, one species listed is extirpated in Belgium and are not included in the species count. Eleven species are globally threatened.
This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) follow the conventions of The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 6th edition. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflect this taxonomy, as do the species counts found in each family account. Introduced and accidental species are included in the total counts for Belgium.
The following tags have been used to highlight several categories. The commonly occurring native species do not fall into any of these categories.
- (A) Accidental - a species that rarely or accidentally occurs in Belgium
- (I) Introduced - a species introduced to Belgium as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions
- (Ex) Extirpated - a species that no longer occurs in Belgium although populations exist elsewhere
Loons, known as divers in Europe, are a group of aquatic birds found in many parts of North America and northern Europe. They are the size of a large duck or small goose, which they somewhat resemble when swimming, but to which they are completely unrelated. There are 5 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in Belgium.
Red-throated loon, Gavia stellata
Arctic loon, Gavia arctica
Common loon, Gavia immer (A)
Yellow-billed loon, Gavia adamsii (A)
Grebes are small to medium-large freshwater diving birds. They have lobed toes and are excellent swimmers and divers. However, they have their feet placed far back on the body, making them quite ungainly on land. There are 20 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in Belgium.
Little grebe, Tachybaptus ruficollis
Red-necked grebe, Podiceps grisegena
Great crested grebe, Podiceps cristatus
Horned grebe, Podiceps auritus (A)
Eared grebe, Podiceps nigricollis
Shearwaters and petrels
The procellariids are the main group of medium-sized "true petrels", characterised by united nostrils with medium septum and a long outer functional primary. There are 75 species worldwide and 7 species which occur in Belgium.
Northern fulmar, Fulmarus glacialis (A)
Cory's shearwater, Calonectris borealis (A)
Great shearwater, Ardenna gravis (A)
Sooty shearwater, Ardenna griseus (A)
Manx shearwater, Puffinus puffinus (A)
Balearic shearwater, Puffinus mauretanicus (A)
The storm petrels are relatives of the petrels and are the smallest seabirds. They feed on planktonic crustaceans and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. The flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like.
Boobies and gannets
Northern gannet, Morus bassanus (A)
Phalacrocoracidae is a family of medium to large coastal, fish-eating seabirds that includes cormorants and shags. Plumage colouration varies, with the majority having mainly dark plumage, some species being black-and-white and a few being colourful.
Great cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo
European shag, Phalacrocorax aristotelis (A)
Pygmy cormorant, Microcarbo pygmeus (A)
Bitterns, herons and egrets
The family Ardeidae contains the bitterns, herons and egrets. Herons and egrets are medium to large wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more wary. Members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted, unlike other long-necked birds such as storks, ibises and spoonbills.
Grey heron, Ardea cinerea
Purple heron, Ardea purpurea
Great egret, Ardea alba
Little egret, Egretta garzetta (A)
Squacco heron, Ardeola ralloides (A)
Indian pond heron, Ardeola grayii (A)
Cattle egret, Bubulcus ibis (A)
Black-crowned night heron, Nycticorax nycticorax
Little bittern, Ixobrychus minutus
Great bittern, Botaurus stellaris
Ibises and spoonbills
Threskiornithidae is a family of large terrestrial and wading birds which includes the ibises and spoonbills. They have long, broad wings with 11 primary and about 20 secondary feathers. They are strong fliers and despite their size and weight, very capable soarers.
Storks are large, long-legged, long-necked, wading birds with long, stout bills. Storks are mute, but bill-clattering is an important mode of communication at the nest. Their nests can be large and may be reused for many years. Many species are migratory. There are 19 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Belgium.
Ducks, geese and swans
Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These birds are adapted to an aquatic existence with webbed feet, flattened bills, and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to an oily coating. There are 131 species worldwide and 47 species which occur in Belgium.
- Mute swan, Cygnus olor
- Whooper swan, Cygnus cygnus
- Tundra swan, Cygnus columbianus
- Bean goose, Anser fabalis (A)
- Pink-footed goose, Anser brachyrhynchus (A)
- Greater white-fronted goose, Anser albifrons
- Lesser white-fronted goose, Anser erythropus (A)
- Greylag goose, Anser anser
- Snow goose, Chen caerulescens
- Brant, Branta bernicla
- Barnacle goose, Branta leucopsis
- Canada goose, Branta canadensis (I)
- Red-breasted goose, Branta ruficollis (A)
- Egyptian goose, Alopochen aegyptiacus (I)
- Ruddy shelduck, Tadorna ferruginea (A)
- Common shelduck, Tadorna tadorna
- Mandarin duck, Aix galericulata (I)
- Eurasian wigeon, Anas penelope
- American wigeon, Anas americana (A)
- Gadwall, Anas strepera
- Baikal teal, Anas formosa (A)
- Green-winged teal, Anas carolinensis (A)
- Eurasian teal, Anas crecca
- Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos
- Northern pintail, Anas acuta
- Garganey, Anas querquedula
- Blue-winged teal, Anas discors (A)
- Northern shoveler, Anas clypeata
- Red-crested pochard, Netta rufina
- Common pochard, Aythya ferina
- Ring-necked duck, Aythya collaris (A)
- Ferruginous pochard, Aythya nyroca (A)
- Tufted duck, Aythya fuligula
- Greater scaup, Aythya marila
- Lesser scaup, Aythya affinis (A)
- Common eider, Somateria mollissima
- King eider, Somateria spectabilis (A)
- Long-tailed duck, Clangula hyemalis
- Black scoter, Melanitta nigra
- Surf scoter, Melanitta perspicillata (A)
- White-winged scoter, Melanitta fusca
- Common goldeneye, Bucephala clangula
- Smew, Mergellus albellus
- Red-breasted merganser, Mergus serrator
- Common merganser, Mergus merganser
- Ruddy duck, Oxyura jamaicensis (I)
- White-headed duck, Oxyura leucocephala (A)
The Pandionidae family contains only one species, the osprey. The osprey is a medium-large raptor which is a specialist fish-eater with a worldwide distribution.
Osprey, Pandion haliaetus
Hawks, kites and eagles
Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey, which includes hawks, eagles, kites, harriers and Old World vultures. These birds have powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons and keen eyesight.
- European honey buzzard, Pernis apivorus
- Black-shouldered kite, Elanus caeruleus (A)
- Red kite, Milvus milvus
- Black kite, Milvus migrans
- White-tailed eagle, Haliaeetus albicilla (A)
- Egyptian vulture, Neophron percnopterus (A)
- Eurasian griffon, Gyps fulvus (A)
- Short-toed snake eagle, Circaetus gallicus (A)
- Western marsh harrier, Circus aeruginosus
- Northern harrier, Circus cyaneus
- Pallid harrier, Circus macrourus (A)
- Montagu's harrier, Circus pygargus
- Eurasian sparrowhawk, Accipiter nisus
- Northern goshawk, Accipiter gentilis
- Eurasian buzzard, Buteo buteo
- Rough-legged hawk, Buteo lagopus (A)
- Lesser spotted eagle, Clanga pomarina (A)
- Greater spotted eagle, Clanga clanga (A)
- Steppe eagle, Aquila nipalensis (A)
- Golden eagle, Aquila chrysaetos (A)
- Bonelli's eagle, Aquila fasciata (A)
- Booted eagle, Hieraaetus pennatus (A)
Caracaras and falcons
Falconidae is a family of diurnal birds of prey. They differ from hawks, eagles and kites in that they kill with their beaks instead of their talons. There are 62 species worldwide and 7 species which occur in Belgium.
- Lesser kestrel, Falco naumanni (A)
- Eurasian kestrel, Falco tinnunculus
- Red-footed falcon, Falco vespertinus (A)
- Merlin, Falco columbarius
- Eurasian hobby, Falco subbuteo
- Gyrfalcon, Falco rusticolus (A)
- Peregrine falcon, Falco peregrinus
Grouse are game birds, similar to quails and partridges. There are 18 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in Belgium.
Willow ptarmigan, Lagopus lagopus (I, Ex)
Eurasian capercaillie, Tetrao urogallus (Ex)
Black grouse, Tetrao tetrix
Hazel grouse, Bonasa bonasia
Pheasants and partridges
The Phasianidae are a family of terrestrial birds which consists of quails, partridges, snowcocks, francolins, spurfowls, tragopans, monals, pheasants, peafowls and jungle fowls. In general, they are plump (although they vary in size) and have broad, relatively short wings. There are 156 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Belgium.
Grey partridge, Perdix perdix
Common quail, Coturnix coturnix
Ring-necked pheasant, Phasianus colchicus (I)
Cranes are large, long-legged and long-necked birds. Unlike the similar-looking but unrelated herons, cranes fly with necks outstretched, not pulled back. Most have elaborate and noisy courting displays or "dances". There are 15 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Belgium.
Common crane, Grus grus
Rails, crakes, gallinules and coots
Rallidae is a large family of small to medium-sized birds which includes the rails, crakes, coots and gallinules. Typically they inhabit dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, swamps or rivers. In general they are shy and secretive birds, making them difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs and long toes which are well adapted to soft uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and to be weak fliers. There are 143 species worldwide and 7 species which occur in Belgium.
Water rail, Rallus aquaticus
Corn crake, Crex crex
Little crake, Porzana parva (A)
Spotted crake, Porzana porzana
Common moorhen, Gallinula chloropus
Eurasian coot, Fulica atra
Bustards are large terrestrial birds mainly associated with dry open country and steppes in the Old World. They are omnivorous and nest on the ground. They walk steadily on strong legs and big toes, pecking for food as they go. They have long broad wings with "fingered" wingtips and striking patterns in flight. Many have interesting mating displays. There are 26 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in Belgium.
Great bustard, Otis tarda (A)
Houbara bustard, Chlamydotis undulata (A)
Little bustard, Tetrax tetrax (A)
Eurasian oystercatcher, Haematopus ostralegus
Avocets and stilts
Recurvirostridae is a family of large wading birds, which includes the avocets and stilts. The avocets have long legs and long up-curved bills. The stilts have extremely long legs and long, thin, straight bills. There are 9 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Belgium.
The thick-knees are a group of largely tropical waders in the family Burhinidae. They are found worldwide within the tropical zone, with some species also breeding in temperate Europe and Australia. They are medium to large waders with strong black or yellow-black bills, large yellow eyes and cryptic plumage. Despite being classed as waders, most species have a preference for arid or semi-arid habitats. There are 9 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Belgium.
- Eurasian thick-knee, Burhinus oedicnemus (A)
Pratincoles and coursers
Glareolidae is a family of wading birds comprising the pratincoles, which have short legs, long pointed wings and long forked tails, and the coursers, which have long legs, short wings and long, pointed bills which curve downwards. There are 17 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Belgium.
- Cream-coloured courser, Cursorius cursor (A)
- Collared pratincole, Glareola pratincola (A)
- Black-winged pratincole, Glareola nordmanni (A)
Plovers and lapwings
The family Charadriidae includes the plovers, dotterels and lapwings. They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings. They are found in open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water. There are 66 species worldwide and 12 species which occur in Belgium.
- Northern lapwing, Vanellus vanellus
- Sociable lapwing, Vanellus gregarius (A)
- White-tailed lapwing, Vanellus leucurus (A)
- Pacific golden plover, Pluvialis fulva (A)
- European golden plover, Pluvialis apricaria
- Black-bellied plover, Pluvialis squatarola
- Common ringed plover, Charadrius hiaticula
- Little ringed plover, Charadrius dubius
- Snowy plover, Charadrius alexandrinus (A)
- Lesser sandplover, Charadrius mongolus (A)
- Greater sandplover, Charadrius leschenaultii
- Eurasian dotterel, Charadrius morinellus (A)
Sandpipers and allies
Scolopacidae is a large diverse family of small to medium-sized shorebirds including the sandpipers, curlews, godwits, shanks, tattlers, woodcocks, snipes, dowitchers and phalaropes. The majority of these species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Variation in length of legs and bills enables multiple species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food. There are 89 species worldwide and 41 species which occur in Belgium.
- Eurasian woodcock, Scolopax rusticola
- Jack snipe, Lymnocryptes minimus
- Great snipe, Gallinago media (A)
- Common snipe, Gallinago gallinago
- Long-billed dowitcher, Limnodromus scolopaceus (A)
- Black-tailed godwit, Limosa limosa
- Bar-tailed godwit, Limosa lapponica
- Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus
- Slender-billed curlew, Numenius tenuirostris (A)
- Eurasian curlew, Numenius arquata
- Spotted redshank, Tringa erythropus
- Common redshank, Tringa totanus
- Marsh sandpiper, Tringa stagnatilis (A)
- Common greenshank, Tringa nebularia
- Greater yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca (A)
- Lesser yellowlegs, Tringa flavipes (A)
- Green sandpiper, Tringa ochropus
- Wood sandpiper, Tringa glareola
- Terek sandpiper, Xenus cinereus (A)
- Common sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos
- Spotted sandpiper, Actitis macularia (A)
- Ruddy turnstone, Arenaria interpres
- Red knot, Calidris canutus
- Sanderling, Calidris alba
- Red-necked stint, Calidris ruficollis (A)
- Little stint, Calidris minuta
- Temminck's stint, Calidris temminckii
- Least sandpiper, Calidris minutilla (A)
- White-rumped sandpiper, Calidris fuscicollis (A)
- Baird's sandpiper, Calidris bairdii (A)
- Pectoral sandpiper, Calidris melanotos (A)
- Sharp-tailed sandpiper, Calidris acuminata (A)
- Curlew sandpiper, Calidris ferruginea
- Dunlin, Calidris alpina
- Purple sandpiper, Calidris maritima (A)
- Broad-billed sandpiper, Limicola falcinellus (A)
- Buff-breasted sandpiper, Tryngites subruficollis (A)
- Ruff, Philomachus pugnax
- Wilson's phalarope, Phalaropus tricolor (A)
- Red-necked phalarope, Phalaropus lobatus (A)
- Red phalarope, Phalaropus fulicarius (A)
Skuas and jaegers
The family Stercorariidae are, in general, medium to large birds, typically with grey or brown plumage, often with white markings on the wings. They nest on the ground in temperate and arctic regions and are long-distance migrants. There are 7 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in Belgium.
- Great skua, Stercorarius skua (A)
- Pomarine jaeger, Stercorarius pomarinus (A)
- Parasitic jaeger, Stercorarius parasiticus (A)
- Long-tailed jaeger, Stercorarius longicaudus (A)
Gulls, terns, and skimmers
Laridae is a family of medium to large seabirds, the gulls, terns, and skimmers. Gulls are typically grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet. Terns are a group of generally medium to large seabirds typically with grey or white plumage, often with black markings on the head. Most terns hunt fish by diving but some pick insects off the surface of fresh water. Terns are generally long-lived birds, with several species known to live in excess of 30 years.
- Common gull, Larus canus
- Ring-billed gull, Larus delawarensis (A)
- Great black-backed gull, Larus marinus
- Glaucous gull, Larus hyperboreus (A)
- Iceland gull, Larus glaucoides (A)
- Herring gull, Larus argentatus
- Lesser black-backed gull, Larus fuscus
- Caspian gull, Larus cachinnans
- Yellow-legged gull, Larus michahellis
- Pallas's gull, Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus (A)
- Mediterranean gull, Ichthyaetus melanocephalus (A)
- Black-headed gull, Chroicocephalus ridibundus
- Bonaparte's gull, Chroicocephalus philadelphia (A)
- Laughing gull, Leucophaeus atricilla (A)
- Franklin's gull, Leucophaeus pipixcan (A)
- Little gull, Hydrocoloeus minutus
- Sabine's gull, Xema sabini (A)
- Black-legged kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla
- Gull-billed tern, Gelochelidon nilotica (A)
- Caspian tern, Hydroprogne caspia (A)
- Sandwich tern, Thalasseus sandvicensis (A)
- Roseate tern, Sterna dougallii (A)
- Common tern, Sterna hirundo
- Arctic tern, Sterna paradisaea (A)
- Little tern, Sternula albifrons
- Bridled tern, Onychoprion anaethetus (A)
- Whiskered tern, Chlidonias hybrida (A)
- White-winged tern, Chlidonias leucopterus (A)
- Black tern, Chlidonias niger
Auks, murres and puffins
Alcids are superficially similar to penguins due to their black-and-white colours, their upright posture and some of their habits, however they are not related to the penguins and differ in being able to fly. Auks live on the open sea, only deliberately coming ashore to nest. There are 24 species worldwide and 6 species which occur in Belgium.
- Dovekie, Alle alle (A)
- Common murre, Uria aalge
- Thick-billed murre, Uria lomvia (A)
- Razorbill, Alca torda (A)
- Black guillemot, Cepphus grylle (A)
- Atlantic puffin, Fratercula arctica (A)
Sandgrouse have small, pigeon like heads and necks, but sturdy compact bodies. They have long pointed wings and sometimes tails and a fast direct flight. Flocks fly to watering holes at dawn and dusk. Their legs are feathered down to the toes. There are 16 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Belgium.
Pigeons and doves
- Rock pigeon, Columba livia (I)
- Stock dove, Columba oenas
- Common wood pigeon, Columba palumbus
- European turtle dove, Streptopelia turtur
- Eurasian collared dove, Streptopelia decaocto
Old World parrots
- Rose-ringed parakeet, Psittacula krameri (I)
African and New World parrots
- Monk parakeet, Myiopsitta monachus (I)
Cuckoos and anis
The family Cuculidae includes cuckoos, roadrunners and anis. These birds are of variable size with slender bodies, long tails and strong legs. The Old World cuckoos are brood parasites. There are 138 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Belgium.
- Great spotted cuckoo, Clamator glandarius (A)
- Common cuckoo, Cuculus canorus
- Yellow-billed cuckoo, Coccyzus americanus (A)
Barn owls are medium to large owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons. There are 16 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Belgium.
- Barn owl, Tyto alba
The typical owls are small to large solitary nocturnal birds of prey. They have large forward-facing eyes and ears, a hawk-like beak and a conspicuous circle of feathers around each eye called a facial disk.
- European scops owl, Otus scops (A)
- Eurasian eagle-owl, Bubo bubo (A)
- Snowy owl, Bubo scandiacus (A)
- Tawny owl, Strix aluco
- Northern hawk-owl, Surnia ulula (A)
- Eurasian pygmy owl, Glaucidium passerinum (A)
- Little owl, Athene noctua
- Boreal owl, Aegolius funereus
- Long-eared owl, Asio otus
- Short-eared owl, Asio flammeus
Nightjars are medium-sized nocturnal birds that usually nest on the ground. They have long wings, short legs and very short bills. Most have small feet, of little use for walking, and long pointed wings. Their soft plumage is camouflaged to resemble bark or leaves. There are 86 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Belgium.
- Eurasian nightjar, Caprimulgus europaeus
Swifts are small birds which spend the majority of their lives flying. These birds have very short legs and never settle voluntarily on the ground, perching instead only on vertical surfaces. Many swifts have long swept-back wings which resemble a crescent or boomerang. There are 98 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Belgium.
Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long, pointed bills, short legs and stubby tails. There are 93 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Belgium.
- Common kingfisher, Alcedo atthis
The bee-eaters are a group of near passerine birds in the family Meropidae. Most species are found in Africa but others occur in southern Europe, Madagascar, Australia and New Guinea. They are characterised by richly coloured plumage, slender bodies and usually elongated central tail feathers. All are colourful and have long downturned bills and pointed wings, which give them a swallow-like appearance when seen from afar. There are 26 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Belgium.
- European bee-eater, Merops apiaster (A)
Rollers resemble crows in size and build, but are more closely related to the kingfishers and bee-eaters. They share the colourful appearance of those groups with blues and browns predominating. The two inner front toes are connected, but the outer toe is not. There are 12 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Belgium.
- European roller, Coracias garrulus (A)
Hoopoes have black, white and orangey-pink colouring with a large erectile crest on their head. There are 2 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Belgium.
- Hoopoe, Upupa epops
Woodpeckers and allies
Woodpeckers are small to medium-sized birds with chisel-like beaks, short legs, stiff tails and long tongues used for capturing insects. Some species have feet with two toes pointing forward and two backward, while several species have only three toes. Many woodpeckers have the habit of tapping noisily on tree trunks with their beaks.
- Eurasian wryneck, Jynx torquilla
- Lesser spotted woodpecker, Dryobates minor
- Middle spotted woodpecker, Dendrocoptes medius
- White-backed woodpecker, Dendrocopos leucotos (A)
- Great spotted woodpecker, Dendrocopos major
- Black woodpecker, Dryocopus martius
- European green woodpecker, Picus viridis
- Grey-faced woodpecker, Picus canus
Larks are small terrestrial birds with often extravagant songs and display flights. Most larks are fairly dull in appearance. Their food is insects and seeds. There are 91 species worldwide and 6 species which occur in Belgium.
- Calandra lark, Melanocorypha calandra (A)
- Greater short-toed lark, Calandrella brachydactyla
- Crested lark, Galerida cristata
- Wood lark, Lullula arborea
- Eurasian skylark, Alauda arvensis
- Horned lark, Eremophila alpestris (A)
Swallows and martins
The family Hirundinidae is adapted to aerial feeding. They have a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings and a short bill with a wide gape. The feet are adapted to perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base. There are 75 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in Belgium.
- Sand martin, Riparia riparia
- Eurasian crag martin, Ptyonoprogne rupestris (A)
- Barn swallow, Hirundo rustica
- Red-rumped swallow, Cecropis daurica (A)
- Common house martin, Delichon urbica
Wagtails and pipits
Motacillidae is a family of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They include the wagtails, longclaws and pipits. They are slender, ground feeding insectivores of open country. There are 54 species worldwide and 13 species which occur in Belgium.
- White wagtail, Motacilla alba
- Citrine wagtail, Motacilla citreola (A)
- Yellow wagtail, Motacilla flava
- Grey wagtail, Motacilla cinerea
- Richard's pipit, Anthus richardi
- Tawny pipit, Anthus campestris
- Blyth's pipit, Anthus godlewskii (A)
- Tree pipit, Anthus trivialis
- Olive-backed pipit, Anthus hodgsoni (A)
- Meadow pipit, Anthus pratensis
- Red-throated pipit, Anthus cervinus
- Rock pipit, Anthus petrosus (A)
- Water pipit, Anthus spinoletta
The kinglets, also called crests, are a small group of birds often included in the Old World warblers, but frequently given family status because they also resemble the titmice. There are 7 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Belgium.
The waxwings are a group of passerine birds with soft silky plumage and unique red tips to some of the wing feathers. In the Bohemian and cedar waxwings, these tips look like sealing wax and give the group its name. These are arboreal birds of northern forests. They live on insects in summer and berries in winter. There are 3 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Belgium.
- Bohemian waxwing, Bombycilla garrulus
Dippers are a group of perching birds whose habitat includes aquatic environments in the Americas, Europe and Asia. They are named for their bobbing or dipping movements. There are 5 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Belgium.
- White-throated dipper, Cinclus cinclus
The wrens are mainly small and inconspicuous except for their loud songs. These birds have short wings and thin down-turned bills. Several species often hold their tails upright. All are insectivorous.
- Eurasian wren, Troglodytes troglodytes
The accentors are in the only bird family, Prunellidae, which is completely endemic to the Palearctic. They are small, fairly drab species superficially similar to sparrows. There are 13 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Belgium.
Thrushes and allies
The thrushes are a group of passerine birds that occur mainly in the Old World. They are plump, soft plumaged, small to medium-sized insectivores or sometimes omnivores, often feeding on the ground. Many have attractive songs.
- Siberian thrush, Geokichla sibirica (A)
- Scaly thrush, Zoothera dauma (A)
- Swainson's thrush, Catharus ustulatus (A)
- Ring ouzel, Turdus torquatus
- Eurasian blackbird, Turdus merula
- Eyebrowed thrush, Turdus obscurus (A)
- Dark-throated thrush, Turdus ruficollis (A)
- Dusky thrush, Turdus naumanni (A)
- Fieldfare, Turdus pilaris
- Redwing, Turdus iliacus
- Song thrush, Turdus philomelos
- Mistle thrush, Turdus viscivorus
- American robin, Turdus migratorius (A)
Cisticolas and allies
The Cisticolidae are warblers found mainly in warmer southern regions of the Old World. They are generally very small birds of drab brown or grey appearance found in open country such as grassland or scrub.
- Zitting cisticola, Cisticola juncidis (A)
- Cetti's warbler, Cettia cetti
- Lanceolated warbler, Locustella lanceolata (A)
- Common grasshopper warbler, Locustella naevia
- Pallas's grasshopper warbler, Locustella certhiola (A)
- Eurasian river warbler, Locustella fluviatilis (A)
- Savi's warbler, Locustella luscinioides
- Aquatic warbler, Acrocephalus paludicola (A)
- Sedge warbler, Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
- Paddyfield warbler, Acrocephalus agricola (A)
- Eurasian reed warbler, Acrocephalus scirpaceus
- Blyth's reed warbler, Acrocephalus dumetorum (A)
- Marsh warbler, Acrocephalus palustris
- Great reed warbler, Acrocephalus arundinaceus
- Booted warbler, Iduna caligata (A)
- Melodious warbler, Hippolais polyglotta
- Icterine warbler, Hippolais icterina
- Willow warbler, Phylloscopus trochilus
- Common chiffchaff, Phylloscopus collybita
- Iberian chiffchaff, Phylloscopus ibericus (A)
- Western Bonelli's warbler, Phylloscopus bonelli (A)
- Wood warbler, Phylloscopus sibilatrix
- Dusky warbler, Phylloscopus fuscatus (A)
- Radde's warbler, Phylloscopus schwarzi (A)
- Lemon-rumped warbler, Phylloscopus proregulus (A)
- Yellow-browed warbler, Phylloscopus inornatus (A)
- Hume's leaf warbler, Phylloscopus humei (A)
- Arctic warbler, Phylloscopus borealis (A)
- Greenish warbler, Phylloscopus trochiloides (A)
Old World warblers
The family Sylviidae is a group of small insectivorous passerine birds. They mainly occur as breeding species, as the common name implies, in Europe, Asia and, to a lesser extent, Africa. Most are of generally undistinguished appearance, but many have distinctive songs.
- Eurasian blackcap, Sylvia atricapilla
- Garden warbler, Sylvia borin
- Greater whitethroat, Sylvia communis
- Lesser whitethroat, Sylvia curruca
- Barred warbler, Sylvia nisoria (A)
- Western Orphean warbler, Sylvia hortensis (A)
- Subalpine warbler, Sylvia cantillans (A)
- Sardinian warbler, Sylvia melanocephala (A)
- Spectacled warbler, Sylvia conspicillata (A)
- Dartford warbler, Sylvia undata (A)
- Marmora's warbler, Sylvia sarda (A)
Old World flycatchers
Old World flycatchers are a large group of small passerine birds native to the Old World. They are mainly small arboreal insectivores. The appearance of these birds is highly varied, but they mostly have weak songs and harsh calls.
- Common rock thrush, Monticola saxatilis (A)
- Blue rock thrush, Monticola solitarius (A)
- Spotted flycatcher, Muscicapa striata
- European pied flycatcher, Ficedula hypoleuca
- Collared flycatcher, Ficedula albicollis (A)
- Red-breasted flycatcher, Ficedula parva (A)
- European robin, Erithacus rubecula
- Thrush nightingale, Luscinia luscinia (A)
- Common nightingale, Luscinia megarhynchos
- Bluethroat, Luscinia svecica
- Black redstart, Phoenicurus ochruros
- Common redstart, Phoenicurus phoenicurus
- Siberian stonechat, Saxicola maurus (A)
- Whinchat, Saxicola rubetra
- European stonechat, Saxicola rubicola
- Northern wheatear, Oenanthe oenanthe
- Black-eared wheatear, Oenanthe hispanica (A)
- Desert wheatear, Oenanthe deserti (A)
- Bearded reedling, Panurus biarmicus
Long-tailed tits are a group of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They make woven bag nests in trees. Most eat a mixed diet which includes insects. There are 9 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Belgium.
- Long-tailed tit, Aegithalos caudatus
Chickadees and titmice
The Paridae are mainly small stocky woodland species with short stout bills. Some have crests. They are adaptable birds, with a mixed diet including seeds and insects. There are 59 species worldwide and 6 species which occur in Belgium.
- Marsh tit, Poecile palustris
- Willow tit, Poecile montana
- Coal tit, Periparus ater
- Crested tit, Lophophanes cristatus
- Great tit, Parus major
- Eurasian blue tit, Cyanistes caeruleus
Nuthatches are small woodland birds. They have the unusual ability to climb down trees head first, unlike other birds which can only go upwards. Nuthatches have big heads, short tails and powerful bills and feet. There are 24 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Belgium.
- Eurasian nuthatch, Sitta europaea
The wallcreeper is a small bird related to the nuthatch family, which has stunning crimson, grey and black plumage.
- Wallcreeper, Tichodroma muraria (A)
Treecreepers are small woodland birds, brown above and white below. They have thin pointed down-curved bills, which they use to extricate insects from bark. They have stiff tail feathers, like woodpeckers, which they use to support themselves on vertical trees. There are 6 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Belgium.
The penduline tits are a group of small passerine birds related to the true tits. They are insectivores. There are 13 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Belgium.
- Eurasian penduline tit, Remiz pendulinus
Old World orioles
The Old World orioles are colourful passerine birds. They are not related to the New World orioles. There are 29 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Belgium.
- Eurasian golden oriole, Oriolus oriolus
Shrikes are passerine birds known for their habit of catching other birds and small animals and impaling the uneaten portions of their bodies on thorns. A typical shrike's beak is hooked, like a bird of prey.
- Red-backed shrike, Lanius collurio
- Isabelline shrike, Lanius isabellinus (A)
- Northern shrike, Lanius excubitor
- Lesser grey shrike, Lanius minor (A)
- Woodchat shrike, Lanius senator (A)
Crows, jays, ravens and magpies
The family Corvidae includes crows, ravens, jays, choughs, magpies, treepies, nutcrackers, and ground jays. Corvids are above average in size among the Passeriformes, and some of the larger species show high levels of intelligence. There are 120 species worldwide and 8 species which occur in Belgium.
- Eurasian jay, Garrulus glandarius
- Eurasian magpie, Pica pica
- Eurasian nutcracker, Nucifraga caryocatactes
- Eurasian jackdaw, Corvus monedula
- Rook, Corvus frugilegus
- Carrion crow, Corvus corone
- Common raven, Corvus corax
- Hooded crow, Corvus cornix
Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds. Their flight is strong and direct and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country. They eat insects and fruit. Plumage is typically dark with a metallic sheen. There are 125 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Belgium.
The vireos are a group of small to medium-sized passerine birds restricted to the New World. They are typically greenish in colour and resemble wood warblers apart from their heavier bills. There are 52 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Belgium.
- Red-eyed vireo, Vireo olivaceus (A)
Longspurs and arctic buntings
Buntings, sparrows, seedeaters and allies
The emberizids are a large family of passerine birds. They are seed-eating birds with distinctively shaped bills. In Europe, most species are called buntings. In North America, most of the species in this family are known as sparrows, but these birds are not closely related to the Old World sparrows which are in the family Passeridae. Many emberizid species have distinctive head patterns.
- Yellowhammer, Emberiza citrinella
- Pine bunting, Emberiza leucocephalos (A)
- Cirl bunting, Emberiza cirlus (A)
- Rock bunting, Emberiza cia (A)
- Ortolan bunting, Emberiza hortulana
- Little bunting, Emberiza pusilla (A)
- Yellow-browed bunting, Emberiza chrysophrys (A)
- Rustic bunting, Emberiza rustica (A)
- Yellow-breasted bunting, Emberiza aureola (A)
- Black-headed bunting, Emberiza melanocephala (A)
- Reed bunting, Emberiza schoeniclus
- Corn bunting, Emberiza calandra
Siskins, crossbills and allies
Finches are seed-eating passerine birds, that are small to moderately large and have a strong beak, usually conical and in some species very large. All have twelve tail feathers and nine primaries. These birds have a bouncing flight with alternating bouts of flapping and gliding on closed wings, and most sing well.
- Common chaffinch, Fringilla coelebs
- Brambling, Fringilla montifringilla
- Common rosefinch, Carpodacus erythrinus (A)
- Parrot crossbill, Loxia pytyopsittacus (A)
- Red crossbill, Loxia curvirostra
- White-winged crossbill, Loxia leucoptera (A)
- European greenfinch, Chloris chloris
- Common redpoll, Acanthis flammea
- Hoary redpoll, Acanthis hornemanni
- Eurasian siskin, Spinus spinus
- European goldfinch, Carduelis carduelis
- Twite, Linaria flavirostris
- Common linnet, Linaria cannabina
- European serin, Serinus serinus
- Citril finch, Serinus citrinella (A)
- Eurasian bullfinch, Pyrrhula pyrrhula
- Hawfinch, Coccothraustes coccothraustes
Sparrows are small passerine birds. In general, sparrows tend to be small, plump, brown or grey birds with short tails and short powerful beaks. Sparrows are seed eaters, but they also consume small insects. There are 35 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Belgium.
- House sparrow, Passer domesticus
- Eurasian tree sparrow, Passer montanus
- Rock petronia, Petronia petronia (A)