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List of North American birds
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List of North American birds

The List of North American birds is a comprehensive enumeration of all the bird species known from the North American continent north of Mexico. Due to the large variety of bird species found in North America, this list is presented in two parts: North American birds most closely resemble those of Eurasia, which was connected to this continent until geologically recent times.

Many groups occur throughout these northern hemisphere continents, although distinctive groups have also arisen, such as the wrens. Several common birds in North America, such as the House Sparrow, the Rock Dove, the European Starling, and the Mute Swan are introduced species, meaning that they are not native to this continent but were brought here by man from Europe or elsewhere. Introduced species are marked on this list as (Introduced). There may be species that have individual escapees or small feral populations in North America that are not on this list. This is especially true of birds that are commonly held as pets such as Parrots and Finches.

The definition of the area covered by a list of "North American birds" is somewhat subjective. The original list published by the American Ornithologists' Union (AOU) in 1886 covered birds found in North America north of Mexico, Baja California, Bermuda and Greenland. In 1983 the area was expanded to included all of Mexico, Central America south through Panama, the West Indies and the Hawaiian Islands, while Greenland was dropped. This expansion more than doubled the number of birds on the AOU list. Other organizations, such as the American Birding Association (ABA) use a smaller area. The current ABA area includes the 49 continental states, Canada and the French islands St. Pierre and Miquelon, plus surrounding waters. It does not include Greenland, Bermuda, the Bahamas or the Hawaiian Islands. As most field guides for "North American" birds use the ABA area, rather than the more expansive AOU area, this list is based on the ABA checklist.

The taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, familes, and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) used in the accompanying bird lists adhere to the conventions of the American Ornithologistsí Unionís (1998) Check-list of North American birds, the recognized scientific authority on the taxonomy and nomenclature of North America birds. The AOUís Committee on Classification and Nomenclature, the body responsible for maintaining and updating the Check-list, "strongly and unanimously continues to endorse the biological species concept (BSC), in which species are considered to be genetically cohesive groups of populations that are reproductively isolated from other such groups" (AOU 1998). See Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy for an alternative phylogenetic arrangement based on DNA-DNA hybridization.

See also

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