Perching Birds (Passeriformes)

BIRDS /

A passerine is a bird of the order Passeriformes, which includes more than half of all bird species. Sometimes known as perching birds or, less accurately, as songbirds. A notable feature of passerines compared to other orders of Aves is the arrangement of their toes, three pointing forward and one back, which facilitates perching.

There are 3 suborders Acanthisitti, Tyranni and Passeri, of which only the Passeri is of interest in the UK.

Further Information: Wikipedia

Suborder Passeri. Accentor (Family: Prunellidae)

The Accentor shares features of sparrows, warblers and small thrushes. In the UK there is only one species, the Dunnock (Prunella modularis).

Further Information: Wikipedia

Dunnock (Prunella modularis) Resident
Dunnock (Prunella modularis) Copyright Peter Drury

Dunnock (Prunella modularis) Copyright Peter Drury

The Dunnock is often confused with the sparrow (it is sometimes called a hedge sparrow) but the sharp pointed beak is a dead giveaway. If disturbed, the bird will fly at low level, straight into the thickest bush it can find. Unusually, these birds form mating trios in the breeding season. Either 2 males and a female or 2 females and a male.
They nest in thick shrub or low down in conifers. Their main food source are insects.

Further Information: Wikipedia

Where these can be seen:
Anywhere along the trail, picking insects up from the trail or bushes.

 Sub Order Passeri. Crows (Family: Corvidae)

Medium to large, heavily built Paserines. They are quick to learn and can often be seen raiding litter bins, even those with lids requiring skill to access. Jackdaw and Ravens are very skilled fliers, often seen in aerial combat, whilst Magpies and Jays only have short fluttering flights.

They are sociable and often seen in flocks. They will eat almost anything, vegetable or animal matter.

Further Information: Wikipedia

Carrion Crow (Corvus corone corone) Copyright Peter Drury

Carrion Crow (Corvus corone corone) Copyright Peter Drury

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 Sub Order Passeri. Finches (Family: Fringillidae)

A large group of relatively small Paserines.They have a powerful and undulating flight, They feed on seeds and insects.
They are sociable and often seen in flocks.

Further Information: Wikipedia

Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) Copyright Peter Drury

Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) Copyright Peter Drury

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 Sub Order Passeri. Wagtails & Pipits (Family: Motacillidae)

Wagtails, pipits, and longclaws are slender, small to medium-sized passerines, ranging from 14 to 17 centimetres in length, with short necks and long tails. They have long, pale legs with long toes and claws, particularly the hind toe which can be up to 4 cm in length in some longclaws.
Most motacillids are ground-feeding insectivores of slightly open country. They occupy almost all available habitats, from the shore to high mountains. Wagtails prefer wetter habitats to the pipits.

Further Information: Wikipedia

Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba) Copyright Peter Drury

Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba)
Copyright Peter Drury

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 Sub Order Passeri. Sparrow (Family: Passeridae)

Many species nest on buildings, and the house and Eurasian tree sparrows in particular inhabit cities in large numbers, so sparrows may be the most familiar of all wild birds. They are primarily seed-eaters, though they also consume small insects. Some species scavenge for food around cities and, like gulls or rock doves, will happily eat virtually anything in small quantities.

Further Information: Wikipedia

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) Copyright Peter Drury

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Copyright Peter Drury

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 Sub Order Passeri. Starling (Family: Sturnidae)

Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds in the family Sturnidae. Starlings have strong feet, their flight is strong and direct, and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country, and they eat insects and fruit.

Starlings have diverse and complex vocalizations, and have been known to embed sounds from their surroundings into their own calls, including car alarms, and human speech patterns. The birds can recognize particular individuals by their calls, and are currently the subject of research into the evolution of human language.

Further Information: Wikipedia

Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) Copyright Peter Drury

Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
Copyright Peter Drury

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 Sub Order Passeri. Thrush (Family Turdidae)

Thrushes are plump, soft-plumaged, small to medium-sized birds, inhabiting wooded areas, and often feed on the ground. The smallest thrush may be the forest rock thrush, at 21 g (0.74 oz) and 14.5 cm (5.7 in). They are insectivorous, but most species also eat worms, land snails, and fruit. Worldwide, there are 22 Genera.

Further Information: Wikipedia

Blackbird (Turdus merula) Male Copyright Peter Drury

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 Sub Order Passeri. Old World flycatcher (Family: Muscicapidae)

The Old World flycatchers are a large family, the Muscicapidae, of small passerine birds mostly restricted to the Old World (Europe, Africa and Asia). These are mainly small arboreal insectivores, many of which, as the name implies, take their prey on the wing.

The appearance of these birds is very varied, but they mostly have weak songs and harsh calls. They are small to medium birds, ranging from 9 to 22 cm in length. Many species are dull brown in colour, but the plumage of some can be much brighter, especially in the males. Most have broad, flattened bills suited to catching insects in flight, although the few ground-foraging species typically have finer bills.

Further Information: Wikipedia

Robin-Erithacus-rubecula Copyright Peter Drury

Robin-Erithacus-rubecula
Copyright Peter Drury

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Suborder Passeri. Tit (Family: Paridae)

These birds are mainly small, stocky, woodland species with short, stout bills. Some have crests. They range in length from 10 to 22 cm. They are adaptable birds, with a mixed diet including seeds and insects. Many species live around human habitation and come readily to bird feeders for nuts or seed, and learn to take other foods.

Further Information: Wikipedia

Great Tit (Parus Major) Copyright Peter Drury

Great Tit (Parus Major)
Copyright Peter Drury

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 Suborder Passeri. Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalidae)

The bushtits or long-tailed tits, Aegithalidae, are a family of small, drab passerine birds with moderately long tails. The family contains 11 species in four genera, all but one of which are found in Eurasia. Bushtits are active birds, moving almost constantly while they forage for insects in shrubs and trees. During non-breeding season, birds live in flocks of up to 50 individuals. Several bushtit species display cooperative breeding behavior, also called helpers at the nest.

Further Information: Wikipedia

Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus) Copyright Peter Drury

Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus)
Copyright Peter Drury

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 Infraorder Passerida. Superfamily Sylvioidea. Family Sylviidae

Sylvioidea: Sylvioidea is a clade of passerine birds. It is one of at least three major clades within the Passerida along with the Muscicapoidea and Passeroidea. It contains about 1300 species including the Old World warblers, Old World babblers, swallows, larks, bulbuls and perhaps the tits. Members of the clade are found worldwide but fewer species are present in the Americas.

Some of the families within the Sylvioidea have been greatly redefined. In particular, the Old World warbler family Sylviidae and Old World babbler family Timaliidae were used as wastebin taxa and included many species which have turned out not to be closely related. Several new families have been created and some species have been moved from one family to another.

Further Information: Wikipedia

Whitethroat (Sylvia Communis) Copyright Peter Drury

Whitethroat (Sylvia Communis)
Copyright Peter Drury

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Suborder Passeri, Superfamily Certhioidea, Family Troglodytidae

Wrens are principally a New World family, distributed from Alaska and Canada to southern Argentina, with the greatest species richness in the Neotropics. As suggested by its name, the Eurasian wren is the only species of wren found outside the Americas, as restricted to Europe, Asia, and northern Africa (it was formerly considered conspecific with the winter wren and Pacific wren of North America).

Further Information: Wikipedia

Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) Copyright Peter Drury

Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Copyright Peter Drury

Click on the image above to go to the Wren (Troglodytidae) section