Scientific Name
Various in the order Passeriformes
Geographic Range
North, Central, and South America
Various depending on species

More Information

Songbirds, also known as passerines, are an enormously diverse group of birds with more than 5,000 species. Most songbirds are altricial, meaning that they hatch without feathers and with their eyes shut. Many species take three years to develop full adult plumage. They can be aged based on their feathers.

Did You Know?

  • Songbirds utilize an organ called the syrinx to produce their amazing and varied vocalizations. In these birds, the syrinx is forked and can produce two pitches at the same time, which is called lateralization. They use vocalizations for various communication purposes, such as courtship, designation of territory, and communication with young.
  • Common species at Nature Boardwalk include house sparrows, American robins, American goldfinches, palm warblers, and American crows. Next time you’re there, listen for this orchestra of calls, especially as spring arrives and migratory species return to the Chicago area.
  • You can tell a lot about a songbird based on the shape of its beak: for instance, finches, like the American goldfinch, have thick, conical bills perfect for opening seeds. Warblers have small, needle-like bills designed for picking up insects in the tree canopy.
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