Can You Identify All of These European Birds?

By: Jacqueline Samaroo
Image: pbombaert/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Don't let the answers fly away!

Europe is one of the smallest continents in the world and so, as a result, one would expect that it would understandably not boast a large amount of wildlife. However, Europe lies in one of the most diverse bio-geographic realms in the world - the Palearctic. The extensive Palearctic realm covers all of Europe, a massive portion of Asia and North Africa. As a result of this, Europe oftentimes gets to benefit from the diverse wildlife that these other regions have as well. Animals are not hampered by political boundaries, so many of them that can be found in North Africa and Asia can also be found in Europe. This is even much more evident when it comes to birds, since most of them are capable of migrating considerably long distances with relative ease.

There are hundreds of bird species that can be found in Europe but we've cut down this number to a manageable 40. From the quail that were craved by royalty to the eagles that are present on so many coats of arms, this quiz has some of the most notable European birds of all time. So are you ready to take flight? Then let's soar right into this high-flying quiz!

The rock dove (also known as the rock pigeon) is an enduring and extremely common bird that is native to Europe (and parts of Asia and Africa) with over 20 million living in the continent. The domestic form (which was first domesticated thousands of years ago) is now considered to be a separate subspecies.

The little grebe is an aquatic bird that can be found throughout Europe, usually making its home around freshwater lakes. It is notable for being the smallest species of grebe that is native to Europe.

The boreal owl is a relatively small species of nocturnal bird that feeds primarily on small mammals and insects. As its name suggests, it can usually be found in subarctic regions across the world.

The Eurasian bittern is a water bird that currently ranks as one of the most threatened species of bird in the UK. As its name suggests, its primary breeding grounds can be found in both Europe and Asia (and parts of North Africa); however, there is another subspecies that can be found in Southern Africa.

The Balearic shearwater's name is a direct reference to its primary breeding ground, the Balearic islands that lie off the coast of mainland Spain. It is now classified as critically endangered, largely due to urbanization and the effects of tourism.

As its name suggests, the carrion crow feeds primarily on carrion - the decaying flesh of long-dead animals. However, they can also be seen hunting small mammals and insects, as well as also scavenging through urban waste.

The tawny owl is a bird of prey; feeding on small mammal, beetles, earthworms and even smaller birds. In European cultures, this bird was historically viewed as an omen of negative occurrences or bad luck.

Historically, the northern goshawk was one of the more prominent European birds that was used for falconry. It can not only be found in Europe but also across much of the northern reaches of Asia and North America.

The gray heron is most often seen around water where it feeds on aquatic animals; such as amphibians, fish, insects and even ducklings. It is usually found in the more temperate parts of Europe; however it can sometimes be seen traveling to the northern reaches of Scandinavia to breed.

The Eurasian spoonbill is a common sight in many European wetlands; however, it can also be found in North Africa and as far east as Japan. The shape of its bill also caused it to historically be known as the "shovelard" in England.

While it can be more commonly seen in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, the European turtle dove frequently migrates to southern Africa during the winter months. A scarcity of its preferred food sources and excessive hunting have both led to a drastic decrease in its population.

The common cuckoo spends the summer months in Europe and the upper reaches of Asia, while during the winter it can be found in Southern Africa and Southeast Asia. It chooses to lay its eggs in nests that are being tended to by other birds, such as reed warblers and dunnocks.

The gray-headed woodpecker is a species of small bird whose diet consists mainly of ants. It is closely related to two other woodpeckers that are found in Europe; the Iberian green woodpecker and the European green woodpecker.

Throughout history, the red-legged partridge has been bred in Europe as a game bird. While its cousin the gray partridge is commonly referred to as the English partridge, the red-legged partridge is commonly referred to as the French partridge.

Only three species of nutcracker exist, and the spotted nutcracker is the only one that can be found in Europe. It is also referred to s the Eurasian nutcracker but in many parts of Europe it is simply called "nutcracker."

In Europe, the rock ptarmigan can usually be found in cold mountainous areas (like the Alps) or in subarctic regions. It is a culturally significant bird is some countries outside Europe, being the official bird of several Prefectures in Japan and also being the official game bird of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada.

The white stork is a common sight in Europe and parts of Western Asia and it has a migratory path that carries it to Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The stork is significant figure in European folklore, with it being said that they would carry babies to parents.

Although the mute swan is a bird that is native to Europe and parts of Asia and North Africa, its popularity has led to it being introduced in Australia and North America as well. They are known to be very aggressive if they think that their offspring or their mate is being threatened.

The European storm petrel has its primary breeding grounds on islands that lie off the cost of Europe; however, there is a distinct subspecies that can be found on Mediterranean islands as well. It is classified as a seabird and can be seen migrating as far south as Namibia and South Africa.

Through history it was heavily hunted by humans, because many fishermen saw it as an adept competitor when it came to catching fish. It is also known is some countries as the large cormorant or the black shag.

The golden eagle is notable for its cultural significance with humans. It has been featured on several coats of arms (Egypt, Iraq, Mexico, etc.) and is considered to be the national animal of at least five countries (Germany, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Albania and Austria).

The Egyptian vulture can be found in sections of Mediterranean Europe, Africa, and from Western Asia to South Asia. It is notable for being one of the relatively few species of birds that has been observed using simple tools.

The range of the goldcrest extends throughout most of temperate Europe and deep into Asia, sometimes visiting as far as Japan. It feeds primarily on small insects and is hunted primarily by birds of prey (like the Eurasian sparrowhawk).

The king eider is a species of sea bird that can usually be found off the northern coasts of Europe, Asia, and North America. They can oftentimes survive well into their late teens and feed on water-dwelling animals like crabs and mollusks.

The European shag is a waterbird that can be found off of the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts of Europe. In some areas it is referred to as the common shag and in the UK is is simply called the "shag."

The favored habitat of the black-throated loon (sometimes called the Arctic loon) is freshwater lakes where it can easily feed on crustaceans, fish and insects. Although its is most commonly seen in the northern reaches of Europe and Asia, there have been sighting of notable breeding populations in western Alaska as well.

The little egret is not only a fairly common sight in Europe but it is also a resident in the southern reaches of Asia, Africa and a large portion of Australia. They are known for being sociable with other members of their species and feed primarily on crustaceans, amphibians and fish.

The European nightjar's name is a reference to both its nocturnal habits and its relatively dark coloration. It is also sometimes referred to as the Eurasian nightjar or the common goatsucker.

The water rail is a fairly common European bird that can be found throughout most of the continent, as well as parts of Asia and North Africa. When the American mink was introduced to Europe, several populations of the water rail suffered greatly, but today they have somewhat recovered and the bird is still commonplace in Europe.

Although the greater flamingo is a much more common sight in Africa and South Asia, there are notable colonies that have been established in Southern Europe. European counties with notable populations of greater flamingos include: Greece, Spain, Turkey, Italy and Albania.

The griffon vulture is a large scavenger whose range extends from the Iberian peninsula to the Indian subcontinent. They are capable of living for several decades, with some captive specimens being recorded as having lifespans of over 40 years.

Well over half of the great bustards in the world currently reside in the Iberian peninsula. Its conservation status has been classified as vulnerable and this threat has led to the creation of the Great Bustard Memorandum of Understanding among several Central and Eastern European countries.

The pink-footed goose is a species of bird that can often be seen breeding in Greenland and far north regions of Europe (such as Iceland and select Norwegian islands). It can also be seen migrating a bit further south to parts of Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands and Britain.

In Europe, the tail feathers of the black grouse have historically been used as adornments for headgear. While on a global scale the black grouse does not have a worrying conservation status, in Western Europe it is becoming increasingly vulnerable due to excessive predators and habitat loss.

As its name suggests, the Spanish imperial eagle is primarily found in peninsular Spain. However, there are smaller population that exist in Portugal as well. Habitat loss, powerlines, and poisoning have led to the drastic decrease in the population of Spanish imperial eagles and it is now classified as threatened.

Although it is commonplace in Europe, the common moorhen has an extensive range that also covers large portions of Asia and Africa as well. In some areas is is sometimes referred to as the swamp chicken or simply as the waterhen.

The range of the crested lark extends throughout much of mainland Europe, the Middle East, parts of Africa and in Asia as far east as Korea. While it can sometime be seen feeding on insects, this bird's diet consists primarily of plant matter.

In some parts of Europe, the common quail is oftentimes referred to as the European quail. Throughout European history, the common quail has been a part of the cuisine of several countries, including Italy, France and Portugal.

The western swamphen is a species of bird that is notable for being an excellent swimmer but a clumsy flier. It holds the distinction of being one of the few birds that was kept by the Romans but not eaten. Instead, it functioned primarily as a decorative animal.

The corn crake is a species of bird that can be found living throughout a large swath of Europe and eastward into Western Asia. During the northern winter, it can be seen migrating to the southern reaches of Africa.

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