Common urban wildlife in international cities

Yes, and ditto Michigan!

And what about wild plants? They are anywhere there is a small cavity where a seed can germinate. Many are also introduced. So, there is the possibility to treat various topics.

1 Like

We live in the Minneapolis area and people are surprised that we have Southern Flying Squirrels! That might be fun for children to hear about:


Australian cities have a couple of species of possums (they are much cuter than North American opussums) living all over them. Flying foxes (big fruit bats) live in cities and visit back-yard fruit trees. Melbourne has a family of peregrine falcons that nest each year on the side of a city building. Colourful parrots like rainbow lorikeets and rosellas are popular with children.


Consider the pollinators! In my neck of the woods (Toronto, Canada), very common are:

Native bees:
Masked bees (Hylaeus sp.)
Leafcutter bees (Megachile sp.)
Bumble bees (Bombus sp.)
Carpenter bees (Xylocopa sp.)
Small carpenter bees (Ceratina sp.)
Sweat bees (Halictidae)
Miner bees (Andrena sp.)

Of course the non-native European honeybee (Apis mellifera) is present in cities all over the world, usually because of urban beekeeping

Cabbage white (Pieris rapae)
Red admiral (Vanessa atalanta)


In Bengaluru (South India) we have a lot of birds - pigeons, mynas, red-whiskered bulbuls, black kites,
spotted owlets, barn owls
We also have a lot of bats for some reason - at around 7 everyday I see dozens of Indian flying foxes, pipistrelles, etc
Cobras occasionally show up but most snakes here are harmless rat snakes


Check out the Iguanas in center city Guayaqil, Ecuador. There’s a place called Iguana Park, which is pretty interesting…including pigeons riding iguanas. Yeehaw.


Not my city, but in Cuenca, Ecuador, I’ve spotted sleeping oilbirds in parks, which a contact of mine from Cuenca said weren’t uncommon there. Within the city, I’ve also seen blue-and-yellow tanagers and white-cheeked pintails. Farther out from the city center I’ve also seen kestrels, and black-chested buzzard-eagles.

Hi Lucy,

Thanks for your reply to my post. Do you know what kind of parrots, lizards, and butterflies?


Thank you everyone for your replies. So interesting! I still remember the raccoons tapping at my window when I lived in Toronto as a kid. Some things never change!

Any other cities want to chime in?

I live in Antequera, Province Málaga in southern Spain. It’s not a big city, but I suppose the same animals can be found in Málaga and Sevilla as well. The most interesting are probably lesser kestrels (there is also a colony at the cathedral of Sevilla), then there are monk parakeets, collared doves, of course street pigeons, swifts, swallows and martins, house sparrows. Geckos (Tarentola mauritanica) and lizards Podarcis vaucheri) are also common. The first insects that come to mind are cockroaches and the introduced Cacyreus marshalli, a cute little Lycaenidae which is a pest of Pelargonium.

1 Like

Saludos, Nina,

The parrots fly in groups of five or six from high tree to high tree before roosting for the night near the main plaza, called the Zócalo. There are a few species that fly together, and they are extremely noisy so you know when they are nearby. One species is the Red-lored Parrot. Another is the White-fronted Parrot. Both of these are protected species here.

The larger lizards are Black Spiny-tailed iguanas, which look like this as adults but are bright green like this when they are young. They are soooo fast! They enjoy basking in the sun and climb stones and walls with ease. These are called “toloc” here, which is the Maya word for these iguanas. This is also a protected species here.

The smaller lizards are typically brown anoles outside and common house geckos inside. The anoles are more active during the day and the geckos at night. Collectively these are referred to as “iguanitos”, which is very unscientific.

We have lots of large butterflies here. My favorite is the Malachite. I cannot decide if I prefer the top side or the bottom side. Once a year for a few weeks our skies are crowded with lots of large, pale yellow butterflies who are making their way over the city, Yellow Angled-Sulphur and White Angled-Sulphurs. It is very disconcerting to drive during this time because it feels like you will hit them but they always fly aloft at the last second.

We also have a lot of a medium butterfly called Cracker butterflies, whose wings make a distinctive snapping sound when they fly. They are extremely well camouflouged so often you do not see them until after you hear them. Here is one specific species to here. (Click here to read more about the whole genus, which explains more about the sound.)

But the most popular resident here is probably one of the smallest: our stingless bees. Small, black, unobtrusive, often overlooked, they create the honey used in many dishes here. It has a unique, wonderful taste. They are hard workers and the favorites of most children here, so I cannot not mention them.

Here are some of the ones that live in my garden, peeking out from their pipa.


What defines a city as “international”? Is it the presence of an international airport serving that city?

From the opening post:

cities across the globe

‘International’ as an adjective is often colloquially used to refer to countries besides one’s own. See, for example, ‘international food’ or ‘international cuisine’. Since New York is mentioned in the original post, ‘international’ would imply ‘cities outside the United States’.


Torontonians may want to know that booklets about several taxa are available!
They are all available through the public library system, too.

Bees of Toronto
Birds of Toronto, 2nd ed.
Butterflies of Toronto
Fishes of Toronto, part I, part II
Mammals of Toronto, part I, part II
Mushrooms of Toronto – shout out to the Mycological Society of Toronto, @mycotoronto
Reptiles and Amphibians of Toronto
Spiders of Toronto
Trees, Shrubs, and Vines of Toronto


Are Racoons native to some parts of Europe though? I’ve always thought they were a strictly American species?

Introduced and in some areas problematic. they do well in european cities


The UK has a similar thing with ring necked parakeets. saw quite a few when I visited Regents park and they have become quite common throughout the land of miserable winters and Sahara summers where they add a nice little pop of variety ( though there are some that will strongly disagree). There are also a few areas with some feral macaws and the odd budgie, cockatiel or monk parakeet that escapes from time to time.


I recall a few years ago my wife and I went to Taman Negara National Park, the largest piece of undisturbed rainforest in Peninsular Malaysia. I was keen to see and hopefully photograph a hornbill. During our stay in the park we saw deer, gibbons, several monkey species, leopard cat, porcupine, pangolin and otters along with birds and reptiles. The hornbills however eluded us. Travelling on the bus back to Kuala Lumpur we made a rest stop in a large provincial town at a gas station located in an industrial precinct. I was walking back to the bus when I noticed in a small straggly tree a few metres from my face was, you guessed it, a hornbill. Needless to say I had left my camera in my luggage.


Why would anyone do that???

1 Like