Top Observed Species on iNaturalist: Which ones have you not seen?

There’s no such thing as “too common” on iNat. ;)


OK, now I’m going overboard: x/50 by continent. For the record, I’m counting whether I’ve observed the species anywhere in the world, not within the continent. An interesting perspective on panglobal, widely distributed and/or invasive species…

North America = 48/50 observed on my home continent
29. Poison ivy
37. Creosote

South America = 22/50 observed
(easier to document what I have observed on iNat)
1.Saffron finch
4. Great kiskadee
5. Western honey bee
7. Black vulture
10. Great egret
11. Green iguana
12. Vermillion flycatcher
14. Roadside hawk
16. Neotropic cormorant
17. Blue-gray tanager
20. house wren
21. Gulf fritillary
23. Pigeon
24. Snowy egret
27. Striated heron
30. Golden silk spider
34. Dandelion
36. Marine iguana
39. Black-crowned night heron
41. Ruddy ground dove
45. Turkey vulture
49. Common gallinule

Africa = 41/50 observed
(switching back to what I have NOT observed)
2. Western leopard toad
15. Sweet Thorn
21. Bietou
24. Cape dwarf chameleon
30. Giant milkweed
35. Black wattle
36. Common sunshine conebush
39. Common sugarbush
49. King protea

Europe = 32/50 observed
4. Stinging nettle
8. Great tit
18. European peacock butterfly
24. Germander speedwell
25. Herb robert
32. Cow parsley
36. European toad
37. Red clover
38. Greater celandine
39. Red campion
41. European common frog
43. Small tortoiseshell
44. Wood anenome
45. White clover
46. Viper’s-Bugloss
47. Bird’s-foot trefoil
48. English oak
49. Common hawthorn

Asia = 32/50 observed
3. Changeable lizard
6. Black-Jack
15. Oriental magpie-robin
22. Paper mulberry
28. Great tit
30. Asian weaver ant
33. Eurasian bullfinch
34. Light-vented bulbul
35. Elephant’s ear
36. Trailing daisy
37. Crimson dropwing
40. Malayan night-heron
41. Sensitive plant
45. Largeflower pink-sorrel
46. Lemon migrant
48. Creeping woodsorrel
49. White-throated kingfisher
50. Lime swallowtail

Oceania = 11/50 observed
(easier to document what I have observed on iNat)
3. Western honey bee
22. House sparrow
30. Common myna
34. Monarch
35. Eurasian blackbird
36. Eurasian coot
37. Pigeon
38. Fly agaric
39. Green sea turtle
45. Cabbage white
49. Mallard

Antarctica = 3/50 observed
(easier to document what I have observed on iNat)
7. Humpback whale
18. Orca
28. Arctic tern


Missing for world:
8th: white-tailed deer
27th: garlic mustard
30th: American toad
34th: common garter snake
36th: poison ivy
44th: common milkweed
49th: common eastern bumblebee

Missing for Asia:
16th: common mormon swallowtail
18th: Japanese tree frog
22nd: paper mulberry
28th: great tit
33rd: Eurasian bullfinch
34th: light-vented bulbul
40th: Malayan night-heron
47th: black-winged stilt

California I’m only missing number 41: gopher snake


Now that’s some fun idea! Here’s my numbers:

  • Global:
    Having been only once in the US (New York) and two more times in Central America (all visits pre-iNat usage), right now I have 31/50 on the list. Missing are all the herps and mammals from the top 50 (although I saw lots of Grey Squirrels, just don’t have pictures).

  • Europe:
    Apart from those three trips never left Europe, where I have to go until #78 (Common Hedgehog) to find the first species not on the list (although definitely observed, was even bitten once in the finger). First species I presumably never have seen so far is #240 (Gatekeeper, Pyronia tithonus).

These are the top-300 species missing:
#78 Common Hedgehog
#177 European Holly (this should be easy)
#221 Garden Lupin
#241 Gatekeeper
#256 Hedge Bedstraw
#260 Thick-legged Flower Beetle
#262 Moorish Gecko
#282 Bluebell
#284 Eastern Grey Squirrel
#287 Red Valerian
#290 Green Alkanet

thus I have 289/300


Only 4:

Western Fence Lizard
Common Box Turtle
Eurasian Blackbird
Garden Snail

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I was sort of surprised at how many of the top 50 I’ve seen, though I do not know if I have an observation for each. Ones I’m pretty sure I have not seen in the wild include:

Garlic mustard
Red Admiral
Yellow Rump Warbler
Blue Dasher (?maybe, seen lots of blue dragon flies)
Eastern Pond Hawk
Common Eastern Bumblebee
Green anole

I am going through old photo collections to see if I captured pictures at sometime of ones for which I’ve not submitted an Observation. Just going through the old photos is kind of interesting.


Of the top 50 worldwide, I believe I am only missing Western Fence Lizard & Cabbage White, although I think there are a couple of others that I don’t have observations for. For my home state (North Carolina), I’m missing Green Tree Frog and Northern Water Snake (think I saw the latter a few times when I was a kid but haven’t ever positively identified it). Jealous of the folks who haven’t seen poison ivy.


This was what I thought of with your statement, so I had to create it…



Spoken like someone who has never encountered it. Lucky.

I got it on my face earlier this year. One eye was swollen shut and I had a bit of a swollen upper lip. My sister said I looked like I’d been beaten up.

I know it probably has an important ecological niche, but I can’t help wanting every instance of that vile weed to die. These people, who also got it on their face, might agree.


I did better than I thought I would, although the observations seem heavily weighted towards North America.

From totals for the World…
in top 50 I have not seen:
Western Fence Lizard
Northern Mockingbird
Common Slider (turtle)
Creosote Bush

I believe these are all mostly out of range for my location and indicates how little I’ve traveled since getting heavily into naturing.

of the next 50 (51-100), I have not seen:
Green Anole (#51 when I checked the list - seems to be in top 50 for other people)
Brown Anole
Gulf Fritillary (butterfly)
White Snakeroot (suspect I’ve seen it but I haven’t identified it as such)
Red Deadnettle
Common Selfheal
Lesser Celandine
Brown Pelican (but my husband saw one while visiting Florida so it’s in our joint life life)

again, most are out of range for my location and I feel like I should be able to count the frittilaries I have seen… lol.

For my state, I casually counted about 7-10 I haven’t identified - although I might have casually seen them while hiking/camping before trying to identify everything.

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I got poison ivy back in February before it had leafed out. I was rescuing a pussy willow planting from being choked by debris washed up by a heavy rain and I pulled at a ropey vine without thinking. A few days later my eyes were swelling shut so I went to an urgent care where they confirmed my diagnosis.


Mine changed.
For the world, I am missing
17. Western Fence Lizard
30. American Toad
31. Yellow rumped warbler
34. Common Garter Snake
37. Fox Squirrel
48. Wild Turkey
49. Green Anole
So 43/50


I’ve done pretty well, kinda surprised.
Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) (#30)
Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) (#35)

Not really related, but the Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) (#13) is my personal most observed species at 90 observations.

I couldn’t be bothered to calculate my totals, but I’ve seen most of the top ones. Something that surprised me though is how far down chickadees, downy & hairy woodpeckers and nuthatches are - I thought they would be right at the top. The only Noctuid moth to show up is Noctua pronuba, a common European species introduced to NA. I don’t know if these are observational biases or not, but it’s kind of fascinating.

New update, mine changed YET AGAIN
For the world, I am missing
17. Western Fence Lizard
29. American Toad
35. Common Garter Snake
43. Fox Squirrel
So 46/50!
Lets add to 100
51. Wild Turkey
55. Downy Woodpecker
56. Green Anole
59. Brown Anole
63. Great-tailed Grackle
64. Gulf Fritillary
67. American Coot
70. Painted Turtle
74. Common Whitetail
80. Coyote
85. Common Box Turtle
90. Red Shouldered Hawk
96. Eastern Bluebird
97. Jack-in-the-Pulpit
98. White-crowned Sparrow
99. Fireweed
80/100- Pretty fair
But for observed ever-
It takes till 172. Pipevine Swallowtail to find a species I have not observed.
For my state-
18. American Toad
23. Common Garter Snake
30. Eastern Newt
42. Mayapple
59. Yellow Trout Lily
65. Jack-in-the-pulpit
67. Eastern Red-backed Salamander
83. Painted Turtle
So 92/100
For my county-
It takes until 137. Long Tailed Duck to reach one I don´t have
And then 138. Mouse-ear Cress

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I haven’t made observations for many of the common organisms I see, but out of the global top 50, there’s only 2 that I have no specific recollection of seeing: yellow-rumped warbler and song sparrow (and even then I’ve most likely seen and just not identified them, I live in their range and see plenty of warblers and sparrows).

It helps that every single organism in the top 50 is found in North America and that I’ve visited several parts of the US.

The most commonly observed species that I definitely haven’t seen lately is the american coot, the 67th most observed species.

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Scratch pipeline swallowtail off the list. I SAW ONE!!! No photo as it just landed for a few seconds last Sunday and went away.


To be honest, I think I have seen all 500 species on the list. I cannot find one that I do not have a record of. I have over 19K species in records, but only about 1600 with photos


Exactly. All of those are found in North America, although not all are native there.

And it seems a single trip to USA can give you most of them, all are iconic species but also all are on the other side of Atlantic.