Wild birds play a major role in the evolution, maintenance, and spread of avian influenza viruses. However, surveillance for these viruses in wild birds is sporadic, geographically biased, and often limited to the last outbreak virus. To identify opportunities to optimize wild bird surveillance for understanding viral diversity, we reviewed responses to a World Organisation for Animal Health-administered survey, government reports to this organization, articles on Web of Knowledge, and the Influenza Research Database. At least 119 countries conducted avian influenza virus surveillance in wild birds during 2008-2013, but coordination and standardization was lacking among surveillance efforts, and most focused on limited subsets of influenza viruses. Given high financial and public health burdens of recent avian influenza outbreaks, we call for sustained, cost-effective investments in locations with high avian influenza diversity in wild birds and efforts to promote standardized sampling, testing, and reporting methods, including full-genome sequencing and sharing of isolates with the scientific community.