List of birds of Connecticut

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The American Robin is the state bird of Connecticut.

This list of Connecticut birds is a comprehensive listing of all the bird species recorded from the U.S. state of Connecticut. This list is based on a checklist used by the Avian Records Committee of Connecticut, the list used by most birders to objectively evaluate species recorded in the state. This list is based on the committee's revision from 2007.[1]

A total of 417 species of birds have been recorded in Connecticut.[1] This number includes all bird species known to have occurred in the state, including birds that don't breed in Connecticut, such as migrants, winter visitors and vagrants, as well as breeding species and recently extinct and extirpated species. There are about 280 species regularly occurring in the state. The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Connecticut (1994) listed 173 bird species as confirmed breeders, based on a 1982–1986 survey. An assessment before 2004 estimated the total number of species breeding regularly in the state at about 150.[2]

The taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families, genera and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) used in the accompanying bird lists adhere to the conventions of the AOU's (1998) Check-list of North American birds, the recognized scientific authority on the taxonomy and nomenclature of North American birds. The AOU's Committee on Classification and Nomenclature, the body responsible for maintaining and updating the Check-list, "strongly and unanimously continues to endorse the biological species concept (BSC), in which species are considered to be genetically cohesive groups of populations that are reproductively isolated from other such groups" (AOU 1998). See Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy for an alternative phylogenetic arrangement based on DNA-DNA hybridization.

The following codes are used to denote certain categories of species:

  • (I) - Introduced: Birds that have been introduced to North America by the actions of man, either directly or indirectly.
  • (X) - Extinct
  • (E) - Extirpated
  • (S) - Sight record only

Table of contents

Non-passerines: Ducks, geese, and swansTurkeysGrousePheasantsNew World quailLoonsGrebesAlbatrossesFulmers, petrels and shearwatersStorm-petrelsTropicbirdsBoobies and gannetsPelicansCormorantsDartersFrigatebirdsBitterns, herons, and egretsIbises and spoonbillsStorksNew World vulturesOspreyHawks, kites, and eaglesCaracaras and falconsRails, gallinules, and cootsLimpkinsCranesLapwings and ploversOystercatchersStilts and avocetsSandpipers, curlews, stints, godwits, snipes, and phalaropesGullsTernsSkimmersSkuasAuks, murres, and puffinsPigeons and dovesLories, parakeets, macaws, and parrotsCuckoos, roadrunners, and anisBarn owlsTypical owlsNightjarsSwiftsHummingbirdsKingfishersWoodpeckers, sapsuckers, and flickers

Passerines: Tyrant flycatchersShrikesVireosJays, crows, magpies, and ravensLarksSwallows and martinsChickadees and titmiceNuthatchesTreecreepersWrensKingletsGnatcatchersOld World flycatchersThrushesMockingbirds and thrashersStarlingsWagtails and pipitsWaxwingsWood-warblersTanagersAmerican sparrows, towhees, juncos, and longspursCardinals, saltators, and grosbeaksBlackbirds, meadowlarks, cowbirds, grackles, and oriolesFinchesOld World sparrows

See also       References

Ducks, geese, and swans[edit]

Order: Anseriformes The family Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These are birds that are modified for an aquatic existence with webbed feet,

Pheasants, Turkeys, and Grouse[edit]

Order: Galliformes Family: Phasianidae

The Phasianidae is a family of birds which consists of the pheasants and their allies. These are terrestrial species, variable in size but generally plump, with broad relatively short wings. Many species are gamebirds, or have been domesticated as a food source for humans. In Connecticut, one species has been introduced. Turkeys have a distinctive fleshy wattle that hangs from the underside of the beak, and a fleshy protuberance that hangs from the top of its beak called a snood. As with many galliform species, the female (the hen) is smaller and much less colorful than the male (the tom). With wingspans of 1.5–1.8 meters (almost 6 feet), the turkeys are the largest birds in the open forests in which they live and are rarely mistaken for any other species. One species has been recorded in Connecticut. Grouse inhabit temperate and subarctic regions of the northern hemisphere. They are game and are sometimes hunted for food. In all Connecticut species, males are polygamous and have elaborate courtship displays. These heavily built birds have legs feathered to the toes. Most species are year-round residents, and do not migrate. Two species have been recorded in Connecticut.

New World quail[edit]

Order: Galliformes Family: Odontophoridae

The New World quails are small, plump terrestrial birds only distantly related to the quails of the Old World, but named for their similar appearance and habits. In Connecticut, one species has been recorded.


Order: Gaviiformes Family: Gaviidae

Loons are aquatic birds size of a large duck, to which they are unrelated. Their plumage is largely grey or black, they have spear-shaped bills. Loons swim well, and fly adequately, but, because their legs are placed towards the rear of the body, are almost hopeless on land. In Connecticut, three species have been recorded.

  • Red-throated Loon, Gavia stellata — rather common, mostly along the coast and at the mouths of major rivers during spring and fall migration; uncommon in winter and at that time found mostly in eastern Long Island Sound; as many as 100 to 200 individuals gather together in November; many go south by early winter.[2]
  • Pacific Loon, Gavia pacifica (R)
  • Common Loon, Gavia immer — historically, the bird rarely nests in Connecticut and no recent nesting was observed up to 2004 in the state; rather common in spring and fall during migration; found in coastal waters, large lakes, and reservoirs; most likely to be seen in eastern Long Island Sound; pollution (particularly acidified lakes which cut back on food resources and mercury poisoning) has cut the population in the Northeast, along with fluctuating reservoir levels and lakeshore residential development.[2]


Order: Podicipediformes Family: Podicipedidae

Grebes are small to medium-large sized freshwater diving birds. They have lobed toes, and are excellent swimmers and divers. However, they have their feet placed far back on the body, making them quite ungainly on land. In Connecticut, five species have been recorded.

  • Pied-billed Grebe, Podilymbus podiceps — a rare breeder found in freshwater marshes, marshy ponds and lakes in the western part of the state; an uncommon spring and fall migrant and then found on coastal and inland waters[2]
  • Horned Grebe, Podiceps auritus — numerous spring and fall migrant, although not always; seen less in winter, usually along the coast and sometimes inland on large lakes and rivers[2]
  • Red-necked Grebe, Podiceps grisegena — uncommon in spring and fall migration season, rare in winter; usually found along the coast, sometimes on inland bodies of water[2]
  • Eared Grebe, Podiceps nigricollis (R)
  • Western Grebe, Aechmorphorus occidentalis (R)

Fulmars, petrels and shearwaters[edit]

Order: Procellariiformes Family: Procellariidae

The procellariids are the main group of medium-sized 'true petrels', characterized by united nostrils with medium septum, and a long outer functional primary. In Connecticut, seven species have been recorded.


Order: Procellariiformes Family: Hydrobatidae

The storm-petrels are the smallest of seabirds, relatives of the petrels, feeding on planktonic crustaceans and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. The flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like. In Connecticut, three species have been recorded.

Boobies and gannets[edit]

Order: Pelecaniformes Family: Sulidae

The sulids comprise the gannets and boobies. Both groups are medium-large coastal seabirds that plunge-dive for fish. In Connecticut, one species has been recorded.

  • Northern Gannet, Morus bassanus (formerly Sula bassana) — rarely found during spring and fall migration, and seldom seen in winter, although regularly present in December, mostly in eastern Long Island Sound.[2]


Order: Pelecaniformes Family: Pelecanidae

Pelicans are very large water birds with a distinctive pouch under the beak. Like other birds in the order Pelecaniformes, they have four webbed toes. In Connecticut, two species have been recorded.


Order: Pelecaniformes Family: Phalacrocoracidae

Cormorants are medium-to-large aquatic birds, usually with mainly dark plumage and areas of colored skin on the face. The bill is long, thin, and sharply hooked. Their feet are four-toed and webbed, a distinguishing feature among the Pelecaniformes order. In Connecticut, two species have been recorded.

  • Double-crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auritus — now a common from spring to fall, this bird was a rare migrant around 1900; much less common in winter, but sightings are increasing; mostly found on some coastal islands, but also on major rivers and some inland lakes; by the late 1990s, there were at least 1,000 nesting pairs in the state; these birds compete with fishermen and with less robust species, so efforts have been made in New York and southern New England to cut down the population; in the years leading up to 2004, the birds were less seen in the summer than previously.[2]
  • Great Cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo — rather common along the coast from fall through spring, but also found on the Connecticut River and other large bodies of water.[2]


Order: Pelecaniformes Family: Anhingidae

Darters are cormorant-like water birds with very long necks and long, straight beaks. They often swim with only the neck above water, and are fish-eaters. In Connecticut, one species has been recorded.


Order: Pelecaniformes Family: Fregatidae

Frigatebirds are large sea-birds usually found over tropical oceans. They are large, black or black-and-white, with long wings and deeply forked tails. The males have inflatable colored throat pouches. They do not swim or walk, and cannot take off from a flat surface. Having the largest wingspan-to-body-weight ratio of any bird, they are essentially aerial, able to stay aloft for more than a week. In Connecticut, one species has been recorded.

Bitterns, herons, and egrets[edit]

Order: Ciconiiformes Family: Ardeidae

The family Ardeidae contains the herons, egrets, and bitterns. Herons and Egrets are medium to large sized wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more secretive. Unlike other long necked birds such as storks, ibises and spoonbills, members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted. Egrets, including the Great Egret, were decimated in the past by plume hunters, but numbers recovered when given protection in the 20th century.[2] In Connecticut, 11 species have been recorded.

  • American Bittern, Botaurus lentiginosus — uncommon but widespread and found at any time of the year; mostly found in large marshes in summer or winter, and migrants may use small marshes; numbers likely declined when the common reed displaced cattail marshes[2]
  • Least Bittern, Ixobrychus exilis — rarely seen; found in spring through fall in large marshes; prefers marshes roughly equally mixed between vegetation and open water[2]
  • Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias — common in marshes and other bodies of water from spring through fall; numbers have been increasing in recent decades; increasingly seen in winter, but still uncommon then[2]
  • Great Egret, Ardea alba — rather common along the coast from spring through fall and rarely in early winter; less commonly found inland; groups of about 100 pairs nest on Great Captain Island off Greenwich, Charles Island off Milford, and Dyuck Island at Westbrook; numbers have been increasing[2]
  • Snowy Egret, Egretta thula — rather common along the coast from spring through fall; can be found roosting at night with great egrets and cormorants; found in woody vegetation on coastal islands, including Great Captain Island off Greenwich, Charles Island off Milford, and Dyuck Island at Westbrook; the population on Long Island Sound (including New York state) declined a bit from 1,650 pairs in 1977 to 1,390 in 1998.[2]
  • Little Blue Heron, Egretta caerulea — not common, seen from spring through early fall, but most often from mid- to late summer and early in the fall when young birds enter the state from the south; found nesting in woody areas of coastal islands, including Great Captain Island off Greenwich and Charles Island off Milford; the nesting range expanded to the north along the East Coast in the 20th century[2]
  • Tricolored Heron, Egretta tricolor — seldom found in the state; seen in coastal waters in the spring and summer, occasionally nested in the woody areas of the Norwalk Islands; in the mid 20th century the species became more abundant in New York and southern New England[2]
  • Cattle Egret, Bubulcus ibis — rarely seen; found in coastal waters in spring and summer; has been seen regularly nesting in the woody areas of the Norwalk Islands; a native of the Old World, the egret showed up in the 1880s, first in South America and by the 1940s had spread north to Florida and then along the East Coast[2]
  • Green Heron, Butorides virescens — rather common; found in marshes and swamps from spring through fall; loss of marshes and damage to them likely caused a decline in this population in the 20th century[2]
  • Black-crowned Night-Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax — rather common on the coast and on the Connecticut River from spring through fall; rarely found in winter; spreads inland along the Connecticut and Housatonic Rivers in late summer; nests on coastal islands, including Great Captain Island off Greenwich, Charles Island off Milford, and Dyuck Island at Westbrook; the population in the state was about 500 pairs as of 2004; numbers declined in the Northeast United States in the 20th century, probably because of human disturbances and pesticide use; the Long Island Sound population (including New York state) declined from 2,400 pairs in 1977 to 1,390 in 1998[2]
  • Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Nyctanassa violacea— rarely seen; found in coastal marshes from spring through early fall, usually in the western part of the state[2]

Ibises and spoonbills[edit]

Order: Ciconiiformes Family: Threskiornithidae

The family Threskiornithidae includes the ibises and spoonbills. They have long, broad wings. Their bodies tend to be elongated, the neck more so, with rather long legs. The bill is also long, decurved in the case of the ibises, straight and distinctively flattened in the spoonbills. In Connecticut, three species have occurred.


Order: Ciconiiformes Family: Ciconiidae

Storks are large, heavy, long-legged, long-necked wading birds with long stout bills and wide wingspans. They lack the powder down that other wading birds such as herons, spoonbills and ibises use to clean off fish slime. Storks lack a pharynx and are mute. In Connecticut, one species has been recorded.

New World vultures[edit]

Order: Ciconiiformes Family: Cathartidae

The New World vultures are not closely related to Old World vultures, but superficially resemble them because of convergent evolution. Like the Old World vultures, they are scavengers. However, unlike Old World vultures, which find carcasses by sight, New World vultures have a good sense of smell with which they locate carcasses. In Connecticut, two species have been recorded.


Order: Falconiformes Family: Pandionidae

The Osprey is a medium-large fish-eating bird of prey or raptor. It is widely distributed because it tolerates a wide variety of habitats, nesting in any location which is near a body of water and provides an adequate food supply. It is the only member of its family.

  • Osprey, Pandion haliaetus — The distinctive black and white birds are common in the state from spring through fall; seen mostly on platforms on the east and central coastline; also called "fish hawks".[2][3]
    • migrations are heaviest in early to mid-spring (around St. Patrick's Day) and late summer through early fall (around Labor Day), with most juveniles migrating a bit later.[2][3]
    • feeds on medium-size fish, including flounders, which they catch by diving from the air, feet first; the birds are unique in Connecticut as the only species with a fish-only diet, and they are one of the few raptors that prey on live fish; they can be seen hovering over the water before splashing down, sometimes 2 or 3 feet in the water; the birds can catch up to 10 fish a day; adults feed their fledglings for up to 8 weeks; Ospreys have been known to snatch goldfish from ornamental fish ponds.[2][3]
    • Formerly the bird was rare, in part due to pesticide contamination (including DDT), with just nine nests in the state as of 1974 and increasing to 162 (with 315 fledglings) by 1999; their range has expanded westward along the coast over time and up the Connecticut and Quinnipiac rivers; their nests stay intact through the winter, when the birds migrate as far as South America; in the 1990s, raccoon predation may have kept the population down at Great Island on the Connecticut River before barriers were put on the poles supporting nests; when racoons were more scarce, ospreys successfully nested on the ground, but they typically build nests at the highest possible locations, including cell phone towers.[2][3]
    • In May 2008, the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk set up a webcam of an osprey nest on Manressa Island, a peninsula on the west side of Norwalk Harbor, near a power plant. (A link to the webcam can be found at this Web page.) The tan color of the chicks makes them a bit difficult to see against the similarly colored nest on the black-and-white webcam feed.[3] The aquarium monitors ospreys "because, as a predator, at the top of the food chain, osprey are an important indicator of the health of the entire ecosystem," according to the aquarium website.[4]

Hawks, kites, and eagles[edit]

Order: Falconiformes Family: Accipitridae

The family Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey and include hawks, eagles, kites, harriers and Old World vultures. These birds have very large powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons, and keen eyesight. In Connecticut, 13 species have been recorded.

Caracaras and falcons[edit]

Order: Falconiformes Family: Falconidae

Falconidae is a family of diurnal birds of prey, notably the falcons and caracaras. They differ from hawks, eagles, and kites in that they kill with their beaks instead of their feet. In Connecticut, four species have been recorded.

Rails, gallinules, and coots[edit]

Order: Gruiformes Family: Rallidae

Rallidae is a large family of small to medium-sized birds which includes the rails, crakes, coots, and gallinules. The most typical family members occupy dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, swamps, or rivers. In general they are shy and secretive birds, difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs, and have long toes which are well adapted to soft, uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and be weak fliers. In Connecticut, nine species have been recorded.


Order: Gruiformes Family: Gruidae

Cranes are large, long-legged and long-necked birds. Unlike the similar-looking but unrelated herons, cranes fly with necks outstretched, not pulled back. Most have elaborate and noisy courting displays or "dances". In Connecticut, one species has been recorded.

Lapwings and plovers[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes Family: Charadriidae

The family Charadriidae includes the plovers, dotterels, and lapwings. They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings. They are found in open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water, although there are some exceptions. In Connecticut, seven species have been recorded.


Order: Charadriiformes Family: Haematopodidae

The oystercatchers are large, obvious and noisy plover-like birds, with strong bills used for smashing or prying open molluscs. In Connecticut, one species has been recorded.

Stilts and avocets[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes Family: Recurvirostridae

Recurvirostridae is a family of large wading birds, which includes the avocets and the stilts. The avocets have long legs and long up-curved bills. The stilts have extremely long legs and long, thin, straight bills. In Connecticut, two species have been recorded.

Sandpipers, curlews, stints, godwits, snipes, and phalaropes[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes Family: Scolopacidae

The Scolopacidae are a large diverse family of small to medium sized shorebirds including the sandpipers, curlews, godwits, shanks, tattlers, woodcocks, snipes, dowitchers and phalaropes. The majority of species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Different lengths of legs and bills enable different species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food. In Connecticut, 38 species have been recorded.

Gulls, Terns and Skimmers[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes Family: Laridae

Gulls are typically medium to large birds, usually grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have longish bills, and webbed feet. The large species take up to four years to attain full adult plumage, but two years is typical for small gulls. Terns are in general medium to large birds, typically with grey or white plumage, often with black markings on the head. They have longish bills and webbed feet. They are lighter bodied and more streamlined than gulls, and look elegant in flight with long tails and long narrow wings. Skimmers are tropical and subtropical species. They have an elongated lower mandible. They feed by flying low over the water surface with the lower mandible skimming the water for small fish.


Order: Charadriiformes Family: Stercorariidae

They are in general medium to large birds, typically with grey or brown plumage, often with white markings on the wings. They have longish bills with a hooked tip, and webbed feet with sharp claws. They look like large dark gulls, but have a fleshy cere above the upper mandible. They are strong, acrobatic fliers. Three species have been recorded in Connecticut.

Auks, murres, and puffins[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes Family: Alcidae

Alcids are superficially similar to penguins due to their black-and-white colors, their upright posture, and some of their habits; however, they are not related to the penguins at all, being able to fly. Auks live on the open sea, only deliberately coming ashore to nest. In Connecticut, five species have been recorded.

Pigeons and doves[edit]

Order: Columbiformes Family: Columbidae

Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere. In Connecticut, seven species have been recorded.

Lories, parakeets, macaws, and parrots[edit]

Order: Psittaciformes Family: Psittacidae

Parrots are small to large birds with a characteristic curved beak shape. Their upper mandibles have slight mobility in the joint with the skull and they have a generally erect stance. All parrots are zygodactyl, having the four toes on each foot placed two at the front and two back. In Connecticut, one exotic species has been recorded.

Cuckoos, roadrunners, and anis[edit]

Order: Cuculiformes Family: Cuculidae

The family Cuculidae includes cuckoos, roadrunners and anis. These birds are of variable size with slender bodies, long tails and strong legs. Unlike the cuckoo species of the Old World, North American cuckoos are not brood parasites. In Connecticut, two species have been recorded.

Barn owls[edit]

Order: Strigiformes Family: Tytonidae

Barn owls are medium to large sized owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons. In Connecticut, one species has been recorded.

Typical owls[edit]

Order: Strigiformes Family: Strigidae

Typical owls are small to large solitary nocturnal birds of prey. They have large forward-facing eyes and ears, a hawk-like beak, and a conspicuous circle of feathers around each eye called a facial disk. In Connecticut, 11 species have been recorded.


Order: Caprimulgiformes Family: Caprimulgidae

Nightjars are medium-sized nocturnal birds with long wings, short legs and very short bills that usually nest on the ground. Most have small feet which are of little use for walking and long, pointed wings. Their soft plumage is cryptically colored to resemble bark or leaves. In Connecticut, three species have been recorded.


Order: Apodiformes Family: Apodidae

The swifts are small aerial birds, spending the majority of their lives flying. These birds have very short legs and never settle voluntarily on the ground, perching instead only on vertical surfaces. Many swifts have long swept-back wings that resemble a crescent or a boomerang. In Connecticut, one species has been recorded.


Order: Apodiformes Family: Trochilidae

Hummingbirds are small birds capable of hovering in mid-air due to the rapid flapping of their wings. They are the only birds that can fly backwards. In Connecticut, three species have been recorded.


Order: Coraciiformes Family: Cerylidae

Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long, pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails. In Connecticut, one species has been recorded.

Woodpeckers, sapsuckers, and flickers[edit]

Order: Piciformes Family: Picidae

Woodpeckers are small to medium-sized birds with chisel-like beaks, short legs, stiff tails and long tongues used for capturing insects. Some species have feet with two toes pointing forward, and two backward, while several species have only three toes. Many woodpeckers have the habit of tapping noisily on tree trunks with their beaks. In Connecticut, eight species have been recorded.

Tyrant flycatchers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes Family: Tyrannidae

Tyrant flycatchers are passerine birds which occur throughout North and South America. They superficially resemble the Old World flycatchers, but are more robust with stronger bills. They do not have the sophisticated vocal capabilities of the songbirds. Most, but not all, are rather plain. As the name implies, most are insectivorous. In Connecticut, 17 species have been recorded.


Order: Passeriformes Family: Laniidae

Shrikes are passerine birds known for their habit of catching other birds and small animals and impaling the uneaten portions of their bodies on thorns. A typical shrike's beak is hooked, like a bird of prey. In Connecticut, two species have been recorded.


Order: Passeriformes Family: Vireonidae

The vireos are a group of small to medium sized passerine birds restricted to the New World. They are typically greenish in color and resemble the wood warblers except for their heavier bills. In Connecticut, seven species have been recorded.

Jays, crows, magpies, and ravens[edit]

Order: Passeriformes Family: Corvidae

The Corvidae family includes crows, ravens, jays, choughs, magpies, treepies, nutcrackers, and ground jays. Corvids are above average in size for the bird order Passeriformes. Some of the larger species show levels of learned behavior of a high degree. In Connecticut, four species have been recorded.


Order: Passeriformes Family: Alaudidae

Larks are small terrestrial birds with often extravagant songs and display flights. Most larks are fairly dull in appearance. Their food is insects and seeds. In Connecticut, one species has been recorded.

Swallows and martins[edit]

Order: Passeriformes Family: Hirundinidae

The Hirundinidae family is a group of passerines characterized by their adaptation to aerial feeding. Their adaptations include a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings, and short bills with wide gape. The feet are designed for perching rather than walking and the front toes are partially joined at the base. In Connecticut, seven species have been recorded.

Chickadees and titmice[edit]

Order: Passeriformes Family: Paridae

The Paridae are mainly small stocky woodland species with short stout bills. Some have crests. They are adaptable birds, with a mixed diet including seeds and insects. In Connecticut, three species have been recorded.


Order: Passeriformes Family: Sittidae

Nuthatches are small woodland birds. They have the unusual ability to climb down trees head first, unlike other birds which can only go upwards. Nuthatches have big heads, short tails and powerful bills and feet. In Connecticut, three species have been recorded.


Order: Passeriformes Family: Certhiidae

Treecreepers are small woodland birds, brown above and white below. They have thin pointed down-curved bills, which they use to extricate insects from bark. They have stiff tail feathers, like woodpeckers, which they use to support themselves on vertical trees. In Connecticut, one species has been recorded.


Order: Passeriformes Family: Troglodytidae

Wrens are small and inconspicuous birds, except for their loud songs. They have short wings and a thin down-turned bill. Several species often hold their tails upright. All are insectivorous. In Connecticut, five species have been recorded.


Order: Passeriformes Family: Regulidae

The kinglets are a family of birds which are very small insectivorous birds in the genus Regulus. The adults have colored crowns, giving rise to their name. In Connecticut, two species have been recorded.


Order: Passeriformes Family: Polioptilidae

These dainty birds resemble Old World warblers in their structure and habits, moving restlessly through foliage while seeking insects. The gnatcatchers are mainly a soft bluish grey in color and have the long sharp bill typical of an insectivore. Many species have distinctive black head patterns (esp. males) and long, regularly cocked black-and-white tails. In Connecticut, one species has been recorded.

Old World flycatchers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes Family: Muscicapidae


Order: Passeriformes Family: Turdidae

The Thrushes are a group of passerine birds that occur mainly but not exclusively in the Old World. They are plump, soft plumaged, small to medium sized insectivores or sometimes omnivores, often feeding on the ground. Many have attractive songs. In Connecticut, 11 species have been recorded.

Mockingbirds and thrashers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes Family: Mimidae

The Mimids are a family of passerine birds that includes thrashers, mockingbirds, tremblers, and the New World catbirds. These birds are notable for their vocalization, especially their remarkable ability to mimic a wide variety of birds and other sounds heard outdoors. The species tend towards dull grays and browns in their appearance. In Connecticut, three species have been recorded.


Order: Passeriformes Family: Sturnidae

Starlings are small to medium-sized Old World passerine birds with strong feet. Their flight is strong and direct, and most are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country, and they eat insects and fruit. The plumage of several species is dark with a metallic sheen. In Connecticut, one species has been recorded.

Wagtails and pipits[edit]

Order: Passeriformes Family: Motacillidae

The Motacillidae are a family of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They include the wagtails, longclaws and pipits. They are slender, ground feeding insectivores of open country. In Connecticut, one species has been recorded.


Order: Passeriformes Family: Bombycillidae

The waxwings are a group of passerine birds characterized by soft silky plumage and unique red tips to some of the wing feathers. In the Bohemian and Cedar Waxwings, these tips look like sealing wax, and give the group its name. These are arboreal birds of northern forests. They live on insects in summer and berries in winter. In Connecticut, one species has been recorded.

Longspurs and snow buntings[edit]

Order: Passeriformes Family: Calcariidae

Wood warblers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes Family: Parulidae

The Wood Warblers are a group of small, often colorful passerine birds restricted to the New World. Most are arboreal, but some are more terrestrial, such as the Ovenbird. Most members of this family are insectivores. In Connecticut, 39 species have been recorded.

American sparrows, towhees, juncos, and longspurs[edit]

Order: Passeriformes Family: Emberizidae

The Emberizidae are a large family of passerine birds. They are seed-eating birds with a distinctively shaped bill. In Europe, most species are named as buntings. In North America, most of the species in this family are known as Sparrows, but these birds are not closely related to the Old World sparrows which are in the family Passeridae. Many emberizid species have distinctive head patterns. In Connecticut, have been recorded.

Cardinals, saltators, and grosbeaks[edit]

Order: Passeriformes Family: Cardinalidae

The Cardinals are a family of passerine birds that are robust, seed-eating birds, with strong bills. They are typically associated with open woodland. The sexes usually have distinct plumages. In Connecticut, species have been recorded.

Blackbirds, meadowlarks, cowbirds, grackles, and orioles[edit]

Order: Passeriformes Family: Icteridae

The Icterids are a group of small to medium, often colorful passerine birds restricted to the New World and include the grackles, New World blackbirds, and New World orioles. Most species have black as a predominant plumage color, often enlivened by yellow, orange or red. In Connecticut, 12 species have been recorded.


Order: Passeriformes Family: Fringillidae

Finches are seed-eating passerine birds that are small to moderately large and have a strong beak, usually conical and in some species very large. All have 12 tail feathers and 9 primaries. These birds have a bouncing flight with alternating bouts of flapping and gliding on closed wings, and most sing well. In Connecticut, ten species have been recorded.

Old World sparrows[edit]

Order: Passeriformes Family: Passeridae

Old World sparrows are small passerine birds. In general, sparrows tend to be small plump brownish or greyish birds with short tails and short powerful beaks. Sparrows are seed-eaters, and they also consume small insects. In Connecticut, one species has been recorded.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The Checklist of the Birds of Connecticut". Connecticut Ornithological Association. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Hammerson, Geoffrey A., Connecticut Wildlife: Biodiversity, Natural History, and Conservation, University Press of New England: Hanover, New Hampshire, and London, 2004, ISBN 1-58465-369-8, Chapter 20 "Birds"
  3. ^ a b c d e McNamee, Patrick, special correspondent, "Ospreys star in their own reality show: Aquarium trains webcam on birds of prey's nest", The Advocate of Stamford, Connecticut, May 28, 2008, Stamford edition, page A9
  4. ^ Web page titled "View an active osprey nest / News flash!" at the Maritime Aquarium website, accessed May 31, 2008

Further reading[edit]

  • Connecticut Birds (Zeranski and Baptist, 1990)
  • The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Connecticut (Bevier, 1994)
  • The Connecticut Warbler, journal of the Connecticut Ornithological Association