List of birds of Maryland
In the U.S. state of Maryland, 445 species of bird have been recorded. This number includes the bird species that have been sighted in Maryland and are believed to be of wild origin. In addition, seven species are confirmed as appearing in Maryland but have been questioned as to being of wild origin. The Maryland/District of Columbia Records Committee maintains the records for bird sightings in Maryland and produces the list used by most birders to objectively evaluate species recorded in the state. The committee votes on the validity of new records of bird species in the state. The committee last met in 2012. A herald petrel was seen in 2012 but has not yet been voted upon.
Official bird lists are sorted by taxonomic sequence. The taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families, genera and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) used by the Maryland/District of Columbia Records Committee follow the conventions of the American Ornithologists' Union's (1998) Check-list of North American birds, the recognized scientific authority on the taxonomy and nomenclature of North American birds. The American Ornithologists' Union'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". Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy provides an alternative phylogenetic arrangement based on DNA-DNA hybridization.
Unless otherwise noted, all species listed below are considered to occur regularly in Maryland as permanent residents, summer or winter visitors, or migrants. 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.
- (E) – Extinct
- (X) – Extirpated from Maryland
- (R) – Rare: These birds are considered rare enough in Maryland to have each occurrence reviewed by the committee.
- (O) – Birds confirmed as appearing in Maryland whose wild origin is unconfirmed
Note: Birds marked with an asterisk (*) are not identified to species, but distinct enough to be considered as a separate entry.
Ducks, geese, and swans
The family Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These are birds that are adapted for an aquatic existence with webbed feet, bills that are flattened to a greater or lesser extent, and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to special oils. In Maryland, 43 definitive species have been recorded and 2 of questionable origin have also been reported.
- Black-bellied whistling duck, Dendrocygna autumnalis (R)
- Fulvous whistling duck, Dendrocygna bicolor (R)
- Pink-footed goose, Anser brachyrhynchus (R)
- Greater white-fronted goose, Anser albifrons
- Snow goose, Chen caerulescens
- Ross's goose, Chen rossii
- Brant, Branta bernicla
- Barnacle goose, Branta leucopsis (R)
- Cackling goose, Branta hutchinsii
- Canada goose, Branta canadensis
- Mute swan, Cygnus olor
- Trumpeter swan, Cygnus buccinator (X)
- Tundra swan, Cygnus columbianus
- Wood duck, Aix sponsa
- Gadwall, Anas strepera
- Eurasian wigeon, Anas penelope
- American wigeon, Anas americana
- American black duck, Anas rubripes
- Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos
- Baikal teal, Anas formosa (O)
- Blue-winged teal, Anas discors
- Cinnamon teal, Anas cyanoptera (R)
- Northern shoveler, Anas clypeata
- Falcated duck, Anas falcata (O)
- Northern pintail, Anas acuta
- Green-winged teal, Anas crecca
- Canvasback, Aythya valisineria
- Redhead, Aythya americana
- Ring-necked duck, Aythya collaris
- Tufted duck, Aythya fuligula (R)
- Greater scaup, Aythya marila
- Lesser scaup, Aythya affinis
- King eider, Somateria spectabilis
- Common eider, Somateria mollissima
- Harlequin duck, Histrionicus histrionicus
- Surf scoter, Melanitta perspicillata
- White-winged scoter, Melanitta fusca
- Black scoter, Melanitta americana
- Long-tailed duck, Clangula hyemalis
- Bufflehead, Bucephala albeola
- Common goldeneye, Bucephala clangula
- Barrow's goldeneye, Bucephala clangula (R)
- Hooded merganser, Lophodytes cucullatus
- Common merganser, Mergus merganser
- Red-breasted merganser, Mergus serrator
- Masked duck, Nomonyx dominicus (R)
- Ruddy duck, Oxyura jamaicensis
Pheasants, turkeys and grouse
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 Maryland, one species has been introduced and one has be extirpated. 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 metres (4.9–5.9 ft), 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 Maryland. Grouse inhabit temperate and subarctic regions of the northern hemisphere. In all of Maryland's 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. One species has been recorded in Maryland.
- Wild turkey, Meleagris gallopavo
- Ruffed Grouse, Bonasa umbellus
- Ring-necked pheasant, Phasianus colchicus (I)
- Greater prairie chicken, Tympanuchus cupido (X)
New World quail
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 Maryland, one species has been recorded.
- Northern bobwhite, Colinus virginianus
Loons are aquatic birds that are the 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 extremely poor at walking. In Maryland, three species have been recorded.
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 Maryland, five species have been recorded.
- Pied-billed grebe, Podilymbus podiceps
- Horned grebe, Podiceps auritus
- Red-necked grebe, Podiceps grisegena
- Eared grebe, Podiceps nigricollis
- Western grebe, Aechmorphorus occidentalis (R)
- Atlantic yellow-nosed albatross, Thalassarche chlororhynchos (R)
Fulmars, petrels and shearwaters
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 Maryland, eight species have been recorded.
- Northern fulmar, Fulmarus glacialis
- Black-capped petrel, Pterodroma hasitata (R)
- Cory's shearwater, Calonectris diomedea
- Cape Verde shearwater, Calonectris edwardsii (R)
- Great shearwater, Puffinus gravis
- Sooty shearwater, Puffinus griseus
- Manx shearwater, Puffinus puffinus
- Audubon's shearwater, Puffinus lherminieri
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. Their flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like. In Maryland, four species have been recorded.
- Wilson's storm-petrel, Oceanites oceanicus
- White-faced storm-petrel, Pelagodroma marina (R)
- Leach's storm-petrel, Oceanodroma leucorhoa
- Band-rumped storm petrel, Oceanodroma castro (R)
Boobies and gannets
Pelicans are large water birds with a distinctive pouch under the beak. Like other birds in the order Pelecaniformes, they have four webbed toes. In Maryland, two species have been recorded.
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 Maryland, three species have been recorded.
- Neotropic cormorant, Phalacrocorax brasilianus (R)
- Double-crested cormorant, Phalacrocorax auritus
- Great cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo
Darters are cormorant-like water birds with long necks and long, straight beaks. They often swim with only the neck above water, and are fish-eaters. In Maryland, one species has been recorded.
- Anhinga, Anhinga anhinga
Frigatebirds are large seabirds 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 Maryland, one species has been recorded.
- Magnificent frigatebird, Fregata magnificens (R)
Bitterns, herons, and egrets
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. In Maryland, 12 species have been recorded.
- American bittern, Botaurus lentiginosus
- Least bittern, Ixobrychus exilis
- Great blue heron, Ardea herodias
- Great egret, Ardea alba
- Snowy egret, Egretta thula
- Little blue heron, Egretta caerulea
- Tricolored heron, Egretta tricolor
- Reddish egret, Egretta rufescens (R)
- Cattle egret, Bubulcus ibis
- Green heron, Butorides virescens
- Black-crowned night heron, Nycticorax nycticorax
- Yellow-crowned night heron, Nyctanassa violacea
Ibises and spoonbills
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 Maryland, four species have occurred.
- American white ibis, Eudocimus albus
- Glossy ibis, Plegadis falcinellus
- White-faced ibis, Plegadis chihi (R)
- Roseate spoonbill, Platalea ajaja (R)
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 Maryland, one species has been recorded.
- Wood stork, Mycteria americana (R)
Flamingoes are gregarious wading birds, usually 0.91 to 1.5 metres (3.0 to 4.9 ft) in height, found in both the Western and Eastern Hemispheres. They are more numerous in the latter. Flamingos filter-feed on shellfish and algae. Their oddly shaped beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they consume, and are uniquely used upside-down. There are six species worldwide, one North American species, and one Maryland species.
- Greater flamingo, Phoencopterus roseus (R)
New World vultures
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 Maryland, two species have been recorded.
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 that is near a body of water and provides an adequate food supply. It is the only member of its family.
- Osprey, Pandion haliaetus
Hawks, kites, and eagles
The family Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey and include hawks, eagles, kites, harriers, and Old World vultures. These birds have large powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons, and keen eyesight. In Maryland, 14 species have been recorded.
- Swallow-tailed kite, Elanoides forficatus
- White-tailed kite, 'Elanus leucurus (R)
- Mississippi kite, Ictinia mississippiensis
- Bald eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus
- Northern harrier, Circus cyaneus
- Sharp-shinned hawk, Accipiter striatus
- Cooper's hawk, Accipiter cooperii
- Northern goshawk, Accipiter gentilis
- Red-shouldered hawk, Buteo lineatus
- Broad-winged hawk, Buteo platypterus
- Swainson's hawk, Buteo swainsoni (R)
- Red-tailed hawk, Buteo jamaicensis
- Rough-legged hawk, Buteo lagopus
- Golden eagle, Aquila chrysaetos
Caracaras and falcons
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 Maryland, four species have been recorded.
- American kestrel, Falco sparverius
- Merlin, Falco columbarius
- Gyrfalcon, Falco rusticolus (R)
- Peregrine falcon, Falco peregrinus
Rails, gallinules, and coots
Rallidae is a large family of small- to medium-sized birds that 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 that are well adapted to soft, uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and be weak fliers. In Maryland, ten species have been recorded.
- Yellow rail, Coturnicops noveboracensis (R)
- Black rail, Laterallus jamaicensis
- Corn crake, Crex crex (R)
- Clapper rail, Rallus crepitans
- King rail, Rallus elegans
- Virginia rail, Rallus limicola
- Sora, Porzana Carolina
- Purple gallinule, Porphyrio martinica (R)
- Common gallinule, Gallinula galeata
- American coot, Fulica americana
The Limpkin is a large bird in a monotypic family. It is similar in appearance to the rails, but skeletally it is closer to the cranes. It is found in marshes and gets its common name from its appearance of limping as it walks. In Maryland, one species has been recorded.
- Limpkin, Aramus guarauna (R)
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 Maryland, one species has been recorded.
- Sandhill crane, Grus canadensis
Lapwings and plovers
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 usually found in open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water. In Maryland, seven definitive species have been recorded, along with one species of questionable origin.
- Northern lapwing, Vanellus vanellus (R)
- Southern lapwing, Vanellus chilensis (O)
- Black-bellied plover, Pluvialis squatarola
- American golden plover, Pluvialis Dominica
- Wilson's plover, Charadrius wilsonia (R)
- Semipalmated plover, Charadrius semipalmatus
- Piping plover, Charadrius melodus
- Killdeer, Charadrius vociferus
- American oystercatcher, Haematopus palliatus
Stilts and avocets
Recurvirostridae is a family of large wading birds that 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 Maryland, two species have been recorded.
Sandpipers, curlews, stints, godwits, snipes, and phalaropes
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 Maryland, 35 species have been recorded.
- Spotted sandpiper, Actitis macularius
- Solitary sandpiper, Tringa solitaria
- Greater yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca
- Willet, Tringa semipalmata
- Lesser yellowlegs, Tringa flavipes
- Upland sandpiper, Bartramia longicauda
- Eskimo curlew, Numenius borealis (R/E)
- Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus
- Long-billed curlew, Numenius americanus (R)
- Hudsonian godwit, Limosa haemastica
- Marbled godwit, Limosa fedoa
- Ruddy turnstone, Arenaria interpres
- Red knot, Calidris canutus
- Sanderling, Calidris alba
- Semipalmated sandpiper, Calidris pusilla
- Western sandpiper, Calidris mauri
- Red-necked stint, Calidris ruficollis (R)
- Little stint, Calidris minuta (R)
- Least sandpiper, Calidris minutilla
- White-rumped sandpiper, Calidris fuscicollis
- Baird's sandpiper, Calidris bairdii
- Pectoral sandpiper, Calidris melanotos
- Purple sandpiper, Calidris maritima
- Dunlin, Calidris alpina
- Curlew sandpiper, Calidris ferruginea (R)
- Stilt sandpiper, Calidris himantopus
- Buff-breasted sandpiper, Tryngites subruficollis
- Ruff, Philomachus pugnax
- Short-billed dowitcher, Limnodromus griseus
- Long-billed dowitcher, Limnodromus scolopaceus
- Wilson's snipe, Gallinago delicata
- American woodcock, Scolopax minor
- Wilson's phalarope, Phalaropus tricolor
- Red-necked phalarope, Phalaropus lobatus
- Red phalarope, Phalaropus fulicarius
Gulls, terns, and skimmers
Gulls are typically medium-to-large birds, usually grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, 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. In Maryland, 20 definitive species have been recorded along with one species of questionable origin. 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. In Maryland, 12 species have been recorded. 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. One species has been recorded in Maryland.
- Laughing gull, Leucophaeus atricilla
- Franklin's gull, Leucophaeus pipixcan
- Little gull, Hydrocoloeus minutus
- Silver gull, Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae (O)
- Black-headed gull, Chroicocephalus ridibundus
- Bonaparte's gull, Chroicocephalus philadelphia
- Black-tailed gull, Larus crassirostris (R)
- Mew gull, Larus canus (R)
- Ring-billed gull, Larus delawarensis
- California gull, Larus californicus (R)
- Herring gull, Larus argentatus
- Yellow-legged gull, Larus cachinnans (R)
- Thayer's gull, Larus thayeri
- Iceland gull, Larus glaucoides
- Lesser black-backed gull, Larus fuscus
- Glaucous gull, Larus hyperboreus
- Great black-backed gull, Larus marinus
- Kelp gull, Larus dominicanus (R)
- Sabine's gull, Xema sabini (R)
- Black-legged kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla
- Ross's gull, Rhodostethia rosea (R)
- Sooty tern, Onychoprion fuscata
- Bridled tern, Onychoprion anaethetus
- Least tern, Sternula antillarum
- Gull-billed tern, Gelochelidon nilotica
- Caspian tern, Hydroprogne caspia
- Black tern, Chlidonias niger
- Roseate tern, Sterna dougallii
- Common tern, Sterna hirundo
- Arctic tern, Sterna paradisaea (R)
- Forster's tern, Sterna forsteri
- Royal tern, Thalasseus maxima
- Sandwich tern, Thalasseus sandvicensis
- Black skimmer, Rynchops niger
The skuas 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. Five species have been recorded in Maryland.
- Great skua, Stercorarius skua (R)
- South polar skua, Stercorarius maccormicki (R)
- Pomarine jaeger, Stercorarius pomarinus
- Parasitic jaeger, Stercorarius parasiticus
- Long-tailed jaeger, Stercorarius longicaudus (R)
Auks, murres, and puffins
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 Maryland, six species have been recorded.
- Dovekie, Alle alle
- Common murre, Uria aalge (R)
- Thick-billed murre, Uria lomvia (R)
- Razorbill, Alca torda
- Guillemot species, Cepphus sp.* (R)
- Atlantic puffin, Fratercula arctica
Pigeons and doves
- Rock dove, Columba livia (I)
- Eurasian collared-dove, Streptopelia decaocto (R) (I)
- White-winged dove, Zenaida asiatica (R)
- Mourning dove, Zenaida macroura
- Passenger pigeon, Ectopistes migratorius (E)
- Inca dove, Columbina inca (R)
- Common ground dove, Columbina passerina (R)
Lories, parakeets, macaws, and parrots
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 Maryland, one extinct species has been recorded along with one species of questionable origin.
Cuckoos, roadrunners, and anis
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 Maryland, three species have been recorded.
- Yellow-billed cuckoo, Coccyzus americanus
- Black-billed cuckoo, Coccyzus erythropthalmus
- Groove-billed ani, Crotophaga sulcirostris (R)
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 Maryland, one species has been recorded.
- Barn owl, Tyto alba
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 Maryland, eight species have been recorded.
- Eastern screech owl, Megascops asio
- Great horned owl, Bubo virginianus
- Snowy owl, Bubo scandiacus
- Burrowing owl, Athene cunicularia (R)
- Barred owl, Strix varia
- Long-eared owl, Asio otus
- Short-eared owl, Asio flammeus
- Northern saw-whet owl, Aegolius acadicus
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 that are of little use for walking and long, pointed wings. Their soft plumage is cryptically colored to resemble bark or leaves. In Maryland, three species have been recorded.
- Common nighthawk, Chordeiles minor
- Chuck-will's-widow, Antrostomus carolinensis
- Eastern whip-poor-will, Antrostomus vociferus
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 Maryland, one species has been recorded.
- Chimney swift, Chaetura pelagica
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 Maryland, six species have been recorded.
- Green violetear, Colibri thalassinus (R)
- Ruby-throated hummingbird, Archilochus colubris
- Anna's hummingbird, Calypte anna (R)
- Calliope hummingbird, Selasphorus calliope (R)
- Rufous hummingbird, Selasphorus rufus
- Allen's hummingbird, Selasphorus sasin (R)
Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long, pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails. In Maryland, one species has been recorded.
- Belted kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon
Woodpeckers, sapsuckers, and flickers
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 Maryland, eight species have been recorded.
- Red-headed woodpecker, Melanerpes erythrocephalus
- Red-bellied woodpecker, Melanerpes carolinus
- Yellow-bellied sapsucker, Sphyrapicus varius
- Downy woodpecker, Picoides pubescens
- Hairy woodpecker, Picoides villosus
- Red-cockaded woodpecker, Picoides borealis (R)
- Northern flicker, Colaptes auratus
- Pileated woodpecker, Dryocopus pileatus
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 in plumage. As the name implies, most are insectivorous. In Maryland, 19 species have been recorded.
- Olive-sided flycatcher, Contopus cooperi
- Eastern wood pewee, Contopus virens
- Yellow-bellied flycatcher, Empidonax flaviventris
- Acadian flycatcher, Empidonax virescens
- Alder flycatcher, Empidonax alnorum
- Willow flycatcher, Empidonax traillii
- Least flycatcher, Empidonax minimus
- Hammond's flycatcher, Empidonax hammondii (R)
- Eastern phoebe, Sayornis phoebe
- Say's phoebe, Sayornis saya (R)
- Vermilion flycatcher, Pyrocephalus rubinus (R)
- Ash-throated flycatcher, Myiarchus cinerascens (R)
- Great crested flycatcher, Myiarchus crinitus
- Tropical kingbird, Tyrannus melancholicus (R)
- Western kingbird, Tyrannus verticalis
- Eastern kingbird, Tyrannus tyrannus
- Gray kingbird, Tyrannus dominicensis (R)
- Scissor-tailed flycatcher, Tyrannus forficatus (R)
- Fork-tailed flycatcher, Tyrannus savana (R)
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 Maryland, two species have been recorded.
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 Maryland, seven species have been recorded.
- White-eyed vireo, Vireo griseus
- Bell's vireo, Vireo bellii;; (R)
- Yellow-throated vireo, Vireo flavifrons
- Blue-headed vireo, Vireo solitarius
- Warbling vireo, Vireo gilvus
- Philadelphia vireo, Vireo philadelphicus
- Red-eyed vireo, Vireo olivaceus
Jays, crows, magpies, and ravens
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 Maryland, four species have been recorded.
- Blue jay, Cyanocitta cristata
- American crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
- Fish crow, Corvus ossifragus
- Common raven, Corvus corax
Larks are small terrestrial birds with often extravagant songs and display flights. Most larks are fairly dull in appearance. They feed on insects and seeds. In Maryland, one species has been recorded.
- Horned lark, Eremophila alpestris
Swallows and martins
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 Maryland, seven species have been recorded.
- Purple martin, Progne subis
- Tree swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
- Northern rough-winged swallow, Stelgidopteryx serripennis
- Bank swallow, Riparia riparia
- Cliff swallow, Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
- Cave swallow, Petrochelidon fulva
- Barn swallow, Hirundo rustica
Chickadees and titmice
The Paridae are mainly small stocky woodland species with short stout bills. Some have crests. They are adaptable birds, with a mixed diet that includes seeds and insects. In Maryland, four species have been recorded.
- Carolina chickadee, Poecile carolinensis
- Black-capped chickadee, Poecile atricapilla
- Boreal chickadee, Poecile hudsonica (R)
- Tufted titmouse, Baeolophus bicolor
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 Maryland, three species have been recorded.
- Red-breasted nuthatch, Sitta canadensis
- White-breasted nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
- Brown-headed nuthatch, Sitta pusilla
Treecreepers are small woodland birds with brown backs and white underparts. 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 Maryland, one species has been recorded.
- Brown creeper, Certhia americana
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 Maryland, seven species have been recorded.
- Rock wren, Salpinctes obsoletus (R)
- Carolina wren, Thryothorus ludovicianus
- Bewick's wren, Thryomanes bewickii (R)
- House wren, Troglodytes aedon
- Winter wren, Troglodytes hiemalis
- Sedge wren, Cistothorus platensis
- Marsh wren, Cistothorus palustris
The kinglets are a family of birds that are small insectivorous birds in the genus Regulus. The adults have colored crowns, giving rise to their name. In Maryland, two species have been recorded.
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 Maryland, one species has been recorded.
- Blue-gray gnatcatcher, Polioptila caerulea
Old World flycatchers
- Northern wheatear, Oenanthe oenanthe (R)
The thrushes are a group of passerine birds that inhabit 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. In Maryland, 11 species have been recorded.
- Eastern bluebird, Sialia sialis
- Mountain bluebird, Sialia currucoides (R)
- Townsend's solitaire, Myadestes townsendi (R)
- Veery, Catharus fuscescens
- Gray-cheeked thrush, Catharus minimus
- Bicknell's thrush, Catharus bicknelli
- Swainson's thrush, Catharus ustulatus
- Hermit thrush, Catharus guttatus
- Wood thrush, Hylocichla mustelina
- American robin, Turdus migratorius
- Varied thrush, Ixoreus naevius (R)
Mockingbirds and thrashers
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' appearance tends towards dull grays and browns in plumage. In Maryland, four species have been recorded.
- Gray catbird, Dumetella carolinensis
- Northern mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
- Sage thrasher, Oreoscoptes montanus (R)
- Brown thrasher, Toxostoma rufum
Starlings are small- to medium-sized Old World passerine birds with strong feet. Their flight is strong and direct, and most are 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 Maryland, one species has been recorded.
- European starling, Sturnus vulgaris (I)
Wagtails and pipits
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 Maryland, one species has been recorded.
- American pipit, Anthus rubescens
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 Maryland, two species have been recorded.
Longspurs and snow buntings
- Lapland longspur, Calcarius lapponicus
- Smith's longspur, Calcarius pictus (R)
- Chestnut-collared longspur, Calcarius ornatus (R)
- Snow bunting, Plectrophenax nivalis
The New World 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 Maryland, 40 species have been recorded.
- Blue-winged warbler, Vermivora cyanoptera
- Golden-winged warbler, Vermivora chrysoptera
- Tennessee warbler, Oreothlypis peregrina
- Orange-crowned warbler, Oreothlypis celata
- Nashville warbler, Oreothlypis ruficapilla
- Virginia's warbler, Oreothlypis virginiae (R)
- Northern parula, Setophaga americana
- Yellow warbler, Setophaga petechia
- Chestnut-sided warbler, Setophaga pensylvanica
- Magnolia warbler, Setophaga magnolia
- Cape May warbler, Setophaga tigrina
- Black-throated blue warbler, Setophaga caerulescens
- Yellow-rumped warbler, Setophaga coronata
- Black-throated gray warbler, Setophaga nigrescens (R)
- Black-throated green warbler, Setophaga virens
- Townsend's warbler, Setophaga townsendi (R)
- Blackburnian warbler, Setophaga fusca
- Yellow-throated warbler, Setophaga dominica
- Pine warbler, Setophaga pinus
- Prairie warbler, Setophaga discolor
- Palm warbler, Setophaga palmarum
- Bay-breasted warbler, Setophaga castanea
- Blackpoll warbler, Setophaga striata
- Cerulean warbler, Setophaga cerulea
- Hooded warbler, Setophaga citrina
- American redstart, Setophaga ruticilla
- Black-and-white warbler, Mniotilta varia
- Prothonotary warbler, Protonotaria citrea
- Worm-eating warbler, Helmitheros vermivorum
- Swainson's warbler, Limnothlypis swainsonii
- Ovenbird, Seiurus aurocapilla
- Northern waterthrush, Parkesia noveboracensis
- Louisiana waterthrush, Parkesia motacilla
- Connecticut warbler, Oporornis agilis
- Kentucky warbler, Geothlypis formosa
- Mourning warbler, Geothlypis philadelphia
- Common yellowthroat, Geothlypis trichas
- Wilson's warbler, Cardellina pusilla
- Canada warbler, Cardellina canadensis
- Yellow-breasted chat, Icteria virens
American sparrows, towhees, juncos, and longspurs
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 Maryland, 29 species have been recorded.
- Green-tailed towhee, Pipilo chlorurus (R)
- Spotted towhee, Pipilo maculatus (R)
- Eastern towhee, Pipilo erythrophthalmus
- Cassin's sparrow, Peucaea cassinii (R)
- Bachman's sparrow, Peucaea aestivalis (R)
- American tree sparrow, Spizella arborea
- Chipping sparrow, Spizella passerina
- Clay-colored sparrow, Spizella pallida
- Field sparrow, Spizella pusilla
- Vesper sparrow, Pooecetes gramineus
- Lark sparrow, Chondestes grammacus
- Lark bunting, Calamospiza melanocorys (R)
- Savannah sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis
- Grasshopper sparrow, Ammodramus savannarum
- Baird's sparrow, Ammodramus bairdii (R)
- Henslow's sparrow, Ammodramus henslowii
- Le Conte's sparrow, Ammodramus leconteii (R)
- Nelson's sparrow, Ammodramus nelsoni
- Saltmarsh sparrow, Ammodramus caudacutus
- Seaside sparrow, Ammodramus maritimus
- Fox sparrow, Passerella iliaca
- Song sparrow, Melospiza melodia
- Lincoln's sparrow, Melospiza lincolnii
- Swamp sparrow, Melospiza georgiana
- White-throated sparrow, Zonotrichia albicollis
- Harris's sparrow, Zonotrichia querula (R)
- White-crowned sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
- Golden-crowned sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla (R)
- Dark-eyed junco, Junco hyemalis
Cardinals, saltators, and grosbeaks
The Cardinals are a family of passerine birds that are robust, seed-eating birds, with strong bills. They typically live in open woodland. The sexes usually have distinct plumages. In Maryland, eleven species have been recorded.
- Summer tanager, Piranga rubra
- Scarlet tanager, Piranga olivacea
- Western tanager, Piranga ludoviciana
- Northern cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis
- Rose-breasted grosbeak, Pheucticus ludovicianus
- Black-headed grosbeak, Pheucticus melanocephalus (R)
- Blue grosbeak, Passerina caerulea
- Lazuli bunting, Passerina amoena (R)
- Indigo bunting, Passerina cyanea
- Painted bunting, Passerina ciris
- Dickcissel, Spiza americana
Blackbirds, meadowlarks, cowbirds, grackles, and orioles
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 Maryland, 14 species have been recorded.
- Bobolink, Dolichonyx oryzivorus
- Red-winged blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
- Eastern meadowlark, Sturnella magna
- Western meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta (R)
- Yellow-headed blackbird, Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus
- Rusty blackbird, Euphagus carolinus
- Brewer's blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
- Common grackle, Quiscalus quiscula
- Boat-tailed grackle, Quiscalus major
- Shiny cowbird, Molothrus bonariensis
- Brown-headed cowbird, Molothrus ater
- Orchard oriole, Icterus spurius
- Bullock's oriole, Icterus bullockii (R)
- Baltimore oriole, Icterus galbula
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 Maryland, ten definitive species have been recorded along with one species of questionable origin.
- Pine grosbeak, Pinicola enucleator (R)
- Purple finch, Haemorhous purpureus
- House finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
- Red crossbill, Loxia curvirostra
- White-winged crossbill, Loxia leucoptera
- Common redpoll, Acanthis flammea
- Hoary redpoll, Acanthis hornemanni (R)
- European goldfinch, Carduelis tristis (O)
- Pine siskin, Spinus pinus
- American goldfinch, Spinus tristis
- Evening grosbeak, Coccothraustes vespertinus
Old World sparrows
Old World sparrows are small passerine birds. In general, these 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 Maryland, one species has been recorded.
- House sparrow, Passer domesticus (I)
- ""Official list of the birds of Maryland" (PDF). Maryland/District of Columbia Records Committee. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
- "Official list of the birds of Maryland" (PDF). Maryland/District of Columbia Records Committee. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
- "Check-list of North American Birds, Seventh Edition". American Ornithologists' Union. Archived from the original on 2007-12-11. Retrieved 2007-12-15.
- Maryland Ornithological Society web site
- Recent Maryland bird sightings
- RedKnot.org links to shorebird recovery sites, movies, events & other info on Red Knot rufa & horseshoe crabs.