List of birds of Minnesota
- (C) = Casual: seen fewer than nine times in the past ten years but more than twice.
- (A) = Accidental: seen fewer than three times in the past ten years.
- (E) = Extinct; a recent member of the avifauna that no longer exists.
- (I) = Introduced: The species was introduced, either directly or indirectly, to North America through the actions of humans.
Birds listed as either casual or accidental should not be expected to be found anywhere in Minnesota with regularity. Except for the casual, accidental, and review birds, only birds that are considered to have established, self-sustaining, wild populations in Minnesota or, in the case of extinct species, have had such populations in Minnesota in the past are included on this list. This means that birds that are considered probable escapees, although they may have been sighted flying free in Minnesota, are not included on this list.
This list is presented in taxonomic order and follows The Check-list of North American Birds (7th ed., 1998), published by the American Ornithologists' Union. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflect this taxonomy, as do the species counts found in each family accounts. Introduced, casual, accidental, review, and extinct species are included in the total species counts for North America and Minnesota.
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 modified for an aquatic existence with webbed feet, bills which are flattened to a greater or lesser extent, and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to special oils.
- Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Dendrocygna autumnalis (C)
- Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Dendrocygna bicolor (A)
- Greater White-fronted Goose, Anser albifrons
- Snow Goose, Chen caerulescens
- Ross's Goose, Chen rossii
- Brant, Branta bernicla (A)
- Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
- Cackling Goose, Branta hutchinsonii
- Mute Swan, Cygnus olor (I)
- Trumpeter Swan, Cygnus buccinator
- Tundra Swan, Cygnus columbianus
- Wood Duck, Aix sponsa
- Gadwall, Anas strepera
- Eurasian Wigeon, Anas penelope (C)
- American Wigeon, Anas americana
- American Black Duck, Anas rubripes
- Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos
- Blue-winged Teal, Anas discors
- Cinnamon Teal, Anas cyanoptera (C)
- Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata
- Northern Pintail, Anas acuta
- Garganey, Anas querquedula (A)
- Green-winged Teal, Anas crecca
- Canvasback, Aythya valisineria
- Redhead, Aythya americana
- Ring-necked Duck, Aythya collaris
- Greater Scaup, Aythya marila
- Lesser Scaup, Aythya affinis
- King Eider, Somateria spectabilis (C)
- Common Eider, Somateria mollissima (A)
- 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 islandica (C)
- Smew, Mergellus albellus (A)
- Hooded Merganser, Lophodytes cucullatus
- Common Merganser, Mergus merganser
- Red-breasted Merganser, Mergus serrator
- Ruddy Duck, Oxyura jamaicensis
Partridges, Grouse, Turkeys, and Old World Quail
The Phasianidae is a family of birds which consists of the pheasants and their allies including the partridges, grouse, turkeys, and old world quail. 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.
- Gray Partridge, Perdix perdix (I)
- Ring-necked Pheasant, Phasianus colchicus (I)
- Ruffed Grouse, Bonasa umbellus
- Spruce Grouse, Falcipennis canadensis
- Willow Ptarmigan, Lagopus lagopus (A)
- Rock Ptarmigan, Lagopus muta (A)
- Sharp-tailed Grouse, Tympanuchus phasianellus
- Greater Prairie-Chicken, Tympanuchus cupido
- Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo
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.
- Northern Bobwhite, Colinus virginianus
Loons are aquatic birds the size of a large duck, to which they are unrelated. Their plumage is largely grey or black, and 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.
- Red-throated Loon, Gavia stellata
- Pacific Loon, Gavia pacifica
- Common Loon, Gavia immer
- Yellow-billed Loon, Gavia adamsii (A)
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.
- Pied-billed Grebe, Podilymbus podiceps
- Horned Grebe, Podiceps auritus
- Red-necked Grebe, Podiceps grisegena
- Eared Grebe, Podiceps nigricollis
- Western Grebe, Aechmorphorus occidentalis
- Clark's Grebe, Aechmorphorus clarkii
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.
Cormorants are medium-to-large aquatic birds, usually with mainly dark plumage and areas of coloured 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.
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 coloured 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.
- Magnificent Frigatebird, Fregata magnificens (A)
Bitterns, Herons, and Egrets
The family Ardeidae contains the herons, egrets, and bitterns. Herons and Egrets are medium to large sized wadng birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more secrative. Unlike other long necked birds such as storks, ibises and spoonbills, members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted.
- 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 (C)
- 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 tends 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.
- White Ibis, Eudocimus albus (A)
- Glossy Ibis, Plegadis falcinellus (A)
- White-faced Ibis, Plegadis chihi (C)
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.
- Wood Stork, Mycteria americana (A)
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 located carcasses.
The family Pandionidae is a family of fish-eating birds of prey, possessing a very large, powerful hooked beak for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons, and keen eyesight. The family is monotypic.
- 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 very large powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons, and keen eyesight.
- Swallow-tailed Kite, Elanoides forficatus (A)
- White-tailed Kite, Elanus leucurus (A)
- Mississippi Kite, Ictinia mississippiensis (C)
- 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
- Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis
- Ferruginous Hawk, Buteo regalis
- Rough-legged Hawk, Buteo lagopus
- Golden Eagle, Aquila chrysaetos
Caracaras and falcons
- Northern Caracara, Caracara cheriway (A)
- American Kestrel, Falco sparverius
- Merlin, Falco columbarius
- Gyrfalcon, Falco rusticolus (C)
- Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus
- Prairie Falcon, Falco mexicanus
Rails, Gallinules, and Coots
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.
- Yellow Rail, Coturnicops noveboracensis
- Black Rail, Laterallus jamaicensis (A)
- King Rail, Rallus elegans (A)
- Virginia Rail, Rallus limicola
- Sora, Porzana carolina
- Purple Gallinule, Porphyrio martinica (A)
- Common Gallinule, Gallinula galeata
- American Coot, Fulica americana
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".
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 found in open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water, although there are some exceptions.
- Black-bellied Plover, Pluvialis squatarola
- American Golden-Plover, Pluvialis dominica
- Snowy Plover, Charadrius nivosus (A)
- Wilson's Plover, Charadrius wilsonia (A)
- Semipalmated Plover, Charadrius semipalmatus
- Piping Plover, Charadrius melodus
- Killdeer, Charadrius vociferus
Stilts and Avocets
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.
Sandpipers and allies
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.
- Spotted Sandpiper, Actitis macularia
- Solitary Sandpiper, Tringa solitaria
- Greater Yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca
- Willet, Tringa semipalmata
- Lesser Yellowlegs, Tringa flavipes
- Upland Sandpiper, Bartramia longicauda
- Eskimo Curlew, Numenius borealis (E)
- Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus
- Long-billed Curlew, Numenius americanus
- 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 (A)
- Least Sandpiper, Calidris minutilla
- White-rumped Sandpiper, Calidris fuscicollis
- Baird's Sandpiper, Calidris bairdii
- Pectoral Sandpiper, Calidris melanotos
- Purple Sandpiper, Calidris maritima (A)
- Dunlin, Calidris alpina
- Curlew Sandpiper, Calidris ferruginea (A)
- Stilt Sandpiper, Calidris himantopus
- Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Tryngites subruficollis
- Ruff, Philomachus pugnax (C)
- 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 (C)
Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers
Laridae is a family of medium to large birds seabirds and includes gulls, terns, kittiwakes and skimmers. They are typically grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet.
- Laughing Gull, Leucophaeus atricilla (C)
- Franklin's Gull, Leucophaeus pipixcan
- Little Gull, Hydrocoloeus minutus
- Black-headed Gull, Chroicocephalus ridibundus (C)
- Bonaparte's Gull, Chroicocephalus philadelphia
- Mew Gull, Larus canus (A)
- Ring-billed Gull, Larus delawarensis
- California Gull, Larus californicus (C)
- Herring Gull, Larus argentatus
- Thayer's Gull, Larus thayeri
- Iceland Gull, Larus glaucoides
- Lesser Black-backed Gull, Larus fuscus
- Slaty-backed Gull, Larus schistisagus (A)
- Glaucous-winged Gull, Larus glaucescens (A)
- Glaucous Gull, Larus hyperboreus
- Great Black-backed Gull, Larus marinus
- Sabine's Gull, Xema sabini (C)
- Black-legged Kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla (C)
- Ross's Gull, Rhodostethia rosea (A)
- Ivory Gull, Pagophila eburnea (A)
- Least Tern, Sternula antillarum (C)
- Caspian Tern, Hydroprogne caspia
- Black Tern, Chlidonias niger
- Common Tern, Sterna hirundo
- Arctic Tern, Sterna paradisaea (C)
- Forster's Tern, Sterna forsteri
- Sandwich Tern, Thalasseus sandvicensis (A)
- Elegant Tern, Thalasseus elegans (A)
Skuas are related to gulls, waders, auks and skimmers. In the three smaller species (all Holarctic), breeding adults have the two central tail feathers obviously elongated and at least some adults have white on the underparts and pale yellow on the neck, characteristics that the larger species do not share. This family was recently split from Laridae by the AOU.
- Pomarine Jaeger, Stercorarius pomarinus (C)
- Parasitic Jaeger, Stercorarius parasiticus
- Long-tailed Jaeger, Stercorarius longicaudus (A)
Auks, Murres, and Puffins
Alcids are superficially similar to penguins due to their black-and-white colours, 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. This family also includes murres and puffins.
Pigeons and doves
- Rock Dove, Columba livia (I)
- Band-tailed Pigeon, Patagioenas fasciata (A)
- Eurasian Collared-Dove, Streptopelia decaocto (I)
- White-winged Dove, Zenaida asiatica (A)
- Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
- Passenger Pigeon, Ectopistes migratorius (E)
- Inca Dove, Scardafella inca (A)
- Common Ground-Dove, Columbina passerina (A)
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.
- Black-billed Cuckoo, Coccyzus erythropthalmus
- Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Coccyzus americanus
- Groove-billed Ani, Crotophaga sulcirostris
Barn owls are medium to large sized owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons.
- Barn Owl, Tyto alba (A)
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.
- Eastern Screech Owl, Megascops asio
- Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus
- Snowy Owl, Bubo scandiacus
- Northern Hawk-Owl, Surnia ulula
- Burrowing Owl, Athene cunicularia (C)
- Barred Owl, Strix varia
- Great Gray Owl, Strix nebulosa
- Long-eared Owl, Asio otus
- Short-eared Owl, Asio flammeus
- Boreal Owl, Aegolius funereus
- 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, of little use for walking, and long pointed wings. Their soft plumage is cryptically coloured to resemble bark or leaves.
- Common Nighthawk, Chordeiles minor
- Common Poorwill, Phalaenoptilus nuttallii (A)
- Chuck-will's-widow, Antrostomus carolinensis (A)
- 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 very long, swept-back wings that resemble a crescent or a boomerang.
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.
- Green Violet-ear, Colibri thalassinus (A)
- Magnificent Hummingbird, Eugenes fulgens (A)
- Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Archilochus colubris
- Anna's Hummingbird, Calypte anna (A)
- Costa's Hummingbird, Calypte costae (A)
- Calliope Hummingbird, Selasphorus calliope (A)
- Rufous Hummingbird, Selasphorus rufus (A)
Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long, pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails.
- Belted Kingfisher, Megaeryle 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.
- Lewis's Woodpecker, Melanerpes lewis (A)
- Red-headed Woodpecker, Melanerpes erythrocephalus
- Red-bellied Woodpecker, Melanerpes carolinus
- Williamson's Sapsucker, Sphyrapicus thyroideus (A)
- Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Sphyrapicus varius
- Downy Woodpecker, Picoides pubescens
- Hairy Woodpecker, Picoides villosus
- American Three-toed Woodpecker, Picoides dorsalis
- Black-backed Woodpecker, Picoides arcticus
- 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. As the name implies, most are insectivorous.
- Olive-sided Flycatcher, Contopus cooperi
- Western Wood-Pewee, Contopus sordidulus (A)
- 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
- Eastern Phoebe, Sayornis phoebe
- Say's Phoebe, Sayornis saya (C)
- Vermilion Flycatcher, Pyrocephalus rubinus (A)
- Ash-throated Flycatcher, Myiarchus cinerascens (A)
- Great Crested Flycatcher, Myiarchus crinitus
- Western Kingbird, Tyrannus verticalis
- Eastern Kingbird, Tyrannus tyrannus
- Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Tyrannus forficatus (C)
- Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Tyrannus savana (A)
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.
The vireos are a group of small to medium sized passerine birds restricted to the New World. They are typically greenish in colour and resemble wood warblers apart from their heavier bills.
- White-eyed Vireo, Vireo griseus (C)
- Bell's Vireo, Vireo bellii
- 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.
- Gray Jay, Perisoreus canadensis
- Blue Jay, Cyanocitta cristata
- Clark's Nutcracker, Nucifraga columbiana
- Black-billed Magpie, Pica hudsonia
- American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
- Common Raven, Corvus corax
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.
- Horned Lark, Eremophila alpestris
Swallows and martins
The Hirundinidae family is a group of passerines characterised by their adaptation to aerial feeding. Their adaptations include a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings and short bills with a wide gape. The feet are designed for perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base.
- Purple Martin, Progne subis
- Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
- Violet-green Swallow, Tachycineta thalassina (A)
- Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Stelgidopteryx serripennis
- Bank Swallow, Riparia riparia
- Cliff Swallow, Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
- 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 including seeds and insects.
- Black-capped Chickadee, Poecile atricapilla
- Boreal Chickadee, Poecile hudsonica
- 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.
- Red-breasted Nuthatch, Sitta canadensis
- White-breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
- Pygmy Nuthatch, Sitta pygmaea (A)
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.
- 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.
- Rock Wren, Salpinctes obsoletus (C)
- Carolina Wren, Thryothorus ludovicianus
- Bewick's Wren, Thryomanes bewickii (A)
- House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
- Winter Wren, Troglodytes hiemalis
- Sedge Wren, Cistothorus platensis
- Marsh Wren, Cistothorus palustris
Dippers are members of the genus Cinclus in the bird family Cinclidae. They are a group of perching birds named for their bobbing or dipping movements. They usually inhabit the banks of fast-moving hillside rivers, though some nest near shallow lakes.
- American Dipper, Cinclus mexicanus (A)
These dainty birds resemble Old World warblers in their structure and habits, moving restlessly through the foliage seeking insects. The gnatcatchers are mainly soft bluish grey in colour, and have the typical insectivore's long sharp bill. Many species have distinctive black head patterns (esp. males) and long, regularly cocked, black-and-white tails.
- Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Polioptila caerulea
Old World flycatchers
This a large family of small passerine birds restricted to the Old World. Species below only occur in North America as vagrants. The appearance of these birds is very varied, but they mostly have weak songs and harsh calls.
- Northern Wheatear, Oenanthe oenanthe (A)
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.
- Eastern Bluebird, Sialia sialis
- Townsend's Solitaire, Myadestes townsendi
- Veery, Catharus fuscescens
- Gray-cheeked Thrush, Catharus minimus
- Swainson's Thrush, Catharus ustulatus
- Hermit Thrush, Catharus guttatus
- Wood Thrush, Hylocichla mustelina
- Fieldfare, Turdus pilaris (A)
- American Robin, Turdus migratorius
- Varied Thrush, Ixoreus naevius
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 tend towards dull grays and browns in their appearance.
- Gray Catbird, Dumetella carolinensis
- Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
- Sage Thrasher, Oreoscoptes montanus (C)
- Brown Thrasher, Toxostoma rufum
- Curve-billed Thrasher, Toxostoma curvirostre (A)
Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds. They are medium-sized passerines with strong feet. Their flight is strong and direct, and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country, and they eat insects and fruit. Plumage is typically dark with a metallic sheen.
- European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris (I)
Wagtails and pipits
The waxwings are a group of passerine birds characterised 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.
Longspurs and snow buntings
- McCown's Longspur, Calcarius mccownii (A)
- Lapland Longspur, Calcarius lapponicus
- Smith's Longspur, Calcarius pictus
- Chestnut-collared Longspur, Calcarius ornatus
- Snow Bunting, Plectrophenax nivalis
The Wood Warblers are a group of small often colourful passerine birds restricted to the New World. Most are arboreal, but some like the Ovenbird and the two waterthrushes, are more terrestrial. Most members of this family are insectivores.
- Blue-winged Warbler, Vermivora cyanoptera
- Golden-winged Warbler, Vermivora chrysoptera
- Tennessee Warbler, Oreothlypis peregrina
- Orange-crowned Warbler, Oreothlypis celata
- Nashville Warbler, Oreothlypis ruficapilla
- 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 (A)
- Black-throated Green Warbler, Setophaga virens
- Townsend's Warbler, Setophaga townsendi (A)
- Hermit Warbler, Setophaga occidentalis (A)
- Blackburnian Warbler, Setophaga fusca
- Yellow-throated Warbler, Setophaga dominica (C)
- Pine Warbler, Setophaga pinus
- Kirtland's Warbler, Setophaga kirtlandii (A)
- Prairie Warbler, Setophaga discolor (C)
- Palm Warbler, Setophaga palmarum
- Bay-breasted Warbler, Setophaga castanea
- Blackpoll Warbler, Setophaga striata
- Cerulean Warbler, Setophaga cerulea
- American Redstart, Setophaga ruticilla
- Hooded Warbler, Setophaga citrina
- Black-and-white Warbler, Mniotilta varia
- Prothonotary Warbler, Protonotaria citrea
- Worm-eating Warbler, Helmitheros vermivorus (C)
- Ovenbird, Seiurus aurocapilla
- Northern Waterthrush, Parkesia noveboracensis
- Louisiana Waterthrush, Parkesia motacilla
- Connecticut Warbler, Oporornis agilis
- Kentucky Warbler, Geothlypis formosa
- Mourning Warbler, Geothlypis philadelphia
- MacGillivray's Warbler, Geothlypistolmiei (A)
- Common Yellowthroat, Geothlypis trichas
- Wilson's Warbler, Cardellina pusilla
- Canada Warbler, Cardellina canadensis
- Painted Redstart, Myioborus pictus (A)
- Yellow-breasted Chat, Icteria virens
American sparrows, Towhees, and Juncos
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.
- Green-tailed Towhee, Pipilo chlorurus (A)
- Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
- Eastern Towhee, Pipilo erythrophthalmus
- American Tree Sparrow, Spizella arborea
- Chipping Sparrow, Spizella passerina
- Clay-colored Sparrow, Spizella pallida
- Brewer's Sparrow, Spizella breweri (A)
- Field Sparrow, Spizella pusilla
- Vesper Sparrow, Pooecetes gramineus
- Lark Sparrow, Chondestes grammacus
- Black-throated Sparrow, Amphispiza bilineata (C)
- Lark Bunting, Calamospiza melanocorys (C)
- Savannah Sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis
- Grasshopper Sparrow, Ammodramus savannarum
- Baird's Sparrow, Ammodramus bairdii (A)
- Henslow's Sparrow, Ammodramus henslowii
- Le Conte's Sparrow, Ammodramus leconteii
- Nelson's Sparrow, Ammodramus nelsoni
- 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
- White-crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
- Golden-crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla (A)
- 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 are typically associated with open woodland. The sexes usually have distinct plumages.
- Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis
- Summer Tanager, Piranga rubra
- Scarlet Tanager, Piranga olivacea
- Western Tanager, Piranga ludoviciana
- Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Pheucticus ludovicianus
- Black-headed Grosbeak, Pheucticus melanocephalus (C)
- Blue Grosbeak, Passerina caerulea
- Lazuli Bunting, Passerina amoena (C)
- Indigo Bunting, Passerina cyanea
- Painted Bunting, Passerina ciris (C)
- Dickcissel, Spiza americana
The Icterids are a group of small to medium, often colourful 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 colour, often enlivened by yellow, orange or red.
- Bobolink, Dolichonyx oryzivorus
- Red-winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
- Eastern Meadowlark, Sturnella magna
- Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
- Yellow-headed Blackbird, Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus
- Rusty Blackbird, Euphagus carolinus
- Brewer's Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
- Common Grackle, Quiscalus quiscula
- Great-tailed Grackle, Quiscalus mexicanus
- Brown-headed Cowbird, Molothrus ater
- Orchard Oriole, Icterus spurius
- Bullock's Oriole, Icterus bullockii (A)
- Baltimore Oriole, Icterus galbula
- Scott's Oriole, Icterus parisorum (A)
Fringilline Finches, Cardueline Finches, and Allies
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.
- Brambling, Fringilla montifringilla (A)
- Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch, Leucosticte tephrocotis (A)
- Pine Grosbeak, Pinicola enucleator
- Purple Finch, Haemorhous purpureus
- Cassin's Finch, Haemorhous cassinii (A)
- House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus (I)
- Red Crossbill, Loxia curvirostra
- White-winged Crossbill, Loxia leucoptera
- Common Redpoll, Acanthis flammea
- Hoary Redpoll, Acanthis hornemanni
- Pine Siskin, Spinus pinus
- American Goldfinch, Spinus tristis
- Evening Grosbeak, Coccothraustes vespertinus
Old World sparrows
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.
- The Minnesota Ornithologists' Union State Checklist. Minnesota Ornithologists' Union. (Version January 2005).
- The A.O.U. Check-list of North American birds, American Ornithologists' Union, 7th edition (the official source on the taxonomy of birds found in North and Middle America).
- Splitting headaches? Recent taxonomic changes affecting the British and Western Palaearctic lists - Martin Collinson, British Birds vol 99 (June 2006), 306-323