List of birds of New York

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This list covers all 476 species of wild bird ever documented in New York State, as approved by the New York State Avian Records Committee (NYSARC). These 476 species represent twenty-two orders and sixty-four families of birds. The following markings are used.

  • (B) - Breeding; a species that currently does breed or has bred in New York State.
  • (†) - Extinct; a species of bird which used to live in what is now New York State but has since gone extinct.
  • (E) - Extirpated; no longer occurs in area of interest, but other populations still exist elsewhere.
  • (I) - Introduced population established solely as result of direct or indirect human intervention; synonymous with non-native and non-indigenous.

Other markings denote birds that NYSARC requests documentation of in certain locations

  • (N) - documentation of this bird should be submitted if seen in New York
  • (U) - documentation of this bird should be submitted if seen in upstate New York
  • (D) - documentation of this bird should be submitted if seen in downstate New York
  • (A) - documentation of this bird should be submitted if seen outside the Adirondacks
  • (S) - documentation of this bird should be submitted if seen in New York in spring.

This list is presented in taxonomic order and follows the American Ornithologists' Union's Check-list of North American Birds (7th ed., 1998). The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflect this taxonomy, as do the species counts found in each family accounts.


Table of contents

Non-passerines: Ducks, geese, and swansNew World quailPartridges, grouse, turkeys, and Old World quailLoonsGrebesAlbatrossesFulmers, petrels, shearwatersStorm petrelsTropicbirdsStorksFrigatebirdsBoobies and gannetsCormorantsDartersPelicansBitterns, herons, and egretsIbises and spoonbillsNew World vulturesOspreyKites, eagles, harriers, and hawksCaracaras and falconsRails, gallinules, moorhens, and cootsCranesLapwings and ploversOystercatchersStilts and avocetsSandpipers, curlews, stints, godwits, snipes, and phalaropesGulls, terns, and skimmersSkuas and jaegersAuks, murres, and puffinsPigeons and dovesLories and lorikeets, parakeets, macaws, and parrotsCuckoos, roadrunners, and anisBarn owlsTypical owlsNightjarsSwiftsHummingbirdsKingfishersWoodpeckers, sapsuckers, and flickers

Passerines: Tyrant flycatchersShrikesVireosJays, crows, magpies, and ravensLarksSwallows and martinsChickadees and titmiceNuthatchesTreecreepersWrensOld World warblers and gnatcatchersKingletsThrushesMockingbirds and thrashersStarlingsWagtails and pipitsWaxwingsLongspurs and snow buntingsWood warblersAmerican sparrows, towhees, and juncosTanagers, cardinals, saltators, and grosbeaksBlackbirds, meadowlarks, cowbirds, grackles, and New World oriolesFinchesOld World sparrows

See also       References

Ducks, geese, and swans[edit]

Order: Anseriformes. Family: Anatidae

The family Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swan. 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. There are 44 New York species.

Gadwall, Anas strepera
Northern shoveler, Anas clypeata
Harlequin duck, Histrionicus histrionicus

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. There is 1 New York species.

Partridges, grouse, turkeys, and Old World quail[edit]

Spruce grouse, Falcipennis canadensis

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. There are 6 New York species.

Loons[edit]

Common loon, Gavia immer

Order: Gaviiformes. Family: Gaviidae

Loons are aquatic birds the size of large ducks, which they superficially resemble. 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 not well adapted to locomotion on land. There are 4 New York species.

Grebes[edit]

Pied-billed grebe, Podilymbus podiceps

Order: Podicipediformes. Family: Podicipedidae

Grebes are small to medium-large diving birds that breed on fresh water. 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. There are 5 New York species.

Albatrosses[edit]

Order: Procellariiformes. Family: Diomedeidae

The albatrosses are among the largest of flying birds, and the great albatrosses from the genus Diomedea have the largest wingspans of any extant birds. One species has appeared in New York.

Fulmars, petrels, shearwaters[edit]

Order: Procellariiformes. Family: Procellariidae

The procellariids are the main group of medium-sized 'true petrels', characterised by united nostrils with medium septum, and a long outer functional primary. There are 9 New York species.

Storm petrels[edit]

White-faced storm petrel, Pelagodroma marina

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. There are 4 New York species.

Tropicbirds[edit]

Order: Phaethontiformes. Family: Phaethontidae

Tropicbirds are slender white birds of tropical oceans, with exceptionally long central tail feathers. Their long wings have black markings, as does the head. There are 2 New York species.

Storks[edit]

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. There is 1 New York species.

Frigatebirds[edit]

Order: Suliformes. 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-weight ratio of any bird, they are essentially aerial, able to stay aloft for more than a week. There is 1 New York species.

Boobies and gannets[edit]

Northern gannet, Morus bassanus

Order: Suliformes. Family: Sulidae

The sulids comprise the gannets and boobies. Both groups are medium-large coastal seabirds that plunge-dive for fish. There are 2 New York species.

Cormorants[edit]

Great cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo

Order: Suliformes. 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 of the Pelecaniformes order. There are 2 New York species.

Darters[edit]

Order: Suliformes. 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. There is 1 New York species.

Anhinga, Anhinga anhinga (N)

Pelicans[edit]

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. There are 2 New York species.

Bitterns, herons, and night herons[edit]

Order: Pelecaniformes. Family: Ardeidae

Great blue heron, Egretta herodias
Green heron, Butorides virescens

The family Ardeidae contains the herons, egrets, and bitterns. Herons and egrets are medium-sized to large 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. There are 13 New York species.

Ibises and spoonbills[edit]

Order: Pelecaniformes. 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. There are 4 New York species.

New World vultures[edit]

Order: Accipitriformes. Family: Cathartidae

Black vulture, Coragyps atratus

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, but unlike Old World vultures, which find carcasses by sight, some New World vultures have a good sense of smell with which they find carcasses. There are 2 New York species.

Osprey[edit]

Order: Accipitriformes. Family: Pandionidae

The family Pandionidae is a monotypic 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. There is one species world wide, which occurs in North America and New York.

  • Osprey, Pandion haliaetus (B)

Kites, eagles, harriers, and hawks[edit]

Order: Accipitriformes. Family: Accipitridae

Bald eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus

The family Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey and include hawks, eagles, kites, and harriers. These birds have very large powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons, and keen eyesight. There are 14 New York species.

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. There are 4 New York species.

Rails, gallinules, moorhens, and coots[edit]

Sora, Porzana carolina

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. There are 11 New York species.

Cranes[edit]

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". There is 1 New York species.

Lapwings and plovers[edit]

American golden plover Pluvialis squatarola

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. There are 9 New York species.

Oystercatchers[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Haematopodidae

American oystercatcher Haematopus palliatus

The oystercatchers are large, obvious, and noisy plover-like birds with strong bills used for smashing or prying open molluscs. There is 1 New York species.

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. There are 2 New York species.

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

Upland sandpiper Bartamia longicauda
Ruddy turnstone, Arenaria interpres
American woodcock, Scolopax minor

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. Most 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. There are 42 New York species.

Gulls, terns, and skimmers[edit]

Herring gull, Larus argentatus

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Laridae

Laridae is a family of medium to large seabirds and includes jaegers, skuas, 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. There are 35 New York species.

Skuas and Jaegers[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Stercorariidae

Parasitic jaeger, Stercorarius parasiticus

Skuas and jaegers are long-distant migrants, breeding on the high arctic tundra but flying as far as Antarctica. During the breeding season, they hunt small mammals and birds, but at other times of the year, they will scavenge and steal food from other birds. There are 5 New York species.

Auks, murres, and puffins[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Alcidae

Alcids are superficially similar to penguins in 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, deliberately coming ashore only to nest. There are 8 species which have occurred in New York.

Pigeons and doves[edit]

Mourning dove Zenaida macroura

Order: Columbiformes. Family: Columbidae

Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere. There are 6 New York species.

Lories and lorikeets, 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. There is one introduced New York species.

Cuckoos, roadrunners, and anis[edit]

Order: Cuculiformes. Family: Cuculidae

Black-billed cuckoo, Coccyzus erythropthalmus

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. There are 2 New York species.

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. There is one New York species.

Typical owls[edit]

Order: Strigiformes. Family: Strigidae

Short-eared owl, Asio flammeus

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. There are 11 New York species.

Nightjars[edit]

Common nighthawk, Chordeiles minor

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, of little use for walking, and long pointed wings. Their soft plumage is crypically colored to resemble bark or leaves. There are 3 New York species.

Swifts[edit]

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. There is one New York species.

Hummingbirds[edit]

Order: Apodiformes. Family: Trochilidae

Ruby-throated hummingbird, Stellula calliope

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. There are 5 New York species.

Kingfishers[edit]

Order: Coraciiformes. Family: Cerylidae

Belted kingfisher, Ceryle alcyon

Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long, pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails. There is one New York species.

Woodpeckers, sapsuckers, and flickers[edit]

Pileated woodpecker, Dryocopus pileatus

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. There are 11 New York species.

Tyrant flycatchers[edit]

Eastern kingbird, Tyrannus tyrannus

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Tyrannidae

Tyrant flycatchers are passerines which are found throughout the Americas. They bear a superficially resemblance to the Old World flycatchers, but are more robust with stronger bills. They lack the sophisticated vocal capabilities of the songbirds. Most are insectivoress. Twenty species of tyrant flycatcher have been found to live in New York:

Shrikes[edit]

Northern shrike Lanius excubitor

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. There are 2 New York species.

Vireos[edit]

Yellow-throated vireo, Vireo flavifrons

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 wood warblers apart from their heavier bills. There are 8 New York species.

Jays, crows, magpies, and ravens[edit]

Blue jay Cyanocitta cristata

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. There are 6 New York species.

Larks[edit]

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. There are 2 New York species.

Swallows and martins[edit]

Tree swallow, Tachycineta bicolor

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Hirundinidae

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 wide gape. The feet are designed for perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base. There are 7 New York species.

Chickadees and titmice[edit]

Tufted titmouse, Baeolophus bicolor

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. There are 3 New York species.

Nuthatches[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Sittidae

White-breasted nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis

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. There are 3 New York species.

Treecreepers[edit]

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. There is 1 New York species.

Wrens[edit]

Marsh wren, Cistothorus palustris

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. There are 7 New York species.

Gnatcatchers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Polioptilidae

Kinglets[edit]

Ruby-crowned kinglet, Regulus calendula

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Regulidae

The kinglets are a small family of birds which resemble the titmice. They are very small insectivorous birds in the genus Regulus. The adults have colored crowns, giving rise to their name. There are 2 New York species.

Old World flycatchers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Muscicapidae

Thrushes[edit]

Hermit thrush, Catharus guttatus

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. There are 13 New York species.

Mockingbirds and thrashers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Mimidae

The Mimics are a family of passerine birds that includes thrashers, mockingbirds, tremblers, and the New World catbirds. These birds are notable for their vocalizations, 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. There are 4 New York species.

Starlings[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Sturnidae

European starling, Sturnus vulgaris

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. There is one species that has been introduced to North America and New York.

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. There are 2 New York species.

Waxwings[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Bombycillidae

Cedar waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum

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. There are 2 New York species.

Longspurs and snow buntings[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Calcariidae

The Calcariidae are a group of passerine birds that have been traditionally grouped with the Emberizeridae (New World Sparrows), but differ in a number of respects. They are usually found in open grassy areas. There are 4 New York species.

New World warblers[edit]

Black-throated green warbler, Setophaga virens
Cerulean warbler, Setophaga coronata
Blackburnian warbler, Setophaga fusca
Prothonotary warbler, Protonotaria citrea

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 like are more terrestrial. Most members of this family are insectivores. There are 41 New York species.

American sparrows, towhees, and juncos[edit]

Eastern towhee, Pipilo erythrophthalmus
American tree sparrow, Spizella arborea
Dark-eyed junco, Junco hyemalis

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. There are 29 New York species.

Tanagers, cardinals, saltators, and grosbeaks[edit]

Rose-breasted grosbeak, Pheucticus ludovicianus

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. There are 11 New York species.

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

Red-winged blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus

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. There are 14 New York species.

Finches[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Fringillidae

Evening grosbeak, Coccothraustes vespertinus

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. There are 12 New York species.

Old World sparrows[edit]

House sparrow, Passer domesticus

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. There is 1 New York species.

See also[edit]

References[edit]