List of birds of Oklahoma

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The scissor-tailed flycatcher is the state bird of Oklahoma

This list of birds of Oklahoma includes every wild bird species recorded in the U.S. state of Oklahoma, as recorded by the Oklahoma Bird Records Committee. There are 469 species, including 17 hypothetical species.

Birds listed as either accidental or hypothetical should not be expected to be found anywhere in Oklahoma with regularity. Except for those birds, only birds that are considered to have established, self-sustaining, wild populations in Oklahoma are included on this list. This means that birds that are probable escapees are not included. The ringed turtle-dove (Streptopelia risoria) was previously considered to be an established wild bird, and, although occasional sightings are reported from residential areas, these birds are probable escapees, and evidence of a true self-sustaining population is lacking. It is not included on this list.

This list is presented in taxonomic order and follows The Check-list of North American Birds (7th edition, 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 account. Introduced, casual, accidental, hypothetical, extirpated and extinct species are included in the total species counts for North America and Oklahoma.

The following markings have been used:

  • (I) Introduced - a species introduced to North America by the actions of humans, either directly or indirectly
  • (E) Extinct - a species that no longer exists
  • (Ex) Extirpated - a species that, while not extinct, is no longer found in Oklahoma
  • (A) Accidental - a species that has been seen only once or a few times
  • (H) Hypothetical - a species that has had a credible sighting reported, but has not been documented with a specimen or suitable photograph


Table of contents

See also        References        External links

Ducks, geese and swans[edit]

Order: Anseriformes   Family: Anatidae

Greater white-fronted goose
Trumpeter swan
Blue-winged teal
Common goldeneye

The family Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These birds are adapted to 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.

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

Order: Galliformes   Family: Phasianidae

Wild turkey

Phasianidae 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.

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.

Loons[edit]

Order: Gaviiformes   Family: Gaviidae

Red-throated loon

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

Grebes[edit]

Order: Podicipediformes   Family: Podicipedidae

Pied-billed grebe

Grebes small to medium-large 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.

Pelicans[edit]

Order: Pelecaniformes   Family: Pelecanidae

American white pelican

Pelicans are very large water birds with a distinctive pouch under their beak Like other birds in the order Pelecaniformes, they have four webbed toes.

Cormorants[edit]

Double-crested cormorant

Order: Pelecaniformes   Family: Phalacrocoracidae

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

Darters[edit]

Anhinga

Order: Pelecaniformes   Family: Anhingidae

Darters are cormorant-like water birds with very long necks and long, straight beaks. They are fish eaters which often swim with only their neck above the water.

Frigatebirds[edit]

Order: Pelecaniformes   Family: Fregatidae

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 colored inflatable 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.

Bitterns, herons and egrets[edit]

Order: Ciconiiformes   Family: Ardeidae

Little blue heron

The family Ardeidae contains the herons, egrets and bitterns. Herons and egrets are medium to large wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more secretive. Members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted, unlike other long-necked birds such as storks, ibises and spoonbills.

Ibises and spoonbills[edit]

Order: Ciconiiformes   Family: Threskiornithidae

Roseate spoonbill

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.

Storks[edit]

Order: Ciconiiformes   Family: Ciconiidae

Wood stork

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.

New World vultures[edit]

Turkey vulture

Order: Ciconiiformes   Family: Cathartidae

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

Osprey[edit]

Order: Falconiformes   Family: Pandionidae

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

Hawks, kites and eagles[edit]

Order: Falconiformes   Family: Accipitridae

Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey, which includes 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.

Caracaras and falcons[edit]

American Kestral

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 talons.

Rails, gallinules and coots[edit]

Order: Gruiformes   Family: Rallidae

American coot

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, making them difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs and long toes which are well adapted to soft uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and to be weak fliers.

Cranes[edit]

Order: Gruiformes   Family: Gruidae

Whooping cranes

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[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Charadriidae

Snowy plover

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.

Stilts and avocets[edit]

Black-necked stilt

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Recurvirostridae

Recurvirostridae is a family of large wading birds, which includes the avocets and 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[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Scolopacidae

Upland sandpper
Dunlin
Wilson's phalarope

Scolopacidae is 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 these species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Different lengths of legs and bills enable multiple species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food.

Skuas[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Stercorariidae

Skuas are in general medium to large birds, typically with gray or brown plumage, often with white markings on the wings. They have longish bills with hooked tips 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.

Gulls, terns and skimmers[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Laridae

Ring-billed gull

Laridae is a family of medium to large seabirds and includes jaegers, skuas, gulls, terns, kittiwakes and skimmers. They are typically gray or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet.

Pigeons and doves[edit]

Order: Columbiformes   Family: Columbidae

Mourning dove

Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere.

Parrots[edit]

Order: Psittaciformes   Family: Psittacidae

Parrots are small to large birds with a characteristic curved beak. 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 to the back.

Cuckoos, roadrunners and anis[edit]

Order: Cuculiformes   Family: Cuculidae

Greater roadrunner

The family Cuculidae includes cuckoos, roadrunners and anis. These birds are of variable size with slender bodies, long tails and strong legs. The Old World cuckoos are brood parasites.

Barn owls[edit]

Barn owl

Order: Strigiformes   Family: Tytonidae

Barn owls are medium to large owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons.

Typical owls[edit]

Order: Strigiformes   Family: Strigidae

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

Nightjars[edit]

Order: Caprimulgiformes   Family: Caprimulgidae


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

Swifts[edit]

Chimney swift

Order: Apodiformes   Family: Apodidae

The swifts are small birds which spend 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 which resemble a crescent or boomerang.

Hummingbirds[edit]

Order: Apodiformes   Family: Trochilidae

Ruby-throated hummingbird

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.

Kingfishers[edit]

Order: Coraciiformes   Family: Alcedinidae

Belted kingfisher

Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long, pointed bills, short legs and stubby tails.

Woodpeckers, sapsuckers and flickers[edit]

Order: Piciformes   Family: Picidae

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

Red-bellied woodpecker

Tyrant flycatchers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Tyrannidae

Willow flycatcher

Tyrant flycatchers are Passerine birds which occur throughout North and South America. They superficially resemble the Old World flycatchers, but are more robust and have 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.

Shrikes[edit]

Loggerhead shrike

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.

Vireos[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Vireonidae

Bell's vireo

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.

Jays, crows, magpies and ravens[edit]

American crow
Black-billed magpie

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Corvidae

The Corvidae family includes crows, ravens, jays, choughs, magpies, treepies, nutcrackers and ground jays. Corvids are above average in size among the Passeriformes, and some of the larger species show high levels of intelligence.

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.

Swallows and martins[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Hirundinidae

Barn swallow

The Hirundinidae family is adapted to aerial feeding. They have a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings and a short bill with a wide gape. The feet are adapted to perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base.

Chickadees and titmice[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Paridae

Tufted titmouse

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.

Penduline tits[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Remizidae

The penduline tits are a group of small passerine birds related to the true tits. They are insectivores.

Bushtits[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Aegithalidae

Long-tailed tits are a group of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They make woven bag nests in trees. Most eat a mixed diet which includes insects.

Nuthatches[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Sittidae

White-breasted nuthatch

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.

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.

Wrens[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Troglodytidae

Carolina wren

Wrens are small and inconspicuous birds, except for their loud songs. They have short wings and thin down-turned bills. Several species often hold their tails upright. All are insectivorous.

Kinglets[edit]

Ruby-crowned kinglet

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.

Gnatcatchers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Polioptilidae

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 gray in color and have the typical insectivore's long sharp bill. Many species have distinctive black head patterns (especially males) and long, regularly cocked, black-and-white tails.

Thrushes[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Turdidae

American robin

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.

Mimids[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Mimidae

Northern mockingbird

The mimids are a family of passerine birds which 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.

Starlings[edit]

European starling

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Sturnidae

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.

Pipits[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Motacillidae

Motacillidae is 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.

Waxwings[edit]

Cedar waxwing

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Bombycillidae

The waxwings are a group of birds with 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.

Silky-flycatchers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Ptilogonatidae

The silky-flycatchers are a small family of passerine birds which occur mainly in Central America, although the range of one species extends to central California. They are related to waxwings and like that group, have soft silky plumage, usually gray or pale-yellow. They have small crests.

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 and are usually found in open grassy areas.

Wood-warblers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Parulidae

Orange-crowned warbler

The wood warblers are a group of small often colorful passerine birds restricted to the New World. Most are arboreal, but some are more terrestrial. Most members of this family are insectivores.

American sparrows, towhees and juncos[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Emberizidae

Eastern towhee

Emberizidae is a large family of passerine birds. They are seed-eating birds with distinctively shaped bills. In Europe, most species are called 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.

Cardinals, saltators and grosbeaks[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Cardinalidae

Painted bunting

The cardinals are a family of robust, seed-eating birds with strong bills. They are typically associated with open woodland. The sexes usually have distinct plumages.

Icterids[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Icteridae

Western meadowlark

The icterids are a group of small to medium-sized, 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.

Fringilline finches, cardueline finches and allies[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Fringillidae

American goldfinch

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 twelve tail feathers and nine primaries. These birds have a bouncing flight with alternating bouts of flapping and gliding on closed wings, and most sing well.

Old World sparrows[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Passeridae

House sparrow

Old World sparrows are small passerine birds. In general, sparrows tend to be small plump brownish or grayish birds with short tails and short powerful beaks. Sparrows are seed eaters, but they also consume small insects.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Oklahoma Bird Records Committee. Date Guide to the Occurrences of Birds in Oklahoma, 4th Edition. Tulsa, Oklahoma, Oklahoma Ornithological Society, 2004.
  • The A.O.U. Check-list of North American Birds, seventh edition - a recognized 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

External links[edit]