List of birds of Pennsylvania

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A brown, white and black speckled game bird standing on leaves
The ruffed grouse is the official state bird of Pennsylvania.[1]

This is a list of birds of Pennsylvania. A comprehensive listing of all the bird species seen naturally in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania is published by the Pennsylvania Ornithological Records Committee (PORC), part of the Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology.

There are currently 418 species on the list, which includes four species classified as extirpated —species that are native to Pennsylvania but no longer have established populations there (they still do in other places). Species which have been recorded in three or fewer of the past ten years are classified as accidental (A), and species which have been recorded in four to seven of the last ten years are classified as casual (C). In addition, there are two species which are now extinct. There are also eight species on a provisional list, which have been sighted but have no physical evidence to back up these claims. When extirpated and extinct species are included, there are a total of 426 species.[2]

The birds on the list are determined by the PORC, which was established in 1988 under the auspices of the Pennsylvania Biological Survey, a nonprofit organization designed to "increase the knowledge of and foster the perpetuation of the natural biological diversity of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania." The survey consists of scientists, representatives of state and federal agencies, major natural history museums and scientific institutions, and interested individuals.

Subcommittees of the survey were appointed for various classes of flora and fauna. The panel for birds is the Ornithological Technical Committee, which in turn organized the Records Committee in November 1988 as a subcommittee of its own. In an article in Pennsylvania Birds soon after PORC was established, the journal’s co-editor at the time Franklin C. Haas wrote with satisfaction, "Pennsylvania will finally have a clearing house for ornithological records."

The Records Committee held its first meeting in April 1989, attended by inaugural members Ed Kwater, chairman; Barbara M. Haas, secretary; Franklin C. Haas; Robert C. Leberman; Gerald D. McWilliams; Steven J. Santner; and Paul Schwalbe. Members have included professional ornithologists and experienced amateur observers during the committee’s history. The members are volunteers who spend many hours evaluating a hundred or more reports each year.

The official list is revised every five years for publication in the journal Pennsylvania Birds. The first edition in 1990 (PB 4:51-53) consisted of 353 species. In the third edition published in 2000 (PB 14:105-109) the list grew to 389 species plus 7 species on a provisional list. The most recent edition brings the current list to 426, 8 of which are on the provisional list. (Provisional species are accepted on the basis of sight records, but are not placed on the official list because they have not yet been documented by physical evidence such as a specimen, photograph, video or audio recording.)

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, and generally recognized as the scientific authority on the taxonomy and nomenclature of North American birds. The table of contents is grouped into passerines (the largest order of birds) and non-passerines. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflect this taxonomy, as do the species counts found in each family account.

Table of contents

Extirpated and extinct        Provisional        See also        References        External links

Ducks, geese and swans[edit]

Order: Anseriformes   Family: Anatidae

A gray, black and white goose in flight
Canada goose
A reddish-brown duck in water
American wigeon
Two ducks standing on rocks beside a body of water

New World quail[edit]

Order: Galliformes   Family: Odontophoridae

Pheasants, turkeys and grouse[edit]

Order: Galliformes   Family: Phasianidae


Order: Gaviiformes   Family: Gaviidae

A black-headed bird with white spots swimming in water
Common loon


Order: Podicipediformes   Family: Podicipedidae

Fulmars, petrels and shearwaters[edit]

Order: Procellariiformes   Family: Procellariidae

A black and white petrel flying over a body of water
Black-capped petrel

Storm petrels[edit]

Leach's storm petrel

Order: Procellariiformes   Family: Hydrobatidae


Order: Phaethontiformes   Family: Phaethontidae


Order: Suliformes   Family: Sulidae

Two white and yellow birds
Northern gannet


Order: Pelecaniformes   Family: Pelecanidae


Order: Suliformes   Family: Phalacrocoracidae

A large black bird with its wings extended, standing near water
Double-crested cormorant


Order: Suliformes   Family: Anhingidae


Order: Suliformes   Family: Fregatidae

Bitterns, herons and egrets[edit]

Order: Pelecaniformes   Family: Ardeidae

A large, blue-gray bird wading through water with a fish in its beak
Great blue heron

Ibises and spoonbills[edit]

Order: Pelecaniformes   Family: Threskiornithidae


Order: Ciconiiformes   Family: Ciconiidae

A large white bird standing by a body of water
Wood stork

New World vultures[edit]

Order: Accipitriformes   Family: Cathartidae


Order: Accipitriformes   Family: Pandionidae

Hawks, kites and eagles[edit]

Order: Accipitriformes   Family: Accipitridae

A large hawk perching on a large branch of a tree. It has a brown back and a white speckled front and it is eating a rabbit
A red-tailed hawk perched in a tree eating a rabbit near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Caracaras and falcons[edit]

Order: Falconiformes   Family: Falconidae

Rails, gallinules and coots[edit]

Order: Gruiformes   Family: Rallidae

A brown and blue-gray bird walking through a marsh


Order: Gruiformes   Family: Gruidae

Lapwings and plovers[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Charadriidae

A small brown and white bird standing on stones
Snowy plover


Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Haematopodidae

Stilts and avocets[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Recurvirostridae

A black and white bird with long pink legs
Black-necked stilt

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

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Scolopacidae

A black and white bird with long yellow legs
Greater yellowlegs
A light brown speckled bird with a long bill
Long-billed curlew


Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Stercorariidae

Gulls, terns and skimmers[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Laridae

A white bird in mid-flight
Black-headed gull
A white and black bird in mid-flight, with its bill open and skimming the surface of water
Black skimmer

Auks, murres and puffins[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Alcidae

Pigeons and doves[edit]

Order: Columbiformes   Family: Columbidae

A blue-gray bird standing on fallen fruit
Spotted dove

Cuckoos, roadrunners and anis[edit]

Order: Cuculiformes   Family: Cuculidae

Barn owls[edit]

Order: Strigiformes   Family: Tytonidae

Typical owls[edit]

Order: Strigiformes   Family: Strigidae

A brown and white owl perching on a branch
Barred owl


Order: Caprimulgiformes   Family: Caprimulgidae

A speckled brown and black bird on the ground
Common nighthawk


Order: Apodiformes   Family: Apodidae


Order: Apodiformes   Family: Trochilidae

A small green hummingbird hovering with its bill in a flower
Ruby-throated hummingbird


Order: Coraciiformes   Family: Cerylidae

Woodpeckers, sapsuckers and flickers[edit]

Order: Piciformes   Family: Picidae

A white and black, red-headed bird eating from a feeder
Red-headed woodpecker

Tyrant flycatchers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Tyrannidae

A bird with a brown back perching on a twig
Eastern phoebe


Order: Passeriformes   Family: Laniidae

A gray, black and white bird perching on a thorny twig
Loggerhead shrike


Order: Passeriformes   Family: Vireonidae

Jays, crows, magpies and ravens[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Corvidae

A large, entirely black bird standing on sand
American crow


Order: Passeriformes   Family: Alaudidae

Swallows and martins[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Hirundinidae

A bird with a blue back, brown face, white underparts and a forked tail perching on a piece of wood
Barn swallow

Chickadees and titmice[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Paridae


Order: Passeriformes   Family: Sittidae

A blue-gray and white bird hanging upside-down from a branch
White-breasted nuthatch


Order: Passeriformes   Family: Certhiidae


Order: Passeriformes   Family: Troglodytidae

A small, brown and whitish bird perching on reeds and singing
Marsh wren


Order: Passeriformes   Family: Regulidae

A green, gray and yellow bird perching on a branch
Golden-crowned kinglet


Order: Passeriformes   Family: Polioptilidae

Old World flycatchers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Muscicapidae


Order: Passeriformes   Family: Turdidae

A red and black bird standing in grass
American robin

Mockingbirds and thrashers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Mimidae

A white and gray bird perching on a green, thorny branch
Northern mockingbird


Order: Passeriformes   Family: Sturnidae

Wagtails and pipits[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Motacillidae


Order: Passeriformes   Family: Bombycillidae

A gray and reddish bird eating berries
Cedar waxwing

Longspurs and snow buntings[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Calcariidae

Wood warblers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Parulidae

A yellow bird perching on a twig
Yellow warbler
A yellow bird with gray wings perching on a branch
Prothonotary warbler

American sparrows, towhees and juncos[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Emberizidae

A gray bird with reddish-brown wings and crown perching on a rotting log
Chipping sparrow

Cardinals, grosbeaks and allies[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Cardinalidae

A red bird with a black face perching on a branch
Northern cardinal

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

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Icteridae

A black bird with a red and yellow wing patch perching on a stump
Red-winged blackbird


Order: Passeriformes   Family: Fringillidae

A yellow bird with black and white wings and a black crown perching on a branch
American goldfinch

Old World sparrows[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Passeridae

Extirpated and extinct birds[edit]

Four species are extirpated and no longer have populations in Pennsylvania:

Two birds are now extinct:

Provisional list[edit]

The Provisional list includes seven species (and one genus) which have been sighted but do not have documentation by a specimen, photograph or recording. If acceptable documentation in the form of specimen, photograph or video/audio recording finally becomes available, the species is then moved to the Class I list.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Pennsylvania State Bird". State History Guide. SHG Resources. 2011. 
  2. ^ Pennsylvania Ornithological Records Committee (2011)

Works consulted[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]