List of birds of Washington

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The American Goldfinch is the state bird of Washington

The List of Washington birds lists every wild bird species seen in the U.S. state of Washington, based on the list published by the Washington Birds Records Committee.

Only birds that are considered to have established, self-sustaining, wild populations in Washington are included on this list. This means that birds that are considered probable escapees, although they may have been sighted flying free in Washington, are not included on this list. Introduced species that are not native to North America, but were brought to this continent by man are marked on this list as (I).

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.


Table of contents

Non-passerines: Ducks, Geese, and SwansPartridges, Grouse, Turkeys, and Old World QuailNew World QuailLoonsGrebesAlbatrossesShearwaters and petrelsStorm-petrelsBoobies and gannetsPelicansCormorantsFrigatebirdsBitterns, Herons, and EgretsIbises and SpoonbillsNew World VulturesHawks, Kites, and EaglesCaracaras and FalconsRails, Gallinules, and CootsCranesLapwings and PloversOystercatchersStilts and AvocetsSandpipers, Curlews, Stints, Godwits, Snipes, and PhalaropesGulls, Terns, and SkimmersSkuasAuks, Murres and PuffinsPigeons and DovesLories, Parakeets, Macaws, and ParrotsCuckoos, Roadrunners, and AnisBarn owlsTrue owlsNightjarsSwiftsHummingbirdsKingfishersWoodpeckers, Sapsuckers, and Flickers

Passerines: Tyrant flycatchersShrikesVireosJays, Crows, Magpies, and RavensLarksSwallows and MartinsChickadees and TitmiceBushtitsNuthatchesTreecreepersWrensDippersKingletsGnatcatchersThrushesMockingbirds and ThrashersStarlingsAccentorsWagtails and PipitsWaxwingsSilky-flycatchersWood warblersAmerican sparrows, Towhees, and JuncosCardinals, Saltators, and GrosbeaksIcteridsFringilline Finches, Cardueline Finches, and AlliesOld World sparrows

See also        References        External links

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 47 Washington species.

Partridges, Grouse, Turkeys, and Old World Quail[edit]

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 11 Washington species.

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 are 3 Washington species.

Loons[edit]

Order: Gaviiformes Family: Gaviidae

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. There are 5 Washington species.

Grebes[edit]

Order: Podicipediformes Family: Podicipedidae

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. There are 6 Washington species.

Albatrosses[edit]

Order: Procellariiformes Family: Diomedeidae

The albatrosses are amongst the largest of flying birds, and the great albatrosses from the genus Diomedea have the largest wingspans of any extant birds. There are 4 Washington species.

Shearwaters and petrels[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 12 Washington species.

Storm-petrels[edit]

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 Washington species.

Boobies and gannets[edit]

Order: Pelecaniformes Family: Sulidae

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

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 Washington species.

Cormorants[edit]

Order: Pelecaniformes Family: Phalacrocoracidae

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. There are 4 Washington species.

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 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. There is 1 Washington species.

Bitterns, Herons, and Egrets[edit]

Order: Ciconiiformes Family: Ardeidae

The family Ardeidae contains the herons, egrets, and bitterns. Herons and Egrets are medium to large-sized wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more secretive. Unlike other long-necked birds such as storks, ibises and spoonbills, members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted. There are 9 Washington species.

Ibises and spoonbills[edit]

Order: Ciconiiformes 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 3 Washington species.

New World Vultures[edit]

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 locate carcasses. There is 1 Washington species.

Osprey[edit]

Order: Falconiformes Family: Pandioniidae

Hawks, Kites, and Eagles[edit]

Order: Falconiformes Family: Accipitridae

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. There are 14 Washington 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 7 Washington species.

Rails, Gallinules, and Coots[edit]

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 tend to be weak fliers. There are 4 Washington 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 Washington species.

Lapwings and Plovers[edit]

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 Washington species.

Oystercatchers[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes Family: Haematopodidae

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

Sandpipers, Curlews, Stints, Godwits, Snipes, and Phalaropes[edit]

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. 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. There are 42 Washington species.

Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes Family: Laridae

Laridae is a family of medium to large 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. There are 31 Washington species.

Skuas[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes Family: Stercorariidae

Skuas are in general medium to large birds, typically with grey or brown plumage, often with white markings on the wings. They have longish bills with a hooked tip, and webbed feet with sharp claws. They look like large dark gulls, but have a fleshy cere above the upper mandible. They are strong, acrobatic fliers. There are 4 Washington species.

Auks, Murres and Puffins[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes Family: Alcidae

The family Alcidae includes auks, Murres and Puffins. These are short winged birds that live on the open sea and normally only come ashore for breeding. There are 14 Washington species.

Pigeons and doves[edit]

Order: Columbiformes Family: Columbidae

Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere. There are 5 Washington species.

Cuckoos, Roadrunners, and Anis[edit]

Order: Cuculiformes Family: Cuculidae

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 Washington 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 1 Washington species.

True 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. There are 14 Washington species.

Nightjars[edit]

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 cryptically coloured to resemble bark or leaves. There are 2 Washington 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 very long, swept-back wings that resemble a crescent or a boomerang. There are 3 Washington species.

Hummingbirds[edit]

Order: Apodiformes Family: Trochilidae

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 6 Washington species.

Kingfishers[edit]

Order: Coraciiformes Family: Alcedinidae

Kingfishers are medium sized birds with large heads, long pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails. There is 1 Washington species.

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.There are 12 Washington species.

Tyrant Flycatchers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes Family: Tyrannidae

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. There are 19 Washington species.

Shrikes[edit]

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 Washington species.

Vireos[edit]

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 colour and resemble wood warblers apart from their heavier bills. There are 7 Washington species.

Jays, Crows, Magpies, and Ravens[edit]

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 10 Washington 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 Washington species.

Swallows and martins[edit]

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

Chickadees and titmice[edit]

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 4 Washington species.

Bushtits[edit]

Order: Passeriformes Family: Aegithalidae

Bushtits are a group of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They make woven bag nests in trees. Most eat a mixed diet that includes insects. There is 1 Washington species.

Nuthatches[edit]

Order: Passeriformes Family: Sittidae

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 Washington 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 Washington species.

Wrens[edit]

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 6 Washington species.

Dippers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes Family: Cinclidae

Dippers are small, stout, birds that feed in cold, fast moving streams. There is 1 Washington species.

Kinglets[edit]

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 coloured crowns, giving rise to their names. There are 2 Washington species.

Gnatcatchers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes Family: Polioptilidae

Old World flycatchers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes Family: Muscicapidae

Thrushes[edit]

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 10 Washington species.

Mockingbirds and Thrashers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes Family: Mimidae

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. There are 4 Washington species.

Starlings[edit]

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. There is 1 Washington species.

Accentors[edit]

Order: Passeriformes Family: Prunellidae

The Accentors are small, fairly drab birds with thin sharp bills superficially similar, but unrelated to, sparrows. They are endemic to the Palearctic and only appear in North America as a vagrant. There is 1 Washington species.

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 4 Washington species.

Waxwings[edit]

Order: Passeriformes Family: Bombycillidae

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 Washington species.

Silky-flycatchers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes Family: Ptiliogonatidae

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 a soft silky plumage, usually grey or pale yellow in colour. They have small crests.

Longspurs and snow buntings[edit]

Order: Passeriformes Family: Calcariidae

Wood warblers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes Family: Parulidae

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. There are 32 Washington species.

American sparrows, Towhees, Juncos, and Longspurs[edit]

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 Washington species.

Cardinals, Saltators, and Grosbeaks[edit]

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 8 Washington species.

Icterids[edit]

Order: Passeriformes Family: Icteridae

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. There are 15 Washington species.

Fringilline Finches, Cardueline Finches, and Allies[edit]

Order: Passeriformes Family: Fringillidae

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 14 Washington species.

Old World sparrows[edit]

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 Washington species.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]