List of birds of Yellowstone National Park
This is a comprehensive listing of all the bird species recorded in Yellowstone National Park, which is mostly in the U.S. state of Wyoming and also extends into Idaho and Montana. This list is based on one published by the National Park Service (NPS). Additional species have been added through eBird.
This list is presented in the taxonomic sequence of the Check-list of North American Birds, 7th edition through the 59th Supplement, published by the American Ornithological Society (AOS). Common and scientific names are also those of the Check-list.
This list includes 298 species. Unless otherwise noted, all are considered to occur regularly in the park as permanent residents, summer or winter visitors, or migrants. The tags below are used to designate the abundance of some species. Because the NPS checklist notes abundance by season, the tag for the highest abundance of the year is used. The quoted definitions are those of the NPS.
- B "Breeding: Confirmed as breeding in Yellowstone" (150 species)
- b "Unconfirmed breeding: Suspected of breeding, but not confirmed by eggs or young" (five species)
- U "Uncommon: Found in small numbers and usually, but not always, found with some effort in appropriate habitat" (63 species)
- R "Rare: Occurs annually in very small numbers or in a very restricted habitat. Difficult to find" (74 species)
- O "Occasional: Occurs in some years, but not every year" (four species)
- A "Accidental: accidental, vagrant, or species with few observations" (77 species)
- + "species for which documentation is requested to improve the park’s bird database" (69 species)(see note)[notes 1]
- I Introduced - a species introduced to North America by humans (six species)
- 1 Ducks, geese, and waterfowl
- 2 Pheasants, grouse, and allies
- 3 Grebes
- 4 Pigeons and doves
- 5 Cuckoos
- 6 Nightjars and allies
- 7 Swifts
- 8 Hummingbirds
- 9 Rails, gallinules, and coots
- 10 Cranes
- 11 Stilts and avocets
- 12 Lapwings and plovers
- 13 Sandpipers and allies
- 14 Gulls, terns, and skimmers
- 15 Loons
- 16 Cormorants
- 17 Pelicans
- 18 Bitterns, herons, and egrets
- 19 Ibises and spoonbills
- 20 New World vultures
- 21 Osprey
- 22 Hawks, kites, and eagles
- 23 Owls
- 24 Kingfishers
- 25 Woodpeckers
- 26 Caracaras and falcons
- 27 Tyrant flycatchers
- 28 Shrikes
- 29 Vireos
- 30 Jays, crows, magpies, and ravens
- 31 Larks
- 32 Swallows and martins
- 33 Chickadees and titmice
- 34 Nuthatches
- 35 Treecreepers
- 36 Wrens
- 37 Gnatcatchers
- 38 Dippers
- 39 Kinglets
- 40 Thrushes
- 41 Mockingbirds and thrashers
- 42 Starlings
- 43 Waxwings
- 44 Old World sparrows
- 45 Wagtails and pipits
- 46 Finches
- 47 Longspurs and snow buntings
- 48 New World sparrows
- 49 Yellow-breasted chat
- 50 Icterids
- 51 Wood-warblers
- 52 Cardinals and allies
- 53 Notes
- 54 References
- 55 See also
- 56 Further reading
Ducks, geese, and waterfowl
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. Thirty-four species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Snow goose||Anser caerulescens||R +|
|Ross's goose||Anser rossii||R +|
|Greater white-fronted goose||Anser albifrons||A|
|Cackling goose||Branta hutchinsii||A|
|Canada goose||Branta canadensis||B|
|Trumpeter swan||Cygnus buccinator||B +|
|Tundra swan||Cygnus columbianus||U +|
|Whooper swan||Cygnus cygnus||A|
|Wood duck||Aix sponsa||R|
|Blue-winged teal||Spatula discors||B U|
|Cinnamon teal||Spatula cyanoptera||B|
|Northern shoveler||Spatula clypeata||B|
|Eurasian wigeon||Mareca penelope||A|
|American wigeon||Mareca americana||B|
|Northern pintail||Anas acuta||B|
|Green-winged teal||Anas crecca||B|
|Canvasback||Aythya valisineria||B U|
|Redhead||Aythya americana||B U|
|Ring-necked duck||Aythya collaris||B|
|Greater scaup||Aythya marila||R +|
|Lesser scaup||Aythya affinis||B|
|Harlequin duck||Histrionicus histrionicus||B U +|
|Surf scoter||Melanitta perspicillata||A|
|White-winged scoter||Melanitta fusca||A|
|Long-tailed duck||Clangula hyemalis||A|
|Common goldeneye||Bucephala clangula|
|Barrow's goldeneye||Bucephala islandica||B|
|Hooded merganser||Lophodytes cucullatus||B R|
|Common merganser||Mergus merganser||B|
|Red-breasted merganser||Mergus serrator||U|
|Ruddy duck||Oxyura jamaicensis||B|
Pheasants, grouse, and allies
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. Eight species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Gray partridge||Perdix perdix||I A|
|Ring-necked pheasant||Phasianus colchicus||I A (eBird records)|
|Ruffed grouse||Bonasa umbellus||B|
|Greater sage-grouse||Centrocercus urophasianus||A (eBird records)|
|Dusky grouse||Dendragapus obscurus||B|
|Sharp-tailed grouse||Tympanuchus phasianellus||A (eBird records)|
|Wild turkey||Meleagris gallopavo||A|
Grebes are 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. Six species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Pied-billed grebe||Podilymbus podiceps||B|
|Horned grebe||Podiceps auritus||R|
|Red-necked grebe||Podiceps grisegena||R +|
|Eared grebe||Podiceps nigricollis||B U|
|Western grebe||Aechmophorus occidentalis||b R +|
|Clark's grebe||Aechmophorus clarkii||R +|
Pigeons and doves
Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere. Four species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Rock pigeon||Columba livia||I B U|
|Band-tailed pigeon||Patagioenas fasciata||A|
|Eurasian collared-dove||Streptopelia decaocto||I R|
|Mourning dove||Zenaida macroura||B R|
The family Cuculidae includes cuckoos, roadrunners, and anis. These birds are of variable size with slender bodies, long tails, and strong legs. One species has been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Black-billed cuckoo||Coccyzus erythropthalmus||A|
Nightjars and allies
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. Two species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Common nighthawk||Chordeiles minor||B|
|Common poorwill||Phalaenoptilus nuttallii||A (eBird records)|
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. One species has been recorded in Yellowstone.
|White-throated swift||Aeronautes saxatalis||B U|
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. Four species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Black-chinned hummingbird||Archilochus alexandri||A (eBird records)|
|Broad-tailed hummingbird||Selasphorus platycercus||B R +|
|Rufous hummingbird||Selasphorus rufus||B R +|
|Calliope hummingbird||Selasphorus calliope||B R +|
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, 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 tend to be weak fliers. Four species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Yellow rail||Coturnicops noveboracensis||A|
|Virginia rail||Rallus limicola||B R +|
|American coot||Fulica americana||B|
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". Two species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Sandhill crane||Antigone canadensis||B|
|Whooping crane||Grus americana||A|
Stilts and avocets
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. Two species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Black-necked stilt||Himantopus mexicanus||R +|
|American avocet||Recurvirostra americana||R +|
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. Four species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Black-bellied plover||Pluvialis squatarola||U +|
|Semipalmated plover||Charadrius semipalmatus||U +|
|Mountain plover||Charadrius montanus||A (eBird record)|
Sandpipers and allies
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. Twenty-three species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Upland sandpiper||Bartramia longicauda||R +|
|Long-billed curlew||Numenius americanus||B R +|
|Hudsonian godwit||Limosa haemastica||A|
|Marbled godwit||Limosa fedoa||R +|
|Ruddy turnstone||Arenaria interpres||R +|
|Red knot||Calidris canutus||A (eBird record)|
|Sanderling||Calidris alba||R +|
|Baird's sandpiper||Calidris bairdii||U +|
|Least sandpiper||Calidris minutilla||R +|
|White-rumped sandpiper||Calidris fuscicollis||R +|
|Pectoral sandpiper||Calidris melanotos||R +|
|Semipalmated sandpiper||Calidris pusilla||R +|
|Western sandpiper||Calidris mauri||R +|
|Short-billed dowitcher||Limnodromus griseus||R +|
|Long-billed dowitcher||Limnodromus scolopaceus||U +|
|Wilson's snipe||Gallinago delicata||B|
|Spotted sandpiper||Actitis macularia||B|
|Solitary sandpiper||Tringa solitaria||R +|
|Lesser yellowlegs||Tringa flavipes||R +|
|Willet||Tringa semipalmata||U +|
|Greater yellowlegs||Tringa melanoleuca||U|
|Wilson's phalarope||Phalaropus tricolor||B U +|
|Red-necked phalarope||Phalaropus lobatus||R +|
Gulls, terns, and skimmers
Laridae is a family of medium to large seabirds which includes 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. Thirteen species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Black-legged kittiwake||Rissa tridactyla||A|
|Sabine's gull||Xema sabini||A|
|Bonaparte's gull||Larus philadelphia||R +|
|Franklin's gull||Larus pipixcan||R +|
|Mew gull||Larus canus||A|
|Ring-billed gull||Larus delawarensis|
|California gull||Larus californicus||B|
|Herring gull||Larus argentatus||R +|
|Caspian tern||Hydroprogne caspia||B R +|
|Black tern||Chlidonias niger||A|
|Common tern||Sterna hirundo||R|
|Arctic tern||Sterna paradisaea||A|
|Forster's tern||Sterna forsteri||R|
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. Two species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Pacific loon||Gavia pacifica||A|
|Common loon||Gavia immer||B U|
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. One species has been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Double-crested cormorant||Phalacrocorax auritus||B U|
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. One species has been recorded in Yellowstone.
|American white pelican||Pelecanus erythrorhynchos||B|
Bitterns, herons, and egrets
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. Eight species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|American bittern||Botaurus lentiginosus||A|
|Great blue heron||Ardea herodias||B|
|Great egret||Ardea alba||A|
|Snowy egret||Egretta thula||A|
|Tricolored heron||Egretta tricolor||A|
|Cattle egret||Bubulcus ibis||A|
|Green heron||Butorides virescens||A|
|Black-crowned night-heron||Nycticorax nycticorax||R|
Ibises and spoonbills
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. One species has been recorded in Yellowstone.
|White-faced ibis||Plegadis chihi||R|
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 locate carcasses. One species has been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Turkey vulture||Cathartes aura||U +|
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.
Hawks, kites, and eagles
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. Twelve species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Golden eagle||Aquila chrysaetos||B U|
|Northern harrier||Circus cyaneus||B U|
|Sharp-shinned hawk||Accipiter striatus||B U|
|Cooper's hawk||Accipiter cooperii||B U|
|Northern goshawk||Accipiter gentilis||B U|
|Bald eagle||Haliaeetus leucocephalus||B|
|Red-shouldered hawk||Buteo lineatus||A|
|Broad-winged hawk||Buteo platypterus||R|
|Swainson's hawk||Buteo swainsoni||B|
|Red-tailed hawk||Buteo jamaicensis||B|
|Rough-legged hawk||Buteo lagopus|
|Ferruginous hawk||Buteo regalis||U|
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. Eleven species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Flammulated owl||Psiloscops flammeolus||A|
|Western screech-owl||Megascops kennicottii||R|
|Great horned owl||Bubo virginianus||B|
|Snowy owl||Bubo scandiacus||A|
|Northern pygmy-owl||Glaucidium gnoma||B R|
|Burrowing owl||Athene cunicularia||A|
|Great gray owl||Strix nebulosa||B U|
|Long-eared owl||Asio otus||B R|
|Short-eared owl||Asio flammeus||B R|
|Boreal owl||Aegolius funereus||B U|
|Northern saw-whet owl||Aegolius acadicus||B U|
Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails. One species has been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Belted kingfisher||Megaceryle alcyon||B U|
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. Ten species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Lewis's woodpecker||Melanerpes lewis||B R +|
|Red-headed woodpecker||Melanerpes erythrocephalus||R +|
|Williamson's sapsucker||Sphyrapicus thyroideus||B U|
|Red-naped sapsucker||Sphyrapicus nuchalis||B U|
|American three-toed woodpecker||Picoides dorsalis||B U +|
|Black-backed woodpecker||Picoides arcticus||B R +|
|Downy woodpecker||Dryobates pubescens||B U|
|Hairy woodpecker||Dryobates villosus||B|
|Northern flicker||Colaptes auratus||B|
|Pileated woodpecker||Dryocopus pileatus||B R +|
Caracaras and falcons
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. Five species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Crested caracara||Caracara cheriway||A|
|American kestrel||Falco sparverius||B|
|Peregrine falcon||Falco peregrinus||BU|
|Prairie falcon||Falco mexicanus||B U|
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. Twelve species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Ash-throated flycatcher||Myiarchus cinerascens||A|
|Western kingbird||Tyrannus verticalis||R +|
|Eastern kingbird||Tyrannus tyrannus||R +|
|Scissor-tailed flycatcher||Tyrannus forficatus||A|
|Olive-sided flycatcher||Contopus cooperi||B|
|Western wood-pewee||Contopus sordidulus||B U|
|Willow flycatcher||Empidonax traillii||B U|
|Least flycatcher||Empidonax minimus||A|
|Hammond's flycatcher||Empidonax hammondii||B U|
|Dusky flycatcher||Empidonax oberholseri||B|
|Cordilleran flycatcher||Empidonax occidentalis||b R +|
|Say's phoebe||Sayornis saya||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 shrike's beak is hooked, like that of a typical bird of prey. Two species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Loggerhead shrike||Lanius ludovicianus||R +|
|Northern shrike||Lanius excubitor||U +|
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. Three species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Plumbeous vireo||Vireo plumbeous||A (eBird records)|
|Warbling vireo||Vireo gilvus||B|
|Red-eyed vireo||Vireo olivaceus||A|
Jays, crows, magpies, and ravens
The family Corvidae 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. Eight species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Canada jay||Perisoreus canadensis||B|
|Pinyon jay||Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus||R +|
|Steller's jay||Cyanocitta stelleri||B U|
|Blue jay||Cyanocitta cristata||R +|
|Clark's nutcracker||Nucifraga columbiana||B|
|Black-billed magpie||Pica hudsonia||B|
|American crow||Corvus brachyrhynchos||B U|
|Common raven||Corvus corax||B|
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. One species has been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Horned lark||Eremophila alpestris||B U|
Swallows and martins
The family Hirundinidae 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. Six species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Purple martin||Progne subis||A (eBird record)|
|Tree swallow||Tachycineta bicolor||B|
|Violet-green swallow||Tachycineta thalassina||B|
|Northern rough-winged swallow||Stelgidopteryx serripennis||B U|
|Bank swallow||Riparia riparia||B U|
|Cliff swallow||Petrochelidon pyrrhonota||B|
|Barn swallow||Hirundo rustica||B U|
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. Two species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Black-capped chickadee||Poecile atricapilla||B U|
|Mountain chickadee||Poecile gambeli||B|
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. Three species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Red-breasted nuthatch||Sitta canadensis||B|
|White-breasted nuthatch||Sitta carolinensis||B U|
|Pygmy nuthatch||Sitta pygmaea||A|
Creepers 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. One species has been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Brown creeper||Certhia americana||B U|
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. Five species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Rock wren||Salpinctes obsoletus||B U|
|Canyon wren||Catherpes mexicanus||A|
|House wren||Troglodytes aedon||B|
|Marsh wren||Cistothorus palustris||B R +|
|Bewick's wren||Thryomanes bewickii||A (eBird record)|
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. One species has been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Blue-gray gnatcatcher||Polioptila caerulea||A|
Dippers are small stout birds that feed in cold, fast-moving streams. One species has been recorded in Yellowstone.
|American dipper||Cinclus mexicanus||B U|
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 names. Two species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Golden-crowned kinglet||Regulus satrapa||B R|
|Ruby-crowned kinglet||Regulus calendula||B|
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. Eight species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Western bluebird||Sialia mexicana||R +|
|Mountain bluebird||Sialia currucoides||B|
|Townsend's solitaire||Myadestes townsendi||B|
|Veery||Catharus fuscescens||B R|
|Swainson's thrush||Catharus ustulatus||B U|
|Hermit thrush||Catharus guttatus||B|
|American robin||Turdus migratorius||B|
|Varied thrush||Ixoreus naevius||A|
Mockingbirds and thrashers
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. Two species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Gray catbird||Dumetella carolinensis||B R|
|Sage thrasher||Oreoscoptes montanus||B U|
Starlings are small to 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. One species has been recorded in Yellowstone.
|European starling||Sturnus vulgaris||I B U|
The waxwings are a group of passerine 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. Two species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Bohemian waxwing||Bombycilla garrulus|
|Cedar waxwing||Bombycilla cedrorum||B U|
Old World sparrows
In general, Old World 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. One species has been recorded in Yellowstone.
|House sparrow||Passer domesticus||I B|
Wagtails and pipits
Motacillidae is a family of small passerine birds with medium to long tails which includes the wagtails, longclaws, and pipits. They are slender ground-feeding insectivores of open country. One species has been recorded in Yellowstone.
|American pipit||Anthus rubescens||B R|
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. Twelve species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Evening grosbeak||Coccothraustes vespertinus||B O|
|Pine grosbeak||Pinicola enucleator||B U|
|Gray-crowned rosy-finch||Leucosticte tephrocotis||B R +|
|Black rosy-finch||Leucosticte atrata||B U|
|House finch||Haemorhous mexicanus||A|
|Cassin's finch||Haemorhous cassinii||B|
|Common redpoll||Acanthis flammea||U|
|Red crossbill||Loxia curvirostra||B U|
|White-winged crossbill||Loxia leucoptera||b R|
|Pine siskin||Spinus pinus||B|
|Lesser goldfinch||Spinus psaltria||A|
|American goldfinch||Spinus tristis||B R +|
Longspurs and snow buntings
The Calcariidae are a group of passerine birds that were traditionally grouped with the New World sparrows, but differ in a number of respects and are usually found in open grassy areas. Three species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|McCown's longspur||Calcarius mccownii||A|
|Lapland longspur||Calcarius lapponicus||A|
|Snow bunting||Plectrophenax nivalis||O +|
New World sparrows
Until 2017, these species were considered part of the family Emberizidae. Most of the species are known as sparrows, but these birds are not closely related to the Old World sparrows which are in the family Passeridae. Many of these have distinctive head patterns. Twenty-two species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Green-tailed towhee||Pipilo chlorurus||B U|
|Spotted towhee||Pipilo maculatus||B R +|
|American tree sparrow||Spizelloides arborea||U|
|Chipping sparrow||Spizella passerina||B|
|Clay-colored sparrow||Spizella pallida||A|
|Brewer's sparrow||Spizella breweri||B|
|Field sparrow||Spizella pusilla||A (eBird record)|
|Vesper sparrow||Pooecetes gramineus||B|
|Lark sparrow||Chondestes grammacus||O|
|Black-throated sparrow||Amphispiza bilineata||A|
|Sagebrush sparrow||Artemisiospiza nevadensis||A|
|Lark bunting||Calamospiza melanocorys||A|
|Savannah sparrow||Passerculus sandwichensis||B|
|Grasshopper sparrow||Ammodramus savannarum||O +|
|Fox sparrow||Passerella iliaca||B R|
|Song sparrow||Melospiza melodia||B|
|Lincoln's sparrow||Melospiza lincolnii||B|
|Swamp sparrow||Melospiza georgiana||A|
|White-throated sparrow||Zonotrichia albicollis||A|
|Harris's sparrow||Zonotrichia querula||A|
|White-crowned sparrow||Zonotrichia leucophrys||B|
|Dark-eyed junco||Junco hyemalis||B|
This species was historically placed in the wood-warblers (Parulidae) but nonetheless most authorities were unsure if it belonged there. It was placed in its own family in 2017.
|Yellow-breasted chat||Icteria virens||A|
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. Nine species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Yellow-headed blackbird||Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus||B|
|Western meadowlark||Sturnella neglecta||B|
|Bullock's oriole||Icterus bullockii||B R +|
|Red-winged blackbird||Agelaius phoeniceus||B|
|Brown-headed cowbird||Molothrus ater||B|
|Rusty blackbird||Euphagus carolinus||A|
|Brewer's blackbird||Euphagus cyanocephalus||B|
|Common grackle||Quiscalus quiscula||A|
The wood warblers are a group of small often colorful 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. Twenty-two species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Northern waterthrush||Parkesia noveboracensis||b R +|
|Black-and-white warbler||Mniotilta varia||R +|
|Prothonotary warbler||Protonotaria citrea||A|
|Tennessee warbler||Oreothlypis peregrina||R +|
|Orange-crowned warbler||Oreothlypis celata||B U|
|Nashville warbler||Oreothlypis ruficapilla||R +|
|Virginia's warbler||Oreothlypis virginiae||A (eBird recordS)|
|MacGillivray's warbler||Geothlypis tolmiei||B U|
|Common yellowthroat||Geothlypis trichas||B|
|Hooded warbler||Setophaga citrina||A|
|American redstart||Setophaga ruticilla||B R +|
|Cape May warbler||Setophaga tigrina||A|
|Blackburnian warbler||Setophaga fusca||R +|
|Yellow warbler||Setophaga petechia||B|
|Chestnut-sided warbler||Setophaga pensylvanica||A|
|Blackpoll warbler||Setophaga striata||R +|
|Yellow-rumped warbler||Setophaga coronata||B|
|Prairie warbler||Setophaga discolor||A|
|Black-throated gray warbler||Setophaga nigrescens||A (eBird record)|
|Townsend's warbler||Setophaga townsendi||U +|
|Wilson's warbler||Cardellina pusilla||B U|
Cardinals and allies
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. Four species have been recorded in Yellowstone.
|Western tanager||Piranga ludoviciana||B|
|Rose-breasted grosbeak||Pheucticus ludovicianus||A|
|Black-headed grosbeak||Pheucticus melanocephalus||b R +|
|Lazuli bunting||Passerina amoena||B|
- A rare bird report form is available at https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/nature/birds.htm
- "Birds of Yellowstone" (PDF). National Park Service. April 2014. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
- "Yellowstone National Park Bird Observations". Cornell Lab of Ornithology. January 10, 2019. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
- American Ornithologists' Union. 1998. Check-list of North American Birds. 7th edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.
- R. Terry Chesser, Kevin J. Burns, Carla Cicero, Jon L. Dunn, Andrew W. Kratter, Irby J. Lovette, Pamela C. Rasmussen, J. V. Remsen, Jr., Douglas F. Stotz, Benjamin M. Winger, and Kevin Winker. "Fifty-ninth supplement to the American Ornithological Society’s Check-list of North American Birds". The Auk 2018, vol. 135:798-813 retrieved July 16, 2018
- Brodrick, Harold J. (1952). Birds of Yellowstone National Park: A Descriptive Check List of the Birds of Yellowstone with Helpful Illustrations. Yellowstone National Park.
- Zardus, Maurice J. (1967). Birds of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Salt Lake City, UT: Wheelright Press.
- Follett, dick (1975). Birds of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Yellowstone Library and Museum Association. ISBN 0911797149.
- Zarki, J.; Follett, R. (1987). A Checklist, Birds of Yellowstone National Park.
- McEneaney, Terry; McEneaney, Karen (1988). Birds of Yellowstone: a Practical Habitat Guide to the Birds of Yellowstone National Park- and Where to Find Them. Boulder, CO: Robert Rinehart Inc. ISBN 0911797440.
- Wilkinson, Todd (1992). Yellowstone Wildlife A Watcher's Guide. Minocqua, WI: NorthWord Press. ISBN 155971140X.