List of birds of Montana
This list of birds of Montana includes species documented in the U.S. state of Montana and accepted by the Montana Bird Records Committee (MBRC). As of October 2016, there are 433 species included in the official list. Of them, 103 are on the review list (see below) and eight have been introduced to North America. An additional eight species are on a separate supplemental list.
Only birds that are considered to have established, self-sustaining, wild populations in Montana are included on this list. This means that birds that are considered probable escapees, although they may have been sighted flying free in Montana, are not included.
This list is presented in the taxonomic sequence of The Check-list of North American Birds (7th edition through the 57th supplement, 2016), published by the American Ornithological Society. Common and scientific names are also those of the Check-list.
These tags are used to annotate some species:
- (R) Review list - birds with 20 or fewer records require that a rare bird report be submitted per the MBRC
- (S) Supplemental list - species of uncertain origin or species with only sight records.
- (I) Introduced - a species established in North America as a result of human action
- 1 Ducks, geese, and waterfowl
- 2 New World quail
- 3 Pheasants, grouse, and allies
- 4 Grebes
- 5 Pigeons and doves
- 6 Cuckoos
- 7 Nightjars and allies
- 8 Swifts
- 9 Hummingbirds
- 10 Rails, gallinules, and coots
- 11 Cranes
- 12 Stilts and avocets
- 13 Lapwings and plovers
- 14 Sandpipers and allies
- 15 Jaegers
- 16 Auks, murres, and puffins
- 17 Gulls, terns, and skimmers
- 18 Loons
- 19 Shearwaters and petrels
- 20 Storks
- 21 Cormorants
- 22 Pelicans
- 23 Bitterns, herons, and egrets
- 24 Ibises and spoonbills
- 25 New World vultures
- 26 Osprey
- 27 Hawks, kites, and eagles
- 28 Barn-owls
- 29 Typical owls
- 30 Kingfishers
- 31 Woodpeckers
- 32 Caracaras and falcons
- 33 Tyrant flycatchers
- 34 Shrikes
- 35 Vireos
- 36 Jays, crows, magpies, and ravens
- 37 Larks
- 38 Swallows and martins
- 39 Chickadees and titmice
- 40 Nuthatches
- 41 Treecreepers
- 42 Wrens
- 43 Gnatcatchers
- 44 Dippers
- 45 Kinglets
- 46 Thrushes
- 47 Mockingbirds and thrashers
- 48 Starlings
- 49 Waxwings
- 50 Silky-flycatchers
- 51 Accentors
- 52 Old World sparrows
- 53 Wagtails and pipits
- 54 Finches
- 55 Longspurs and snow buntings
- 56 Wood-warblers
- 57 New World sparrows
- 58 Cardinals and allies
- 59 Icterids
- 60 Notes
- 61 References
- 62 See also
- 63 Further reading
- 64 External links
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. Forty species have been recorded in Montana.
- Greater white-fronted goose, Anser albifrons
- Snow goose, Chen caerulescens
- Ross's goose, Chen rossii
- Brant, Branta bernicla (R)
- Cackling goose, Branta hutchinsii
- Canada goose, Branta canadensis
- Mute swan, Cygnus olor (I)
- Trumpeter swan, Cygnus buccinator
- Tundra swan, Cygnus columbianus
- Wood duck, Aix sponsa
- Gadwall, Anas strepera
- Eurasian wigeon, Anas penelope
- American wigeon, Anas americana
- American black duck, Anas rubripes
- Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos
- Blue-winged teal, Anas discors
- Cinnamon teal, Anas cyanoptera
- Northern shoveler, Anas clypeata
- Northern pintail, Anas acuta
- Garganey, Anas querquedula (R)
- Baikal teal, Anas formosa (R)
- Green-winged teal, Anas crecca
- Canvasback, Aythya valisineria
- Redhead, Aythya americana
- Ring-necked duck, Aythya collaris
- Tufted duck, Aythya fuligula (R)
- Greater scaup, Aythya marila
- Lesser scaup, Aythya affinis
- Harlequin duck, Histrionicus histrionicus
- Surf scoter, Melanitta perspicillata
- White-winged scoter, Melanitta fusca
- Black scoter, Melanitta americana (R)
- Long-tailed duck, Clangula hyemalis
- Bufflehead, Bucephala albeola
- Common goldeneye, Bucephala clangula
- Barrow's goldeneye, Bucephala islandica
- Hooded merganser, Lophodytes cucullatus
- Common merganser, Mergus merganser
- Red-breasted merganser, Mergus serrator
- Ruddy duck, Oxyura jamaicensis
New World quail
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. One species has been recorded in Montana.
- California quail, Callipepla californica
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. Twelve species have been recorded in Montana.
- Chukar, Alectoris chukar (I)
- Gray partridge, Perdix perdix (I)
- Ring-necked pheasant, Phasianus colchicus (I)
- Ruffed grouse, Bonasa umbellus
- Greater sage-grouse, Centrocercus urophasianus
- Spruce grouse, Falcipennis canadensis
- Willow ptarmigan, Lagopus lagopus (R)
- White-tailed ptarmigan, Lagopus leucurus
- Dusky grouse, Dendragapus obscurus
- Sharp-tailed grouse, Tympanuchus phasianellus
- Greater prairie-chicken, Tympanuchus cupido (R)
- Wild turkey, Meleagris gallopavo
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 Montana.
- Pied-billed grebe, Podilymbus podiceps
- Horned grebe, Podiceps auritus
- Red-necked grebe, Podiceps grisegena
- Eared grebe, Podiceps nigricollis
- Western grebe, Aechmorphorus occidentalis
- Clark's grebe, Aechmorphorus clarkii
Pigeons and doves
Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere. Six species have been recorded in Montana.
- Rock pigeon, Columba livia (I)
- Band-tailed pigeon, Patagioenas fasciata
- Eurasian collared-dove, Streptopelia decaocto (I)
- Inca dove, Columbina inca (R)
- White-winged dove, Zenaida asiatica (R)
- Mourning dove, Zenaida macroura
The family Cuculidae includes cuckoos, roadrunners, and anis. These birds are of variable size with slender bodies, long tails, and strong legs. Two species have been recorded in Montana.
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. Three species have been recorded in Montana.
- Common nighthawk, Chordeiles minor
- Common poorwill, Phalaenoptilus nuttallii
- Eastern whip-poor-will, Antrostomus vociferus (R)
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. Four species have been recorded in Montana.
- Black swift, Cypseloides niger
- Chimney swift, Chaetura pelagica
- Vaux's swift, Chaetura vauxi
- White-throated swift, Aeronautes saxatalis
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. Seven species have been recorded in Montana.
- Ruby-throated hummingbird, Archilochus colubris (R) (except east of 108°W)
- Black-chinned hummingbird, Archilochus alexandri
- Anna's hummingbird, Calypte anna (R) (except west of 111°W)
- Costa's hummingbird, Calypte costae (R)
- Broad-tailed hummingbird, Selasphorus platycercus
- Rufous hummingbird, Selasphorus rufus
- Calliope hummingbird, Selasphrus calliope
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. Five species have been recorded in Montana.
- Yellow rail, Coturnicops noveboracensis (R) (except in LL 12)(see note)[notes 1]
- Virginia rail, Rallus limicola
- Sora, Porzana carolina
- Common gallinule, Gallinula galeata (R)
- American coot, Fulica americana
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". Three species have been recorded in Montana.
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 Montana.
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. Eight species have been recorded in Montana.
- Black-bellied plover, Pluvialis squatarola
- American golden-plover, Pluvialis dominica
- Pacific golden-plover, Pluvialis fulva (S) (R)
- Snowy plover, Charadrius nivosus (R)
- Semipalmated plover, Charadrius semipalmatus
- Piping plover, Charadrius melodus
- Killdeer, Charadrius vociferus
- Mountain plover, Charadrius montanus
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. Thirty-three species have been recorded in Montana.
- Upland sandpiper, Bartramia longicauda
- Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus
- Long-billed curlew, Numenius americanus
- Hudsonian godwit, Limosa haemastica
- Marbled godwit, Limosa fedoa
- Ruddy turnstone, Arenaria interpres
- Black turnstone, Arenaria melanocephala (R)
- Red knot, Calidris canutus
- Sharp-tailed sandpiper, Calidris acuminata (R)
- Stilt sandpiper, Calidris himantopus
- Curlew sandpiper, Calidris ferruginea (R)
- Sanderling, Calidris alba
- Dunlin, Calidris alpina
- Purple sandpiper, Calidris maritima (R)
- Baird's sandpiper, Calidris bairdii
- Least sandpiper, Calidris minutilla
- White-rumped sandpiper, Calidris fuscicollis
- Buff-breasted sandpiper, Calidris subruficollis
- Pectoral sandpiper, Calidris melanotos
- Semipalmated sandpiper, Calidris pusilla
- Western sandpiper, Calidris mauri
- Short-billed dowitcher, Limnodromus griseus
- Long-billed dowitcher, Limnodromus scolopaceus
- Wilson's snipe, Gallinago delicata
- American woodcock, Scolopax minor (R)
- Spotted sandpiper, Actitis macularius
- Solitary sandpiper, Tringa solitaria
- Greater yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca
- Willet, Tringa semipalmata
- Lesser yellowlegs, Tringa flavipes
- Wilson's phalarope, Phalaropus tricolor
- Red-necked phalarope, Phalaropus lobatus
- Red phalarope, Phalaropus fulicarius (R)
Skuas and jaegers 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. Three species have been recorded in Montana.
- Pomarine jaeger, Stercorarius pomarinus (R)
- Parasitic jaeger, Stercorarius parasiticus (R)
- Long-tailed jaeger, Stercorarius longicaudus (R)
Auks, murres, and puffins
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. Two species have been recorded in Montana.
Gulls, terns, and skimmers
Laridae is a family of medium to large seabirds and 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. Twenty-four species have been recorded in Montana.
- Black-legged kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla (R)
- Sabine's gull, Xema sabini
- Bonaparte's gull, Chroicocephalus philadelphia
- Little gull, Hydrocoloeus minutus (R)
- Ross's gull, Rhodostethia rosea (R)
- Laughing gull, Leucophaeus atricilla (R)
- Franklin's gull, Leucophaeus pipixcan
- Mew gull, Larus canus
- Ring-billed gull, Larus delawarensis
- Western gull, Larus occidentalis (R)
- California gull, Larus californicus
- Herring gull, Larus argentatus
- Thayer's gull, Larus thayeri
- Iceland gull, Larus glaucoides (R)
- Lesser black-backed gull, Larus fuscus
- Glaucous-winged gull, Larus glaucescens
- Glaucous gull, Larus hyperboreus
- Great black-backed gull, Larus marinus (R)
- Least tern, Sternula antillarum
- Caspian tern, Hydroprogne caspia
- Black tern, Chlidonias niger
- Common tern, Sterna hirundo
- Arctic tern, Sterna paradisaea (R)
- Forster's tern, Sterna forsteri
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. Four species have been recorded in Montana.
- Red-throated loon, Gavia stellata (R)
- Pacific loon, Gavia pacifica
- Common loon, Gavia immer
- Yellow-billed loon, Gavia adamsii (R)
Shearwaters and petrels
The procellariids are the main group of medium-sized "true petrels", characterised by united nostrils with medium septum and a long outer functional primary. One species has been recorded in Montana.
- Manx shearwater, Puffinus puffinus (R)
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. One species has been recorded in Montana.
- Wood stork, Mycteria americana (R)
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 Montana.
- Double-crested cormorant, Phalacrocorax auritus
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 Montana.
- American white pelican, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
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. Ten species have been recorded in Montana.
- American bittern, Botaurus lentiginosus
- Least bittern, Ixobrychus exilis (R)
- Great blue heron, Ardea herodias
- Great egret, Ardea alba
- Snowy egret, Egretta thula
- Little blue heron, Egretta caerulea (R)
- Cattle egret, Bubulcus ibis
- Green heron, Butorides virescens
- Black-crowned night-heron, Nycticorax nycticorax
- Yellow-crowned night-heron, Nyctanassa violacea (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. Two species have been recorded in Montana.
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 Montana.
- Turkey vulture, Cathartes aura
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, Pandion haliaetus
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. Fifteen species have been recorded in Montana.
- White-tailed kite, Elanus leucurus (R)
- Mississippi kite, Ictinia mississippiensis (R)
- Bald eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus
- Northern harrier, Circus cyaneus
- Sharp-shinned hawk, Accipiter striatus
- Cooper's hawk, Accipiter cooperii
- Northern goshawk, Accipiter gentilis
- Harris's hawk, Parabuteo unicinctus (S) (R)
- Red-shouldered hawk, Buteo lineatus (R)
- Broad-winged hawk, Buteo platypterus
- Swainson's hawk, Buteo swainsoni
- Red-tailed hawk, Buteo jamaicensis
- Rough-legged hawk, Buteo lagopus
- Ferruginous hawk, Buteo regalis
- Golden eagle, Aquila chrysaetos
Barn-owls are medium to large owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons. One species has been recorded in Montana.
- Barn owl, Tyto alba
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. Fourteen species have been recorded in Montana.
- Flammulated owl, Psiloscops flammeolus
- Western screech-owl, Megascops kennicottii
- Eastern screech-owl, Megascops asio
- Great horned owl, Bubo virginianus
- Snowy owl, Bubo scandiacus
- Northern hawk owl, Surnia ulula
- Northern pygmy-owl, Glaucidium gnoma
- Burrowing owl, Athene cunicularia
- Barred owl, Strix varia
- Great gray owl, Strix nebulosa
- Long-eared owl, Asio otus
- Short-eared owl, Asio flammeus
- Boreal owl, Aegolius funereus
- Northern saw-whet owl, Aegolius acadicus
Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long, pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails. One species has been recorded in Montana.
- Belted kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon
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. Fourteen species have been recorded in Montana.
- Lewis's woodpecker, Melanerpes lewis
- Red-headed woodpecker, Melanerpes erythrocephalus
- Red-bellied woodpecker, Melanerpes carolinus (R)
- Williamson's sapsucker, Sphyrapicus thyroideus
- Yellow-bellied sapsucker, Sphyrapicus varius (R) (except in LLs 9, 10, 11, and 12)
- Red-naped sapsucker, Sphyrapicus nuchalis
- Red-breasted sapsucker, Sphyrapicus ruber (S) (R)
- Downy woodpecker, Picoides pubescens
- Hairy woodpecker, Picoides villosus
- White-headed woodpecker, Picoides albolarvatus (R)
- American three-toed woodpecker, Picoides dorsalis
- Black-backed woodpecker, Picoides arcticus
- Northern flicker, Colaptes auratus
- Pileated woodpecker, Dryocopus pileatus
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. Six species have been recorded in Montana.
- Crested caracara, Caracara cheriway (R)
- American kestrel, Falco sparverius
- Merlin, Falco columbarius
- Gyrfalcon, Falco rusticolus
- Peregrine falcon, Falco peregrinus
- Prairie falcon, Falco mexicanus
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. Twenty species have been recorded in Montana.
- Olive-sided flycatcher, Contopus cooperi
- Western wood-pewee, Contopus sordidulus
- Eastern wood-pewee, Contopus virens (R)
- Yellow-bellied flycatcher, Empidonax flaviventris (R) (except in LL 12)
- Alder flycatcher, Empidonax alnorum
- Willow flycatcher, Empidonax traillii
- Least flycatcher, Empidonax minimus
- Hammond's flycatcher, Empidonax hammondii
- Gray flycatcher, Empidonax wrightii (R) (except in QLLs 36B, 36D, 37A, 37C, 41C, 46A, and 46B)
- Dusky flycatcher, Empidonax oberholseri
- Cordilleran flycatcher, Empidonax occidentalis
- Eastern phoebe, Sayornis phoebe (R)
- Say's phoebe, Sayornis saya
- Vermilion flycatcher, Pyrocephalus rubinus (R)
- Ash-throated flycatcher, Myiarchus cinerascens (R)
- Great crested flycatcher, Myiarchus crinitus (R)
- Cassin's kingbird, Tyrannus vociferans
- Western kingbird, Tyrannus verticalis
- Eastern kingbird, Tyrannus tyrannus
- Scissor-tailed flycatcher, Tyrannus forficatus (R)
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 Montana.
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. Nine species have been recorded in Montana.
- White-eyed vireo, Vireo griseus (R)
- Bell's vireo, Vireo bellii (S) (R)
- Yellow-throated vireo, Vireo flavifrons (R)
- Cassin's vireo, Vireo cassinii
- Blue-headed vireo, Vireo solitarius (R) (except in LLs 9-12 and 21-24)
- Plumbeous vireo, Vireo plumbeus
- Philadelphia vireo, Vireo philadelphicus (R) (except east of 108°W)
- Warbling vireo, Vireo gilvus
- Red-eyed vireo, Vireo olivaceus
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. Nine species have been recorded in Montana.
- Gray jay, Perisoreus canadensis
- Pinyon jay, Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus
- Steller's jay, Cyanocitta stelleri
- Blue jay, Cyanocitta cristata
- Woodhouse's scrub-jay, Aphelocoma woodhouseii (R)
- Clark's nutcracker, Nucifraga columbiana
- Black-billed magpie, Pica hudsonia
- American crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
- Common raven, Corvus corax
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 Montana.
- Horned lark, Eremophila alpestris
Swallows and martins
The family Hirundinidae is a group of passerines characterized by their adaptation to aerial feeding. These adaptations include a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings, and short bills with a wide gape. The feet are adapted to perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base. Seven species have been recorded in Montana.
- Purple martin, Progne subis
- Tree swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
- Violet-green swallow, Tachycineta thalassina
- Northern rough-winged swallow, Stelgidopteryx serripennis
- Bank swallow, Riparia riparia
- Cliff swallow, Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
- Barn swallow, Hirundo rustica
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. Four species have been recorded in Montana.
- Black-capped chickadee, Poecile atricapilla
- Mountain chickadee, Poecile gambeli
- Chestnut-backed chickadee, Poecile rufescens
- Boreal chickadee, Poecile hudsonica
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 Montana.
- Red-breasted nuthatch, Sitta canadensis
- White-breasted nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
- Pygmy nuthatch, Sitta pygmaea
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. One species has been recorded in Montana.
- Brown creeper, Certhia americana
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. Nine species have been recorded in Montana.
- Rock wren, Salpinctes obsoletus
- Canyon wren, Catherpes mexicanus
- House wren, Troglodytes aedon
- Pacific wren, Troglodytes pacificus
- Winter wren, Troglodytes hiemalis (R)
- Sedge wren, Cistothorus platensis (R) (except in LL 12)
- Marsh wren, Cistothorus palustris
- Carolina wren, Thryothorus ludovicianus (R)
- Bewick's wren, Thryomanes bewickii (R)
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 Montana.
- Blue-gray gnatcatcher, Polioptila caerulea (R) (except in QLLs 38A and 41C)
Dippers are small, stout, birds that feed in cold, fast moving streams. One species has been recorded in Montana.
- American dipper, Cinclus mexicanus
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 Montana.
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. Twelve species have been recorded in Montana.
- Eastern bluebird, Sialia sialis
- Western bluebird, Sialia mexicana
- Mountain bluebird, Sialia currucoides
- Townsend's solitaire, Myadestes townsendi
- Veery, Catharus fuscescens
- Gray-cheeked thrush, Catharus minimus (R) (except east of 108°W)
- Swainson's thrush, Catharus ustulatus
- Hermit thrush, Catharus guttatus
- Wood thrush, Hylocichla mustelina (R)
- Fieldfare, Turdus pilaris (R)
- American robin, Turdus migratorius
- Varied thrush, Ixoreus naevius
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. Five species have been recorded in Montana.
- Gray catbird, Dumetella carolinensis
- Curve-billed thrasher, Toxostoma curvirostre (R)
- Brown thrasher, Toxostoma rufum
- Sage thrasher, Oreoscoptes montanus
- Northern mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
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. One species has been recorded in Montana.
- European starling, Sturnus vulgaris (I)
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 Montana.
The silky flycatchers are a small family of passerine birds which occur mainly in Central America. They are related to waxwings and most species have small crests. One species has been recorded in Montana.
- Phainopepla, Phainopepla nitens (S) (R)
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 vagrants. One species has been recorded in Montana.
- Siberian accentor, Prunella montanella (R)
Old World sparrows
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. One species has been recorded in Montana.
- House sparrow, Passer domesticus (I)
Wagtails and pipits
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. Two species have been recorded in Montana.
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. Fifteen species have been recorded in Montana.
- Brambling, Fringilla montifringilla (R)
- Gray-crowned rosy-finch, Leucosticte tephrocotis
- Black rosy-finch, Leucosticte atrata
- Pine grosbeak, Pinicola enucleator
- House finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
- Purple finch, Haemorhous purpureus
- Cassin's finch, Haemorhous cassinii
- Red crossbill, Loxia curvirostra
- White-winged crossbill, Loxia leucoptera
- Common redpoll, Acanthis flammea
- Hoary redpoll, Acanthis hornemanni
- Pine siskin, Spinus pinus
- Lesser goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
- American goldfinch, Spinus tristis
- Evening grosbeak, Coccothraustes vespertinus
Longspurs and snow buntings
The Calcariidae are a group of passerine birds that were traditionally grouped with the Emberizeridae (New World sparrows), but differ in a number of respects and are usually found in open grassy areas. Five species have been recorded in Montana.
- Lapland longspur, Calcarius lapponicus
- Chestnut-collared longspur, Calcarius ornatus
- Smith's longspur, Calcarius pictus (R)
- McCown's longspur, Rhyncophanes mccownii
- Snow bunting, Plectrophenax nivalis
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. Thirty-nine species have been recorded in Montana.
- Ovenbird, Seiurus aurocapilla
- Northern waterthrush, Parkesia noveboracensis
- Golden-winged warbler, Vermivora chrysoptera (R)
- Blue-winged warbler, Vermivora cyanoptera (R)
- Black-and-white warbler, Mniotilta varia
- Prothonotary warbler, Protonotaria citrea (R)
- Tennessee warbler, Oreothlypis peregrina
- Orange-crowned warbler, Oreothlypis celata
- Nashville warbler, Oreothlypis ruficapilla
- Virginia's warbler, Oreothlypis virginiae (R)
- Connecticut warbler, Oporornis agilis (R)
- MacGillivray's warbler, Geothlypis tolmiei
- Mourning warbler, Geothlypis philadelphia
- Kentucky warbler, Geothlypis formosa (R)
- Common yellowthroat, Geothlypis trichas
- Hooded warbler, Setophaga citrina (R)
- American redstart, Setophaga ruticilla
- Cape May warbler, Setophaga tigrina
- Northern parula, Setophaga americana
- Magnolia warbler, Setophaga magnolia
- Bay-breasted warbler, Setophaga castanea (R) (except in LLs 10, 11, and 12)
- Blackburnian warbler, Setophaga fusca (R) (except east of 108°W)
- Yellow warbler, Setophaga petechia
- Chestnut-sided warbler, Setophaga pensylvanica
- Blackpoll warbler, Setophaga striata
- Black-throated blue warbler, Setophaga caerulescens
- Palm warbler, Setophaga palmarum
- Pine warbler, Setophaga pinus (R)
- Yellow-rumped warbler, Setophaga coronata
- Yellow-throated warbler, Setophaga dominica (R)
- Prairie warbler, Setophaga discolor (R)
- Black-throated gray warbler, Setophaga nigrescens (R)
- Townsend's warbler, Setophaga townsendi
- Hermit warbler, Setophaga occidentalis (S) (R)
- Black-throated green warbler, Setophaga virens (R) (except east of 108°W)
- Canada warbler, Cardellina canadensis
- Wilson's warbler, Cardellina pusilla
- Painted redstart, Myioborus pictus (R)
- Yellow-breasted chat, Icteria virens
New World sparrows
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. Twenty-eight species have been recorded in Montana.
- Green-tailed towhee, Pipilo chlorurus
- Spotted towhee, Pipilo maculatus
- Eastern towhee, Pipilo erythrophthalmus (R)
- Cassin's sparrow, Peucaea cassinii (S) (R)
- American tree sparrow, Spizelloides arborea
- Chipping sparrow, Spizella passerina
- Clay-colored sparrow, Spizella pallida
- Brewer's sparrow, Spizella breweri
- Field sparrow, Spizella pusilla
- Vesper sparrow, Pooecetes gramineus
- Lark sparrow, Chondestes grammacus
- Black-throated sparrow, Amphispiza bilineata (R)
- Sagebrush sparrow, Artemisiospiza nevadensis (R)(except in QLLs 36B, 36D, 37A, 37C, and 41C)
- Lark bunting, Calamospiza melanocorys
- Savannah sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis
- Grasshopper sparrow, Ammodramus savannarum
- Baird's sparrow, Ammodramus bairdii
- Le Conte's sparrow, Ammodramus leconteii
- Nelson's sparrow, Ammodramus nelsoni
- Fox sparrow, Passerella iliaca
- Song sparrow, Melospiza melodia
- Lincoln's sparrow, Melospiza lincolnii
- Swamp sparrow, Melospiza georgiana
- White-throated sparrow, Zonotrichia albicollis
- Harris's sparrow, Zonotrichia querula
- White-crowned sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
- Golden-crowned sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla (R)
- Dark-eyed junco, Junco hyemalis
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. Twelve species have been recorded in Montana.
- Summer tanager, Piranga rubra (R)
- Scarlet tanager, Piranga olivacea
- Western tanager, Piranga ludoviciana
- Northern cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis (R)
- Pyrrhuloxia, Cardinalis sinuatus (R)
- Rose-breasted grosbeak, Pheucticus ludovicianus
- Black-headed grosbeak, Pheucticus melanocephalus
- Blue grosbeak, Passerina caerulea (R) (except in LL 41)
- Lazuli bunting, Passerina amoena
- Indigo bunting, Passerina cyanea
- Painted bunting, Passerina ciris (R)
- Dickcissel, Spiza americana
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. Fourteen species have been recorded in Montana.
- Bobolink, Dolichonyx oryzivorus
- Red-winged blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
- Eastern meadowlark, Sturnella magna (R)
- Western meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
- Yellow-headed blackbird, Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus
- Rusty blackbird, Euphagus carolinus
- Brewer's blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
- Common grackle, Quiscalus quiscula
- Great-tailed grackle, Quiscalus mexicanus (R) (except in QLL 37C)
- Brown-headed cowbird, Molothrus ater
- Orchard oriole, Icterus spurius
- Hooded oriole, Icterus cucullatus (R)
- Bullock's oriole, Icterus bullockii
- Baltimore oriole, Icterus galbula
- The MBRC defines locations with LL (latilong) and QLL (quarter-latilong) grid references. A map showing these grids is available at http://mtnhp.org/mtbird/map.asp.
- "Birds of Montana" (PDF). Montana Bird Records Committee. 1 October 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
- "2014 Minutes of the Montana Bird Records Committee" (PDF). Montana Bird Records Committee. 26 September 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
- "2015 Minutes of the Montana Bird Records Committee" (PDF). Montana Bird Records Committee. 25 September 2015. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
- "2016 Minutes of the Montana Bird Records Committee" (PDF). Montana Bird Records Committee. 7 October 2016. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
- "Supplemental Bird List". Montana Bird Records Committee. 1 October 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
- http://www.americanornithology.org/content/checklist-north-and-middle-american-birds Check-List of North American Birds, 7th Edition, 57th Supplement retrieved 25 July 2016
- List of birds
- Lists of birds by region
- List of North American birds
- Amphibians and Reptiles of Montana
- Clams and Mussels of Montana
- Crustaceans of Montana
- Mammals of Montana
- Putnam, Caleb; Kennedy, Gregory (2005). Montana Birds. Auburn, WA: Lone Pine Publishing International. ISBN 1-55105-463-9.
- Tekiela, Stan (2004). Birds of Montana-Field Guide. Cambridge, Minnesota: Adventure Publications. ISBN 1-59193-097-9.
- Wright, Phillip L. (Winter 1996). "Status of Rare Birds in Montana, with Comments on Known Hybrids". Northwestern Naturalist. 77 (3): 57–85. doi:10.2307/3536504.