List of birds of South Korea
This is a list of the bird species recorded in South Korea. The avifauna of South Korea include a total of 492 species, of which two have been introduced by humans and 170 are rare or accidental. One species listed is extirpated in South Korea and is not included in the species count. Thirty-one species are globally threatened.
This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) follow the conventions of The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 6th edition. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflect this taxonomy, as do the species counts found in each family account. Introduced and accidental species are included in the total counts for South Korea.
The following tags have been used to highlight several categories. The commonly occurring native species do not fall into any of these categories.
- (A) Accidental - a species that rarely or accidentally occurs in South Korea
- (I) Introduced - a species introduced to South Korea as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions
- (Ex) Extirpated - a species that no longer occurs in South Korea although populations exist elsewhere
Loons, known as divers in Europe, are a group of aquatic birds found in many parts of North America and northern Europe. They are the size of a large duck or small goose, which they somewhat resemble when swimming, but to which they are completely unrelated. There are 5 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in South Korea.
- Red-throated loon, Gavia stellata
- Arctic loon, Gavia arctica
- Pacific loon, Gavia pacifica
- Yellow-billed loon, Gavia adamsii (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. There are 20 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in South Korea.
- Little grebe, Tachybaptus ruficollis
- Red-necked grebe, Podiceps grisegena
- Great crested grebe, Podiceps cristatus
- Horned grebe, Podiceps auritus
- Eared grebe, Podiceps nigricollis
The albatrosses are among the largest of flying birds, and the great albatrosses from the genus Diomedea have the largest wingspans of any extant birds. There are 21 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in South Korea.
- Short-tailed albatross, Phoebastria albatrus (A)
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.
- Bonin petrel, Pterodroma hypoleuca (A)
- Streaked shearwater, Calonectris leucomelas
- Flesh-footed shearwater, Ardenna carneipes (A)
- Sooty shearwater, Ardenna griseus (A)
- Short-tailed shearwater, Ardenna tenuirostris (A)
The storm petrels are relatives of the petrels and are the smallest seabirds. They feed on planktonic crustaceans and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. The flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like.
- Swinhoe's storm petrel, Oceanodroma monorhis
Boobies and gannets
Phalacrocoracidae is a family of medium to large coastal, fish-eating seabirds that includes cormorants and shags. Plumage colouration varies, with the majority having mainly dark plumage, some species being black-and-white and a few being colourful.
- Great cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo
- Japanese cormorant, Phalacrocorax capillatus
- Pelagic cormorant, Phalacrocorax pelagicus
Frigatebirds are large seabirds usually found over tropical oceans. They are large, black-and-white or completely black, with long wings and deeply forked tails. The males have coloured inflatable throat pouches. They do not swim or walk and cannot take off from a flat surface. Having the largest wingspan-to-body-weight ratio of any bird, they are essentially aerial, able to stay aloft for more than a week.
Pelicans are large water birds with a distinctive pouch under their beak. As with other members of the order Pelecaniformes, they have webbed feet with four toes. There are 8 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in South Korea.
- Dalmatian pelican, Pelecanus crispus (A)
Bitterns, herons and egrets
The family Ardeidae contains the bitterns, herons and egrets. Herons and egrets are medium to large wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more wary. Members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted, unlike other long-necked birds such as storks, ibises and spoonbills.
- Grey heron, Ardea cinerea
- Purple heron, Ardea purpurea
- Eastern great egret, Ardea alba modesta
- Intermediate egret, Ardea intermedia
- Little egret, Egretta garzetta
- Chinese egret, Egretta eulophotes
- Pacific reef heron, Egretta sacra
- Chinese pond heron, Ardeola bacchus
- Cattle egret, Bubulcus ibis
- Striated heron, Butorides striata
- Black-crowned night heron, Nycticorax nycticorax
- Japanese night heron, Gorsachius goisagi (A)
- Yellow bittern, Ixobrychus sinensis
- Schrenck's bittern, Ixobrychus eurhythmus
- Cinnamon bittern, Ixobrychus cinnamomeus (A)
- Black bittern, Ixobrychus flavicollis (A)
- Great bittern, Botaurus stellaris
Ibises and spoonbills
Threskiornithidae is a family of large terrestrial and wading birds which includes the ibises and spoonbills. They have long, broad wings with 11 primary and about 20 secondary feathers. They are strong fliers and despite their size and weight, very capable soarers.
- Black-headed ibis, Threskiornis melanocephalus (A)
- Crested ibis, Nipponia nippon (A)
- Eurasian spoonbill, Platalea leucorodia
- Black-faced spoonbill, Platalea minor
Storks are large, long-legged, long-necked, wading birds with long, stout bills. Storks are mute, but bill-clattering is an important mode of communication at the nest. Their nests can be large and may be reused for many years. Many species are migratory.
Ducks, geese and swans
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, flattened bills, and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to an oily coating.
- Mute swan, Cygnus olor
- Whooper swan, Cygnus cygnus
- Tundra swan, Cygnus columbianus
- Swan goose, Anser cygnoides
- Bean goose, Anser fabalis
- Greater white-fronted goose, Anser albifrons
- Lesser white-fronted goose, Anser erythropus (A)
- Greylag goose, Anser anser (A)
- Bar-headed goose, Anser indicus (A)
- Snow goose, Anser caerulescens (A)
- Emperor goose, Anser canagica (A)
- Brant, Branta bernicla
- Cackling goose, Branta hutchinsii (A)
- Ruddy shelduck, Tadorna ferruginea
- Common shelduck, Tadorna tadorna
- Mandarin duck, Aix galericulata
- Eurasian wigeon, Mareca penelope
- American wigeon, Mareca americana (A)
- Falcated duck, Mareca falcata
- Gadwall, Mareca strepera
- Baikal teal, Sibirionetta formosa
- Eurasian teal, Anas crecca
- Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos
- Spot-billed duck, Anas poecilorhyncha
- Northern pintail, Anas acuta
- Garganey, Spatula querquedula
- Northern shoveler, Spatula clypeata
- Red-crested pochard, Netta rufina (A)
- Common pochard, Aythya ferina
- Canvasback, Aythya valisineria (A)
- Redhead, Aythya americana (A)
- Ferruginous pochard, Aythya nyroca (A)
- Baer's pochard, Aythya baeri (A)
- Tufted duck, Aythya fuligula
- Greater scaup, Aythya marila
- Harlequin duck, Histrionicus histrionicus
- Long-tailed duck, Clangula hyemalis
- Black scoter, Melanitta nigra
- White-winged scoter, Melanitta fusca
- Common goldeneye, Bucephala clangula
- Smew, Mergellus albellus
- Red-breasted merganser, Mergus serrator
- Common merganser, Mergus merganser
- Scaly-sided merganser, Mergus squamatus (A)
The Pandionidae family contains only one species, the osprey. The osprey is a medium-large raptor which is a specialist fish-eater with a worldwide distribution.
- 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 powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons and keen eyesight.
- Crested honey buzzard, Pernis ptilorhynchus
- Black kite, Milvus migrans
- White-tailed eagle, Haliaeetus albicilla
- Steller's sea eagle, Haliaeetus pelagicus
- Lammergeier, Gypaetus barbatus (A)
- Cinereous vulture, Aegypius monachus
- Crested serpent eagle, Spilornis cheela (A)
- Eastern marsh harrier, Circus spilonotus
- Hen harrier, Circus cyaneus
- Pied harrier, Circus melanoleucos (A)
- Chinese goshawk, Accipiter soloensis
- Japanese sparrowhawk, Accipiter gularis
- Eurasian sparrowhawk, Accipiter nisus
- Northern goshawk, Accipiter gentilis
- Grey-faced buzzard, Butastur indicus
- Eastern buzzard, Buteo japonicus
- Upland buzzard, Buteo hemilasius
- Rough-legged hawk, Buteo lagopus
- Greater spotted eagle, Clanga clanga (A)
- Tawny eagle, Aquila rapax (A)
- Steppe eagle, Aquila nipalensis (A)
- Imperial eagle, Aquila heliaca
- Golden eagle, Aquila chrysaetos
- Mountain hawk-eagle, Nisaetus nipalensis (A)
Caracaras and falcons
Falconidae is a family of diurnal birds of prey. They differ from hawks, eagles and kites in that they kill with their beaks instead of their talons. There are 62 species worldwide and 7 species which occur in South Korea.
- Lesser kestrel, Falco naumanni (A)
- Eurasian kestrel, Falco tinnunculus
- Amur falcon, Falco amurensis
- Merlin, Falco columbarius
- Eurasian hobby, Falco subbuteo
- Saker falcon, Falco cherrug (A)
- Peregrine falcon, Falco peregrinus
Grouse are game birds, similar to quails and partridges. There are 18 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in South Korea.
- Hazel grouse, Bonasa bonasia
Pheasants and partridges
The Phasianidae are a family of terrestrial birds which consists of quails, partridges, snowcocks, francolins, spurfowls, tragopans, monals, pheasants, peafowls and jungle fowls. In general, they are plump (although they vary in size) and have broad, relatively short wings. There are 156 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in South Korea.
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 are 15 species worldwide and 7 species which occur in South Korea.
- Demoiselle crane, Anthropoides virgo (A)
- Siberian crane, Grus leucogeranus (A)
- Sandhill crane, Grus canadensis (A)
- White-naped crane, Grus vipio
- Common crane, Grus grus (A)
- Hooded crane, Grus monacha
- Red-crowned crane, Grus japonensis
Rails, crakes, gallinules and coots
Rallidae is a large family of small to medium-sized birds which includes the rails, crakes, coots and gallinules. Typically they inhabit dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, swamps or rivers. In general they are shy and secretive birds, making them difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs and long toes which are well adapted to soft uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and to be weak fliers.
- Swinhoe's rail, Coturnicops exquisitus (A)
- Brown-cheeked rail, Rallus indicus
- White-breasted waterhen, Amaurornis phoenicurus
- Baillon's crake, Porzana pusilla
- Ruddy-breasted crake, Porzana fusca
- Band-bellied crake, Porzana paykullii (A)
- Watercock, Gallicrex cinerea
- Common moorhen, Gallinula chloropus
- Eurasian coot, Fulica atra
Bustards are large terrestrial birds mainly associated with dry open country and steppes in the Old World. They are omnivorous and nest on the ground. They walk steadily on strong legs and big toes, pecking for food as they go. They have long broad wings with "fingered" wingtips and striking patterns in flight. Many have interesting mating displays.
- Great bustard, Otis tarda (A)
The buttonquails are small, drab, running birds which resemble the true quails. The female is the brighter of the sexes and initiates courtship. The male incubates the eggs and tends the young.
- Yellow-legged buttonquail, Turnix tanki
The jacanas are a group of tropical waders in the family Jacanidae. They are found throughout the tropics. They are identifiable by their huge feet and claws which enable them to walk on floating vegetation in the shallow lakes that are their preferred habitat. There 8 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in South Korea.
- Pheasant-tailed jacana, Hydrophasianus chirurgus (A)
Painted-snipe are short-legged, long-billed birds similar in shape to the true snipes, but more brightly coloured. There are 2 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in South Korea.
- Greater painted-snipe, Rostratula benghalensis
- Eurasian oystercatcher, Haematopus ostralegus
Avocets and stilts
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. There are 9 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in South Korea.
Pratincoles and coursers
Glareolidae is a family of wading birds comprising the pratincoles, which have short legs, long pointed wings and long forked tails, and the coursers, which have long legs, short wings and long, pointed bills which curve downwards. There are 17 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in South Korea.
- Oriental pratincole, Glareola maldivarum (A)
Plovers and lapwings
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. There are 66 species worldwide and 11 species which occur in South Korea.
- Northern lapwing, Vanellus vanellus
- Grey-headed lapwing, Vanellus cinereus (A)
- Pacific golden-plover, Pluvialis fulva
- Black-bellied plover, Pluvialis squatarola
- Common ringed plover, Charadrius hiaticula (A)
- Long-billed plover, Charadrius placidus
- Little ringed plover, Charadrius dubius
- Kentish plover, Charadrius alexandrinus
- Lesser sandplover, Charadrius mongolus
- Greater sandplover, Charadrius leschenaultii
- Oriental plover, Charadrius veredus (A)
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. Variation in length of legs and bills enables multiple species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food.
- Eurasian woodcock, Scolopax rusticola
- Jack snipe, Lymnocryptes minimus (A)
- Solitary snipe, Gallinago solitaria
- Latham's snipe, Gallinago hardwickii
- Pintail snipe, Gallinago stenura
- Swinhoe's snipe, Gallinago megala
- Common snipe, Gallinago gallinago
- Long-billed dowitcher, Limnodromus scolopaceus (A)
- Asian dowitcher, Limnodromus semipalmatus (A)
- Black-tailed godwit, Limosa limosa
- Hudsonian godwit, Limosa haemastica (A)
- Bar-tailed godwit, Limosa lapponica
- Little curlew, Numenius minutus (A)
- Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus
- Eurasian curlew, Numenius arquata
- Far Eastern curlew, Numenius madagascariensis
- Spotted redshank, Tringa erythropus
- Common redshank, Tringa totanus
- Marsh sandpiper, Tringa stagnatilis
- Common greenshank, Tringa nebularia
- Nordmann's greenshank, Tringa guttifer
- Greater yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca (A)
- Green sandpiper, Tringa ochropus
- Wood sandpiper, Tringa glareola
- Grey-tailed tattler, Tringa brevipes
- Terek sandpiper, Xenus cinereus
- Common sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos
- Ruddy turnstone, Arenaria interpres
- Great knot, Calidris tenuirostris
- Red knot, Calidris canutus
- Sanderling, Calidris alba
- Red-necked stint, Calidris ruficollis
- Little stint, Calidris minuta (A)
- Temminck's stint, Calidris temminckii
- Long-toed stint, Calidris subminuta
- Pectoral sandpiper, Calidris melanotos
- Sharp-tailed sandpiper, Calidris acuminata
- Curlew sandpiper, Calidris ferruginea
- Dunlin, Calidris alpina
- Spoon-billed sandpiper, Calidris pygmeus
- Broad-billed sandpiper, Calidris falcinellus
- Buff-breasted sandpiper, Calidris subruficollis (A)
- Ruff, Calidris pugnax
- Wilson's phalarope, Phalaropus tricolor (A)
- Red-necked phalarope, Phalaropus lobatus
- Red phalarope, Phalaropus fulicarius (A)
Skuas and jaegers
The family Stercorariidae are, in general, medium to large birds, typically with grey or brown plumage, often with white markings on the wings. They nest on the ground in temperate and arctic regions and are long-distance migrants. There are 7 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in South Korea.
- South polar skua, Stercorarius maccormicki (A)
- Pomarine jaeger, Stercorarius pomarinus
- Parasitic jaeger, Stercorarius parasiticus
- Long-tailed jaeger, Stercorarius longicaudus (A)
Gulls, terns, and skimmers
Laridae is a family of medium to large seabirds, the gulls, terns, and skimmers. Gulls are typically grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet. Terns are a group of generally medium to large seabirds typically with grey or white plumage, often with black markings on the head. Most terns hunt fish by diving but some pick insects off the surface of fresh water. Terns are generally long-lived birds, with several species known to live in excess of 30 years.
- Black-tailed gull, Larus crassirostris
- Common gull, Larus canus
- Ring-billed gull, Larus delawarensis (A)
- Glaucous-winged gull, Larus glaucescens
- Glaucous gull, Larus hyperboreus
- Iceland gull, Larus glaucoides (A)
- Thayer's gull, Larus glaucoides thayeri (A)
- Heuglin's gull, Larus heuglini
- Vega gull, Larus vegae
- American herring gull, Larus smithsonianus (A)
- Slaty-backed gull, Larus schistisagus
- Pallas's gull, Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus (A)
- Relict gull, Ichthyaetus relictus
- Black-headed gull, Chroicocephalus ridibundus
- Slender-billed gull, Chroicocephalus genei (A)
- Saunders's gull, Chroicocephalus saundersi
- Ivory gull, Pagophila eburnea (A)
- Ross's gull, Rhodostethia rosea (A)
- Sabine's gull, Xema sabini (A)
- Black-legged kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla
- Gull-billed tern, Gelochelidon nilotica (A)
- Caspian tern, Hydroprogne caspia (A)
- Greater crested tern, Thalasseus bergii (A)
- Common tern, Sterna hirundo
- Little tern, Sternula albifrons
- Sooty tern, Onychoprion fuscatus (A)
- Whiskered tern, Chlidonias hybrida
- White-winged tern, Chlidonias leucopterus
- Black tern, Chlidonias niger (A)
Auks, murres and puffins
Alcids are superficially similar to penguins due to their black-and-white colours, their upright posture and some of their habits, however they are not related to the penguins and differ in being able to fly. Auks live on the open sea, only deliberately coming ashore to nest. There are 24 species worldwide and 9 species which occur in South Korea.
- Common murre, Uria aalge (A)
- Pigeon guillemot, Cepphus columba (A)
- Spectacled guillemot, Cepphus carbo
- Long-billed murrelet, Brachyramphus perdix
- Ancient murrelet, Synthliboramphus antiquus
- Japanese murrelet, Synthliboramphus wumizusume (A)
- Whiskered auklet, Aethia pygmaea (A)
- Least auklet, Aethia pusilla (A)
- Rhinoceros auklet, Cerorhinca monocerata
Sandgrouse have small, pigeon like heads and necks, but sturdy compact bodies. They have long pointed wings and sometimes tails and a fast direct flight. Flocks fly to watering holes at dawn and dusk. Their legs are feathered down to the toes. There are 16 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in South Korea.
- Pallas's sandgrouse, Syrrhaptes paradoxus (A)
Pigeons and doves
- Rock pigeon, Columba livia (I)
- Hill pigeon, Columba rupestris (I)
- Stock dove, Columba oenas (A)
- Japanese wood pigeon, Columba janthina
- Oriental turtle dove, Streptopelia orientalis
- Eurasian collared dove, Streptopelia decaocto (A)
- Red collared dove, Streptopelia tranquebarica (A)
- White-bellied green pigeon, Treron sieboldii (A)
Cuckoos and anis
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 North America, Old World cuckoos are brood parasites.
- Chestnut-winged cuckoo, Clamator coromandus (A)
- Rufous hawk-cuckoo, Cuculus hyperythrus
- Indian cuckoo, Cuculus micropterus
- Common cuckoo, Cuculus canorus
- Oriental cuckoo, Cuculus optatus
- Lesser cuckoo, Cuculus poliocephalus
- Asian koel, Eudynamys scolopacea (A)
Barn owls are medium to large owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons. There are 16 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in South Korea.
- Australasian grass-owl, Tyto longimembris (A)
The 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.
- Japanese scops owl, Otus semitorques
- Oriental scops owl, Otus sunia
- Eurasian eagle-owl, Bubo bubo
- Snowy owl, Bubo scandiacus (A)
- Himalayan owl, Strix nivicolum
- Ural owl, Strix uralensis (A)
- Little owl, Athene noctua (A)
- Long-eared owl, Asio otus (A)
- Short-eared owl, Asio flammeus
- Northern boobook, Ninox japonica
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 camouflaged to resemble bark or leaves.
- Grey nightjar, Caprimulgus jotaka
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 long swept-back wings which resemble a crescent or boomerang. There are 4 species which have been recorded in South Korea.
- Himalayan swiftlet, Aerodramus brevirostris (A)
- White-throated needletail, Hirundapus caudacutus
- Pacific swift, Apus pacificus
- House swift, Apus nipalensis (A)
Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long, pointed bills, short legs and stubby tails. There are 93 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in South Korea.
- Common kingfisher, Alcedo atthis
- Ruddy kingfisher, Halcyon coromanda
- Black-capped kingfisher, Halcyon pileata
- Crested kingfisher, Megaceryle lugubris (A)
Rollers resemble crows in size and build, but are more closely related to the kingfishers and bee-eaters. They share the colourful appearance of those groups with blues and browns predominating. The two inner front toes are connected, but the outer toe is not. There are 12 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in South Korea.
- Dollarbird, Eurystomus orientalis
Hoopoes have black, white and orangey-pink colouring with a large erectile crest on their head. There are 2 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in South Korea.
- Hoopoe, Upupa epops
Woodpeckers and allies
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.
- Eurasian wryneck, Jynx torquilla
- Grey-capped pygmy woodpecker, Yungipicus canicapillus (A)
- Japanese pygmy woodpecker, Yungipicus kizuki
- Rufous-bellied woodpecker, Dendrocopos hyperythrus (A)
- White-backed woodpecker, Dendrocopos leucotos
- Great spotted woodpecker, Dendrocopos major
- Eurasian three-toed woodpecker, Picoides tridactylus
- White-bellied woodpecker, Dryocopus javensis (A)
- Black woodpecker, Dryocopus martius
- Grey-faced woodpecker, Picus canus
Pittas are medium-sized by passerine standards and are stocky, with fairly long, strong legs, short tails and stout bills. Many are brightly coloured. They spend the majority of their time on wet forest floors, eating snails, insects and similar invertebrates. There are 32 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in South Korea.
- Fairy pitta, Pitta nympha
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.
- Bimaculated lark, Melanocorypha bimaculata (A)
- Greater short-toed lark, Calandrella brachydactyla
- Asian short-toed lark, Alaudala cheleensis (A)
- Crested lark, Galerida cristata
- Eurasian skylark, Alauda arvensis
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. There are 75 species worldwide and 6 species which occur in South Korea.
- Sand martin, Riparia riparia
- Eurasian crag martin, Ptyonoprogne rupestris (A)
- Barn swallow, Hirundo rustica
- Red-rumped swallow, Cecropis daurica
- Common house martin, Delichon urbicum (A)
- Asian house martin, Delichon dasypus
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. There are 54 species worldwide and 15 species which occur in South Korea.
- Forest wagtail, Dendronanthus indicus
- White wagtail, Motacilla alba
- Black-backed wagtail, Motacilla lugens
- Japanese wagtail, Motacilla grandis
- Citrine wagtail, Motacilla citreola (A)
- Yellow wagtail, Motacilla flava
- Grey wagtail, Motacilla cinerea
- Blyth's pipit, Anthus godlewskii (A)
- Tree pipit, Anthus trivialis (A)
- Olive-backed pipit, Anthus hodgsoni
- Pechora pipit, Anthus gustavi
- Red-throated pipit, Anthus cervinus
- Rosy pipit, Anthus roseatus (A)
- Water pipit, Anthus spinoletta
- American pipit, Anthus rubescens
The cuckooshrikes are small to medium-sized passerine birds. They are predominantly greyish with white and black, although some species are brightly coloured.
- Black-winged cuckooshrike, Coracina melaschistos (A)
- Ashy minivet, Pericrocotus divaricatus
- Ryukyu minivet, Pericrocotus tegimae (A)
Bulbuls are medium-sized songbirds. Some are colourful with yellow, red or orange vents, cheeks, throats or supercilia, but most are drab, with uniform olive-brown to black plumage. Some species have distinct crests. There are 130 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in South Korea.
The kinglets, also called crests, are a small group of birds often included in the Old World warblers, but frequently given family status because they also resemble the titmice. There are 7 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in South Korea.
- Goldcrest, Regulus regulus
The waxwings are a group of birds with soft silky plumage and unique red tips to some of the wing feathers. In the Bohemian and cedar waxwings, these tips look like sealing wax and give the group its name. These are arboreal birds of northern forests. They live on insects in summer and berries in winter. There are 3 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in South Korea.
Dippers are a group of perching birds whose habitat includes aquatic environments in the Americas, Europe and Asia. They are named for their bobbing or dipping movements. There are 5 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in South Korea.
- Brown dipper, Cinclus pallasii
The wrens are mainly small and inconspicuous except for their loud songs. These birds have short wings and thin down-turned bills. Several species often hold their tails upright. All are insectivorous. There are 80 species worldwide (of which all but one are New World species) and 1 species which occurs in South Korea.
- Eurasian wren, Troglodytes troglodytes
The accentors are in the only bird family, Prunellidae, which is completely endemic to the Palearctic. They are small, fairly drab species superficially similar to sparrows. There are 13 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in South Korea.
- Alpine accentor, Prunella collaris
- Siberian accentor, Prunella montanella
- Japanese accentor, Prunella rubida (A)
Thrushes and allies
The thrushes are a group of passerine birds that occur mainly 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.
- Orange-headed thrush, Geokichla citrina (A)
- Siberian thrush, Geokichla sibirica
- Scaly thrush, Zoothera dauma
- Grey-backed thrush, Turdus hortulorum
- Japanese thrush, Turdus cardis
- Eurasian blackbird, Turdus merula (A)
- Eyebrowed thrush, Turdus obscurus
- Pale thrush, Turdus pallidus
- Brown-headed thrush, Turdus chrysolaus
- Dark-throated thrush, Turdus ruficollis (A)
- Dusky thrush, Turdus naumanni
- Chinese thrush, Turdus mupinensis (A)
Cisticolas and allies
The Cisticolidae are warblers found mainly in warmer southern regions of the Old World. They are generally very small birds of drab brown or grey appearance found in open country such as grassland or scrub. There is 1 species which has been recorded in South Korea.
- Zitting cisticola, Cisticola juncidis
- Asian stubtail, Urosphena squameiceps (A)
- Manchurian bush warbler, Horornis borealis
- Japanese bush warbler, Horornis diphone
- Spotted bush warbler, Locustella thoracica (A)
- Lanceolated warbler, Locustella lanceolata
- Pallas's grasshopper warbler, Locustella certhiola
- Middendorff's grasshopper warbler, Locustella ochotensis
- Pleske's warbler, Locustella pleskei
- Gray's warbler, Locustella fasciolata
- Marsh grassbird, Locustella pryeri (A)
- Black-browed reed warbler, Acrocephalus bistrigiceps
- Paddyfield warbler, Acrocephalus agricola (A)
- Oriental reed warbler, Acrocephalus orientalis
- Thick-billed warbler, Iduna aedon (A)
- Common chiffchaff, Phylloscopus collybita (A)
- Dusky warbler, Phylloscopus fuscatus
- Tickell's leaf warbler, Phylloscopus affinis (A)
- Radde's warbler, Phylloscopus schwarzi
- Pallas's leaf warbler, Phylloscopus regulus
- Chinese leaf warbler, Phylloscopus yunnanensis (A)
- Yellow-browed warbler, Phylloscopus inornatus
- Hume's warbler, Phylloscopus humei (A)
- Arctic warbler, Phylloscopus borealis
- Greenish warbler, Phylloscopus trochiloides (A)
- Pale-legged leaf warbler, Phylloscopus tenellipes
- Sakhalin leaf warbler, Phylloscopus borealoides
- Eastern crowned leaf warbler, Phylloscopus coronatus
Old World warblers
The family Sylviidae is a group of small insectivorous passerine birds. They mainly occur as breeding species, as the common name implies, in Europe, Asia and, to a lesser extent, Africa. Most are of generally undistinguished appearance, but many have distinctive songs.
- Lesser whitethroat, Sylvia curruca (A)
- Vinous-throated parrotbill, Sinosuthora webbiana
- Beijing babbler, Rhopophilus pekinensis (A)
Old World flycatchers
Old World flycatchers are a large group of small passerine birds native to the Old World. They are mainly small arboreal insectivores. The appearance of these birds is highly varied, but they mostly have weak songs and harsh calls.
- White-throated rock thrush, Monticola gularis
- Blue rock thrush, Monticola solitarius
- Grey-spotted flycatcher, Muscicapa griseisticta
- Siberian flycatcher, Muscicapa sibirica
- Asian brown flycatcher, Muscicapa dauurica
- Ferruginous flycatcher, Muscicapa ferruginea (A)
- Korean flycatcher, Ficedula zanthopygia
- Narcissus flycatcher, Ficedula narcissina
- Mugimaki flycatcher, Ficedula mugimaki
- Taiga flycatcher, Ficedula albicilla (A)
- Blue-and-white flycatcher, Cyanoptila cyanomelana
- Verditer flycatcher, Eumyias thalassina (A)
- Japanese robin, Erithacus akahige
- Rufous-tailed robin, Luscinia sibilans
- Bluethroat, Luscinia svecica
- Siberian blue robin, Luscinia cyane (A)
- Siberian rubythroat, Calliope calliope
- Red-flanked bluetail, Tarsiger cyanurus
- Black redstart, Phoenicurus ochruros (A)
- Daurian redstart, Phoenicurus auroreus
- White-capped redstart, Chaimarrornis leucocephalus (A)
- Siberian stonechat, Saxicola maurus
- Grey bushchat, Saxicola ferreus (A)
- Northern wheatear, Oenanthe oenanthe (A)
- Pied wheatear, Oenanthe pleschanka (A)
- Isabelline wheatear, Oenanthe isabellina (A)
The monarch flycatchers are small to medium-sized insectivorous passerines which hunt by flycatching. There are 99 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in South Korea.
- Japanese paradise flycatcher, Terpsiphone atrocaudata
- Amur paradise flycatcher, Terpsiphone incei (A)
- Bearded reedling, Panurus biarmicus (A)
Long-tailed tits are a group of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They make woven bag nests in trees. Most eat a mixed diet which includes insects. There are 9 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in South Korea.
- Long-tailed tit, Aegithalos caudatus
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.
- Marsh tit, Poecile palustris
- Willow tit, Poecile montana (A)
- Coal tit, Periparus ater
- Japanese tit, Parus minor
- Azure tit, Cyanistes cyanus (A)
- Varied tit, Sittiparus varius
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 24 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in South Korea.
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 are 6 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in South Korea.
- Eurasian treecreeper, Certhia familiaris
The penduline tits are a group of small passerine birds related to the true tits. They are insectivores. There are 13 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in South Korea.
- Chinese penduline-tit, Remiz consobrinus
The white-eyes are small and mostly undistinguished, their plumage above being generally some dull colour like greenish-olive, but some species have a white or bright yellow throat, breast or lower parts, and several have buff flanks. As their name suggests, many species have a white ring around each eye. There are 96 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in South Korea.
Old World orioles
The Old World orioles are colourful passerine birds. They are not related to the New World orioles. There are 29 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in South Korea.
- Black-naped oriole, Oriolus chinensis
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 7 species which have been recorded in South Korea.
- Tiger shrike, Lanius tigrinus
- Bull-headed shrike, Lanius bucephalus
- Red-backed shrike, Lanius collurio (A)
- Brown shrike, Lanius cristatus
- Long-tailed shrike, Lanius schach (A)
- Northern shrike, Lanius borealis (A)
- Chinese grey shrike, Lanius sphenocercus (A)
The drongos are mostly black or dark grey in colour, sometimes with metallic tints. They have long forked tails, and some Asian species have elaborate tail decorations. They have short legs and sit very upright when perched, like a shrike. They flycatch or take prey from the ground. There are 24 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in South Korea.
- Black drongo, Dicrurus macrocercus (A)
- Ashy drongo, Dicrurus leucophaeus (A)
- Spangled drongo, Dicrurus bracteatus
The woodswallows are soft-plumaged, somber-coloured passerine birds. They are smooth, agile flyers with moderately large, semi-triangular wings. There are 11 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in South Korea.
- White-breasted woodswallow, Artamus leucorynchus (A)
Crows, jays, ravens and magpies
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. There are 120 species worldwide and 9 species which occur in South Korea.
- Eurasian jay, Garrulus glandarius
- Azure-winged magpie, Cyanopica cyana
- Eurasian magpie, Pica pica
- Eurasian nutcracker, Nucifraga caryocatactes
- Red-billed chough, Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax (A)
- Daurian jackdaw, Corvus dauuricus
- Rook, Corvus frugilegus
- Carrion crow, Corvus corone
- Large-billed crow, Corvus macrorhynchos
Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds. Their flight is strong and direct and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country. They eat insects and fruit. Plumage is typically dark with a metallic sheen.
- Daurian starling, Agropsar sturninus (A)
- Chestnut-cheeked starling, Agropsar philippensis
- White-shouldered starling, Sturnia sinensis (A)
- Rosy starling, Pastor roseus (A)
- Red-billed starling, Spodiopsar sericeus (A)
- White-cheeked starling, Spodiopsar cineraceus
- European starling, Sturnus vulgaris
Waxbills and allies
The estrildid finches are small passerine birds of the Old World tropics and Australasia. They are gregarious and often colonial seed eaters with short thick but pointed bills. They are all similar in structure and habits, but have wide variation in plumage colours and patterns. There are 141 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in South Korea.
- Nutmeg mannikin, Lonchura punctulata (A)
Longspurs and arctic buntings
Buntings, sparrows, seedeaters and allies
The emberizids are 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. There are 275 species worldwide and 25 species which occur in South Korea.
- Yellowhammer, Emberiza citrinella (A)
- Pine bunting, Emberiza leucocephalos
- Meadow bunting, Emberiza cioides
- Rufous-backed bunting, Emberiza jankowskii
- Ortolan bunting, Emberiza hortulana (A)
- Ochre-rumped bunting, Emberiza yessoensis
- Tristram's bunting, Emberiza tristrami
- Chestnut-eared bunting, Emberiza fucata
- Little bunting, Emberiza pusilla
- Yellow-browed bunting, Emberiza chrysophrys
- Rustic bunting, Emberiza rustica
- Yellow-throated bunting, Emberiza elegans
- Yellow-breasted bunting, Emberiza aureola
- Chestnut bunting, Emberiza rutila
- Black-headed bunting, Emberiza melanocephala (A)
- Red-headed bunting, Emberiza bruniceps (A)
- Yellow bunting, Emberiza sulphurata
- Black-faced bunting, Emberiza spodocephala
- Grey bunting, Emberiza variabilis (A)
- Pallas's bunting, Emberiza pallasi
- Reed bunting, Emberiza schoeniclus
- Savannah sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis (A)
- White-crowned sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys (A)
Siskins, crossbills and allies
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. There are 137 species worldwide and 14 species which occur in South Korea.
- Brambling, Fringilla montifringilla
- Asian rosy-finch, Leucosticte arctoa (A)
- Common rosefinch, Carpodacus erythrinus
- Pallas's rosefinch, Carpodacus roseus
- Red crossbill, Loxia curvirostra
- White-winged crossbill, Loxia leucoptera (A)
- Common redpoll, Acanthis flammea (A)
- Eurasian siskin, Spinus spinus
- Oriental greenfinch, Chloris sinica
- Eurasian bullfinch, Pyrrhula pyrrhula
- Hawfinch, Coccothraustes coccothraustes
- Yellow-billed grosbeak, Eophona migratoria
- Japanese grosbeak, Eophona personata
- Long-tailed rosefinch, Uragus sibiricus
Sparrows are small passerine birds. In general, sparrows tend to be small, plump, brown or grey birds with short tails and short powerful beaks. Sparrows are seed eaters, but they also consume small insects. There are 35 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in South Korea.
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