List of birds of the Northern Mariana Islands
This is a list of the bird species recorded in the Northern Mariana Islands. The avifauna of the Northern Mariana Islands include a total of 104 species, of which one is endemic, one has been introduced by humans and three are rare or accidental. Five 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 the Northern Mariana Islands.
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 the Northern Mariana Islands
- (E) Endemic - a species endemic to the Northern Mariana Islands
- (I) Introduced - a species introduced to the Northern Mariana Islands as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions
- 1 Shearwaters and petrels
- 2 Northern storm petrels
- 3 Tropicbirds
- 4 Boobies and gannets
- 5 Cormorants
- 6 Frigatebirds
- 7 Bitterns, herons and egrets
- 8 Ducks, geese and swans
- 9 Hawks, kites and eagles
- 10 Caracaras and falcons
- 11 Megapodes
- 12 Pheasants and partridges
- 13 Rails, crakes, gallinules and coots
- 14 Plovers and lapwings
- 15 Sandpipers and allies
- 16 Gulls, terns, and skimmers
- 17 Pigeons and doves
- 18 Typical owls
- 19 Swifts
- 20 Kingfishers
- 21 Swallows and martins
- 22 Wagtails and pipits
- 23 Thrushes and allies
- 24 Acrocephalid warblers
- 25 Fantails
- 26 Monarch flycatchers
- 27 White-eyes
- 28 Honeyeaters
- 29 Drongos
- 30 Crows, jays, ravens and magpies
- 31 Starlings
- 32 Sparrows
- 33 See also
- 34 References
Shearwaters and petrels
The procellariids are the main group of medium-sized "true petrels", characterized by united nostrils with medium septum and a long outer functional primary.
- White-necked petrel, Pterodroma cervicalis
- Bonin petrel, Pterodroma hypoleuca
- Black-winged petrel, Pterodroma nigripennis
- Bulwer's Petrel, Bulweria bulwerii
- Streaked shearwater, Calonectris leucomelas
- Wedge-tailed shearwater, Ardenna pacificus
- Short-tailed shearwater, Ardenna tenuirostris
- Christmas shearwater, Puffinus nativitatis
- Newell's shearwater, Puffinus newelli
- Tropical shearwater, Puffinus bailloni
Northern storm petrels
The northern 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.
Tropicbirds are slender white birds of tropical oceans, with exceptionally long central tail feathers. Their heads and long wings have black markings.
Boobies and gannets
Phalacrocoracidae is a family of medium to large coastal, fish-eating seabirds that includes cormorants and shags. Plumage coloration varies, with the majority having mainly dark plumage, some species being black-and-white and a few being colorful.
- Little pied cormorant, Microcarbo melanoleucos
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 colored 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.
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.
- Gray heron, Ardea cinerea
- Intermediate egret, Ardea intermedia
- Little egret, Egretta garzetta
- Pacific reef heron, Egretta sacra
- Cattle egret, Bubulcus ibis
- Striated heron, Butorides striata
- Black-crowned night heron, Nycticorax nycticorax
- Rufous night heron, Nycticorax caledonicus
- Yellow bittern, Ixobrychus sinensis
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.
- Eurasian wigeon, Mareca penelope (A)
- Falcated duck, Mareca falcata (A)
- Gadwall, Mareca strepera
- Eurasian teal, Anas crecca
- Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos
- Northern pintail, Anas acuta
- Garganey, Spatula querquedula
- Northern shoveler, Spatula clypeata (A)
- Tufted duck, Aythya fuligula
- Greater scaup, Aythya marila
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.
- Chinese goshawk, Accipiter soloensis
- Japanese sparrowhawk, Accipiter gularis
- Eurasian buzzard, Buteo buteo
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.
The Megapodiidae are stocky, medium-large chicken-like birds with small heads and large feet. All but the malleefowl occupy jungle habitats and most have brown or black coloring.
- Micronesian scrubfowl, Megapodius laperouse
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.
- Red junglefowl, Gallus gallus
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.
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.
- Pacific golden-plover, Pluvialis fulva
- Black-bellied plover, Pluvialis squatarola
- Snowy plover, Charadrius alexandrinus
- Lesser sandplover, Charadrius mongolus
- Greater sandplover, Charadrius leschenaultii
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.
- Pintail snipe, Gallinago stenura
- Swinhoe's snipe, Gallinago megala
- Common snipe, Gallinago gallinago
- Bar-tailed godwit, Limosa lapponica
- Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus
- Bristle-thighed curlew, Numenius tahitiensis
- Eurasian curlew, Numenius arquata
- Marsh sandpiper, Tringa stagnatilis
- Common greenshank, Tringa nebularia
- Wood sandpiper, Tringa glareola
- Gray-tailed tattler, Tringa brevipes
- Wandering tattler, Tringa incana
- Terek sandpiper, Xenus cinereus
- Common sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos
- Ruddy turnstone, Arenaria interpres
- Sanderling, Calidris alba
- Red-necked stint, Calidris ruficollis
- Little stint, Calidris minuta
- Temminck's stint, Calidris temminckii
- Pectoral sandpiper, Calidris melanotos
- Sharp-tailed sandpiper, Calidris acuminata
- Dunlin, Calidris alpina
- Ruff, Calidris pugnax
Gulls, terns, and skimmers
Laridae is a family of medium to large seabirds, the gulls, terns, and skimmers. Gulls are typically gray 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 gray 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.
- Herring gull, Larus argentatus
- Black-headed gull, Chroicocephalus ridibundus
- Greater crested tern, Thalasseus bergii
- Common tern, Sterna hirundo
- Little tern, Sternula albifrons
- Spectacled tern, Onychoprion lunatus
- Sooty tern, Onychoprion fuscatus
- White-winged tern, Chlidonias leucopterus
- Black noddy, Anous minutus
- Brown noddy, Anous stolidus
- White tern, Gygis alba
Pigeons and doves
- Rock pigeon, Columba livia
- Island collared dove, Streptopelia bitorquata
- White-throated ground dove, Gallicolumba xanthonura
- Mariana fruit dove, Ptilinopus roseicapilla
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.
- Short-eared owl, Asio flammeus
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.
Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long pointed bills, short legs and stubby tails.
- Mariana kingfisher, Todirhamphus albicilla
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.
- Barn swallow, Hirundo rustica
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.
- Yellow wagtail, Motacilla flava
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.
- Dusky thrush, Turdus naumanni
- Nightingale reed warbler, Acrocephalus luscinia
- Saipan reed warbler, Acrocephalus hiwae
- Pagan reed warbler, Acrocephalus yamashinae
- Aguiguan reed warbler, Acrocephalus nijoi
The fantails are small insectivorous birds which are specialist aerial feeders.
- Rufous fantail, Rhipidura rufifrons
The monarch flycatchers are small to medium-sized insectivorous passerines which hunt by flycatching.
- Tinian monarch, Monarcha takatsukasae (E)
The white-eyes are small and mostly undistinguished, their plumage above being generally some dull color 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.
The honeyeaters are a large and diverse family of small to medium-sized birds most common in Australia and New Guinea. They are nectar feeders and closely resemble other nectar-feeding passerines.
- Micronesian myzomela, Myzomela rubratra
The drongos are mostly black or dark gray in color, 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.
- Black drongo, Dicrurus macrocercus
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.
- Mariana crow, Corvus kubaryi
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.
Sparrows are small passerine birds. In general, sparrows tend to be small, plump, brown or gray birds with short tails and short powerful beaks. Sparrows are seed eaters, but they also consume small insects.
- Eurasian tree sparrow, Passer montanus (I)
- Lepage, Denis. "Checklist of birds of the Northern Mariana Islands". Bird Checklists of the World. Avibase. Retrieved 28 April 2007.
- Clements, James F. (2000). Birds of the World: a Checklist. Cornell University Press. p. 880. ISBN 0-934797-16-1.