Restoration efforts are raising the numbers of this chickenlike bird in our state. Look for brown, rufous, and gray streaks, bars, and bands. A dark ruff on the neck appears on both sexes but is used by the male in courtship displays.
Sandhill cranes, sometimes mistaken for great blue herons, are rare migrants in Missouri that are becoming more common. They have a “bustle” of feathers over their short tail, and they fly with their necks straight out.
The savannah sparrow is a bird of open habitat with nearby dense cover. It feeds in grass or crop stubble and quickly retreats to brush when threatened. This sparrow is a common migrant but is found locally in central and southern Missouri in winter.
This owl is commonly active during day, especially in early morning and late afternoon, as well as night. A prairie species, it hunts while flying low over grasslands, with a buoyant, mothlike flight. The short ear tufts are difficult to see.
This goose has two color morphs (forms): white and blue. The “blue goose” was once considered a separate species. Both morphs share the distinctive feature of a black “lipstick” streak along the edges of the bill.
Visits Missouri during some winters and not others. Peak numbers in Missouri occur about every four years in response to lemming population crashes in far north. Only a small portion (usually immature individuals) of the population are forced south.
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