Field Guide

Birds

Showing 1 - 10 of 134 results
Media
Eastern Wood Pewee
Species Types
Scientific Name
Contopus virens
Description
Its distinctive, slurred “pee-a-wee” song helps differentiate the eastern wood-pewee from our other flycatchers, and from most other small, olive-brown birds.
Media
Photo of a great crested flycatcher, perched
Species Types
Scientific Name
Myiarchus crinitus
Description
The great crested flycatcher spends most of its time high in trees. Learn its distinctive calls, and listen for it in summertime. It’s more common than you might think.
Media
Photo of an eastern phoebe perched on a small branch.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sayornis phoebe
Description
Eastern phoebes often build their mud-and-plant nests on the side of a house, just under a roof or other overhang. These small flycatchers repeatedly cry out their own name: “FEE-bee! FEE-bee!”
Media
Perched Acadian flycatcher viewed from side
Species Types
Scientific Name
Empidonax virescens
Description
The Acadian flycatcher is one of several flycatchers found in Missouri. It is a summer resident here, and like its relatives, it is much appreciated for its appetite for flying insects.
Media
Photo of 2 sandhill cranes in corn stubble
Species Types
Scientific Name
Grus canadensis
Description
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.
Media
Photo of a greater roadrunner, side view
Species Types
Scientific Name
Geococcyx californianus
Description
Though most Americans associate the roadrunner with the desert Southwest, this species has been expanding its range over the past century and is now found as far as southwestern Missouri and western Louisiana.
Media
Photo of two male wild turkeys displaying
Species Types
Scientific Name
Meleagris gallopavo
Description
The large size, iridescent bronze plumage (which can look merely dark at a distance), and naked blue and red head distinguish this ground-dwelling bird from others in our state.
Media
Image of an american kestrel
Species Types
Scientific Name
Falco sparverius
Description
The smallest and most colorful of North American falcons, American kestrels are often seen along highways where they perch on telephone wires or hover over grassy medians as they hunt.
Media
Photo of a sharp-shinned hawk standing on the ground
Species Types
Scientific Name
Accipiter striatus
Description
Sharp-shinned hawks flash out from trees and shrubs, surprising small birds and chasing them through the branches with great speed and accuracy.
Media
large gray and white bird perching on a black branch
Species Types
Scientific Name
Accipiter cooperii
Description
Cooper's hawks have short, rounded wings and long, narrow, rudderlike tails. They are frequently seen foraging along hedgerows and brush-entangled fencerows.
See Also
Media
Photo of a Snowberry Clearwing
Species Types
Scientific Name
Hemaris diffinis
Description
The snowberry clearwing is a moth that confuses people because it looks like a bumblebee and flies like a hummingbird!
Media
White-Lined Sphinx Moth
Species Types
Scientific Name
Hyles lineata
Description
The white-lined sphinx moth sometimes confuses people because it flies, hovers, and eats from flowers like a hummingbird. The adults often fly during daylight hours as well as in the night and are often found at lights.
Media
Photo of a Virginia Creeper Sphinx moth
Species Types
Scientific Name
Darapsa myron
Description
The Virginia creeper sphinx moth is common in woods and brushy areas and comes to lights at night. The larvae eat Virginia creeper and grape leaves.
Media
Photo of a tricolored bat hanging from a cave ceiling.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Perimyotis subflavus (formerly Pipistrellus subflavus)
Description
Tri-colored bats, formerly called eastern pipistrelles, are relatively small and look pale yellowish or pale reddish brown. The main hairs are dark gray at the base, broadly banded with yellowish brown, and tipped with dark brown.
Media
Photo of four gray myotises clinging to a cave ceiling.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Myotis grisescens
Description
Gray myotises are difficult to distinguish from other mouse-eared bats. A key identifying feature of the gray myotis is that its wing is attached to the ankle and not at the base of the toes. It’s an endangered species.
Media
Photo of a little brown myotis hanging from cave wall with lesions on its wrist.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Myotis lucifugus
Description
The little brown myotis (little brown bat) is one of our most common bats, but populations are declining. White-nose syndrome has taken a heavy toll in northeastern states. This species is now listed as vulnerable across its range.
Media
Photo of an Indiana myotis hanging from a cave ceiling.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Myotis sodalis
Description
The Indiana myotis, or Indiana bat, summers along streams and rivers in north Missouri, raising its young under the bark of certain trees. It is an endangered species.

About Birds in Missouri

About 350 species of birds are likely to be seen in Missouri, though nearly 400 have been recorded within our borders. Most people know a bird when they see one — it has feathers, wings, and a bill. Birds are warm-blooded, and most species can fly. Many migrate hundreds or thousands of miles. Birds lay hard-shelled eggs (often in a nest), and the parents care for the young. Many communicate with songs and calls.