Field Guide

Birds

Showing 1 - 10 of 59 results
Media
American Golden-Plover
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pluvialis dominica
Description
The American golden-plover is a robin-sized shorebird that makes an incredible annual odyssey from Argentina to the Arctic tundra, a distance of over 20,000 miles. It flies through Missouri in spring.
Media
Photograph of a male American Goldfinch in breeding plumage
Species Types
Scientific Name
Spinus tristis
Description
Goldfinches are often seen in flocks during fall, winter, and spring and at bird feeders. In spring, the male’s dull winter plumage changes to bright yellow with a black cap and wings.
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
american robin in water
Species Types
Scientific Name
Turdus migratorius
Description
A well-known symbol of springtime, this bird hunts on the ground for earthworms and insects. The robin’s colorful rusty-red breast is as welcome in spring as its cheerful singing at dawn and dusk.
Media
Image of an american tree sparrow
Species Types
Scientific Name
Spizelloides arborea (formerly Spizella arborea)
Description
In winter, American tree sparrows can be found throughout Missouri, especially in our northern and western sections. In summer, they nest along the tundra's edge in Canada and Alaska.
Media
photo of American woodcock
Species Types
Scientific Name
Scolopax minor
Description
This remarkable bird is a short-necked, short-legged, terrestrial shorebird with a long bill. The eyes are set back on its head. When this bird is flushed, its short wings make a startling whirring sound.
Media
Photo of a male blue grosbeak
Species Types
Scientific Name
Passerina caerulea (formerly Guiraca caerulea)
Description
The male blue grosbeak is one of Missouri’s most colorful birds, but it is uncommon. To see one, learn to recognize its voice, and visit likely habitats in the Ozarks, May–September.
Media
bobolink
Species Types
Scientific Name
Dolichonyx oryzivorus
Description
The male bobolink is the only North American bird that has light feathers above and dark feathers below. In fall and winter, the male resembles the buffy and brown-streaked female.
Media
Photo of male brown-headed cowbirdhttps://mdc.mo.gov/admin/focal_point/preview/66579/50x39?focal_point_token=LgTrHwPNEbDQ2zF7TM3xo6wHKaw3Uhax57PTdk6u0GA
Species Types
Scientific Name
Molothrus ater
Description
The brown-headed cowbird never builds a nest of its own. Instead, it lays eggs, one at a time, into the nests of other birds. Each cowbird is raised by unwitting foster parents.
Media
Photo of three cliff swallow nests attached to the soffit of a building, with a parent attending.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Petrechelidon pyrrhonota
Description
Cliff swallows fly in swarms around their clusters of juglike mud nests attached to overpasses, bridges, and other structures. Note the whitish forehead, buffy rump patch, and chestnut throat.
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.