Field Guide

Birds

Showing 1 - 7 of 7 results
Media
Image of barred owl
Species Types
Scientific Name
Strix varia
Description
The barred owl is easily identified both visually and by sound. Learn to recognize its call, and on moonlit nights in their habitat, you may hear it quite often!
Media
Photo of a common nighthawk on a fence rail.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Chordeiles minor
Description
At night, common nighthawks fly, with quick flaps, glides, and darting movements, around lights pursuing flying insects. They are brown with a white mark on the underside of each narrow wing.
Media
Image of eastern screech-owl, gray phase
Species Types
Scientific Name
Otus asio
Description
This owl—which really doesn’t “screech”—can be gray, brown or red, but in Missouri you can verify your identification by noting its small size, yellow eyes and prominent ear tufts.
Media
Photo of an eastern whip-poor-will crouching on leaf litter.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Antrostomus vociferus (formerly Caprimulgus vociferus)
Description
Although many people hear the evening calls of whip-poor-wills, few ever see these birds because by day they crouch on the ground amid fallen leaves, where they are perfectly camouflaged.
Media
Photo of a great horned owl on a tree branch
Species Types
Scientific Name
Bubo virginianus
Description
The great horned owl has wide-set ear tufts and a white throat. After dark, you can identify it by its three to eight deep hoots grouped in a pattern, such as “hoo h'HOO, HOO, HOO.”
Media
Image of long-eared owl.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Asio otus
Description
The long-eared owl is strictly nocturnal and highly secretive by day. This crow-sized owl hunts over open country at night.
Media
short eared owl
Species Types
Scientific Name
Asio flammeus
Description
The short-eared owl is commonly active during day 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.
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.