Field Guide

Birds

Showing 1 - 10 of 54 results
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
Image of a male American redstart
Species Types
Scientific Name
Setophaga ruticilla
Description
American redstarts flit among tree branches, drooping their wings, fanning their tails, and leaping into the air to catch insects. Males are black and orange; females are olive-gray and white.
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 two black vultures standing on the ground
Species Types
Scientific Name
Coragyps atratus
Description
Although turkey vultures are much more common in Missouri, black vultures are expanding their range northward, and sightings of them are increasing. Note their black head, shorter tail, and (seen from below) a white patch near the ends of the wings.
Media
Black-capped chickadee image showing characters for identification.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Poecile atricapillus and P. carolinensis
Description
Chickadees are common in backyards. These black-capped, perky insectivores are present year-round. There are two species in Missouri that look quite similar.
Media
Photo of blue jay perched on branch
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cyanocitta cristata
Description
Blue jays are notable for their loud voices, blue and white plumage, strong black bill, relatively large size and the distinctive crest atop their heads.
Media
Photograph of a Brown Creeper
Species Types
Scientific Name
Certhia americana
Description
Like a wren that behaves like a woodpecker, the brown creeper is a small brown and white bird that creeps in upward spirals around the trunks of trees, using its tail as a prop.
Media
Photo of a cedar waxwing perched on a branch.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Bombycilla cedrorum
Description
Sleek, crested cedar waxwings gather in large, relatively quiet groups to eat berries from shrubs and trees. The voice is a high-pitched, whizzy trill.
Media
Photo of a chimney swift in flight, viewed from below
Species Types
Scientific Name
Chaetura pelagica
Description
About the only way to see chimney swifts — unless you look in a chimney flue — is while they’re flying. They look like “flying cigars,” with long narrow wings, and chitter loudly as they fly.
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.