Field Guide

Birds

Showing 1 - 10 of 12 results
Media
Photo of an Acadian flycatcher perched on a twig.
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 an American wigeon pair floating on water surface.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Anas americana
Description
A common migrant in Missouri, the American wigeon is a dabbling duck whose males have a white forehead and crown, a green band behind the eye and down the back of the neck, and a large white patch on the wing.
Media
Photograph of a Common Grackle
Species Types
Scientific Name
Quiscalus quiscula
Description
The common grackle makes “a mistake . . . in trying to sing,” a prominent birder once wrote of its kree-del-eeeeks and chlacks. Yet its iridescent purples, blues, and bronzes please the viewer despite the harshness of the voice.
Media
Photo of a male common merganser floating on water.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Mergus merganser
Description
Like our other mergansers, the common merganser has a long, slender, serrated bill and dives underwater for fish. This species, however, has only a short head crest and has unique color patterns.
Media
Photo of a green heron
Species Types
Scientific Name
Butorides virescens
Description
Green, gray, and brown, the stocky, crow-sized green heron hunches motionless at the water’s edge, waiting patiently for a fish to swim within striking distance.
Media
Photo of a green-winged teal pair floating on water.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Anas crecca
Description
The green-winged teal is a fast, graceful flyer with an iridescent green wing patch. Teals are relatively small dabbling ducks and have been called the “bantams of the duck tribe.”
Media
Photo of male and female mallards walking on ice
Species Types
Scientific Name
Anas platyrhynchos
Description
The mallard is probably the most familiar duck in all of North America. The male has a green head and chestnut breast. Both sexes have a blue speculum (wing patch) bordered on both sides by white.
Media
Photo of a northern shoveler pair floating on water.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Spatula clypeata (formerly Anas clypeata)
Description
Northern shovelers are dabbling ducks with remarkably long, heavy-looking bills. The male’s green head may remind you of a mallard’s, but the bill is far heavier.
Media
Photo of a male painted bunting, side view.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Passerina ciris
Description
The male painted bunting is one of the most colorful birds in North America, with its blue head, red underparts, and green back. Look for it in tangles and thickets in the southwest part of our state.
Media
large colorful bird in grass
Species Types
Scientific Name
Phasianus colchicus
Description
Long-tailed and chickenlike, the ring-necked pheasant was introduced to America in the 1880s as a gamebird. It’s present in the northern quarter of the Missouri and in parts of the Bootheel.
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.