Field Guide

Birds

Showing 1 - 10 of 14 results
Media
Photo of male downy woodpecker clinging to suet feeder
Species Types
Scientific Name
Dryobates pubescens (formerly Picoides pubescens)
Description
Downy woodpeckers are ornately decorated with black-and-white upperparts and white underparts. They are often seen foraging for insects on tree bark or visiting suet feeders.
Media
Image of a fox sparrow
Species Types
Scientific Name
Passerella iliaca
Description
The fox sparrow is our largest sparrow and is named for its foxlike color. It commonly rustles through the leaves and seeds under bird feeders, kicking with both feet at the same time.
Media
Photo of a hairy woodpecker perched on the side of a tree trunk, viewed from back.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Dryobates villosus (formerly Picoides villosus)
Description
The hairy woodpecker looks a lot like a downy woodpecker but is larger, with a proportionately longer and stronger-looking bill.
Media
Photograph of a male House Finch
Species Types
Scientific Name
Haemorhous mexicanus
Description
A time traveler from the 1970s or before would be amazed to see so many house finches in Missouri, for they are native to the American West. Now it's a common Missouri backyard bird.
Media
Photo of male northern cardinal
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cardinalis cardinalis
Description
The male northern cardinal is a bright red bird with a head crest and black mask. An excellent singer, this familiar backyard bird is beloved by many.
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
Photograph of a male Purple Finch
Species Types
Scientific Name
Haemorhous purpureus
Description
In the 1930s, Roger Tory Peterson described the male purple finch as “a Sparrow dipped in raspberry juice.” Learn how to distinguish this native eastern bird from the more common house finch.
Media
Photograph of a male red-bellied woodpecker
Species Types
Scientific Name
Melanerpes carolinus
Description
A striking woodpecker with grayish white face and underparts, black-and-white banded upperparts, and a red band on the head or nape. The red belly is often not noticeable.
Media
Photograph of a red-headed woodpecker at a bird feeder
Species Types
Scientific Name
Melanerpes erythrocephalus
Description
A flurry of black-and-white wingbeats and a bright, all-red head announce the presence of the red-headed woodpecker. The voice is a loud, descending “kweeer.”
Media
Photo of a male red-winged blackbird singing
Species Types
Scientific Name
Agelaius phoeniceus
Description
These crimson-shouldered residents of marshes, wet meadows and weedy roadside ditches are well-known by most rural Missourians. Their “konk-o-REEE” song likely emanates from every pond in Missouri.
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.