Field Guide

Birds

Showing 1 - 10 of 119 results
Media
Eastern Wood Pewee
Species Types
Scientific Name
Contopus virens
Description
Its distinctive, slurred “pee-a-wee” song helps differentiate the eastern wood-pewee from our other flycatchers, and from most other small, olive-brown birds.
Media
Photo of an eastern phoebe perched on a small branch.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sayornis phoebe
Description
Eastern phoebes often build their mud-and-plant nests on the side of a house, just under a roof or other overhang. These small flycatchers repeatedly cry out their own name: “FEE-bee! FEE-bee!”
Media
Perched Acadian flycatcher viewed from side
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 a male black-and-white warbler perched on a branch.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Mniotilta varia
Description
The black-and-white warbler is a common migrant in forests and woodlands. It creeps on trees like a nuthatch or creeper but is distinctively black-and-white striped.
Media
Photo of Eurasian collared-dove walking on grass
Species Types
Scientific Name
Streptopelia decaocto
Description
The Eurasian collared-dove was introduced in the Bahamas and has rapidly spread throughout most of the United States. At first glance, it looks like a chunky, pale gray mourning dove.
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
Photo of 2 sandhill cranes in corn stubble
Species Types
Scientific Name
Grus canadensis
Description
Sandhill cranes, sometimes mistaken for great blue herons, are rare migrants in Missouri that are becoming more common. They have a “bustle” of feathers over their short tail, and they fly with their necks straight out.
Media
Photo of a northern mockingbird perched on sumac branch with snow falling.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Mimus polyglottos
Description
One of the best-known U.S. songbirds, the northern mockingbird can sing endlessly, night and day, repeating phrases from the songs of other birds. Its white wing patches are conspicuous in flight.
Media
Photo of a perched loggerhead shrike
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lanius ludovicianus
Description
This robin-sized, gray and white bird has a black eye-mask extending behind its large, hooked bill. It has the unusual habit of hanging its prey items—little birds, mice, frogs, and big insects—on tree thorns or barbed wire.
Media
Photo of a greater roadrunner, side view
Species Types
Scientific Name
Geococcyx californianus
Description
Though most Americans associate the roadrunner with the desert Southwest, this species has been expanding its range over the past century and is now found as far as southwestern Missouri and western Louisiana.
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.