Field Guide

Birds

Showing 1 - 10 of 10 results
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 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
large gray and white bird perching on a black branch
Species Types
Scientific Name
Accipiter cooperii
Description
Cooper's hawks have short, rounded wings and long, narrow, rudderlike tails. They are frequently seen foraging along hedgerows and brush-entangled fencerows.
Media
Image of a dark-eyed junco
Species Types
Scientific Name
Junco hyemalis
Description
Dark-eyed juncos, or "snowbirds" as they are widely known, are sparrows. Juncos are abundant throughout Missouri during the winter. What many people are not aware of is that there are two color forms of juncos that occur here.
Media
Photo of a male dickcissel in breeding plumage, perched.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Spiza americana
Description
Like a cross between a meadowlark and a sparrow, the dickcissel is common in prairies, pastures, and fields. Atop fences and tall weeds, it sings its buzzy “dick-dick-dickcissel” into the bright sunshine.
Media
Photo of an eastern kingbird perched on a branch.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Tyrannus tyrannus
Description
The eastern kingbird’s spirited territorial defense, tidy, black-and-white plumage, and distinctive, fluttery flight have long captured the attention and admiration of people.
Media
Image of a field sparrow
Species Types
Scientific Name
Spizella pusilla
Description
Field sparrows live in weedy, brushy fields, glades, and overgrown pastures. They have a gray head with rusty side stripes on the crown, and a rusty eyeline and cheek. The bill and legs are pink.
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
Photo of a killdeer standing on a chert gravel surface.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Charadrius vociferus
Description
The killdeer is a familiar “shorebird,” but we usually don’t see it near shores! Killdeer prefer open, flat, rather dry areas with short grass, including flooded crop fields, lawns, and sports fields.
Media
Photo of a red-tailed hawk perched
Species Types
Scientific Name
Buteo jamaicensis
Description
Adult red-tailed hawks are large, brown above, and white below, with a brown-streaked band on the belly and a rust-red tail with a narrow black band near the end. They are commonly seen along highways, watching for prey.
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.