Field Guide

Birds

Showing 1 - 10 of 59 results
Media
Image of a white-crowned sparrow
Species Types
Scientific Name
Zonotrichia leucophrys
Description
The white-crowned sparrow is a large sparrow with a bold black-and-white striped crown, a clear gray breast, and a pink beak. It is one of our most common and widespread winter sparrows.
Media
Closeup photo of head of peregrine falcon
Species Types
Scientific Name
Falco peregrinus
Description
The fastest living animal, the peregrine falcon can dive at speeds of up to 261 miles per hour! It is being reintroduced to the state in urban areas, where skyscrapers replace the cliffs it traditionally nested on.
Media
Photo of a ring-billed gull standing on a rock, water in background.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Larus delawarensis
Description
The ring-billed gull is Missouri’s most common gull. Adults can be told from our other most common gulls by their yellow legs and yellow bill with a black ring near the tip.
Media
Photo of a red-shouldered hawk perched on a tree branch.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Buteo lineatus
Description
The red-shouldered hawk is associated with forests and near water, in places where the lower part of the forest canopy is fairly open. They sit on tree branches and watch for movement on the ground.
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.
Media
Photo of a snow goose standing in a winter field
Species Types
Scientific Name
Chen caerulescens
Description
The snow goose has two color forms: white and blue. The “blue goose” was once considered a separate species. Both share the distinctive feature of a black “lipstick” streak along the edge of the bill.
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 eastern bluebird
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sialia sialis
Description
The eastern bluebird is the state bird of Missouri. Many say its song sounds like “Cheer cheerful charmer.” The male has blue upperparts and rusty and white underparts.
Media
hairy woodpecker
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
Ruby-throated hummingbird in flight
Species Types
Scientific Name
Archilochus colubris
Description
The ruby-throated hummingbird, a tiny bird with a long needlelike bill, is well-known and beloved. It hovers and flies forward and backward with a humming sound. In the light, the male's ruby-red throat shines like a jewel.
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.