Field Guide

Birds

Showing 1 - 10 of 19 results
Media
American Golden-Plover
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pluvialis dominica
Description
The American golden-plover is a robin-sized shorebird that makes an incredible annual odyssey from Argentina to the Arctic tundra, a distance of over 20,000 miles. It flies through Missouri in spring.
Media
Photo of bald eagle soaring
Species Types
Scientific Name
Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Description
Our national symbol, the mature bald eagle is unmistakable with its dark brown body, yellow bill, and white head and tail. It soars with wings held flat and can have a 7-foot wingspan.
Media
Photo of male Baltimore oriole perched on branch
Species Types
Scientific Name
Icterus galbula
Description
Often, you'll hear the male Baltimore oriole's loud, flutelike song before you locate the bright orange singer as he moves among the boughs of trees.
Media
Image of barn owl face.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Tyto alba
Description
Barn owls are highly nocturnal birds with a heart-shaped face. They love to eat mice. Most nests are in grain elevators, old barns, and similar places.
Media
Photo of a male common yellowthroat
Species Types
Scientific Name
Geothlypis trichas
Description
The male common yellowthroat wears a black mask that contrasts strongly against the bright yellow underparts. The female is olive brown. A common summer resident in Missouri’s marshes and other wet areas.
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
Photo of a greater yellowlegs wading in water.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Tringa melanoleuca
Description
One of the more common of about 35 shorebirds that migrate through Missouri, the greater yellowlegs is large, with a slightly upturned bill and long, bright yellow legs.
Media
Image of a northern flicker
Species Types
Scientific Name
Colaptes auratus
Description
America’s flickers used to be considered three different species, but in the 1980s biologists determined otherwise. Now, our eastern “yellow-shafted” flicker, the “red-shafted” flicker of the west, and the “gilded flicker” of the southwest are all considered just forms of the same species: the northern flicker.
Media
Photo of a male orchard oriole
Species Types
Scientific Name
Icterus spurius
Description
The orchard oriole is a common summer resident in Missouri. Males are rusty and black; females are olive green and yellowish. Look for them high in trees in places with scattered trees, especially near water.
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.
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.