Field Guide

Birds

Showing 1 - 10 of 26 results
Media
Northern Saw-Whet Owl
Species Types
Scientific Name
Aegolius acadicus
Description
The northern saw-whet owl is the most nocturnal of our owls. On the rare occasions it is seen, it is usually perched near the ground in dense cover or in the entrance of a tree cavity.
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 a male American redstart
Species Types
Scientific Name
Setophaga ruticilla
Description
American redstarts flit among tree branches, drooping their wings, fanning their tails, and leaping into the air to catch insects. Males are black and orange; females are olive-gray and white.
Media
White-Throated Sparrow
Species Types
Scientific Name
Zonotrichia albicollis
Description
White-throateds have a boldly striped black-and-white crown, gray cheek, and a yellow patch between the bill and the eye. They spend winter in Missouri.
Media
Photo of a male yellow warbler perched on a small branch.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Setophaga petechia (formerly Dendroica petechia)
Description
Male yellow warblers are all yellow, with reddish streaks on the breast. Females are not as bright and lack the reddish streaks. Yellow warblers breed in Missouri. They’re here April through September.
Media
Photo of a prothonotary warbler perched on a small branch.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Protonotaria citrea
Description
The swamp-dwelling prothonotary warbler has a yellow head, yellow breast and blue-gray wings. Look for it in forests and woodlands, usually near water. Most arrive in Missouri in April.
Media
Photo of a bay-breasted warbler
Species Types
Scientific Name
Setophaga castanea (formerly Dendroica castanea)
Description
The male bay-breasted warbler is easy to identify, while females and nonbreeding males present a challenge. This species migrates through Missouri in spring and fall.
Media
Photo of an eastern meadowlark, side view, on snowy ground.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sturnella magna
Description
In prairies and other open grassy areas, eastern meadowlarks sing sweet, slurring songs from fence posts and power lines. Note the long, sharp bill and the yellow breast with black V-shaped marking.
Media
Photo of a western meadowlark showing yellow moustachial streak.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sturnella neglecta
Description
The western meadowlark is less common in Missouri than the eastern meadowlark. Slightly paler and with a very different song, it’s a permanent resident only in the northwest corner of the state.
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.
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.