Field Guide

Birds

Showing 1 - 10 of 26 results
Media
Photograph of a male American Goldfinch in breeding plumage
Species Types
Scientific Name
Spinus tristis
Description
Goldfinches are often seen in flocks during fall, winter, and spring and at bird feeders. In spring, the male’s dull winter plumage changes to bright yellow with a black cap and wings.
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
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
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 a cedar waxwing perched on a branch.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Bombycilla cedrorum
Description
Sleek, crested cedar waxwings gather in large, relatively quiet groups to eat berries from shrubs and trees. The voice is a high-pitched, whizzy trill.
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 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 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 male evening grosbeak eating sunflower seeds at a feeder.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Coccothraustes vespertinus
Description
Evening grosbeaks are sporadically present in Missouri — flocks sometimes wander here from the north during winter. When flocks appear at backyard birdfeeders, it creates a local sensation.
Media
Photo of a great crested flycatcher, perched
Species Types
Scientific Name
Myiarchus crinitus
Description
The great crested flycatcher spends most of its time high in trees. Learn its distinctive calls, and listen for it in summertime. It’s more common than you might think.
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.