Field Guide

Birds

Showing 1 - 10 of 39 results
Media
bobolink
Species Types
Scientific Name
Dolichonyx oryzivorus
Description
The male bobolink is the only North American bird that has light feathers above and dark feathers below. In fall and winter, the male resembles the buffy and brown-streaked female.
Media
Eastern Wood Pewee
Species Types
Scientific Name
Contopus virens
Description
Its distinctive, slurred “pee-a-wee” song helps differentiate the eastern wood-pewee from our other flycatchers, and from most other small, olive-brown birds.
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
Perched Acadian flycatcher viewed from side
Species Types
Scientific Name
Empidonax virescens
Description
The Acadian flycatcher is one of several flycatchers found in Missouri. It is a summer resident here, and like its relatives, it is much appreciated for its appetite for flying insects.
Media
Photo of a male summer tanager perched on a small branch
Species Types
Scientific Name
Piranga rubra
Description
Adult male summer tanagers are entirely red — an unforgettable sight as they forage for insects among bright green tree leaves in early summer.
Media
Photo of a barn swallow in flight.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Hirundo rustica
Description
Streamlined, agile fliers with forked tails, barn swallows build cup-shaped nests out of mud affixed to protected areas on the walls of barns and under bridges.
Media
Photo of three cliff swallow nests attached to the soffit of a building, with a parent attending.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Petrechelidon pyrrhonota
Description
Cliff swallows fly in swarms around their clusters of juglike mud nests attached to overpasses, bridges, and other structures. Note the whitish forehead, buffy rump patch, and chestnut throat.
Media
Photo of a male purple martin perched on martin box
Species Types
Scientific Name
Progne subis
Description
Generations of Americans have greeted the annual return of purple martins, with their cheerful calls, graceful flight, and faithful reappearance each year. But martin populations have been declining. Find out what you can do to help these agile fliers.
Media
Photo of a male cerulean warbler held in a hand
Species Types
Scientific Name
Setophaga cerulea (formerly Dendroica cerulea)
Description
A summer resident in Missouri, the cerulean warbler is more common in the southeastern Ozarks but rare elsewhere in the state. Its numbers are small and declining, and for that reason our nation may soon classify it as endangered.
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.
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.