Field Guide

Birds

Showing 1 - 10 of 25 results
Media
Photograph of American Crow
Species Types
Scientific Name
Corvus brachyrhynchos
Description
Crows scarcely need an introduction. A flock of them flapping over a cornfield, against an October sky, is a scene worthy of a painting, but the corn farmer doesn’t see it that way!
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
american robin in water
Species Types
Scientific Name
Turdus migratorius
Description
A well-known symbol of springtime, this bird hunts on the ground for earthworms and insects. The robin’s colorful rusty-red breast is as welcome in spring as its cheerful singing at dawn and dusk.
Media
Photo of two black vultures standing on the ground
Species Types
Scientific Name
Coragyps atratus
Description
Although turkey vultures are much more common in Missouri, black vultures are expanding their range northward, and sightings of them are increasing. Note their black head, shorter tail, and (seen from below) a white patch near the ends of the wings.
Media
Photo of male brown-headed cowbirdhttps://mdc.mo.gov/admin/focal_point/preview/66579/50x39?focal_point_token=LgTrHwPNEbDQ2zF7TM3xo6wHKaw3Uhax57PTdk6u0GA
Species Types
Scientific Name
Molothrus ater
Description
The brown-headed cowbird never builds a nest of its own. Instead, it lays eggs, one at a time, into the nests of other birds. Each cowbird is raised by unwitting foster parents.
Media
Photo of a Carolina wren perched near a bird feeder.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Thryothorus ludovicianus
Description
Male Carolina wrens sing a loud “teakettle, teakettle, teakettle.” This species is a rich reddish brown with white throat and eyebrow. Pairs hunt furtively in brushy tangles, tails cocked upward.
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
Photograph of a Common Grackle
Species Types
Scientific Name
Quiscalus quiscula
Description
The common grackle makes “a mistake . . . in trying to sing,” a prominent birder once wrote of its kree-del-eeeeks and chlacks. Yet its iridescent purples, blues, and bronzes please the viewer despite the harshness of the voice.
Media
Photo of a common nighthawk on a fence rail.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Chordeiles minor
Description
At night, common nighthawks fly, with quick flaps, glides, and darting movements, around lights pursuing flying insects. They are brown with a white mark on the underside of each narrow wing.
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.
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.