Field Guide

Birds

Showing 1 - 10 of 19 results
Media
Photo of an eastern towhee male, eating, three-quarter view.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pipilo erythrophthalmus
Description
Often heard before seen, the eastern towhee scratches vigorously on the ground in fallen leaves and sings its telltale “drink your teeeeee!” and “chewink!”
Media
Image of a field sparrow
Species Types
Scientific Name
Spizella pusilla
Description
Field sparrows live in weedy, brushy fields, glades, and overgrown pastures. They have a gray head with rusty side stripes on the crown, and a rusty eyeline and cheek. The bill and legs are pink.
Media
Image of bachman's sparrow
Species Types
Scientific Name
Peucaea aestivalis (formerly Aimophila aestivalis)
Description
Bachman's sparrow is a large, ground-nesting sparrow that lives in dry, scrubby areas. It is listed as endangered in Missouri, where its historic habitat is in decline.
Media
Photograph of a European Starling
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sturnus vulgaris
Description
Few Americans love this bold nonnative bird, purposefully introduced to our continent in the late 1800s and now abundant throughout our country.
Media
Image of a dark-eyed junco
Species Types
Scientific Name
Junco hyemalis
Description
Dark-eyed juncos, or "snowbirds" as they are widely known, are sparrows. Juncos are abundant throughout Missouri during the winter. What many people are not aware of is that there are two color forms of juncos that occur here.
Media
Photo of a male indigo bunting perched on a branch, side view.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Passerina cyanea
Description
One of the most colorful birds in Missouri, the indigo bunting is frequently seen flying up from gravel roads. It is one of the most abundant and easily seen and heard birds in the state.
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 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 gray rock pigeon standing among rocks
Species Types
Scientific Name
Columba livia
Description
This is the common pigeon of city parks, downtown buildings, barns, and cliffs. Many color forms exist. The wild type has a dark head, breast, and shoulders, a light gray body, two dark bars on the wings, a white rump, and a dark band on the tip of the tail.
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.
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.