Field Guide

Birds

Showing 1 - 10 of 42 results
Media
Photo of a male red-winged blackbird singing
Species Types
Scientific Name
Agelaius phoeniceus
Description
These crimson-shouldered residents of marshes, wet meadows and weedy roadside ditches are well-known by most rural Missourians. Their “konk-o-REEE” song likely emanates from every pond in Missouri.
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
Photo of a great horned owl on a tree branch
Species Types
Scientific Name
Bubo virginianus
Description
The great horned owl has wide-set ear tufts and a white throat. After dark, you can identify it by its three to eight deep hoots grouped in a pattern, such as “hoo h'HOO, HOO, HOO.”
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
Image of a song sparrow
Species Types
Scientific Name
Melospiza melodia
Description
The song sparrow is an uncommon nester but a common winter resident throughout Missouri. You can find the song sparrow along forest edges and in many backyards.
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 an american tree sparrow
Species Types
Scientific Name
Spizelloides arborea (formerly Spizella arborea)
Description
In winter, American tree sparrows can be found throughout Missouri, especially in our northern and western sections. In summer, they nest along the tundra's edge in Canada and Alaska.
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 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.
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.