Field Guide

Birds

Showing 1 - 10 of 70 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
Photo of blue jay perched on branch
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cyanocitta cristata
Description
Blue jays are notable for their loud voices, blue and white plumage, strong black bill, relatively large size and the distinctive crest atop their heads.
Media
Image of eastern screech-owl, gray phase
Species Types
Scientific Name
Otus asio
Description
This owl—which really doesn’t “screech”—can be gray, brown or red, but in Missouri you can verify your identification by noting its small size, yellow eyes and prominent ear tufts.
Media
Northern Saw-Whet Owl
Species Types
Scientific Name
Aegolius acadicus
Description
The northern saw-whet owl is the most nocturnal of our owls. On the rare occasions it is seen, it is usually perched near the ground in dense cover or in the entrance of a tree cavity.
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
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
Photograph of a Eurasian Tree Sparrow perched on a brick surface
Species Types
Scientific Name
Passer montanus
Description
The Eurasian tree sparrow and the house sparrow were brought to America in hopes of controlling insects, but both have become pests. These Old World sparrows are more closely related to birds in the Middle East and India than to our native American sparrows.
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.
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.