Field Guide

Birds

Showing 1 - 10 of 26 results
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
Photo of a horned grebe in winter plumage floating on the water
Species Types
Scientific Name
Podiceps auritus
Description
Horned grebes are small ducklike birds that may be seen in Missouri during migration and locally in the winter. Breeding coloration is different from that of winter.
Media
Image of long-eared owl.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Asio otus
Description
The long-eared owl is strictly nocturnal and highly secretive by day. This crow-sized owl hunts over open country at night.
Media
Photograph of a red-headed woodpecker at a bird feeder
Species Types
Scientific Name
Melanerpes erythrocephalus
Description
A flurry of black-and-white wingbeats and a bright, all-red head announce the presence of the red-headed woodpecker. The voice is a loud, descending “kweeer.”
Species Types
Scientific Name
Perdix perdix
Description
An introduced gamebird from Eurasia, the gray partridge occurs mostly along the US-Canada border to our northwest. It may at times appear in northwest Missouri.
Media
American Golden-Plover
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pluvialis dominica
Description
The American golden-plover is a robin-sized shorebird that makes an incredible annual odyssey from Argentina to the Arctic tundra, a distance of over 20,000 miles. It flies through Missouri in spring.
Media
Photograph of a Mourning Dove walking on the ground
Species Types
Scientific Name
Zenaida macroura
Description
Doves symbolize peace, and they are also a popular quarry of hunters. Our mourning doves are probably the closest living relatives of the extinct passenger pigeon. Learn more about these cooing seed-eaters!
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
Image of a northern flicker
Species Types
Scientific Name
Colaptes auratus
Description
America’s flickers used to be considered three different species, but in the 1980s biologists determined otherwise. Now, our eastern “yellow-shafted” flicker, the “red-shafted” flicker of the west, and the “gilded flicker” of the southwest are all considered just forms of the same species: the northern flicker.
Media
Photo of a belted kingfisher, perched on branch tip, side view.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Megaceryle alcyon (formerly Ceryle alcyon)
Description
Belted kingfishers have a big head with a shaggy crest, a long, sharp bill, and a short tail. They perch or hover along rivers and shores, then plunge in to catch fish. The call is a loud rattle.
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.