Field Guide

Birds

Showing 1 - 10 of 26 results
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
Image of an american kestrel
Species Types
Scientific Name
Falco sparverius
Description
The smallest and most colorful of North American falcons, American kestrels are often seen along highways where they perch on telephone wires or hover over grassy medians as they hunt.
Media
photo of American woodcock
Species Types
Scientific Name
Scolopax minor
Description
This remarkable bird is a short-necked, short-legged, terrestrial shorebird with a long bill. The eyes are set back on its head. When this bird is flushed, its short wings make a startling whirring sound.
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.
Media
Black-necked stilt wading in shallow water
Species Types
Scientific Name
Himantopus mexicanus
Description
The black-necked stilt migrates through Missouri in spring and fall. In summer, it breeds locally in the Bootheel. It’s easy to identify, with its black back, white belly, long pink legs, and long, thin, straight bill.
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 brown thrasher perched amid tree branches.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Toxostoma rufum
Description
The brown thrasher, named for the busy thrashes of its long tail, is closely related to the mockingbird and catbird. Like them, it mimics songs of other birds. It’s common in parks and yards.
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 Eurasian collared-dove walking on grass
Species Types
Scientific Name
Streptopelia decaocto
Description
The Eurasian collared-dove was introduced in the Bahamas and has rapidly spread throughout most of the United States. At first glance, it looks like a chunky, pale gray mourning dove.
Media
Photo of a pair of gadwall floating on water.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Anas strepera
Description
The male gadwall is a rather drab-looking duck with a black rear end and a white speculum (wing patch). This dabbling duck is a common migrant in Missouri.
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.