Field Guide

Birds

Showing 1 - 10 of 28 results
Media
Photo of trumpeter swan taking flight from water
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cygnus buccinator
Description
The largest waterfowl species in North America has been absent from the state throughout most of the 20th century, but today they are seen as migrants overwintering in our state.
Media
Photo of a pied-billed grebe nonbreeding form.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Podilymbus podiceps
Description
Small, brown, ducklike birds, pied-billed grebes have thick gray bills with a dark ring around the middle in summer. They dive underwater to forage.
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
Photo of an American coot.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Fulica americana
Description
Although it floats like a duck, the American coot is actually in the rail family. Note its short tail and wings, pointed white bill, chickenlike walk, and toes with scalloped lobes.
Media
Photo of a hooded merganser pair floating on water.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lophodytes cucullatus
Description
Hooded mergansers have crests that trail behind the head or can be raised to create a circular shape. Their bills are narrow and serrated. Males are black and white with chestnut flanks; females are brown.
Media
Photograph of two Double-Crested Cormorants perched on log above water
Species Types
Scientific Name
Phalacrocorax auritus
Description
Double-crested cormorants are dark, ducklike water birds with long necks, hooked bills, legs set far back on the body, and a habit of hanging their wings out to dry in the sun.
Media
Photograph of American White Pelican in flight
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
Description
Graceful in flight, ungainly on land, and elegant on the water, the American white pelican is one of the largest birds in Missouri.
Media
Photo of a pair of greater scaup floating on water.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Aythyra marila
Description
The male greater scaup is a diving duck with a black head and chest, white sides, and black tail end. It's a rare migrant in Missouri. You can tell it from the similar lesser scaup by its rounded (not peaked) head.
Media
Photo of a lesser scaup pair floating on water.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Aythya affinis
Description
The male lesser scaup is a diving duck with a black head and chest, white sides, and black tail end. It's a common migrant in Missouri. You can tell it from the similar greater scaup by its peaked (not rounded) head.
Media
Photo of a male canvasback floating on the water.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Aythya valisineria
Description
A diving duck or pochard, the canvasback forages on the bottom of lakes, rivers, and marshes for invertebrates and plants. It 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.