The genus Accipiter is a group of birds of prey in the family Accipitridae, many of which are named as goshawks and sparrowhawks. They can be anatomically distinguished from their relatives by the lack of a procoracoid foramen. Two small and aberrant species usually placed here do possess a large procoracoid foramen and are also distinct as regards DNA sequence. They may warrant separation in the old genus Hieraspiza.
Extant Accipiters range in size from the Little Sparrowhawk (A. minullus), in which the smallest males measure 20 cm (7.9 in) long, span 39 cm (15 in) across the wings and weigh 68 g (2.4 oz), to the Northern Goshawk (A. gentilis), in which the largest females measure 64 cm (25 in) long, span 127 cm (50 in) across the wings and weigh 2,200 g (4.9 lb). These birds are slender with short broad rounded wings and a long tail which helps them maneuver in flight. They have long legs and long sharp talons used to kill their prey, and a sharp hooked bill used in feeding. Females tend to be larger than males. They often ambush their prey, mainly small birds and mammals, capturing it after a short chase. The typical flight pattern is a series of flaps followed by a short glide. They are commonly found in wooded or shrubby areas.
The American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) is a large passerine bird species of the family Corvidae. It is a common bird found throughout much of North America. In the interior of the continent south of the Arctic, it is referred to as simply the "crow".
It is one of several species of corvid that are entirely black, though it can be distinguished from the other two such birds in its range—from the Common Raven (C. corax) by size and behavior and from the Fish Crow (C. ossifragus) by call (but see below). It is also distinguished from the Raven by its smaller bill.
American Crows are common, widespread and adaptable, but they are highly susceptible to the West Nile Virus. They are monitored as a bioindicator. Direct transmission of the virus from American Crows to humans is not recorded to date, and in any case not considered likely.
Although the American Crow and the Hooded Crow are very similar in size, structure and behavior, their calls are different. The American Crow nevertheless occupies the same role the Hooded Crow does in Eurasia.
The American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis), also known as the Eastern Goldfinch, is a small North American bird in the finch family. It is migratory, ranging from mid-Alberta to North Carolina during the breeding season, and from just south of the Canadian border to Mexico during the winter.
The only finch in its subfamily that undergoes a complete molt, the American Goldfinch displays sexual dimorphism in its coloration; the male is a vibrant yellow in the summer and an olive color during the winter months, while the female is a dull yellow-brown shade which brightens only slightly during the summer. The male displays brightly colored plumage during the breeding season to attract a mate.
The American Goldfinch is a granivore and adapted for the consumption of seedheads, with a conical beak to remove the seeds and agile feet to grip the stems of seedheads while feeding. It is a social bird, and will gather in large flocks while feeding and migrating. It may behave territorially during nest construction, but this aggression is short-lived. Its breeding season is tied to the peak of food supply, beginning in late July, which is relatively late in the year for a finch. This species is generally monogamous, and produces one brood each year.
Human activity has generally benefited the American Goldfinch. It is often found in residential areas, attracted to bird feeders which increase its survival rate in these areas. Deforestation also creates open meadow areas which are its preferred habitat.
The American Redstart is a smallish warbler. It measures 11 to 14 cm (4.3 to 5.5 in) in total length, has a wingspan of 16 to 23 cm (6.3 to 9.1 in) and weighs 6.7 to 12 cm (2.6 to 4.7 in). Among standard measurements, the wing chord is 5.5 to 6.9 cm (2.2 to 2.7 in), the tail is 4.9 to 5.8 cm (1.9 to 2.3 in), the bill is 0.7 to 0.9 cm (0.28 to 0.35 in) and the tarsus is 1.5 to 1.9 cm (0.59 to 0.75 in). The breeding males are unmistakable, jet black above apart from large orange-red patches on their wings and tails. Their breast sides are also orange, with the rest of their underparts colored white. In their other plumages, American Redstarts display green in their upperparts, along with black central tails and grey heads. The orange patches of the breeding males are replaced by yellow in the plumages of the females and young birds. Orange and yellow coloration is due to the presence of carotenoids; males possess the red carotenoid Canthaxanthin and the yellow carotenoids Canary Xanthophyll A and B, all of which mix together to produce an orange color, while the females possess only the yellow carotenoids. Recent research indicates that an age and sex effect on observed color attributes of hue, brightness, and saturation exists in American Redstarts, with the exception for saturation, which only showed an age effect. Their song is a series of musical see notes. Their call is a soft chip.
The American robin (Turdus migratorius), also known as the robin, is a migratory songbird of the thrush family. It is named after the European robin because of its reddish-orange breast, though the two species are not closely related, with the European robin belonging to the flycatcher family. The American robin is widely distributed throughout North America, wintering from southern Canada to central Mexico and along the Pacific Coast. It is the state bird of Connecticut, Michigan, and Wisconsin. According to some sources, the American robin ranks behind only the red-winged blackbird (and just ahead of the introducedEuropean starling) as the most abundant, extant land bird in North America. It has seven subspecies, but only T. m. confines of Baja California Sur is particularly distinctive, with pale gray-brown underparts.
The American robin is active mostly during the day and assembles in large flocks at night. Its diet consists of invertebrates (such as beetle grubs, earthworms, and caterpillars), fruits and berries. It is one of the earliest bird species to lay eggs, beginning to breed shortly after returning to its summer range from its winter range. Its nest consists of long coarse grass, twigs, paper, and feathers, and is smeared with mud and often cushioned with grass or other soft materials. It is among the first birds to sing at dawn, and its song consists of several discrete units that are repeated.
The adult robin is preyed upon by hawks, cats and larger snakes, but when feeding in flocks, it can be vigilant and watch other birds for reactions to predators. Brown-headed cowbirds lay eggs in robin nests (see brood parasite), but robins usually reject the cowbird eggs.
The Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) is a small icterid blackbird that commonly occurs in eastern North America as a migratory breeding bird. This bird received its name from the fact that the male's colors resemble those on the coat-of-arms of Lord Baltimore. Like all icterids called "orioles", it is named after an unrelated, physically similar family found in the Old World: the Oriolidae. At one time, this species and the Bullock's Oriole, Icterus bullockii, were considered to be a single species called the Northern Oriole.
The Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) is the most widespread species of swallow in the world. It is a distinctive passerine bird with blue upperparts, a long, deeply forked tail and curved, pointed wings. It is found in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. In Anglophone Europe it is just called the Swallow; in Northern Europe it is the only common species called a "swallow" rather than a "martin".
There are six subspecies of Barn Swallow, which breed across the Northern Hemisphere. Four are strongly migratory, and their wintering grounds cover much of the Southern Hemisphere as far south as central Argentina, the Cape Province of South Africa, and northern Australia. Its huge range means that the Barn Swallow is not endangered, although there may be local population declines due to specific threats.
The Barn Swallow is a bird of open country which normally uses man-made structures to breed and consequently has spread with human expansion. It builds a cup nest from mud pellets in barns or similar structures and feeds on insects caught in flight. This species lives in close association with humans, and its insect-eating habits mean that it is tolerated by man; this acceptance was reinforced in the past by superstitions regarding the bird and its nest. There are frequent cultural references to the Barn Swallow in literary and religious works due to both its living in close proximity to humans and its annual migration. The Barn Swallow is the national bird of Austria and Estonia.
The Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) is a large, conspicuous water kingfisher, the only member of that group commonly found in the northern United States and Canada. It is depicted on the 1986 series Canadian $5 note. All kingfishers were formerly placed in one family, Alcedinidae, but recent research suggests that this should be divided into three. All six New World kingfishers, together with three Old World species, make up the new family Cerylidae.
Black and White Warbler
The Black and White Warbler (Mniotilta varia) is a species of New World warbler, the only member of its genus, Mniotilta. It breeds in northern and eastern North America from the Northwest Territory and Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada to Florida. This species is migratory, wintering in Florida, Central America and the West Indies down to Peru. This species is a very rare vagrant to western Europe.
This species is 14 cm (6 in) long and weighs 11 g (0.39 oz). The summer male Black-and-white Warbler is boldly streaked in black and white, and the bird has been described as a flying humbug. There are two white wing bars. Female and juvenile plumages are similar, but duller and less streaked.
Its song is a high see wee-see wee-see wee-see wee-see wee-see or weesa weesa weetee weetee weetee weet weet weet. It has two calls, a hard tick, and a soft, thin fsss.
The breeding habitat is broadleaved or mixed woodland, preferably in wetter areas. Black-and-white Warblers nest on the ground, laying 4–5 eggs in a cup nest.
This bird feeds on insects and spiders, and unlike other warblers, forages like a nuthatch, moving up and down tree trunks and along branches.
Black-Bellied Whistling Duck
The black-bellied whistling duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis), formerly also called black-bellied tree duck, is a whistling duck that breeds from the southernmost United States and tropical Central to south-central South America. In the USA, it can be found year-round in parts of southeast Texas, and seasonally in southeast Arizona, and Louisiana’s Gulf Coast. It is a rare breeder in such disparate locations as Florida, Arkansas, Georgia, and South Carolina. There is a large population of several hundred that winter each year in Audubon Park in uptown New Orleans, Louisiana. Since it is one of only two whistling-duck species native to North America, it is occasionally just known as the “whistling duck” in the southern USA.
The Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) also known as the American Black Vulture, is a bird in the New World vulture family whose range extends from the southeastern United States to Central Chile and Uruguay in South America. Although a common and widespread species, it has a somewhat more restricted distribution than its compatriot, the Turkey Vulture, which breeds well into Canada and south to Tierra del Fuego. Despite the similar name and appearance, this species is unrelated to the Eurasian Black Vulture. The latter species is an Old World vulture in the family Accipitridae (which includes eagles, hawks, kites and harriers), whereas the American species is a New World vulture. It is the only extant member of the genus Coragyps, which is in the family Cathartidae. It inhabits relatively open areas which provide scattered forests or shrublands. With a wingspan of 1.5 m (4.9 ft), the Black Vulture is a large bird though relatively small for a vulture. It has black plumage, a featherless, grayish-black head and neck, and a short, hooked beak.
The Black Vulture is a scavenger and feeds on carrion, but will also eat eggs or kill newborn animals. In areas populated by humans, it also feeds at garbage dumps. It finds its meals either by using its keen eyesight or by following other (New World) vultures, which possess a keen sense of smell. Lacking a syrinx—the vocal organ of birds—its only vocalizations are grunts or low hisses. It lays its eggs in caves or hollow trees or on the bare ground, and generally raises two chicks each year, which it feeds by regurgitation. In the United States, the vulture receives legal protection under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. This vulture also appeared in Mayan codices.
The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea) is a very small songbird, 10–13 cm (3.9–5.1 in) in length and weighing only 5–7 g (0.18–0.25 oz). Adult males are blue-grey on the upperparts with white underparts, have a slender dark bill, and a long black tail edged in white. Females are less blue. Both sexes have a white eye ring.
The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher's breeding habitat includes open deciduous woods and shrublands in southern Ontario, the eastern and southwestern United States, and Mexico. Though gnatcatcher species are common and increasing in number while expanding to the northeast, it is the only one to breed in Eastern North America. They build a cup nest similar to a hummingbird's on a horizontal tree branch. The incubation period is 13 days for both sexes. Both parents construct the nest and feed the young; they may raise two broods in a season.
These birds migrate to the southern United States, Mexico, northern Central America-(Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras), Cuba, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Cayman Islands.
They forage actively in trees or shrubs, mainly eating insects, insect eggs and spiders. They may hover over foliage (gleaning), or fly to catch insects in flight (hawking).
The tail is often held upright while defending territory or searching for food.
The Blue-headed Vireo (Vireo solitarius) is a Neotropical migrating song bird found in North and Central America. There are currently two recognized sub-species that belong to the Blue-headed Vireo. It has a range that extends across Canada and the eastern coast of the United-States, Mexico and some of Central America. It prefers large temperate forests with a mix of evergreen trees and deciduous under growth.
As the name suggests, the Blue-headed Vireo is characterized by its blue-grey head and bold yellow wing bars. Both sexes are very similar in plumage and size. Juveniles also have a similar plumage.
Populations of the Blue-headed Vireo have been steadily increasing since the 1970s and has therefore been classified as a "Least Concern" species in 2004.
The blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata) is a passerine bird in the family Corvidae, native to North America. It is resident through most of eastern and central United States and southern Canada, although western populations may be migratory. It breeds in both deciduous and coniferous forests, and is common near and in residential areas. It is predominately blue with a white chest and underparts, and a blue crest. It has a black, U-shaped collar around its neck and a black border behind the crest. Sexes are similar in size and plumage, and plumage does not vary throughout the year. Four subspecies of the blue jay are recognized.
The blue jay mainly feeds on nuts and seeds such as acorns, soft fruits, arthropods, and occasionally small vertebrates. It typically gleans food from trees, shrubs, and the ground, though it sometimes hawks insects from the air. Like squirrels, blue jays are known to hide nuts for later consumption. It builds an open cup nest in the branches of a tree, which both sexes participate in constructing. The clutch can contain two to seven eggs, which are blueish or light brown with brown spots. Young are altricial, and are brooded by the female for 8–12 days after hatching. They may remain with their parents for one to two months.
The bird's name derives from its noisy, garrulous nature. It is sometimes called a "jaybird".
The Brown Creeper (Certhia americana), also known as the American Tree Creeper, is a small songbird, the only North American member of the treecreeper family Certhiidae.
Adults are brown on the upperparts with light spotting, resembling a piece of tree bark, with white underparts. They have a long thin bill with a slight downward curve and a long stiff tail used for support as the bird creeps upwards. The male creeper has a slightly larger bill than the female. The Brown creeper is 11.7–13.5 cm (4.6–5.3 in) long.
The brown thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) is a bird in the family Mimidae, which also includes the New World catbirds and mockingbirds. The dispersal of the brown thrasher is abundant throughout the eastern and central United States, southern and central Canada, and is the only thrasher to live primarily east of the Rockies and central Texas. It is the state bird of Georgia.
As a member of the genus Toxostoma, the bird is a large-sized thrasher. It has brown upper parts with a white under part with dark streaks. Because of this, it is often confused with the smaller wood thrush, among other species. The brown thrasher is noted for having over 1000 song types, and the largest song repertoire of birds. However, each note is usually repeated in two or three phrases.
The brown thrasher is an omnivore, with its diet ranging from insects to fruits and nuts. The usual nesting areas are shrubs, small trees, or at times on ground level. Brown thrashers are generally inconspicuous but territorial birds, especially when defending their nests, and will attack species as large as humans.
The Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis) is a small passerine bird in the tit family Paridae. It is often placed in the genus Parus with most other tits, but mtDNA cytochrome b sequence data and morphology suggest that separating Poecile more adequately expresses these birds' relationships (Gill et al., 2005). The American Ornithologists' Union has been treating Poecile as distinct genus for some time already.
Adults are 11.5–13 cm (4.5–5.1 in) long with a weight of 9–12 g (0.32–0.42 oz), and have a black cap and bib with white sides to the face. Their underparts are white with rusty brown on the flanks; their back is grey. They have a short dark bill, short wings and a moderately long tail. Very similar to the Black-capped Chickadee, the Carolina Chickadee is distinguished by the slightly browner wing with the greater coverts brown (not whitish fringed) and the white fringing on the secondary feathers slightly less conspicuous; the tail is also slightly shorter and more square-ended.
The Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) is a common species of wren, resident in the eastern half of the USA, the extreme south of Ontario, Canada, and the extreme northeast of Mexico. A distinct population in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, Belize and extreme north of Guatemala is treated either as a subspecies Thryothorus ludovicianus albinucha, or as a separate species, White-browed Wren (Thryothorus albinucha) . Following a 2006 review, these are the only wrens remaining in the genus Thryothorus. T. ludovicianus is the state bird of South Carolina; its specific name ludovicianus means "from Louisiana".
The cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) is a member of the family Bombycillidae or waxwing family of passerine birds. It is a medium sized, mostly brown, gray, and yellow bird named for its wax-like wing tips. It is a native of North and Central America, breeding in open wooded areas in southern Canada and wintering in the southern half of the United States, Central America, and the far northwest of South America. Its diet includes cedar cones, fruit, and insects. The Cedar Waxwing is not endangered.
The Chestnut-sided Warbler (Setophaga pensylvanica) is a New World warbler. They breed in eastern North America and in southern Canada westwards to the Canadian Prairies. They also breed in the Great Lakes region and in the eastern USA.
This species is a moderately-sized New World warbler. Despite having very different plumage, it is thought to be closely related to the widespread Yellow Warbler. In total, this species measures from 10 to 14 cm (3.9 to 5.5 in) in length and spans 16 to 21 cm (6.3 to 8.3 in) across the wings. Body weight ranges from 8 to 13.1 g (0.28 to 0.46 oz). Among standard measurements, the wing chord is 5.7 to 6.8 cm (2.2 to 2.7 in), the tail is 4.2 to 5.8 cm (1.7 to 2.3 in), the bill is 0.9 to 1 cm (0.35 to 0.39 in) and the tarsus is 1.7 to 1.9 cm (0.67 to 0.75 in).
In the summer, male Chestnut-sided Warblers are unmistakable in appearance. They display dark-streaked gray backs, white faces, black eyestripes and greenish crowns. Their underparts are white, with chestnut flanks, and they also have two white wing bars. The adult females resemble washed-out versions of the summer male, and in particular, the females lack the strong head pattern, and also have little to no chestnut coloring on their flanks.
Non-breeding birds of both sexes have greenish heads, and greenish upperparts which are usually unstreaked. They also have unstreaked pale grey breasts. Their wing bars are always present in their plumages. Their lack of streaking and greenish backs helps to distinguish this species from the larger Blackpoll Warbler in the fall.
The chimney swift (Chaetura pelagica) is a bird belonging to the swift family Apodidae. A member of the genus Chaetura, it is closely related to both the Vaux's swift and the Chapman's swift; in the past, the three were sometimes considered to be conspecific. It has no subspecies.
This is a medium-sized swift, measuring from 12 to 15 cm (4.7 to 5.9 in) in length,[nb 1] with a wingspan of 27 to 30 cm (11 to 12 in) and a weight ranging from 17 to 30 g (0.60 to 1.06 oz). The sexes are identical in plumage, though males average slightly heavier than females. The adult's plumage is a dark sooty olive above and grayish brown below, with a slightly paler rump and uppertail covert feathers, and a significantly paler throat. Its upperparts are the most uniformly colored of all the Chaetura swifts, showing little contrast between back and rump. Its beak is black, as are its feet and legs. Its iris is dark brown. Juvenal plumage (that held by juvenile birds) is very similar to that of adults, but with whitish tips to the outer webs of the secondaries and tertials.
The chimney swift's wings are slender, curved and long, extending as much as 1.5 in (3.8 cm) beyond the bird's tail when folded. Its wingtips are pointed, which helps to decrease air turbulence (and therefore drag) during flight. Its humerus (the bone in the inner part of the wing) is quite short, while the bones further out (more distally) along the wing are elongated, a combination which allows the bird to flap very quickly. In flight, it holds its wings stiffly, alternating between rapid, quivering flaps and longer glides. Its flight profile is widely described as a "cigar with wings"—a description first used by Roger Tory Peterson. Although the bird often appears to beat its wings asynchronously during flight, photographic and stroboscopic studies have shown that it beats them in unison. The illusion that it does otherwise is heightened by its very fast and highly erratic flight, with many rapid changes of direction.
The American cliff swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) is a member of the passerine bird family Hirundinidae — the swallows and martins.
It breeds in North America and is migratory, wintering in western South America from Venezuela southwards to northeast Argentina. This species is a very rare vagrant to western Europe.
This bird averages 13 cm (5.1 in) long with a tiny bill. The adult cliff swallow has an iridescent blue back and crown, brown wings and tail, and buff rump. The nape and forehead are white. The underparts are white except for a red face. The tail is square-ended.
Young birds are essentially brown above and whitish below, except for the buff rump and dark face. The only confusion species is the closely related cave swallow, which is richer in colour and has a cinnamon rump and forehead.
Adult Common Grackles measure from 28 to 34 cm (11 to 13 in) in length, span 36–46 cm (14–18 in) across the wings and weigh 74–142 g (2.6–5.0 oz). Common Grackles are less sexually dimorphic than larger grackle species but the differences between the sexes can still be noticeable. The male, which averages 122 g (4.3 oz), is larger than the female, at an average of 94 g (3.3 oz). Adults have a long, dark bill, pale yellowish eyes and a long tail; its feathers appear black with purple, green or blue iridescence on the head, and primarily bronze sheen in the body plumage. The adult female, beyond being smaller, is usually less iridescent; her tail in particular is shorter, and unlike the males, does not keel in flight and is brown with no purple or blue gloss. The juvenile is brown with dark brown eyes.
Common Yellowthroats are small songbirds that have olive backs, wings and tails, yellow throats and chests, and white bellies. Adult males have black face masks which stretch from the sides of the neck across the eyes and forehead, which are bordered above with white or gray. Females are similar in appearance, but have paler underparts and lack the black mask. Immature birds are similar in appearance to the adult female. First-year males have a faint black mask which darkens completely by spring.
There are 13 races of this bird. These races differ mainly in the males' facial patterns and the brightness of the yellow underparts. The southwestern forms of this bird are the brightest and the yellowest below.
Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) is a medium-sized hawk native to the North American continent and found from Southern Canada to Northern Mexico. As in many birds of prey, the male is smaller than the female. The birds found east of the Mississippi River tend to be larger on average than the birds found to the west.
Caracara is a genus of birds of prey in the family Falconidae found throughout a large part of the Americas. They are part of a group collectively referred to as caracaras. The modern species in the genus Caracara were previously considered conspecific (as "Crested Caracara", a name still widely used for the Northern Caracara) and were originally placed within the genus Polyborus.
The Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) is a member of the cormorant family of seabirds. It occurs along inland waterways as well as in coastal areas, and is widely distributed across North America, from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska down toFlorida and Mexico. Measuring 70–90 cm (28–35 in) in length, it is an all-black bird which gains a small double crest of black and white feathers in breeding season. It has a bare patch of orange-yellow facial skin. Five subspecies are recognized.
The Double-crested Cormorant is found near rivers, lakes and along the coastline. It mainly eats fish and hunts by swimming and diving. Its feathers, like those of all cormorants, are not waterproof and it must spend time drying them out after spending time in the water. Once threatened by use of DDT, the numbers of this bird have increased markedly in recent years.
Adult downy woodpeckers are the smallest of North America's woodpeckers but there are many smaller species elsewhere, especially the piculets. The total length of the species ranges from 14 to 18 cm (5.5 to 7.1 in) and the wingspan from 25 to 31 cm (9.8 to 12.2 in). Body mass ranges from 20 to 33 g (0.71 to 1.16 oz). Standard measurements are as follows: the wing chord is 8.5–10 cm (3.3–3.9 in), the tail is 4–6 cm (1.6–2.4 in), the bill is 1–1.8 cm (0.39–0.71 in) and the tarsus is 1.1–1.7 cm (0.43–0.67 in). The downy woodpecker is mainly black on the upperparts and wings, with a white back, throat and belly and white spotting on the wings. There is a white bar above the eye and one below. They have a black tail with white outer feathers barred with black. Adult males have a red patch on the back of the head whereas juvenile birds display a red cap.
The downy woodpecker is virtually identical in plumage pattern to the much larger hairy woodpecker, but it can be distinguished from the hairy by the presence of black spots on its white tail feathers and the length of its bill. The downy woodpecker's bill is shorter than its head, whereas the hairy woodpecker's bill is approximately equal to head length.
The downy woodpecker gives a number of vocalizations, including a short pik call. Like other woodpeckers, it also produces a drumming sound with its beak as it pecks into trees. Compared to other North American species its drums are slow.
The Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) is a small passerine bird. This tyrant flycatcher breeds in eastern North America, although its normal range does not include the southeastern coastal United States.
It is migratory, wintering in the southernmost USA and Central America. It is a very rare vagrant to western Europe. This is one of the first birds to return to the breeding grounds in spring and one of the last to leave in the fall. They arrive for breeding in mid-late March, but they return to winter quarters around the same time when other migrant songbirds do, in September and early October; migration times have stayed the same in the last 100 years.
This species appears remarkably big-headed, especially if it puffs up the small crest. Its plumage is gray-brown above. It has a white throat, dirty gray breast and buffish underparts which become whiter during the breeding season. Two indistinct buff bars are present on each wing. Its lack of an eye ring and wingbars, and its all dark bill distinguish it from other North American tyrant flycatchers, and it pumps its tail up and down like other phoebes when perching on a branch. The Eastern Phoebe's call is a sharp chip, and the song, from which it gets its name, is fee-bee.
The Eastern Wood Pewee (Contopus virens) is extremely similar in appearance and voice. It lacks the buff hue usually present on the lighter parts of the Eastern Phoebe's plumage, and thus has always clearly defined and contrasting wing-bars. It also does not bob its tail habitually, and appears on the breeding grounds much later though it leaves for winter quarters at about the same time as the Eastern Phoebe.
The breeding habitat of the Eastern Phoebe is open woodland, farmland and suburbs, often near water. This phoebe is insectivorous, and often perches conspicuously when seeking food items. It also eats fruits and berries in cooler weather.
It often nests on human structures such as bridges and buildings. Nesting activity may start as early as the first days of April. The nest is an open cup with a mud base and lined with moss and grass, built in crevice in a rock or man-made site; 2–6 eggs are laid. Both parents feed the young and usually raise two broods per year. The Eastern Phoebe is occasionally host to the nest-parasitic Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater).
The Eastern Wood Pewee (Contopus virens) is a small tyrant flycatcher from North America. This bird and the Western Wood Pewee (C. sordidulus) were formerly considered to be a single species. The two species are virtually identical in appearance, and can be distinguished most easily by their calls.
Adults are grey-olive on the upperparts with light underparts, washed with olive on the breast. They have two wing bars, and the primary remiges are long, giving the wingtip a slim and very pointed appearance. The upper part of the bill is dark, the lower part is yellowish. The songs are basically a mournful whistled pee-a'wee given in a series, which gave this bird its name, and a "we-aww" with a rising note at the end.
The genus Empidonax is a group of small insect-eating passerine birds in the tyrant flycatcher family, the Tyrannidae.
Most of these birds are remarkably similar in plumage: olive on the upper parts with light underparts, eye rings and wing bars. In the nesting season they may be distinguished by range, habitat and call; in other situations, particularly on migration and in winter, it may not be possible to be sure of specific identification.
Empidonax flycatchers often flick their wings and tails rapidly.
Euler's Flycatcher, Lathrotriccus euleri and Gray-breasted Flycatcher, Lathrotriccus griseipectus were formerly placed in Empidonax, but differ anatomically and biochemically and are now split as the genus Lathrotriccus.
The common starling (Sturnus vulgaris), also known as the European starling or in the British Isles just the starling, is a medium-sized passerine bird in the starling family Sturnidae. It is about 20 cm (8 in) long and has glossy black plumage, which is speckled with white at some times of year. The legs are pink and the bill is black in winter and yellow in summer; young birds have browner plumage than the adults. It is a noisy bird, especially in communal roosts and other gregarious situations, with an unmusical but varied song. Its gift for mimicry has been noted in literature including the Mabinogion and the works of Pliny the Elder and William Shakespeare.
The common starling has about a dozen subspecies breeding in open habitats across its native range in temperate Europe and western Asia, and it has been introduced to Australia, New Zealand, North America, South Africa and elsewhere. This bird is resident in southern and western Europe and southwestern Asia, while northeastern populations migrate south and west in winter within the breeding range and also further south to Iberia and north Africa. The common starling builds an untidy nest in a natural or artificial cavity in which four or five glossy, pale blue eggs are laid. These take two weeks to hatch and the young remain in the nest for another three weeks. There are normally one or two breeding attempts each year. This species is omnivorous, taking a wide range of invertebrates, as well as seeds and fruit. It is hunted by various mammals and birds of prey, and is host to a range of external and internal parasites.
Large flocks typical of this species can be beneficial to agriculture by controlling invertebrate pests; however, starlings can also be pests themselves when they feed on fruit and sprouting crops. Common starlings may also be a nuisance through the noise and mess caused by their large urban roosts. Introduced populations in particular have been subjected to a range of controls, including culling, but these have had limited success except in preventing the colonization of Western Australia. The species has declined in numbers in parts of northern and western Europe since the 1980s due to fewer grassland invertebrates being available as food for growing chicks. Despite this, its huge global population is not thought to be declining significantly, so the common starling is classified as being of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla) is a small sparrow. Adults have brown upperparts, a light brown breast, a white belly, wing bars and a forked tail. They have a grey face, a rusty crown, a white eye ring and a pink bill. Their breeding habitat is shrubby fields across eastern North America. The nest is an open cup on the ground under a clump of grass or in a small thicket. These birds are permanent residents in the southern parts of their range. Northern birds migrate to the southern United States and Mexico. These birds forage on the ground or in low vegetation, mainly eating insects and seeds. They may feed in small flocks outside the nesting season. The male sings from a higher perch, such as a shrub or fencepost, which indicates his ownership of the nesting territory. The song is a series of sad whistles ending in a trill, often compared to the accelerating sound of a bouncing ball. This bird's numbers expanded as settlers cleared forests in eastern North America, but may have declined in more recent times.
The Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa) is a very small songbird. Adults are olive-gray on the upperparts with white underparts, with thin bills and short tails. They have white wing bars, a black stripe through the eyes and a yellow crown surrounded by black. The adult male has an orange patch in the middle of the yellow crown. Their breeding habitat is coniferous forests across Canada, the northeastern and western United States, Mexico and Central America. They nest in a well-concealed hanging cup suspended from a conifer branch. These birds migrate to the United States. Some birds are permanent residents in coastal regions and in the southern parts of their range. Northern birds remain further north in winter than the Ruby-crowned Kinglet. They forage actively in trees or shrubs, mainly eating insects, insect eggs and spiders. They give a series of high-pitched calls on a single note, and tend not to fear human approach.
The gray catbird (Dumetella carolinensis), also spelled grey catbird, is a medium-sized northern American perching bird of the mimid family. It is the only member of the "catbird" genus Dumetella. Like the Black Catbird (Melanoptila glabrirostris), it is among the basal lineages of the Mimidae, probably a closer relative of the Caribbean thrasher and trembler assemblage than of the mockingbirds and Toxostoma thrashers. In some areas it is known as the Slate-colored Mockingbird.
Great Blue Heron
The great blue heron (Ardea herodias) is a large wading bird in the heron family Ardeidae, common near the shores of open water and in wetlands over most of North America and Central America as well as the Caribbean and the Galápagos Islands. It is a rare vagrant to Europe, with records from Spain, the Azores, England and the Netherlands. An all-white population found only in the Caribbean and southern Florida was once treated as a separate species and known as the great white heron.
Great Crested Flycatcher
The Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus) is a large insect-eating bird of the tyrant flycatcher family. It is the most widespread member of the genus, Myiarchus, in North America and is found over most of the eastern and mid-western portions of the continent. It dwells mostly in the treetops and rarely is found on the ground. Adult Great Crested Flycatchers usually measure between 17–21 cm (6.7–8.3 in) in length with a wingspan of around 34 cm (13 in). This bird usually weighs between 27–40 g (0.95–1.41 oz). The Great Crested Flycatcher does not display sexual dimorphism. All adults are brownish on the upperparts with yellow underparts; they have a long rusty brown tail and a bushy crest. Their throat and breast are grey.
Their breeding habitat is deciduous or mixed forests across eastern North America. They nest in a cavity in a tree. Usually a snake skin is included in the lining of the nest, but sometimes a plastic wrapper is substituted. They wait on a high perch and fly out to catch insects in flight. Sometimes they may be seen hovering to pick food off of vegetation, buildings, and even windows. They also eat fruits and berries. The call of these birds is a whistled weep. These birds migrate to Mexico and South America, as well as to Florida and Cuba.
The great egret (Ardea alba) also known as common egret, large egret or great white heron, is a large, widely distributed egret. Distributed across most of the tropical and warmer temperate regions of the world, in southern Europe it is rather localized. In North America it is more widely distributed, and it is ubiquitous across the Sun Belt of the United States and in the Neotropics. The Old World population is often referred to as the great white egret. This species is sometimes confused with the great white heron of the Caribbean, which is a white morph of the closely related great blue heron (A. herodias).
Great Horned Owl
The great horned owl (Bubo virginianus), also known as the tiger owl, is a large owl native to the Americas. It is an adaptable bird with a vast range and is the most widely distributed true owl in the Americas.
The great horned owl is the heaviest extant owl in Central and South America and is the second heaviest owl in North America, after the closely related but very different looking snowy owl (B. scandiacus). It ranges in length from 43–64 cm (17–25 in) and has a wingspan of 91–153 cm (36–60 in). Females are invariably somewhat larger than males. An average adult is around 55 cm (22 in) long with a 124 cm (49 in) wingspan and weighing about 1.4 kg (3.1 lb). Depending on subspecies, the great horned owl can weigh from 0.6 to 2.6 kg (1.3 to 5.7 lb). Among standard measurements, the tail measures 17.5–25 cm (6.9–9.8 in) long, the wing chord measures 31.3–40 cm (12.3–15.7 in), the tarsal length is 5.4–8 cm (2.1–3.1 in) and the bill is 3.3–5.2 cm (1.3–2.0 in).
There is considerable variation in plumage coloration but not in body shape. This is a heavily built, barrel-shaped species that has a large head and broad wings. Adults have large ear tufts and it is the only very large owl in its range to have them. The facial disc is reddish, brown or gray in color and there is a variable sized white patch on the throat. The iris is yellow, except in the amber-eyed South American great horned owl (B. V. nacurutu). Its "horns" are neither ears nor horns, simply tufts of feathers. The underparts are usually light with some brown barring; the upper parts are generally mottled brown. Most subspecies are barred along the sides as well. The legs and feet are covered in feathers up to the talons, with some black skin peeking out from around the talons. The feet and talons are distinctly large and powerful and only other Bubo owls have comparably formidable feet. There are individual and regional variations in color; birds from the subarctic are a washed-out, light-buff color, while those from Central America can be a dark chocolate brown.
Photographer Les Ruthven at Woodland Park
The Great-tailed Grackle or Mexican Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus) is a medium-sized, gregarious passerine bird native to North and South America. A member of the family Icteridae, it is one of ten extant species of grackle and is closely related to the Boat-tailed Grackle and the Slender-billed Grackle. It is sometimes referred to as a “blackbird”. It is a New World blackbird and unrelated to any of the five species of Old World blackbirds (all of which are species of the Turdus genus). Similarly, it is often called “cuervo” in areas of Mexico owing to its glossy black plumage, although it is not a member of the genus Corvus, nor even of the family Corvidae.
The green heron (Butorides virescens) is a small heron of North and Central America. It was long considered conspecific with its sister species the striated heron (Butorides striata), and together they were called "green-backed heron". Birds of the nominate subspecies (no matter which taxonomic arrangement is preferred) are extremely rare vagrants to western Europe; individuals from the Pacific coast of North America may similarly stray as far as Hawaii.
The green heron is relatively small; adult body length is about 44 cm (17 in). The neck is often pulled in tight against the body. Adults have a glossy, greenish-black cap, a greenish back and wings that are grey-black grading into green or blue, a chestnut neck with a white line down the front, grey underparts and short yellow legs. The bill is dark with a long, sharp point. Female adults tend to be smaller than males, and have duller and lighter plumage, particularly in the breeding season. Juveniles are duller, with the head sides, neck and underparts streaked brown and white, tan-splotched back and wing coverts, and greenish-yellow legs and bill. Hatchlings are covered in down feathers, light grey above, and white on the belly.
The green heron's call is a loud and sudden kyow; it also makes a series of more subdued kuk calls. During courtship, the male gives a raah-rahh call with wide-open bill, makes noisy wingbeats and whoom-whoom-whoom calls in flight, and sometimes calls roo-roo to the female before landing again. While sitting, an aaroo-aaroo courtship call is also given.
Gulls or seagulls are seabirds of the family Laridae in the sub-order Lari. They are most closely related to the terns (family Sternidae) and only distantly related to auks, skimmers, and more distantly to the waders. Until the twenty-first century most gulls were placed in the genus Larus, but this arrangement is now known to be polyphyletic, leading to the resurrection of several genera. An older name for gulls is mew, cognate with German "Möwe", Danish "måge", Dutch "meeuw" and French "mouette"; this term can still be found in certain regional dialects.
Gulls are typically medium to large birds, usually grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They typically have harsh wailing or squawking calls, stout, longish bills, and webbed feet. Most gulls, particularly Larus species, are ground-nesting carnivores, which will take live food or scavenge opportunistically. Live food often includes crabs and small fish. Gulls have unhinging jaws which allow them to consume large prey. Apart from the kittiwakes, gulls are typically coastal or inland species, rarely venturing far out to sea. The large species take up to four years to attain full adult plumage, but two years is typical for small gulls. Large White-Headed Gulls are typically long-lived birds, with a maximum age of 49 years recorded for the Herring Gull.
Gulls nest in large, densely packed noisy colonies. They lay two to three speckled eggs in nests composed of vegetation. The young are precocial, being born with dark mottled down, and mobile upon hatching.
Gulls—the larger species in particular—are resourceful, inquisitive and intelligent birds, demonstrating complex methods of communication and a highly developed social structure. For example, many gull colonies display mobbing behaviour, attacking and harassing would-be predators and other intruders. Certain species (e.g. the Herring Gull) have exhibited tool use behaviour, using pieces of bread as bait with which to catch goldfish, for example. Many species of gull have learned to coexist successfully with humans and have thrived in human habitats. Others rely on kleptoparasitism to get their food. Gulls have been observed preying on live whales, landing on the whale as it surfaces to peck out pieces of flesh.
The hermit thrush (Catharus guttatus) is a medium-sized North American thrush. It is not very closely related to the other North American migrant species of Catharus, but rather to the Mexican russet nightingale-thrush. This species measures 15 to 18 cm (5.9 to 7.1 in) in length, spans 25 to 30 cm (9.8 to 11.8 in) across the wings and weighs 18 to 37 g (0.63 to 1.31 oz). Among standard measurements, the wing chord is 7.8 to 11.1 cm (3.1 to 4.4 in), the bill is 1.6 to 1.9 cm (0.63 to 0.75 in) and the tarsus is 2.7 to 3.3 cm (1.1 to 1.3 in). It is more compact and stockier than other North American Catharus thrushes, with relatively longer wings. The Hermit Thrush has the white-dark-white underwing pattern characteristic of Catharus thrushes. Adults are mainly brown on the upperparts, with reddish tails. The underparts are white with dark spots on the breast and grey or brownish flanks. They have pink legs and a white eye ring. Birds in the east are more olive-brown on the upperparts; western birds are more grey-brown.
The House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) is a bird in the finch family Fringillidae, which is found in North America. This species and the other "American rosefinches" are placed in the genus Haemorhous by the American Ornithologists' Union but have usually been included in Carpodacus.
This is a moderately-sized finch. Adult birds are 12.5 to 15 cm (4.9 to 5.9 in) and span 20 to 25 cm (7.9 to 9.8 in). Body mass can vary from 16 to 27 g (0.56 to 0.95 oz), with an average weight of 21 g (0.74 oz). Among standard measurements, the wing chord is 7 to 8.4 cm (2.8 to 3.3 in), the tail is 5.7 to 6.5 cm (2.2 to 2.6 in), the culmen is 0.9 to 1.1 cm (0.35 to 0.43 in) and the tarsus is 1.6 to 1.8 cm (0.63 to 0.71 in). Adults have a long, square-tipped brown tail and are a brown or dull-brown color across the back with some shading into deep gray on the wing feathers. Breast and belly feathers may be streaked; the flanks usually are. In most cases, adult males' heads, necks and shoulders are reddish. This color sometimes extends to the belly and down the back, between the wings. Male coloration varies in intensity with the seasons and is derived from the berries and fruits in its diet. As a result, the colors range from pale straw-yellow through bright orange (both rare) to deep, intense red. Adult females have brown upperparts and streaked underparts.
The house sparrow (Passer domesticus) is a bird of the sparrow family Passeridae, found in most parts of the world. A small bird, it has a typical length of 16 cm (6.3 in) and a weight of 24–39.5 g (0.85–1.39 oz). Females and young birds are colored pale brown and grey, and males have brighter black, white, and brown markings. One of about 25 species in the genus Passer, the house sparrow is native to most of Europe, the Mediterranean region, and much of Asia. Its intentional or accidental introductions to many regions, including parts of Australia, Africa, and the Americas, make it the most widely distributed wild bird.
The house sparrow is strongly associated with human habitations, and can live in urban or rural settings. Though found in widely varied habitats and climates, it typically avoids extensive woodlands, grasslands, and deserts away from human development. It feeds mostly on the seeds of grains and weeds, but it is an opportunistic eater and commonly eats insects and many other foods. Its predators include domestic cats, hawks, owls, and many other predatory birds and mammals.
Because of its numbers, ubiquity and association with human settlements, the house sparrow is culturally prominent. It is extensively, and usually unsuccessfully, persecuted as an agricultural pest, but it has also often been kept as a pet as well as being a food item and a symbol of lust and sexual potency, as well as of commonness and vulgarity. Though it is widespread and abundant, its numbers have declined in some areas. The animal's conservation status is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.
The Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) is a small seed-eating bird in the family Cardinalidae. It is migratory, ranging from southern Canada to northern Florida during the breeding season, and from southern Florida to northern South America during the winter. It often migrates by night, using the stars to navigate. Its habitat is farmland, brush areas, and open woodland. The Indigo Bunting is closely related to the Lazuli Bunting and interbreeds with the species where their ranges overlap.
The Indigo Bunting is a small bird, with a length of 11.5–13 cm (4.5–5.1 in). It displays sexual dimorphism in its coloration; the male is a vibrant blue in the summer and a brown color during the winter months, while the female is brown year-round. The male displays brightly colored plumage during the breeding season to attract a mate. Nest-building and incubation are done solely by the female. The diet of the Indigo Bunting consists primarily of insects during the summer months and seeds during the winter months.
Little Blue Heron
The Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) is a small heron. It breeds from the Gulf states of the USA, through Central America and the Caribbean south to Peru and Uruguay. It is a resident breeder in most of its range, but some northern breeders migrate to the southeastern USA or beyond in winter. There is post-breeding dispersal to well north of the nesting range, as far as the Canada–United States border.
This species is about 60 cm (24 in) long, with a 102 cm (40 in) wingspan, and weighs 325 g (11.5 oz). It is a medium-large, long-legged heron with a long pointed blue or grayish bill with a black tip. Breeding adult birds have blue-grey plumage except for the head and neck, which are purplish and have long blue filamentous plumes. The legs and feet are dark blue. Sexes are similar back. Non-breeding adults have dark blue head and neck plumage and paler legs. Young birds are all white except for dark wing tips and have dull greenish legs. They gradually acquire blue plumage as they mature.
Photographer Les Ruthven at Woodland Park
The Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) is a passerine bird. It is the only member of the shrike family endemic to North America; the related Northern Shrike (L. excubitor) occurs north of its range but also in the Palearctic ecozone. The bird has a large hooked bill; the head and back are grey and the underparts white. The wings and tail are black, with white patches on the wings and white on the outer tail feather. The black face mask extends over the eye, unlike that of the similar but slightly larger Northern Shrike. The bird breeds in semi-open areas in southern Ontario, Quebec and the Canadian prairie provinces, south to Mexico. It nests in dense trees and shrubs. The female lays 4 to 8 eggs in a bulky cup made of twigs and grass. There is an increase in average clutch size as latitude increases.
The shrike is a permanent resident in the southern part of the range; northern birds migrate further south. The bird waits on a perch with open lines of sight and swoops down to capture prey. Its food is large insects, small birds and lizards. Known in many parts as the "Butcher Bird," it impales its prey on thorns or barbed wire before eating it, because it does not have the talons of the larger birds of prey. The bird decorates its impaled victim with feathers and bills in order to attract a mate. The population of this species has declined in the northeastern parts of its range, possibly due to loss of suitable habitat and pesticide use. "Loggerhead" refers to the relatively large head as compared to the rest of the body.
The Louisiana waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla) is a New World warbler, that breeds in eastern North America and winters in the West Indies and Central America. Plain brown above, it is white below, with black streaks and with buff flanks and undertail, distinguishing it from the closely related northern waterthrush. The habitats it prefers are streams and their surroundings, and other wet areas.
It breeds in eastern North America from southernmost Canada and south through the eastern United States, excluding Florida and the coast. The Louisiana waterthrush is migratory, wintering in Central America and the West Indies. This is a rare vagrant to the western United States. They are one of the earlier neotropical migrants to return to their breeding grounds in the spring, often completing their migration in late March or early April, which is almost two months before most other warblers reach their breeding grounds. They are also one of the earliest warblers to vacate their breeding grounds in fall, usually departing in early August.
The Magnolia Warbler (Setophaga magnolia) is a member of the wood warbler family Parulidae. This warbler was first discovered in magnolia trees in the 19th century by famed ornithologist Alexander Wilson while in Mississippi.
This species is a moderately small New World warbler. It measures 11 to 13 cm (4.3 to 5.1 in) in length and spans 16 to 20 cm (6.3 to 7.9 in) across the wings. Body mass in adult birds can range from 6.6 to 12.6 g (0.23 to 0.44 oz), though weights have reportedly ranged up to 15 g (0.53 oz) prior to migration. Among standard measurements, the wing chord is 5.4 to 6.4 cm (2.1 to 2.5 in), the tail is 4.6 to 5.2 cm (1.8 to 2.0 in), the bill is 0.8 to 1 cm (0.31 to 0.39 in) and the tarsus is 1.7 to 1.85 cm (0.67 to 0.73 in). The Magnolia Warbler can be distinguished by its coloration. The breeding males often have white, gray, and black backs with yellow on the sides; yellow and black-striped stomachs; white, gray, and black foreheads and beaks; distinct black tails with white stripes on the underside; and defined white patches on their wings, called wing bars. Breeding females usually have the same type of coloration as the males, except that their colors are much duller. Immature warblers also resemble the same dull coloration of the females. The yellow and black-striped stomachs help one to distinguish the males from other similar birds, like the Prairie Warbler and Kirtland's Warbler (which, however, have a breeding range to the south and east of the Magnolia Warbler's).
The Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) is a member of the dove family (Columbidae). The bird is also called the Turtle Dove or the American Mourning Dove or Rain Dove, and formerly was known as the Carolina Pigeon or Carolina Turtledove. It is one of the most abundant and widespread of all North American birds. It is also the leading gamebird, with more than 20 million birds (up to 70 million in some years) shot annually in the U.S., both for sport and for meat. Its ability to sustain its population under such pressure stems from its prolific breeding: in warm areas, one pair may raise up to six broods a year. Its plaintive woo-OO-oo-oo-oo call gives the bird its name. The wings can make an unusual whistling sound upon take-off and landing. The bird is a strong flier, capable of speeds up to 88 km/h (55 mph).
Mourning Doves are light grey and brown and generally muted in color. Males and females are similar in appearance. The species is generally monogamous, with two squabs (young) per brood. Both parents incubate and care for the young. Mourning Doves eat almost exclusively seeds, but the young are fed crop milk by their parents.
The Muscovy duck (Cairina moschata) is a large duck native to Mexico, Central, and South America. Small wild and feral breeding populations have established themselves in the United States, particularly in the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, as well as in many other parts of North America, including southern Canada. Feral Muscovy ducks are found in New Zealand and have also been reported in parts of Europe.
They are a large duck, with the males about 76 cm or 30 inches long, and weighing up to 7 kg or 15 pounds. Females are considerably smaller, and only grow to 3 kg or 7 pounds, roughly half the males' size. The bird is predominantly black and white, with the back feathers being iridescent and glossy in males, while the females are more drab. The amount of white on the neck and head is variable, as well as the bill, which can be yellow, pink, black, or any mixture of these. They may have white patches or bars on the wings, which become more noticeable during flight. Both sexes have pink or red wattles around the bill, those of the male being larger and more brightly colored.
Although the Muscovy duck is a tropical bird, it adapts well to cooler climates, thriving in weather as cold as −12°C (10°F) and able to survive even colder conditions. In general, Barbary duck is the term used for C. moschata in a culinary context.
The domestic breed, Cairina moschata forma domestica, is commonly known in Spanish as the pato criollo ("creole duck"). They have been bred since pre-Columbian times by Native Americans and are heavier and less able to fly long distances than the wild subspecies. Their plumage color are also more variable. Other names for the domestic breed in Spanish are pato casero ("backyard duck") and pato mudo ("mute duck").
The Neotropic Cormorant or Olivaceous Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) is a medium-sized cormorant found throughout the American tropics and subtropics, from the middle Rio Grande and the Gulf and Californian coasts of the USA south through Mexico and Central America to southern South America. It also breeds on the Bahamas, Cuba and Trinidad. It can be found both at coasts (including some mangrove areas) and on inland waters. There are at least two subspecies: P. b. mexicanus from Nicaragua northwards and P. b. brasilianus further south.
The northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) is a North American bird in the genus Cardinalis; it is also known colloquially as the redbird or common cardinal. It can be found in southern Canada, through the eastern United States from Maine to Texas and south through Mexico. It is found in woodlands, gardens, shrublands, and swamps.
The northern cardinal is a mid-sized songbird with a body length of 21 cm (8.3 in). It has a distinctive crest on the head and a mask on the face which is black in the male and gray in the female. The male is a vibrant red, while the female is a dull red-brown shade. The northern cardinal is mainly granivorous, but also feeds on insects and fruit. The male behaves territorially, marking out his territory with song. During courtship, the male feeds seed to the female beak-to-beak. A clutch of three to four eggs is laid, and two to four clutches are produced each year. It was once prized as a pet, but its sale as a cage bird is now banned in the United States by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.
The Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) is a medium-sized member of the woodpecker family. It is native to most of North America, parts of Central America, Cuba, the Cayman Islands, and is one of the few woodpecker species that migrate. There are over 100 common names for the Northern Flicker. Among them are: Yellowhammer, clape, gaffer woodpecker, harry-wicket, heigh-ho, wake-up, walk-up, wick-up, yarrup, and gawker bird. Many of these names are attempts at imitating some of its calls.
Adults are brown with black bars on the back and wings. A mid-to-large-sized woodpecker measures 28–36 cm (11–14 in) in length and 42–54 cm (17–21 in) in wingspan. The body mass can vary from 86 to 167 g (3.0 to 5.9 oz). Among standard scientific measurements, the wing bone measures 12.2–17.1 cm (4.8–6.7 in), the tail measures 7.5–11.5 cm (3.0–4.5 in), the bill measures 2.2–4.3 cm (0.87–1.69 in) and the tarsus measures 2.2–3.1 cm (0.87–1.22 in). The largest-bodied specimens are from the northern stretches of the species range, such as Alaska or Newfoundland and Labrador, whereas the smallest specimens come from Grand Cayman Island. A necklace-like black patch occupies the upper breast, while the lower breast and belly are beige with black spots. Males can be identified by a black or red moustachial stripe at the base of the beak. The tail is dark on top, transitioning to a white rump which is conspicuous in flight.
The Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) is the only mockingbird commonly found in North America. This bird is mainly a permanent resident, but northern birds may move south during harsh weather. This species has rarely been observed in Europe. This species was first described by Linnaeus in his Systema Naturæ in 1758 as Turdus polyglottos. The Northern Mockingbird is renowned for its mimicking ability, as reflected by the meaning of its scientific name, 'many-tongued mimic.' The Northern Mockingbird has gray to brown upper feathers and a paler belly. Its wings have white patches which are visible in flight.
The Northern Mockingbird is an omnivore. It eats both insects and fruits. It is often found in open areas and forest edges but forages in grassy land. The Northern Mockingbird breeds in southeastern Canada, the United States, northern Mexico, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and the Greater Antilles. It is replaced further south by its closest living relative, the Tropical Mockingbird. The Socorro Mockingbird, an endangered species, is also closely related, contrary to previous opinion. The Northern Mockingbird is listed as of Least Concern according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The Northern Mockingbird is known for its intelligence and has also been noted in North American culture. A 2009 study showed that the bird was able to recognize individual humans, particularly noting those who had previously been intruders or threats. Also birds recognize their breeding spots and return to areas in which they had greatest success in previous years. Urban birds are more likely to demonstrate this behavior. Finally, the mockingbird has influenced United States culture in multiple ways. The bird is a State bird of 5 states, has been used in book titles, and has also been used in popular songs and lullabies among other appearances in U.S. culture.
The Northern Parula (Setophaga americana) is a small New World warbler. It breeds in eastern North America from southern Canada to Florida. The Northern Parula is one of the smaller Northern migratory warblers, often being one of the smallest birds in a mixed feeding flock besides kinglets or gnatcatchers. Length is 10.8 to 12.4 cm (4.3 to 4.9 in), wingspan is 16 to 18 cm (6.3 to 7.1 in) and body mass is 5 to 11 g (0.18 to 0.39 oz). Among standard measurements, the wing chord is 5.1 to 6.5 cm (2.0 to 2.6 in), the tail is 3.7 to 4.5 cm (1.5 to 1.8 in), the bill is 0.8 to 1.1 cm (0.31 to 0.43 in) and the tarsus is 1.5 to 1.8 cm (0.59 to 0.71 in). This species has mainly blue-gray upper parts, with a greenish back patch and two white wing bars. The breast is yellowish shading into the white belly. The summer male has bluish and rufous breast bands and prominent white eye crescents. At the end of the breeding season, individuals molt into a duller version of the breeding plumage. Females are similar-looking but tend to be duller and lack the breast bands. The unique breastband fades in males and may disappear altogether in females.
Their song is a click-like trill or buzz, zeeeeee-yip. Their call is a soft chip.
The Northern Waterthrush (Parkesia noveboracensis) is one of the larger New World warblers. It breeds in the northern part of North America in Canada and the northern United States including Alaska. This bird is migratory, wintering in Central America, the West Indies and Florida, as well as in Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador. It is a very rare vagrant to other South American countries and to western Europe. The Northern Waterthrush is a large New World warbler. It has a length of 12–15 cm (4.7–5.9 in), wingspan of 21–24 cm (8.3–9.4 in) and weigh between 13–25 g (0.46–0.88 oz) Among standard measurements, the wing chord is 6.8 to 8.2 cm (2.7 to 3.2 in), the tail is 4.5 to 5.7 cm (1.8 to 2.2 in), the bill is 1.1 to 1.2 cm (0.43 to 0.47 in) and the tarsus is 1.9 to 2.3 cm (0.75 to 0.91 in). On the head, the crown is brown with a white supercilium. The bill is pointed and dark. The throat is lightly streaked brown to black with heavier streaking continuing onto the breast and flanks. The back is evenly brown. Sexes are morphologically similar. Young birds have buff, rather than white underparts.
The only species bird watchers confuse with the Northern Waterthrush is the closely related Louisiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla, which has buff flanks, a buff undertail, and bright pink legs. The Louisiana Waterthrush also has a whiter throat with fewer streaks. Both waterthrush species walk rather than hop, and seem to teeter, since they bob their rear ends as they move along.
Nutmeg Mannikin (Scaly-breasted Munia)
The scaly-breasted munia or spotted munia (Lonchura punctulata), known in the pet trade as nutmeg mannikin or spice finch, is a sparrow-sized estrildid finch native to tropical Asia. A species of the genus Lonchura, it was formally described and named by Carl Linnaeus in 1758. Its name is based on the distinct scale-like feather markings on the breast and belly. The adult is brown above and has a dark conical bill. The species has 11 subspecies across their range and differ slightly in size and colour.
This munia eats mainly on grass seeds apart from berries and small insects. They forage in flocks and communicate with soft calls and whistles. The species is highly social and may sometimes roost with other species of munias. This species is found in tropical plains and grasslands. Breeding pairs construct dome-shaped nests using grass or bamboo leaves.
The species is endemic to Asia and occurs from India and Sri Lanka east to Indonesia and the Philippines. It has been introduced into many other parts of the world and feral populations have established in Puerto Rico and Hispaniola as well as parts of Australia and the United States of America. The bird is listed as of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The Orange-cheeked Waxbill (Estrilda melpoda) is a common species of estrildid finch native to western and central Africa, with an estimated global extent of occurrence of 3,600,000 km². This species prefers to nest close to or directly on the ground in tangled clumps of tall grass. They will collect the surrounding grass stems together, especially old seed heads (panicles), helping to camouflage the structure. Fine white feathers line the interior where 3-6 tiny white eggs will be incubated for 13 days. Fledglings leave the nest around 23 days looking similar to their parents but sporting duller orange ear coverts for the first few months.
Orange cheeks like a lot of grass. They eat the seed heads, they forage at its roots for tiny insects, and build their nests directly in it. Some open tall shrubbery and dead, scraggly branches should be provided for roosting. The floor should be composed of a good, dry substrate. Otherwise, the enclosure should have stands of clump and/or runner grasses and reeds which grow 40 cm or taller. Care should be taken to establish walkways through the grass for maintaining the habitat so nests will not be stepped on.
Orange cheeks will nest in colonies or as single pairs. As noted, they usually prefer a location in a dense clump of grass or other very low vegetative growth. Nests may even be placed directly on the ground, which is why it should be kept as dry as possible. This location also begs invasion by vermin such as mice and rats, so rodent control is imperative. A feather pillow provides a good supply of fine feathers for lining.
The Orange-crowned Warbler (Vermivora celata) is a small songbird of the New World warbler family.
These birds are distinguished by their lack of wing bars, streaking on the underparts, strong face marking or bright colouring, resembling a fall Tennessee Warbler and a Black-throated Blue Warbler, both of which are also members of the New World warbler family. The orange patch on the crown is usually not visible. They have olive-grey upperparts, yellowish underparts with faint streaking and a thin pointed bill. They have a faint line over their eyes and a faint broken eye ring. Females and immatures are duller in colour than males. Western birds are yellower than eastern birds.
The Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius) is the smallest North American species of icterid blackbird. The subspecies of the Caribbean coast of Mexico, I. s. fuertesi, is sometimes considered a separate species, the Ochre Oriole.
This species is 6.3 in (16 cm) long and weighs 20 g (0.71 oz). The bill is pointed and black with some blue-gray at the base of the lower mandible (Howell and Webb 1995). The adult male of the nominate subspecies has chestnut on the underparts, shoulder, and rump, with the rest of the plumage black. In the subspecies I. s. fuertesi, the chestnut is replaced with ochre (Howell and Webb 1995). The adult female and the juvenile of both subspecies have olive-green on the upper parts and yellowish on the breast and belly. All adults have pointed bills and white wing bars. (Orchard Orioles are considered to be adults after their second year.) One-year-old males are yellow-greenish with a black bib.
The osprey (Pandion haliaetus), sometimes known as the sea hawk, fish eagle, river hawk or fish hawk, is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey. It is a large raptor, reaching more than 60 cm (24 in) in length and 180 cm (71 in) across the wings. It is brown on the upper-parts and predominantly grayish on the head and underparts.
The osprey tolerates a wide variety of habitats, nesting in any location near a body of water providing an adequate food supply. It is found on all continents except Antarctica, although in South America it occurs only as a non-breeding migrant.
As its other common name suggests, the osprey's diet consists almost exclusively of fish. It possesses specialized physical characteristics and exhibits unique behavior to assist in hunting and catching prey. As a result of these unique characteristics, it has been given its own taxonomic genus, Pandion and family, Pandionidae. Four subspecies are usually recognized, one of which has recently been given full species status (see below). Despite its propensity to nest near water, the osprey is not classed as a sea-eagle.
The ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla) is a small songbird of the New World warbler family Parulidae. This migratory bird breeds in eastern North America and winters in Central America, many Caribbean Islands, Florida, and northern Venezuela.
Ovenbirds are large wood warblers and is sometimes confused by the untrained for a thrush. Adults measure 11–16 cm (4.3–6.3 in) long and span 19–26 cm (7.5–10.2 in) across the wings. They weigh 19 g (0.67 oz) on average, with a range of 14–28.8 g (0.49–1.02 oz). Among standard measurements, the wing chord is 6.8 to 8.3 cm (2.7 to 3.3 in), the tail is 5 to 5.8 cm (2.0 to 2.3 in), the bill is 1.1 to 1.3 cm (0.43 to 0.51 in) and the tarsus is 2 to 2.3 cm (0.79 to 0.91 in). They tend to be heavier in winter and particularly at the start of their migration. They have olive-brown upperparts and white underparts heavily streaked with black; the flanks have an olive hue. A white ring surrounds the eyes, and a black stripe runs below the cheek. They have a line of orange feathers with olive-green tips running along the top of their head, bordered on each side with blackish-brown. The orange feathers can be erected to form a small crest. The eyes and the upper part of the thin pointed beak are dark, while the lower beak is horn-colored and the legs and feet are pinkish.
Males and females look alike. Immature birds have tawny fringes to the tertiary remiges and sometimes buff-tipped outer primary wing coverts. Most conspicuously, the olive-green tips of the crown feathers, which are hardly visible in adult birds, are far larger in extent in immatures and cover the orange crown-stripe almost or completely.
The painted bunting (Passerina ciris) is a species of bird in the Cardinal family, Cardinalidae, that is native to North America. The male painted bunting is often described as the most beautiful bird in North America. Its colors, dark blue head, green back, red rump, and underparts, make it extremely easy to identify, but it can still be difficult to spot since it often skulks in foliage even when it is singing. The plumage of female and juvenile painted buntings is green and yellow-green, serving as camouflage. Once seen, the adult female is still distinctive, since it is a brighter, truer green than other similar songbirds. Adult painted buntings can measure 12–14 cm (4.7–5.5 in) in length, span 21–23 cm (8.3–9.1 in) across the wings and weigh 13–19 g (0.46–0.67 oz).
The Pine Warbler (Setophaga pinus) is a small songbird of the New World warbler family. These birds have white bellies, white wing bars, dark legs and thin, relatively long pointed bills; they have yellowish lines over their eyes. Adult males have olive upper-parts and bright yellow throats and breasts; females and immatures display upper-parts which are olive-brown. Their throats and breasts are paler.
The song of this bird is a musical trill. Their calls are slurred chips.
The Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) is a small songbird of the New World warbler family. It is the only member of the genus Protonotaria.
The Prothonotary Warbler is 13 centimetres (5.1 in) long and weighs 12.5 grams (0.44 oz). It has an olive back with blue-grey wings and tail, yellow underparts, a relatively long pointed bill and black legs. The adult male has a bright orange-yellow head. Females and immature birds are duller and have a yellow head. In flight from below, the short, wide tail has a distinctive two-toned pattern, white at the base and dark at the tip.
The purple martin (Progne subis) is the largest North American swallow. These aerial acrobats have speed and agility in flight, and when approaching their housing, will dive from the sky at great speeds with their wings tucked. Purple martins are a kind of swallow, of the genus Progne. Like other members of this genus, they are larger than most of the other swallows. The average length from bill to tail is 20 cm (7.9 in). Adults have a slightly forked tail. Adult males are entirely black with glossy steel blue sheen, the only swallow in North America with such coloration. Adult females are dark on top with some steel blue sheen, and lighter underparts. Subadult females look similar to adult females minus the steel blue sheen and browner on the back. Subadult males look very much like females, but solid black feathers emerge on their chest in a blotchy, random pattern as they molt to their adult plumage.
This species was first described by Linnaeus in his Systema naturae in 1758 as Hirundo subis. The species of this genus are very closely related, and some view the purple martin, gray-breasted martin, snowy-bellied martin, and southern martin, as a super-species.
The Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) is a medium-sized woodpecker of the Picidae family. It breeds in southern Canada and the northeastern United States, ranging as far south as Florida and as far west as Texas. Its common name is somewhat misleading, as the most prominent red part of its plumage is on the head; the Red-headed Woodpecker, however, is another species that is a rather close relative but looks quite different. It was first described in Linnaeus' Systema Naturae, as Picus carolinus. The type locality is given simply as "America septentrionalis" (North America).
Adults are mainly light gray on the face and underparts; they have black and white barred patterns on their back, wings and tail. Adult males have a red cap going from the bill to the nape; females have a red patch on the nape and another above the bill. The reddish tinge on the belly that gives the bird its name is difficult to see in field identification. They are 22.85 to 26.7 cm (9.00 to 10.51 in) long, and have a wingspan of 38 to 46 cm (15 to 18 in).
The red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus) is a medium-sized hawk. Its breeding range spans eastern North America and along the coast of California and northern to northeastern-central Mexico. Red-shouldered hawks are permanent residents throughout most of their range, though northern birds do migrate, mostly to central Mexico. The main conservation threat to the widespread species is deforestation.
Males are 38 to 58 cm (15 to 23 in) long and weigh on average 550 g (1.21 lb). Females are slightly larger at 47 to 61 cm (19 to 24 in) in length and a mean weight of 700 g (1.5 lb). The wingspan can range from 90 to 127 cm (35 to 50 in). Adult birds can vary in mass from 460 to 930 g (1.01 to 2.05 lb). Among standard measurements, the wing bone is 28–35 cm (11–14 in) long, the tail is 16–24 cm (6.3–9.4 in) long and the tarsus is 7.5–9 cm (3.0–3.5 in). Adults have brownish heads, reddish chests, and pale bellies with reddish bars. Their tails, which are quite long by Buteo standards, are marked with narrow white bars. Red "shoulders" are visible when the birds are perched. These hawks' upper parts are dark with pale spots and they have long yellow legs. Western birds may appear more red, while Florida birds are generally paler. The wings of adults are more heavily barred on the upper side. Juvenile red-shouldered hawks are most likely to be confused with juvenile Broad-winged Hawks, but can be distinguished by their long tails, crescent-like wing markings, and a more flapping, Accipiter-like flight style. In direct comparison, it is typically larger and longer proportioned than the Broad-wing, though is slightly smaller and more slender than most other common North American Buteos. This bird is sometimes also confused with the widespread Red-tailed Hawk. That species is larger and bulkier, with more even-sized, broad wings and is paler underneath, with a reddish tail often apparent. The Red-tail is also more likely to soar steadily, with wings in a slight dihedral.
The red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) is a bird of prey, one of three species colloquially known in the United States as the "chickenhawk," though it rarely preys on standard sized chickens. It breeds throughout most of North America, from western Alaska and northern Canada to as far south as Panama and the West Indies, and is one of the most common buteos in North America. Red-tailed hawks can acclimate to all the biomes within their range. There are fourteen recognized subspecies, which vary in appearance and range. It is one of the largest members of the genus Buteo in North America, typically weighing from 690 to 1,600 g (1.52 to 3.53 lb) and measuring 45–65 cm (18–26 in) in length, with a wingspan from 110–145 cm (43–57 in). The red-tailed hawk displays sexual dimorphism in size, with females averaging about 25% heavier than males. The bird is sometimes referred to as the red-tail for short, when the meaning in clear in context.
The subspecies Harlan's Hawk (B. j. harlani) is sometimes considered a separate species (B. harlani).
The red-tailed hawk occupies a wide range of habitats and altitudes, including deserts, grasslands, coniferous and deciduous forests, tropical rainforests, agricultural fields and urban areas. It lives throughout the North American continent, except in areas of unbroken forest or the high arctic. It is legally protected in Canada, Mexico and the United States by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Because they are so common and easily trained as capable hunters, the majority of hawks captured for falconry in the United States are red-tails. Falconers are permitted to take only passage hawks (which have left the nest, are on their own, but are less than a year old) so as to not affect the breeding population. Adults, which may be breeding or rearing chicks, may not be taken for falconry purposes and it is illegal to do so. Passage red-tailed hawks are also preferred by falconers because these younger birds have not yet developed adult behaviors, which will make training substantially more challenging.
The Red-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer) is a member of the bulbul family of passerines. It is resident breeder across the Indian Subcontinent, including Sri Lanka extending east to Burma and parts of Tibet. It has been introduced in many other parts of the world and has established itself in the wild on several Pacific islands including Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, and Hawaii. It has also established itself in parts of Dubai, the United Arab Emirates and New Zealand. It is included in the list of the world's 100 worst invasive alien species.
The Red-vented Bulbul is easily identified by its short crest giving the head a squarish appearance. The body is dark brown with a scaly pattern while the head is darker or black. The rump is white while the vent is red. The black tail is tipped in white. The Himalayan races have a more prominent crest and are more streaked on the underside. The race intermedius of the Western Himalayas has a black hood extending to the mid-breast. Population bengalensis of Central and Eastern Himalayas and the Gangetic plain has a dark hood, lacks the scale like pattern on the underside and instead has dark streaks on the paler lower belly. Race stanfordi of the South Assam hills is similar to intermedius. The desert race humayuni has a paler brown mantle. The nominate race cafer is found in Peninsular India. Northeast Indian race wetmorei is between cafer, humayuni and bengalensis. about 20 cm in length, with a long tail. Sri Lankan race haemorrhous has a dark mantle with narrow pale edges. Race humayuni is known to hybridize with Pycnonotus leucogenys and these hybrids were once described as a subspecies magrathi marked by their pale rumps and yellow-orange or pink vents. In eastern Myanmar there is some natural hybridization with Pycnonotus aurigaster.
Sexes are similar in plumage, but young birds are duller than adults. The typical call has been transcribed as ginger beer but a number of sharp single note calls likened as pick are also produced. Their alarm calls are usually responded to and heeded by many other species of bird.
The rock dove (Columba livia) or rock pigeon is a member of the bird family Columbidae (doves and pigeons). In common usage, this bird is often simply referred to as the “pigeon”.The species includes the domestic pigeon (including the fancy pigeon), and escaped domestic pigeons have given rise to feral populations around the world.
Wild rock doves are pale grey with two black bars on each wing, while domestic and feral pigeons are very variable in color and pattern. There are few visible differences between males and females. The species is generally monogamous, with two squabs (young) per brood. Both parents care for the young for a time.
Habitats include various open and semi-open environments. Cliffs and rock ledges are used for roosting and breeding in the wild. Originally found wild in Europe, North Africa, and western Asia, feral pigeons have become established in cities around the world. The species is abundant, with an estimated population of 17 to 28 million feral and wild birds in Europe.
The rose-breasted grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) is a large insect-eating songbird in the family Cardinalidae. It is primarily a foliage gleaner. It breeds in cool-temperate North America, migrating to tropical America in winter. Adult birds are 18–22 cm (7.1–8.7 in) long, span 29–33 cm (11–13 in) across the wings and weigh 35–65 g (1.2–2.3 oz), with an average of 46 g (1.6 oz). At all ages and in both sexes, the beak is dusky horn-colored, and the feet and eyes are dark.
The adult male in breeding plumage has a black head, wings, back and tail, and a bright rose-red patch on its breast; the wings have two white patches and rose-red linings. Its underside and rump are white. Males in nonbreeding plumage have largely white underparts, supercilium and cheeks. The upperside feathers have brown fringes, most wing feathers white ones, giving a scaly appearance. The bases of the primary remiges are also white.
The adult female has dark grey-brown upperparts – darker on wings and tail –, a white supercilium, a buff stripe along the top of the head, and black-streaked white underparts, which except in the center of the belly have a buff tinge. The wing linings are yellowish, and on the upperwing there are two white patches like in the summer male. Immatures are similar, but with pink wing-linings and less prominent streaks and usually a pinkish-buff hue on the throat and breast. At one year of age—in their first breeding season—males are scaly above like fully adult males in winter plumage, and still retail the immature's browner wings.
The song is a subdued mellow warbling, resembling a more refined version of the American robin's (Turdus migratorius). Males start singing early, occasionally even when still in winter quarters. The call is a sharp pink or pick.
The Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) (sometimes placed in its own genus Ajaja) is a gregarious wading bird of the ibis and spoonbill family, Threskiornithidae. It is a resident breeder in South America mostly east of the Andes, and in coastal regions of the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, the Gulf Coast of the United States and on Central Florida's Atlantic coast Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge adjoined with NASA Kennedy Space Center.
The Roseate Spoonbill is 71–86 cm (28–34 in) long, with a 120–133 cm (47–52 in) wingspan and a body mass of 1.2–1.8 kg (2.6–4.0 lb). The tarsus measures 9.7–12.4 cm (3.8–4.9 in), the culmen measures 14.5–18 cm (5.7–7.1 in) and the wing measures 32.3–37.5 cm (12.7–14.8 in) and thus the legs, bill, neck and spatulate bill all appear elongated. Adults have a bare greenish head ("golden buff" when breeding) and a white neck, back, and breast (with a tuft of pink feathers in the center when breeding), and are otherwise a deep pink. The bill is grey. There is no significant sexual dimorphism.
Like the American Flamingo, their pink color is diet-derived, consisting of the carotenoid pigment canthaxanthin. Another carotenoid, astaxanthin, can also be found deposited in flight and body feathers. The colors can range from pale pink to bright magenta, depending on age and location. Unlike herons, spoonbills fly with their necks outstretched. They alternate groups of stiff, shallow wingbeats with glides.
The Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) is a very small passerine bird found throughout North America. It is a member of the kinglet family. The bird has olive-green plumage with two white wing bars and a white eye-ring. Males have a red crown patch, which is usually concealed. The sexes are identical (apart from the crown), and juveniles are similar in plumage to adults. It is one of the smallest songbirds in North America. The Ruby-crowned Kinglet is not closely related to other kinglets, and is put in its own subgenus, Corthylio. Three subspecies are currently recognized.
The kinglet is migratory, and its range extends from northwest Canada and Alaska south to Mexico. Its breeding habitat is spruce-fir forests in the northern, mountainous, United States and Canada. The Ruby-crowned Kinglet builds a cup-shaped nest, which may be pensile or placed on a tree branch and is often hidden. It lays up to 12 eggs, and has the largest clutch of any North American passerine for its size. It is mainly insectivorous, but also eats fruits and seeds.
The ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) is a species of hummingbird. As with all hummingbirds, this species belongs to the family Trochilidae and is currently included in the order Apodiformes. This small animal is the only species of hummingbird that regularly nests east of the Mississippi River in North America.
The ruby-throated hummingbird is the smallest bird species that breeds in the Eastern United States and Eastern Canada. This hummingbird is from 7 to 9 cm (2.8 to 3.5 in) long and has an 8 to 11 cm (3.1 to 4.3 in) wingspan. Weight can range from 2 to 6 g (0.071 to 0.212 oz), with males averaging 3.4 g (0.12 oz) against the slightly larger female which averages 3.8 g (0.13 oz). Adults are metallic green above and greyish white below, with near-black wings. Their bill, at up to 2 cm (0.79 in), is long, straight, and very slender. As in all hummingbirds, the toes and feet of this species are quite small, with a middle toe of around 0.6 cm (0.24 in) and a tarsus of approximately 0.4 cm (0.16 in). The ruby-throated hummingbird can only fox-trot if it wants to move along a branch, though it can scratch its head and neck with its feet.
The species is sexually dimorphic. The adult male has a gorget (throat patch) of iridescent ruby red bordered narrowly with velvety black on the upper margin and a forked black tail with a faint violet sheen. The red iridescence is highly directional and appears dull black from many angles. The female has a notched tail with outer feathers banded in green, black, and white and a red throat that may be plain or lightly marked with dusky streaks or stipples. Males are smaller than females and have slightly shorter bills. Juvenile males resemble adult females, though usually with heavier throat markings. The plumage is molted once a year, beginning in late summer.
The Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) is a medium-sized American songbird. Until recently placed in the tanager family (Thraupidae), it and other members of its genus are now classified as belonging the cardinal family (Cardinalidae). The species' plumage and vocalizations are similar to other members of the cardinal family, although the Piranga species lacks the thick conical bill (well suited for seed-eating in addition to insectivory) that many "cardinals" possess. The Scarlet Tanager, a mid-sized passerine, is marginally the smallest of the four species of Piranga that breed north of the Mexican border. It can weigh from 23.5 to 38 g (0.83 to 1.34 oz), with an average of 25 g (0.88 oz) during breeding and an average of 35 g (1.2 oz) at the beginning of migration. Scarlet Tanagers can range in length from 16 to 19 cm (6.3 to 7.5 in) in length and from 25 to 30 cm (9.8 to 11.8 in) in wingspan. Adults of both sexes have pale horn-colored, fairly stout and smooth-textured bills. Adult males are crimson-red with black wings and tail. His famous red coloration is more intense and deeply red than the males of two occasionally co-existing relatives, the Northern Cardinal and the Summer Tanager, both which lack the black wings of the Scarlet and instead are an olive or brownish hued red on their wings. Females, on the other hand, are yellowish on the underparts and olive on top, with yellow-olive-toned wings and tail. The adult male's winter plumage is similar to the female's, but the wings and tail remain darker. Young males briefly show a more complex variegated plumage intermediate between adult males and females. The somewhat confusing specific epithet olivacea ("the olive-colored one") was based on a female or immature specimen rather than erythromelas ("the red-and-black one"), which authors attempted to ascribe to the species throughout the 19th century (older scientific names always takes precedence, however).
Female, immature and non-breeding males must be distinguished from the same ages and sexes in Summer Tanagers, which are more brownish overall, and Western Tanagers, which always have bold white bars and more yellowish undersides than Scarlet Tanagers.The song of the Scarlet Tanager sounds somewhat like a hoarser version of the American Robin's song and only scarcely dissimilar from the songs of the Summer and Western Tanagers. The call of the Scarlet Tanager is an immediately distinctive chip-burr or chip-churr, which is very different from the pit-i-tuck of the Summer Tanager and the softer, rolled pri-tic or prit-i-tic of Western Tanager.
The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus), also known as the Texas bird-of-paradise and Swallow-tailed Flycatcher, is a long-tailed insectivorous (insect-eating) bird of the genus Tyrannus, whose members are collectively referred to as kingbirds. The kingbirds are a group of large insectivorous birds in the tyrant flycatcher (Tyrannidae) family. The scissor-tailed flycatcher is found in North and Central America. Adult birds have pale gray heads and upper parts, light underparts, salmon-pink flanks, and dark gray wings. Their extremely long, forked tails, which are black on top and white on the underside, are characteristic and unmistakable. At maturity, the bird may be up to 14.5 inches (37 cm) in length. Immature birds are duller in color and have shorter tails. A lot of these birds have been reported to be more than 40 cm.
They build a cup nest in isolated trees or shrubs, sometimes using artificial sites such as telephone poles near towns. The male performs a spectacular aerial display during courtship with his long tail forks streaming out behind him. Both parents feed the young. Like other kingbirds, they are very aggressive in defending their nest. Clutches contain three to six eggs.
In the summer, Scissor-tailed flycatchers feed mainly on insects (grasshoppers, robber-flies, and dragonflies), which they may catch by waiting on a perch and then flying out to catch them in flight (hawking). For additional food in the winter they will also eat some berries.
The snow goose (Chen caerulescens), also known as the blue goose, is a North American species of goose. Its name derives from the typically white plumage. The genus of this bird is disputed. The American Ornithologists' Union and BirdLife International place this species and the other "white geese" in the Chen genus, while other authorities follow the traditional treatment of placing these species in the "gray goose" genus Anser.
This goose breeds north of the timberline in Greenland, Canada, Alaska, and the northeastern tip of Siberia, and winters in warm parts of North America from southwestern British Columbia through parts of the United States to Mexico. It is a rare vagrant to Europe, but a frequent escape from collections and an occasional feral breeder. Snow geese are visitors to the British Isles where they are seen regularly among flocks of barnacle, Brent and Greenland white-fronted geese. There is also a feral population in Scotland from which many vagrant birds in Britain seem to derive.
In Central America, vagrants are frequently encountered during winter.
The Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) is a small white heron. It is the American counterpart to the very similar Old World Little Egret, which has established a foothold in the Bahamas.
Adults are typically 61 cm (24 in) long and weigh 375 g (0.827 lb) They have a slim black bill and long black legs with yellow feet. The area of the upper bill, in front of the eyes, is yellow but turns red during the breeding season, when the adults also gain recurved plumes on the back, making for a "shaggy" effect. The juvenile looks similar to the adult, but the base of the bill is paler, and a green or yellow line runs down the back of the legs.
Their breeding habitat is large inland and coastal wetlands from the lower Great Lakes and southwestern United States to South America. The breeding range in eastern North America extends along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts from Maine to Texas, and inland along major rivers and lakes. They nest in colonies, often with other waders, usually on platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs. Their flat, shallow nests are made of sticks and lined with fine twigs and rushes. Three to four greenish-blue, oval eggs are incubated by both adults. The young leave the nest in 20 to 25 days and hop about on branches near the nest before finally departing.
In warmer locations, some Snowy Egret are permanent residents; northern populations migrate to Central America and the West Indies. They may wander north after the breeding season, very rarely venturing to western Europe—the first bird sighted in Britain wintered in Scotland from 2001–2002.
The birds eat fish, crustaceans, insects and small reptiles. They stalk prey in shallow water, often running or shuffling their feet, flushing prey into view, as well "dip-fishing" by flying with their feet just over the water. Snowy Egrets may also stand still and wait to ambush prey, or hunt for insects stirred up by domestic animals in open fields.
At one time, the beautiful plumes of the Snowy Egret were in great demand by market hunters as decorations for women's hats. This reduced the population of the species to dangerously low levels. Now protected in the USA by law, under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, this bird's population has rebounded.
The sparrows are a family of small passerine birds, Passeridae. They are also known as true sparrows, or Old World sparrows, names also used for a genus of the family Passer. They are distinct from both the American sparrows, in the family Emberizidae, and from a few other birds sharing their name, such as the Java sparrow of the family Estrildidae. Many species nest on buildings, and the house and Eurasian tree sparrows in particular inhabit cities in large numbers, so sparrows may be the most familiar of all wild birds. They are primarily seed-eaters, though they also consume small insects. Some species scavenge for food around cities and, like gulls or rock pigeons, will happily eat virtually anything in small quantities. Generally, sparrows are small, plump, brown-grey birds with short tails and stubby, powerful beaks. The differences between sparrow species can be subtle. Members of this family range in size from the chestnut sparrow (Passer eminibey), at 11.4 centimeters (4.5 in) and 13.4 grams (0.47 oz), to the parrot-billed sparrow (Passer gongonensis), at 18 centimeters (7.1 in) and 42 grams (1.5 oz). Sparrows are physically similar to other seed-eating birds, such as finches, but have a vestigial dorsal outer primary feather and an extra bone in the tongue. This bone, the preglossale, helps stiffen the tongue when holding seeds. Other adaptations towards eating seeds are specialized bills and elongated and specialized alimentary canals.
Swainson's Hawk (Buteo swainsoni), is a large Buteo hawk of the Falconiformes, sometimes separated in the Accipitriformes like its relatives. This species was named after William Swainson, a British naturalist. It is colloquially known as the Grasshopper Hawk or Locust Hawk, as it is very fond of Acrididae (locusts and grasshoppers) and will voraciously eat these insects whenever they are available.
Their breeding habitat is prairie and dry grasslands in western North America. They build a stick nest in a tree or shrub or on a cliff edge. This species is a long-distance migrant, wintering in Argentina; there is a single record of a vagrant from Norway.
This species or its immediate predecessor is the ancestor of the Galápagos Hawk, as demonstrated by recent research. The latter diverged from the mainland birds perhaps 300,000 years ago, a very short time in evolution.
Swainson's thrush (Catharus ustulatus), also called olive-backed thrush, is a medium-sized thrush. It is a member of Catharus genus and is typical of it in terms of its subdued coloration and beautiful voice. Swainson's thrush was named after William Swainson, an English ornithologist.
The breeding habitat of Swainson's thrush is coniferous woods with dense undergrowth across Canada, Alaska, and the northern United States; also, deciduous wooded areas on the Pacific coast of North America.
These birds migrate to southern Mexico and as far south as Argentina. The coastal subspecies migrate down the Pacific coast of North America and winter from Mexico to Costa Rica, whereas the continental birds migrate eastwards within North America (a substantial detour) and then travel southwards via Florida to winter from Panama to Bolivia. Swainson's thrush is a very rare vagrant to western Europe. It has also occurred as a vagrant in northeast Asia.
This species may be displaced by the hermit thrush where their ranges overlap. Possibly, the latter species adapts more readily to human encroachment upon its habitat. At least in the winter quarters, Swainson's thrush tends to keep away from areas of human construction and other activity.
The swamp sparrow (Melospiza georgiana) is a medium-sized sparrow related to the Song Sparrow.
Adults have streaked rusty, buff and black upperparts with an unstreaked gray breast, light belly and a white throat. The wings are strikingly rusty. Most males and a few females have a rust-colored caps. Their face is gray with a dark line through the eye. They have a short bill and fairly long legs. Immature birds and winter adults usually have two brown crown stripes and much of the gray is replaced with buff.
Swamp Sparrows breed across the Northern United States and boreal Canada. The southern edge of their breeding range coincides largely with the Line of Maximum Glaciation. A small number of morphologically distinct birds inhabit tidal marshes from northern Virginia to the Hudson River Estuary. This subspecies (Melospiza georgiana nigrescens) winters in coastal marshes of the Carolinas and differs from the two inland Swamp Sparrow subspecies in having more black in a grayer overall plumage, larger bill, different songs, and a smaller average clutch size.
Their breeding habitat is marshes, including brackish marshes, across eastern North America and central Canada. The bulky nest is attached to marsh vegetation, often just above the ground or surface of the water with leaves or grass arching over the top. The female builds a new nest each year and lays an average of 4 eggs per clutch. Females give a series of chips as they leave the nest, probably to ward off attacks by their mate or neighboring males.
While Swamp Sparrows can be found year-round in small numbers on the southern edge of their breeding range, individuals are probably all migratory, primarily migrating to the southeastern United States. Swamp Sparrows generally forage on the ground near the water's edge, in shallow water or in marsh vegetation. In winter, their diet is principally fruit and seeds, while during the breeding season their diet is mainly arthropods.
The song of the Swamp Sparrow is a slow monotone trill, slower than that of the Chipping Sparrow. A male can have a repertoire of several different trills. The common call note is a loud chip reminiscent of a phoebe.
The Tennessee Warbler (Oreothlypis peregrina) is a New World warbler that breeds in eastern North America and winters in southern Central America and northern South America. The Tennessee Warbler is 11.5 centimeters (4.5 in) long, has a 19.69 centimeters (7.75 in) wingspan and weighs roughly 10 grams (0.35 oz). The breeding male has olive back, shoulders, rump and vent. The flight feathers are brownish-black. It has a slate gray neck, crown and eyeline. The underside is a gray-white. The female is similar to the male, but is much duller and has a greener tinge to the underside. The Tennessee Warbler has long wings, short tail and a thin, pointy bill. Juveniles and first-year birds are quite similar to the female.
The Tennessee Warblers resembles female Black-throated Blue Warbler, which is another member of the New World warblers. The only difference is that the Black-throated Blue Warbler has a darker cheek and two white wing spots.
This bird can be confused with the Red-eyed Vireo, which is larger, moves more deliberately and sings almost constantly. The Orange-crowned Warbler can also look similar, but lacks the white eyebrow, grayer-brown above and has yellow under-tail coverts.
The song has three parts, which can be repeated endlessly:"tecky tecky tecky tick tick tick tick tyew!tyew!tyew!tyew!" It's call is a sharp "tyick". The flight call is a buzzy "zzee".
The tricolored heron (Egretta tricolor) formerly known in North America as the Louisiana heron, is a small heron. It is a resident breeder from the Gulf states of the USA and northern Mexico south through Central America and the Caribbean to central Brazil and Peru. There is some post-breeding dispersal to well north of the nesting range.
Tricolored heron's breeding habitat is sub-tropical swamps. It nests in colonies, often with other herons, usually on platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs. In each clutch, 3–7 eggs are typically laid.
This species measures from 56 to 76 cm (22 to 30 in) long, and has a wingspan of 96 cm (38 in). The slightly larger male heron weighs 415 g (14.6 oz) on average, while the female averages 334 g (11.8 oz). It is a medium-large, long-legged, long-necked heron with a long pointed yellowish or grayish bill with a black tip. The legs and feet are dark.
Adults have a blue-grey head, neck, back and upper-wings, with a white line along the neck. The belly is white. In breeding plumage, they have long blue filamentous plumes on the head and neck, and buff ones on the back.
Tricolored heron stalks its prey in shallow or deeper water, often running as it does so. It eats fish, crustaceans, reptiles, and insects.
The Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) is a small songbird from North America, a species in the tit and chickadee family (Paridae). The Black-crested Titmouse, found from central and southern Texas southwards, was included as a subspecies but is now considered a separate species B. atricristatus.
These birds have grey upper-parts and white underparts with a white face, a grey crest, a dark forehead and a short stout bill; they have rust-coloured flanks. The song is usually described as a whistled peter-peter-peter. They make a variety of different sounds, most having a similar tone quality.
The habitat is deciduous and mixed woods as well as gardens, parks and shrub-land in the eastern United States; they barely range into southeastern Canada in the Great Lakes region. They are all-year residents in the area effectively circumscribed by the Great Plains, the Great Lakes, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. The range is expanding northwards, possibly due to increased availability of winter food at bird feeders. The birds are nowadays resident all year even in rural Ohio where there are few bird feeders, while it was noted around 1905 that many birds from these areas migrated south in winter.
They forage actively on branches, sometimes on the ground, mainly eating insects, especially caterpillars, but also seeds, nuts and berries. They will store food for later use. They tend to be curious about their human neighbors and can sometimes be spotted on window ledges peering into the windows to watch what's going on inside. They are more shy when seen at bird feeders; their normal pattern there is to scout the feeder from the cover of trees or bushes, fly to the feeder, take a seed, and fly back to cover to eat it.
Tufted Titmice nest in a hole in a tree, either a natural cavity, a man-made nest box, or sometimes an old woodpecker nest. They line the nest with soft material