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Bird Identification Guide Common

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Bird Identification Guide Common Powered By Docstoc
					Bird Identification Guide
     Common Terms
                               Snowy Egret
                              (Egretta thula)




Identification Tips:
   •   Length: 20 inches Wingspan: 38 inches
   •   Medium-sized long-legged wading bird
   •   Usually holds neck in “S” curve in flight
   •   Entirely white plumage

Adult:
  • Thin black bill and yellow facial skin
  • Black legs with yellow feet
  • Shaggy plumes on head, neck, and back in alternate plumage

Immature:
  • Yellow stripe up the back of the black legs and yellow feet
  • Pale-based bill when leaving nest, becoming black during autumn
  • Lacks shaggy head, neck, and back plumes

Similar species:
Great Egret and “Great White” Heron larger with thicker, yellow bills. Little Blue Heron
has a gray or yellow-based bill with black tip and can be similar to immatures that have
pale bases to the bills, but always has gray facial skin, green legs, and blue-gray primary
tips. Little Egret is very similar but has gray facial skin and two long head plumes in
alternate plumage.

Seasonal Range:
Year round
                          Great blue heron
                          (Ardea herodias)




Identification tips:
   •   Length: 38 inches Wingspan: 70 inches
   •   Sexes similar in appearance
   •   Huge long-legged long-necked wader
   •   Usually holds neck in an “S” curve at rest and in flight

Adult:
  • White crown and face
  • Black plume extending from above and behind eye to beyond back of head
  • Brownish-buff neck with black-bordered white stripe down center of foreneck
  • Blue-gray back, wings, and belly
  • Black shoulder
  • Shaggy neck and black plumes in alternate plumage

Immature:
  • Black cap
  • Brownish-gray back and upperwings
  • Lacks shaggy neck and back plumes
  • Lacks black plume extending from behind eye

Similar species:
“Great White Heron” (the white morph of the Great Blue Heron) could be confused with
the Snowy Egret, but is larger with yellow legs and the single head plume coming from
behind the eye.

Seasonal Range:
Year round
                Double-crested Cormorant
                 (Phalacrocorax auritus)




Identification Tips:
   •   Length: 27 inches Wingspan: 50 inches
   •   Sexes similar in appearance
   •   Large, dark waterbird with a long, hooked bill and long tail
   •   Long, thin neck
   •   Gular area squared off and orange, extending straight down across throat
   •   Orange lores
   •   Often perches with wings spread to dry them

Adult:
  • Entirely black plumage
  • Small white plumes on head during breeding season

Immature:
  • Pale throat and chest darkening below to dark belly; some juveniles are entirely
     pale underneath
  • Brownish back and upperwings

Similar Species:
No similar species in the area.

Seasonal Range:
Winter
                           Canada goose
                        (Branta Canadensis)




Identification Tips:
   •   Length: 16-25 inches Wingspan: 50-68 inches
   •   Large long-necked goose
   •   Black bill
   •   Black head and neck
   •   White throat patch extents up to cheek
   •   Brown back, upper wings and flank
   •   Brownish-white breast and belly
   •   White upper tail coverts contrast with black tail
   •   White undertail coverts
   •   Great size variation, with some northern subspecies duck-sized
   •   Immature similar to adult

Similar Species:
No similar species in the area.

Seasonal Range:
Winter
                          Cooper’s hawk
                        (Accipiter cooperii)




Identification tips:
   •   Length: 15.5 inches Wingspan: 28 inches
   •   Sexes similar, but females much larger
   •   Medium-sized, broad-winged, long-tailed hawk
   •   Short, dark, hooked beak
   •   Long, thick tarsi appear short at rest because they are usually covered by belly
       feathers
   •   Short, rounded wings
   •   Very long tail is rounded at tip
   •   Often flies with several quick wing beats and a short glide, but also soars
   •   Large angular head projects far beyond wings when soaring

Adult:
  • Red eye
  • Black cap
  • Blue-gray back and upperwings
  • White breast, belly and underwing coverts marked by fine, thin, reddish bars
  • Tail, blue gray above and pale below, barred with black bands
  • Flight feathers, blue-gray above and pale below with dark bars

Immature:
  • Yellow eye
  • Brown head with indistinct pale supercilium
  • Brown cap, nape, back, and upperwings
  • White underparts marked by thin black streaks, concentrated on chest
  • Tail, brown above and pale below, barred with dark bands
   •   White terminal band

Similar species:
Sharp-shinned Hawks are typically smaller, with shorter, squared-off tails and shorter
heads that do not project when flying. Immature Sharp-shinneds have thicker, denser
streaking that extends farther down the belly and a thinner terminal band of white. Adults
have less well-defined caps. Immature Red-shouldered Hawks have pale crescents in the
wing and shorter tails.

Seasonal Range:
Year round
                           Pied-billed grebe
                        (Podilymbus podiceps)




Identification tips:
   •   Length: 9 inches
   •   Sexes similar
   •   Small, stocky-bodied grebe with a short thick bill
   •   Brown plumage, darker on the crown and back
   •   White undertail coverts
   •   Feet set back far on body and trail behind body in flight

Adult:
  • Black ring around horn-colored bill
  • Whitish throat

Adult alternate:
  • Horn-colored bill without black ring
  • Brown throat

Immature:
  • Black and white striping about head

Similar species:
All other grebes have thinner bills and quite different plumage

Seasonal Range:
Year round
                                Wood duck
                                (Aix sponsa)




Identification tips:
   •   Length: 13.5 inches Wingspan: 28 inches
   •   A medium-sized duck with a long crest on head
   •   Long-winged and long-tailed
   •   Blue-green speculum with white rear border

Adult male alternate:
  • Alternate plumage worn from fall through early summer
  • Red bill
  • Red eye
  • Green head
  • Striking white stripes about the face and crest with a large white throat patch and
      “fingerlike” extensions onto cheek and neck
  • Chestnut breast and neck with vertical white stripe at lower margin
  • Golden flanks bordered above by a white flank stripe
  • White belly
  • Iridescent dark green-blue back and wings

Adult male basic:
   • Male resembles female, but with distinctive neck patch and red bill

Adult female:
    •   Gray bill
    •   White teardrop shaped patch around the eye
    •   White throat
    •   Gray-brown head and neck
    •   Gray-brown breast stippled with white and fading to a white belly
    •   Dark brown back

Immature:
  • Gray bill
  • Female similar to adult female
  • Males similar to adult females, but with white neck patch

Similar species:
No similar species in the area.

Seasonal Range:
Year round
                 Black-crowned night-heron
                   (Nycticorax nycticorax)




Identification tips:
   •     Length: 20 inches Wingspan: 44 inches
   •     Sexes similar
   •     Fairly small, stocky, shot-legged and short-necked heron
   •     Bill medium-sized and pointed
   •     Tucks neck in close to body in flight and at rest, rarely extending it

Adult:
   •     Red eyes, legs yellow
   •     Black bill
   •     Black crown and back
   •     White face, throat, foreneck, chest and belly
   •     Blue-gray wings
   •     Two long, white, filamentous plumes extending from back of head in alternate
         plumage

Juvenile:
   • Eyes yellowish to amber, legs dull greyish
   • Yellow base to bill
   • Brown head, neck, chest and belly streaked with buff and white
   • Wings and back darker brown with large white spots at the tips of the feathers;
       spots especially large on the greater secondary coverts

Immature:
  • Acquires full adult plumage in its third year
   •   First year birds are similar to juvenile, but have less extensive spotting on
       upperwings and a dark cap
   •   Second year birds resemble the adult, but have a brown neck and wings
       contrasting with darker brown cap and back

Similar species:
No similar species in the area.

Seasonal Range:
Winter
                    Red-shouldered hawk
                      (Buteo lineatus)




Identification tips:
  • Length: 16 inches Wingspan: 40 inches
  • Sexes similar
  • Short, dark, hooked beak
  • Large, fairly long-tailed, broad-winged hawk
  • Pale, translucent crescent at base of primaries
Adult:
   • Brown head
   • Reddish breast and underwing coverts
   • Pale belly barred heavily with reddish
   • Flight feathers dark above with white barring
   • Flight feathers pale below with dark barring
   • Dark tail has several narrow white bars
Immature:
  • Pale supercilium
  • Brown head, back, and upperwing coverts
  • Small reddish patch on lesser secondary upperwing coverts
  • Underwing mostly pale, with faint barring on flight feathers
  • Dark brown tail with narrow buff bands

Similar species:
Young Red-tailed Hawks can resemble young Red-shoulders, but lack the pale crescents
in the outer wing and have a different shape, being much broader-winged and broader-
tailed.

Seasonal Range:
Year round
                        Red-tailed hawk
                       (Buteo jamaicensis)




Identification tips:
   •   Length: 18 inches Wingspan: 48 inches
   •   Sexes similar
   •   Short, dark, hooked beak
   •   Large, broad-tailed, broad-winged hawk
   •   Immatures have notably narrower wings and tail, and appear slimmer
   •   Dark patagial mark on underwing
   •   Block translucent area on outer primaries
   •   Flies with wings at a V-shaped angle

Light morph adult:
    • Brown head, nape, back, and upperwings
    • White chin, breast, throat, and belly
    • Dark belly band formed by vertical streaks in band across belly
    • Tail appears brick read above and pink below

Light morph immature:
   • Like adult, but with brown tail with numerous narrow, dark bands

Dark morph adult:
   • Wholly dark chocolate underparts, upperparts, and underwing coverts
   • Pale underside
   • Tail same as the light morph



Dark morph immature:
   •   Dark brown head, neck, breast, back, upperwing and underwing coverts are
       mottled with white and buff
   •   Dark brown tail with numerous darker bars
   •   Paler flight feathers with dark barring

Similar species:
No similar species in the area, but due to the extreme variability of the species the Red-
tailed hawk can be difficult to identify.

Seasonal Range:
Year round
                        Sharp-shinned hawk
                         (Accipiter striatus)




Identification tips:
   •     Length: 10.5 inches Wingspan: 21 inches
   •     Sexes similar, but females much larger
   •     Short, dark, hooked beak
   •     Small, long-tailed, broad-winged hawk
   •     Long, narrow tarsi
   •     Short, rounded wings
   •     Long tail is squared off at tip with prominent corners
   •     Typically flies with several short wingbeats and a short glide, but also soars
   •     Small, rounded head does not project far beyond wings when soaring

Adult:
   •     Red eye
   •     Black cap
   •     Blue-gray back and upperwings
   •     White breast, belly, and underwing coverts marked by fine, thin, reddish bars
   •     White undertail coverts
   •     Tail, blue-gray above and pale below, barred with black bands
   •     Flight feathers, blue-gray above and pale below, with dark bars

Immature:
  • Yellow eye
  • Brown head with indistinct pale supercilium
  • Brown cap, back, nape, and upperwings
  • Tail, brown above and pale below, barred with black bands
  • White underparts streaked extensively with dark brown, almost to undertail

Similar species:
Sharp-shinned hawks are similar to Cooper’s hawk, but has a shorter, less rounded tail
with a thinner white tip, a more rounded head, and a less snappy wingbeat.

Seasonal Range:
Year round
                          American coot
                        (Fulica Americana)




Identification tips:
   •   Length: 12 inches Wingspan: 25 inches
   •   Sexes similar
   •   Fairly large, duck-like waterbird with short wings and a short tail
   •   Very short, thick bill
   •   Frequently seen both swimming and walking
   •   Often flicks and cocks short tail while walking, exposing white outer undertail
       coverts
   •   Toes have lobed webbing

Adult:
   • White bill with dark reddish ring just before tip
   • White frontal shield with reddish oval near tip
   • Slate gray head, neck, back, upperwings, breast, and belly

Juvenile:
   • Lacks frontal shield of the adult
   • Horn-colored bill may lack ring near the tip
   • Pale gray-brown head, neck, back, upperwings, and breast; feathers on underparts
       often with paler edges

Similar species:
No similar species in the area

Seasonal Range:
Year round
                           Belted kingfisher
                            (Ceryle alcyon)




Identification tips:
   •   Length: 12 inches
   •   Large, short-legged, big-headed, big-billed bird
   •   Hovers over water and dives headfirst into water in pursuit of fish
   •   Slate blue head, with white spot near lores
   •   White chin, throat, and neck
   •   Slate blue breastband
   •   Slate blue back and upperwing coverts with small white spots
   •   Slate blue tail with numerous dark and light bands

Adult male:
   • Entirely white belly

Adult female:
  • White underparts with reddish belly band extending down flanks

Similar species:
No similar species in the area.

Seasonal Range:
Year round
                         Yellow Warbler
                       (Dendroica petechia)




Identification tips:
   •   Length: 4 inches
   •   Small, active, insect-eating bird
   •   Thin, pointed bill
   •   Mostly yellow plumage
   •   Upperparts greenish-yellow
   •   Greenish-yellow tail and wings with yellow feather edges
   •   Plain yellow face with yellow eye ring surrounding dark eye
   •   Yellowish legs

Adult male:
   • Plumage golden yellow
   • Rusty streaks on breast and flanks

Female and immature:
   • Plain yellow plumage
   • Streaks on breast absent or barely noticeable
   • Some birds have pale gray wash to plumage

Similar species:
No similar species in the area.

Seasonal Range:
Summer
                      Violet-green swallow
                    (Tachycineta thalassina)




Identification tips:
   •   Length: 4.75 inches
   •   Tiny bill
   •   Green upperparts
   •   White underparts
   •   White patches on side of rump
   •   Forked tail
   •   Most often seen flying
   •   Nests in cavities near water

Adult male:
   • White area extends behind and over eye

Adult female:
  • Duller colors than male

Juvenile:
   • Dull brown above and may have a hint of a gray breast band

Similar species:
No similar species in the area.

Seasonal Range:
Summer
                             Barn swallow
                           (Hirundo rustica)




Identification tips:
   •   Length: 6 inches
   •   Tiny bill
   •   Dark orange forehead and throat
   •   Pale orange underparts
   •   Dark, iridescent upperparts
   •   Long, deeply forked tail
   •   Most often seen flying
   •   Nests in mud nests under bridges and in barns and caves

Juvenille:
   • Paler colors underneath
   • Shorter tail

Similar species:
No similar species in the area.

Seasonal Range:
Summer
                        Cliff swallow
                 (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)




Identification tips:
   •   Length: 5 inches
   •   Tiny bill
   •   Pale orange rump and forehead
   •   Blackish cap, throat, and upperparts
   •   Side of neck brown
   •   Tip of tail squared
   •   Most often seen flying
   •   Nests in mud nests under bridges and in barns and caves

Juvenile:
   • Duller colors than adult

Similar species:
No similar species in the area.

Seasonal Range:
Summer
                          Green heron
                       (Butorides virescens)




Identification tips:
   •   Length: 14 inches Wingspan: 25 inches
   •   Sexes similar
   •   Small, short-legged, short-necked heron
   •   Yellow legs
   •   Usually tucks neck
   •   Black cap
   •   Blue-gray back and wings

Adult:
  • Chestnut neck
  • White chin
  • White stripe down center of neck

Immature:
  • Reddish-brown and white streaks on head and neck
  • Extensive white spots on wing coverts

Similar species:
No similar species in the area.

Seasonal Range:
Year round
                             Mallard
                       (Anas platyrhynchos)




Identification tips:
   •   Length: 16 inches Wingspan: 36 inches
   •   Large, dabbling duck
   •   Blue speculum with white bar along both leading and trailing edges
   •   Silvery-white wing linings
   •   Juvenile similar to adult female

Adult male alternate:
  • Gray back
  • Yellow bill
  • Green head
  • White ring around neck
  • Chestnut breast
  • Gray flanks and upperwing coverts
  • Black undertail coverts contrast with white tail

Adult male basic:
  • Similar to female, but with chestnut breast and unmarked yellowish bill

Adult female:
  • Orange bill with black central patch
  • Pale brown face
  • Dark cap and eye line
  • Mottled brown and tan plumage

Similar species:
No similar species in the area.

Seasonal Range:
Year round
                               Gadwall
                            (Anas strepera)




Identification tips:
   •   Length: 14.5 inches Wingspan: 35 inches
   •   Large, dabbling duck with steep forehead
   •   Blue speculum with white bar along both leading and trailing edges
   •   White speculum
   •   Juvenile similar to adult female

Adult male alternate:
  • Black bill
  • Brown head
  • Grey body
  • Grey and brown breast, back, and upperwing coverts
  • Black rump, uppertail coverts, and undertail coverts
  • White belly

Adult male basic:
  • Similar to female

Adult female:
  • Grey bill with orange edges
  • Mottled gray, brown, and white body plumage
  • Distinct white belly patch

Similar species:
While some mallards may have similar plumage to the adult female, the steeply slanted
head of the gadwall is unmistakable.

Seasonal Range:
Year round
                           Cinnamon teal
                          (Anas cyanoptera)




Identification tips:
   •   Length: 11 inches Wingspan: 25 inches
   •   Small, dabbling duck
   •   Long bill
   •   Pale blue upper secondary coverts
   •   Green speculum with white leading edge
   •   Juvenile similar to adult female

Adult male alternate:
  • Red eyes
  • Dark bill
  • Bright cinnamon-red head, neck, flanks, and belly
  • Dark brown back with pale edging
  • Black undertail coverts

Adult male basic:
  • Similar to female, but retains red eye and brighter forewing

Adult female:
  • Grey bill
  • Brown eyes
  • Pale head
  • Indistinct dark eye line and crown
  • Indistinct pale eye ring and loral spot
  • Mottled warm brown body plumage with darker back

Similar species:
No similar species in the area.

Seasonal Range:
Year round
                           Marsh wren
                      (Cistothorus palustris)




Identification tips:
   •   Length: 4 inches
   •   Sexes similar
   •   Short, thin bill
   •   Bold white supercilium
   •   Brown upperparts
   •   Unstreaked crown
   •   Black back with white streaks
   •   White throat and breast
   •   Buffy belly and flanks
   •   Wings and tail barred with black
   •   Tail frequently held upright
   •   Found in marshes with tall, grassy vegetation

Similar species:
No similar species in the area.

Seasonal Range:
Year round
                Black-headed grosbeak
              (Pheucticus melanocephalus)




Identification tips:
   •   Length: 7.25 inches
   •   Large, conical bill
   •   Yellow wing linings

Adult male:
  • Deep orange breast, collar, and underparts
  • Black head and upperparts
  • White undertail coverts
  • White wing bars and wing patches
  • White spots on black tail
  • In Fall and Winter, male’s color is duller and browner

Adult female:
  • Black and white crown stripes
  • Buffy underparts with streaking at the sides
  • Dark gray upperparts
  • Immature plumages similar to adult female

Similar species:
No similar species in the area.

Seasonal Range:
Summer
                              Virginia rail
                            (Rallus limicola)




Identification tips:
   •   Length: 7.5 inches Wingspan: 14 inches
   •   Fairly small, chunky, short-tailed, round-winged, ground-dwelling marsh bird
   •   Long, slightly decurved bill
   •   Most commonly seen walking
   •   Often flicks and cocks tail while walking
   •   Sexes similar

Adult:
  • Reddish bill
  • Orange or brown legs
  • Whitish throat
  • Blue-gray cheeks
  • Rust-colored breast and belly
  • Dark crown and back, edged tawny brown
  • Black and white barred flanks
  • Chestnut wing

Juvenile
   • Bill color duller than in adult
   • Grayish face
   • Whitish about breast and foreneck
   • Gray-black hindneck, back, and flanks
   • Chestnut wing
   • Barring on flanks indistinct

Similar species:
No similar species in the area.

Seasonal Range:
Year round
               Greater white-fronted goose
                    (Anser albifrons)




Identification tips:
   •   Length: 20 inches Wingspan: 60 inches
   •   Sexes similar
   •   Medium-sized long-necked goose

Adult:
  • Mostly brown plumage
  • White patch at base of pink or orange bill
  • Irregular black spots on belly
  • White line separating belly from wings
  • White under and uppertail coverts, dark tail
  • Orange legs and feet

Immature:
  • Mostly brown plumage darker on the upperparts
  • Yellowish legs, bill, and feet

Similar species:
No similar species in the area.

Seasonal Range:
Winter
                           Black phoebe
                        (Sayornis nigricans)




Identification tips:
   •   Length: 6 inches
   •   Small songbird
   •   Black above and bellow
   •   White belly and undertail coverts
   •   White belly extends onto chest in an inverted “V”
   •   Small, black bill
   •   Black feet
   •   Sexes similar

Immature:
  • Cinnamon edging to wing and back feathers

Similar species:
No similar species in the area.

Seasonal Range:
Year round
                     Red-winged blackbird
                     (Agelaius phoeniceus)




Identification tips:
   •   Length: 8 inches
   •   Medium-sized songbird
   •   Long, slender bill

Adult male:
  • Bright red patch on wings
  • Black plumage
  • Immature male similar to adult but with pale supercilium and brown edges to
      feathers

Adult female:
  • Pale supercilium
  • Heavily streaked underparts
  • Upperparts brown and white
  • Sometimes yellow on face and throat
  • Juveniles similar to adult females

Similar species:
No similar species in the area.

Seasonal Range:
Year round

				
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