Thursday, December 13, 2007

Some North American Birds


Order: Pelecaniformes Family: Phaethontidae

Tropicbirds are slender white birds of tropical oceans, with exceptionally long central tail feathers. Their long wings have black markings, as does the head. There are 3 species world wide and 3 North American species.

* White-tailed Tropicbird, Phaethon lepturus
* Red-billed Tropicbird, Phaethon aethereus
* Red-tailed Tropicbird, Phaethon rubricauda (C)

Boobies and gannets

Order: Pelecaniformes Family: Sulidae

The sulids comprise the gannets and boobies. Both groups are medium-large coastal seabirds that plunge-dive for fish. There are 8 species world wide and 5 North American species.
Blue-footed Booby.
Blue-footed Booby.

* Masked Booby, Sula dactylatra
* Blue-footed Booby, Sula nebouxii (C)
* Brown Booby, Sula leucogaster
* Red-footed Booby, Sula sula (C)
* Northern Gannet, Morus bassanus

Order: Pelecaniformes Family: Pelecanidae

Pelicans are very large water birds with a distinctive pouch under the beak. Like other birds in the order Pelecaniformes, they have four webbed toes. There are 8 species world wide and 2 North American species.

* American White Pelican, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
* Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis

Order: Pelecaniformes Family: Phalacrocoracidae

Cormorants are medium-to-large aquatic birds, usually with mainly dark plumage and areas of coloured skin on the face. The bill is long, thin, and sharply hooked. Their feet are four-toed and webbed, a distinguishing feature among the Pelecaniformes order

* Brandt's Cormorant, Phalacrocorax penicillatus
* Neotropic Cormorant, Phalacrocorax brasilianus
* Double-crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auritus
* Great Cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo
* Red-faced Cormorant, Phalacrocorax urile
* Pelagic Cormorant, Phalacrocorax pelagicus


Darters are cormorant-like water birds with very long necks and long, straight beaks. They often swim with only the neck above water, and are fish-eaters.

Order: Pelecaniformes Family: Anhingidae

* Anhinga, Anhinga anhinga


Order: Pelecaniformes Family: Fregatidae

Frigatebirds are large sea-birds usually found over tropical oceans. They are large, black or black and white, with long wings and deeply-forked tails. The males have inflatable coloured throat pouches. They do not swim or walk, and cannot take off from a flat surface. Having the largest wingspan to body weight ratio of any bird, they are essentially aerial, able to stay aloft for more than a week. There are five species world-wide and three North American species.

* Magnificent Frigatebird, Fregata magnificens
* Great Frigatebird, Fregata minor (C)
* Lesser Frigatebird, Fregata ariel (A)

Bitterns, herons, and egrets

Order: Ciconiiformes Family: Ardeidae

The family Ardeidae contains the herons, egrets, and bitterns. Herons and Egrets are medium to large sized wadng birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more secrative. Unlike other long necked birds suck as storks, ibises and spoonbills, members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted. There are 61 species world wide and 17 North American species.

* American Bittern, Botaurus lentiginosus
* Yellow Bittern, Ixobrychus sinensis (A)
* Least Bittern, Ixobrychus exilis
* Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias
* Gray Heron, Ardea cinerea (A)
* Great Egret, Ardea alba
* Intermediate Egret, Mesophoyx intermedia (A)
* Chinese Egret, Egretta eulophotes (A)
* Little Egret, Egretta garzetta (C)
* Western Reef-Heron, Egretta gularis (A)
* Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
* Little Blue Heron, Egretta caerulea
* Tricolored Heron, Egretta tricolor
* Reddish Egret, Egretta rufescens
* Cattle Egret, Bubulcus ibis
* Chinese Pond-Heron, Ardeola bacchus (A)
* Green Heron, Butorides virescens
* Black-crowned Night-Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax
* Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Nyctanassa violacea

Ibises and spoonbills

Order: Ciconiiformes Family: Threskiornithidae

* American White Ibis, Eudocimus albus
* Scarlet Ibis, Eudocimus ruber (A)
* Glossy Ibis, Plegadis falcinellus
* White-faced Ibis, Plegadis chihi
* Roseate Spoonbill, Ajaia ajaja


Order: Ciconiiformes Family: Ciconiidae

Storks are large, heavy, long-legged, long-necked wading birds with long stout bills and wide wingspans. They lack the powder down that other wading birds such as herons, spoonbills and ibises use to clean off fish slime. Storks lack a pharynx and are mute. There are 19 species world wide and 2 North American species.

* Jabiru, Jabiru mycteria (A)
* Wood Stork, Mycteria americana

New World vultures

Order: Ciconiiformes Family: Cathartidae

The New World vultures are not closely related to Old World vultures, but superficially resemble them because of convergent evolution. Like the Old World vultures, they are scavengers. However, unlike Old World vultures, which find carcasses by sight, New World vultures have a good sense of smell with which they locate carcasses. There are 7 species world wide, all found only in the Americas and 3 North American species.

* Black Vulture, Coragyps atratus
* Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
* California Condor, Gymnogyps californianus (Ex)


Order: Phoenicopteriformes Family: Phoenicopteridae

Flamingos (genus Phoenicopterus monotypic in family Phoenicopteridae) are gregarious wading birds, usually 3–5 feet in height, found in both the Western and Eastern Hemispheres. They are more numerous in the latter. Flamingos filter-feed on shellfish and algae. Their oddly-shaped beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they consume, and are uniquely used upside-down. There are 6 species world wide and 1 North American species.

* Greater Flamingo, Phoenicopterus ruber

Eagles, kites, and allies

Order: Falconiformes Family: Accipitridae

The family Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey and include hawks, eagles, kites, harriers and Old World vultures. These birds have very large powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons, and keen eyesight. There are 233 species world wide and 28 North American species.

* Osprey, Pandion haliaetus
* Hook-billed Kite, Chondrohierax uncinatus
* Swallow-tailed Kite, Elanoides forficatus
* White-tailed Kite, Elanus leucurus
* Snail Kite, Rostrhamus sociabilis
* Mississippi Kite, Ictinia mississippiensis
* Bald Eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus
* White-tailed Eagle, Haliaeetus albicilla (C)
* Steller's Sea-Eagle, Haliaeetus pelagicus (C)
* Northern Harrier, Circus cyaneus
* Sharp-shinned Hawk, Accipiter striatus
* Cooper's Hawk, Accipiter cooperii
* Northern Goshawk, Accipiter gentilis
* Crane Hawk, Geranospiza caerulescens (A)
* Common Black-Hawk, Buteogallus anthracinus
* Harris's Hawk, Parabuteo unicinctus
* Gray Hawk, Buteo nitidus
* Roadside Hawk, Buteo magnirostris (A)
* Red-shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
* Broad-winged Hawk, Buteo platypterus
* Short-tailed Hawk, Buteo brachyurus
* Swainson's Hawk, Buteo swainsoni
* White-tailed Hawk, Buteo albicaudatus
* Zone-tailed Hawk, Buteo albonotatus
* Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis
* Ferruginous Hawk, Buteo regalis
* Rough-legged Hawk, Buteo lagopus
* Golden Eagle, Aquila chrysaetos

Caracaras and falcons
Order: Falconiformes Family: Falconidae

Falconidae is a family of diurnal birds of prey, notably the falcons and caracaras. They differ from hawks, eagles, and kites in that they kill with their beaks instead of their feet. There are 62 species world wide and 11 North American species.

* Collared Forest-Falcon, Micrastur semitorquatus (A)
* Crested Caracara, Caracara cheriway
* Eurasian Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus (C)
* American Kestrel, Falco sparverius
* Merlin, Falco columbarius
* Eurasian Hobby, Falco subbuteo (C)
* Red-footed Falcon, Falco vespertinus (A)
* Aplomado Falcon, Falco femoralis (C)
* Gyrfalcon, Falco rusticolus
* Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus
* Prairie Falcon, Falco mexicanus

Rails, gallinules, and coots
Order: Gruiformes Family: Rallidae
King Rail
King Rail

Rallidae is a large family of small to medium-sized birds which includes the rails, crakes, coots, and gallinules. The most typical family members occupy dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, swamps, or rivers. In general they are shy and secretive birds, difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs, and have long toes which are well adapted to soft, uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and be weak fliers. There are 143 species world wide and 13 North American species.

* Yellow Rail, Coturnicops noveboracensis
* Black Rail, Laterallus jamaicensis
* Corn Crake, Crex crex (A)
* Clapper Rail, Rallus longirostris
* King Rail, Rallus elegans
* Virginia Rail, Rallus limicola
* Sora, Porzana carolina
* Paint-billed Crake, Neocrex erythrops (A)
* Spotted Rail, Pardirallus maculatus (A)
* Purple Gallinule, Porphyrio martinica
* Common Moorhen, Gallinula chloropus
* Eurasian Coot, Fulica atra (A)
* American Coot, Fulica americana

The Limpkin is an odd bird that looks like a large rail, but is skeletally closer to the cranes. It is found in marshes with some trees or scrub in the Caribbean, South America and southern Florida. There is 1 species world wide, 1 North American species.

Order: Gruiformes Family: Aramidae

* Limpkin, Aramus guarauna

Cranes are large, long-legged and long-necked birds. Unlike the similar-looking but unrelated herons, cranes fly with necks outstretched, not pulled back. Most have elaborate and noisy courting displays or "dances". There are 15 species worldwide, 3 North American species.

Order: Gruiformes Family: Gruidae

* Sandhill Crane, Grus canadensis
* Common Crane, Grus grus (C)
* Whooping Crane, Grus americana

Order: Charadriiformes Family: Burhinidae

The thick-knees are a group of largely tropical waders in the family Burhinidae. They are found worldwide within the tropical zone, with some species also breeding in temperate Europe and Australia. They are medium to large waders with strong black or yellow black bills, large yellow eyes and cryptic plumage. Despite being classed as waders, most species have a preference for arid or semi-arid habitats.

* Double-striped Thick-knee, Burhinus bistriatus (A)

Lapwings and plovers

The family Charadriidae includes the plovers, dotterels, and lapwings. They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings. They are found in open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water, although there are some exceptions. There are 66 species world wide and 17 North American species.

Order: Charadriiformes Family: Charadriidae

* Northern Lapwing, Vanellus vanellus (C)
* Black-bellied Plover, Pluvialis squatarola
* European Golden-Plover, Pluvialis apricaria (C)
* American Golden-Plover, Pluvialis dominica
* Pacific Golden-Plover, Pluvialis fulva
* Lesser Sand-Plover, Charadrius mongolus
* Greater Sand-Plover, Charadrius leschenaultii (A)
* Collared Plover, Charadrius collaris (A)
* Snowy Plover, Charadrius alexandrinus
* Wilson's Plover, Charadrius wilsonia
* Common Ringed Plover, Charadrius hiaticula
* Semipalmated Plover, Charadrius semipalmatus
* Piping Plover, Charadrius melodus
* Little Ringed Plover, Charadrius dubius (A)
* Killdeer, Charadrius vociferus
* Mountain Plover, Charadrius montanus
* Eurasian Dotterel, Charadrius morinellus (C)

Order: Charadriiformes Family: Haematopodidae

The oystercatchers are large, obvious and noisy plover-like birds, with strong bills used for smashing or prising open molluscs. There are 11 species world-wide and 2 North American species.

* Eurasian Oystercatcher, Haematopus ostralegus (A)
* American Oystercatcher, Haematopus palliatus
* American Black Oystercatcher, Haematopus bachmani

Stilts and avocets

Order: Charadriiformes Family: Recurvirostridae

Recurvirostridae is a family of large wading birds, which includes the avocets and the stilts. The avocets have long legs and long up-curved bills. The stilts have extremely long legs and long, thin, straight bills. There are 9 species world wide and 3 North American species.

* Black-winged Stilt, Himantopus himantopus (A)
* Black-necked Stilt, Himantopus mexicanus
* American Avocet, Recurvirostra americana

Order: Charadriiformes Family: Jacanidae

The Jacanas are a group of tropical waders in the family Jacanidae. They are found worldwide within the tropical zone. They are identifiable by their huge feet and claws which enable them to walk on floating vegetation in the shallow lakes that are their preferred habitat. There 8 species world wide and 1 North American species.

* Northern Jacana, Jacana spinosa (C)

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