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• Birders •

Welcome to Southern Illinois!

Again, welcome to the remarkable biological and geological diversity of Southern Illinois. Here east meets west, north meets south. A study of zone maps reveals many biological and geological boundaries meeting in or near extreme Southern Illinois.

Aves take full advantage of this regions natural affluence. Southern Illinois is home and/or hotel to more than 250 bird species.

Four distinct seasons and at least nine basic habitat types account for most of this abundance. A little something for “everyone!”

Southern Swamps, Coastal Plain Forests, Marshes, Rock Ledges, Southern Ravines, Eastern Forests, and Seep Springs give rise to a wide variety of flora and fauna.

Elevations range from 279 ft. (85 meters) to 1064 ft. (324 meters). Impressive? Certainly not in grandiose terms, but in light of habitat diversity, most certainly so. Exemplary are dry (xeric) bluff top ledges where summertime surface temperatures often reaching 120? Fahrenheit contrasts with numerous moist sandstone alley ways and shelter bluffs that may remain 20º or more cooler than air temperatures just beyond their shadows.

Many other types of stark physical contrasts such as stagnant to clear running water, stable to unstable and alkaline to acidic soils, nutrient rich to depleted soils, high to low exposure to wind and sun, and well to poorly drained areas, illustrate Southern Illinois’ peculiar topographic disposition. Species “low” on the food chain vary accordingly with the considerably varied topography. These, in turn, support our broad array of bird species.

Visiting bird watchers; the good news is... any time of year promises excellent bird watching. The bad news is... every season promises a new, unique spectrum of species. Maybe that’s not bad news... rather a great excuse to schedule an extra outing or two or... (?) each year.

“Dynamic,” certainly best describes the bird ecology of Southern Illinois.

Your checklist provides common names in accordance with the American Ornithologists’ Union, North American Birds, 1983. It is a compilation of information from national, state, and local reference materials. Locally, questionable species inclusions and exclusions are inevitable, however, every attempt has been made to provide a reasonably representative checklist. Accuracy is paramount.

WalkAbout encourages birders, professionals and hobbyists, to report unwarranted inclusions and exclusions to:


Shawnee Audubon Society

Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge

Shawnee National Forest

Illnois Natural History Survey

or any appropriate local agency or professional.

Visit the source of the Bird Songs, Tony Phillips’ Bird Songs

Ave a G’day!

Duane Short, Founder
WalkAbout Wilderness Hikes

Southern Illinois Bird (Aves) Checklist

~ Key to Symbols &

Abbreviations ~

Sp = Spring March thru May
S = Summer June thru July
F = Fall August thru November
W = Winter December thru February

!! = Illinois Endangered Species as of March 1998
! = Illinois Threatened Species as of March 1998
A = Abundant....................Species individual(s) and/or flock encounter(s) are likely.
C = Common......................Species encounters likely in proper habitat.
U = Uncommon.................Species occurs in small numbers. Not easily detected.
R = Rare..............................Species encounters are unlikely. Appropriate habitat may produce individual(s).
@ = Accidental...................Species is lost!!! Or maybe has a perfectly legitimate reason for wandering beyond its normal geographic range.
- = Hyphen.......................Species is not present during season indicated.
? = Omega.........................Species Extirpated in Illinois. (select examples only)

Habitat *Symbols are arranged under Habitat heading in order of species preference (greatest to least).
f = Farmed lands..............Row crop and pasture.
h = Human habitations....Towns, farm buildings, and structures (bridges, towers etc.)
l = Lowland Forest..........Bottomland
m = Mudflats......................Mud barrens bordering ephemeral (temporary) pools typical of floodplains, and low lying row cropped fields.
ma = Marshes.......................Wet areas typified by presence of cattails, reeds, yellow flag, sweet flag, swamp candles, & etc.
r = Rivers or Reservoirs...Major waterways and reservoirs including large flooded fields and impoundments.
s = Swamp.........................Permanently or generally inundated Baldcypress and Tupelo gum woods.
t = Transitional..................Disturbed, maturing successional habitats including waste areas, weedy to shrubby fields, and forest edge.
u = Upland Forest..............Expanses of hickory, oak , beech and other hardwood forests which dominate the hill country bordering rivers, streams, and floodplains of the low-lying coastal plains region.

Common Name ~ Order ~ Family ~ Genus ~ Species

Mystery Warbler???


Common Loon Graviiformes Gav0iidae Gaviaimmer

Red-Throated Loon Graviiformes Gaviidae Gavia stellata


Red-necked Grebe a Podicipediformes Podicipedidae Podiceps grisegena

Horned Grebe Podicipediformes Podicipedidae Podiceps auritus

Eared Grebe a Podicipediformes Podicipedidae Podiceps nigricollis

Western Grebe a Podicipediformes Podicipedidae Aechmorphorus occidentalis

Pied-billed Grebe e Podicipediformes Podicipedidae Podilymbus podiceps


American White Pelican Pelecaniformes Pelecanidae Pelecanus0 erythrorhynchos

Double-crested Cormorant e Pelecaniformes Pelecanidae Phalacrocorax auritus

Anhinga a Pelecaniformes Anhingidae anhinga anhinga


Great Blue Heron Ciconiiformes Ardeidae Ardea herodias

Green-backed Heron Ciconiiformes Ardeidae Butorides striatus

Little Blue Heron e Ciconiiformes Ardeidae Egretta caerulea

Cattle Egret Ciconiiformes Ardeidae Bubulcus ibis

Reddish Egret Ciconiiformes Ardeidae Egretta rufescens

Great Egret e Ciconiiformes Ardeidae Casmerodius albus

Other Shore Birds

Snowy Egret e Ciconiiformes Ardeidae Egretta thula

Black-crowned Night Heron e Ciconiiformes Ardeidae Nycticorax nycticorax

Yellow-crowned Night Heron Ciconiiformes Ardeidae Nycticorax violaceus

Least Bittern e Ciconiiformes Ardeidae Ixobrychus exilis

American Bittern e Ciconiiformes Ardeidae Botaurus lentiginosus

Wood Stork a Ciconiiformes Ciconiidae Mycteria americana

Glossy Ibis a Ciconiiformes Threskiornithidae Plegadis falcinellus

White Ibis a Ciconiiformes Threskiornithidae Eudocimus albus


Tundra Swan a Anseriformes Anatidae Cygnus columbianus

Trumpeter Swan x Anseriformes Anatidae Cygnus buccinator

Mute Swan Anseriformes Anatidae Cygnus olor

Canada Goose Anseriformes Anatidae Branta canadensis

Brant a Anseriformes Anatidae Branta bernicla

Greater White-fronted Goose Anseriformes Anatidae Anser albifrons

Snow Goose Anseriformes Anatidae Chen caerulescens

Ross' Goose a Anseriformes Anatidae Chen rossi

Mallard Anseriformes Anatidae Anas platyrhynchos

American Black Duck Anseriformes Anatidae Anas rubripes

Gadwall Anseriformes Anatidae Anas strepera

Northern Pintail Anseriformes Anatidae Anas acuta

Green-winged Teal Anseriformes Anatidae Anas crecca

Blue-winged Teal Anseriformes Anatidae Anas discors

Northern Shoveler Anseriformes Anatidae Anas clypeata

American Widgeon Anseriformes Anatidae Anas americana

Wood Duck Anseriformes Anatidae Aix Sponsa

Redhead Anseriformes Anatidae Aythya americana

Ring-necked Duck Anseriformes Anatidae Aythya collaris

Canvasback Anseriformes Anatidae Aythya valisineria

Greater Scaup Anseriformes Anatidae Aythya marila

Lesser Scaup Anseriformes Anatidae Aythya affinis

Common Goldeneye Anseriformes Anatidae Bucephala clangula

Barrow's Goldeneye a Anseriformes Anatidae Bucephala islandica

Bufflehead Anseriformes Anatidae Bucephala albeola

Oldsquaw Anseriformes Anatidae Clangula hyemalis

White-winged Scooter a Anseriformes Anatidae Melanitta fusca

Surf Scooter a Anseriformes Anatidae Melanitta perspicillata

Black Scooter a Anseriformes Anatidae Melanitta nigra

Ruddy Duck Anseriformes Anatidae Oxyura jamaicensis

Hooded Merganser Anseriformes Anatidae Lophodytes cucullatus

Common Merganser Anseriformes Antidae Mergus merganser

Red-breasted Merganser Anseriformes Antidae Mergus serrator

Birds O'Prey & More


Turkey Vulture Falconiformes Cathartidae Cathartes aura

Black Vulture Falconiformes Cathartidae Coragyps atratus

Black-shouldered Kite Falconiformes Accipitridae Elanus caeruleus

American Swallow-tailed Kite x Falconiformes Accipitridae Elanoides forficatus

Mississippi Kite e Falconiformes Accipitridae Ictinia mississippiensis

Northern Goshawk Falconiformes Accipitridae Accipiter gentilis

Sharp-shinned Hawk e Falconiformes Accipitridae Accipiter striatus

Cooper's Hawk e Falconiformes Accipitridae Accipiter cooperi

Red-tailed Hawk Falconiformes Accipitridae Buteo jamaicensis

Red-shouldered Hawk e Falconiformes Accipitridae Buteo lineatus

Broad-winged Hawk Falconiformes Accipitridae Buteo platypterus

Rough-legged Hawk Falconiformes Accipitridae Buteo lagopus

Swainson's Hawk a e Falconiformes Accipitridae Buteo swainsoni

Ferruginous Hawk a Falconiformes Accipitridae Buteo regalis

Golden Eagle Falconiformes Accipitridae Aquila chrysaetos

Bald Eagle e Falconiformes Accipitridae Haliaeetus leucocephalus

Northern Harrier e Falconiformes Accipitridae Circus cyaneus

Osprey e Falconiformes Accipitridae Pandion haliaetus

Prairie Falcon a Falconiformes Falconidae Falco mexicanus

Peregrine Falcon e Falconiformes Falconidae Falco peregrinus

Merlin Falconiformes Falconidae Falco columbarius

American Kestrel Falconiformes Falconidae Falco sparverius


Ruffed Grouse Galliformes Phasianidae Bonasa umbellus

Greater Prairie-Chicken e Galliformes Phasianidae Tympanuchus cupido

Northern Bobwhite Galliformes Phasianidae Colinus virginianus

Ring-necked Pheasant Galliformes Phasianidae Phasianus colchicus

Wild Turkey Galliformes Phasianidae Meleagris gallopavo


Other Shore Birds

Whooping Crane x Gruiformes Gruidae Grus americana

Sandhill Crane e Gruiformes Gruidae Grus canadensis

King Rail Gruiformes Rallidae Rallus elegans

Virginia Rail Gruiformes Rallidae Rallus limicola

Sora Gruiformes Rallidae Porzana carolina

Black Rail e Gruiformes Rallidae Laterallus jamaicensis

Purple Gallinule e Gruiformes Rallidae Porphyrula martinica

Common Moorhen t Gruiformes Rallidae Gallinula chloropus

American Coot Gruiformes Rallidae Fulica americana


Semipalmated Plover Charadriiformes Charadriidae Charadrius semipalmatus

Piping Plover a e Charadriiformes Charadriidae Charadrius melodus
Piping Plover (Peep-lo)
Piping Plover (A Paintive Whistle)

Killdeer Charadriiformes Charadriidae Charadrius vociferus

Lesser Golden-Plover Charadriiformes Charadriidae Pluvialis dominica

Black-bellied Plover Charadriiformes Charadriidae Pluvialis squatarola

Amer0ican Avocet a Charadriiformes Recurvirostridae Recurvirostra americana

Ruddy Turnstone a Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Arenaria interpres

American Woodcock Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Scolopax minor

Common Snipe Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Gallinago gallinago

Upland Sandpiper e Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Bartramia longicauda

Whimbrel a Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Numenius phaeopus

Marbled Godwit a Charadriifor0mes Scolopacidae Limosa fedoa

Spotted Sandpiper Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Actitis macularia

Solitary Sandpiper Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Tringa solitaria

Willet a Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Catoptrophorus semipalmatus

Greater Yellowlegs Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Tringa melanoleuca

Lesser Yellowlegs Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Tringa flavipes

Pectoral Sandpiper Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Calidris melanatos

White-rumped Sandpiper a Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Calidris fusciollis

Baird's Sandpiper Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Calidris bairdii

Least Sandpiper Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Calidris minutilla

Dunlin Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Calidris alpina

Sanderling Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Calidris alba

Stilt Sandpiper Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Calidris himantopus

Semipalmated Sandpiper Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Calidris pusilla

Western Sandpiper Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Calidris mauri

Red-necked Phalarope a Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Phalaropus lobatus

Wilson's Phalarope e Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Phalaropus tricolor

Short-billed Dowitcher Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Limnodromus griseus

Long-tailed Jaeger a Charadriiformes Laridae Stercorarius longicaudus

Gulls & Terns (General)

Herring Gull Charadriiformes Laridae Larus argentatus
Herring Gull (399kB)
Herring Gull (Immature Begging)

Ring-billed Gull Charadriiformes Laridae Larus delawarensis
Ring-billed Gull (Table Talk 1)
Ring-billed Gull (Table Talk 2)<
Ring-billed Gull (Table Talk 3)

Franklin's Gull Charadriiformes Laridae Larus pipixcan

Bonaparte's Gull Charadriiformes Laridae Larus philadelphia

Forster's Tern e Charadriiformes Laridae Sterna forsteri

Common Tern (Vibrant purringtearrr) e Charadriiformes Laridae Sterna hirundo
Common Tern (Tearrr)
Common Tern (Male - Tearrr, tearrr, tearrr)
Common Tern (Female - Yipping)
Commom Tern (Male/Female Together)

Least Tern (I’m Here, I’m Here!) e Charadriiformes Laridae Sterna antillarum
Least Tern (Get away from me you Hussy!)
Least Tern (I’ve got a fish,I’ve got a fish!)
Least Tern (I’ve got a fish, I’m here!)
Least Tern (Yes0, yes, yes, she took my fish)

Caspian Tern Charadriiformes Laridae Sterna caspia

Black Tern e Charadriiformes Laridae Childonias niger


Rock Dove Columbiformes Columbidae Columba livia

Mourning Dove Columbiformes Columbidae Zenaida macroura

Passenger Pigeon x Columbiformes Columbidae Ectopistes migratorius


Carolina Parakeet x Psittaciformes Psittacidae Conuropsis carolinensis


Yellow-billed Cuckoo Cuculiformes Cuculidae Coccyzus americanus

Black-billed Cuckoo Cuculiformes Cuculidae Coccyzus erythrophthalmus

Still... more "formes" of birds!


Common Barn Owl e Strigiformes Tytonidae Tyto alba

Eastern Screech-Owl Strigiformes Strigidae Otus asio

Great Horned Owl Strigiformes Strigidae Bubo virginianus

Snowy Owl a Strigiformes Strigidae Nyctea scandiaca

Barred Owl Strigiformes Strigidae Strix varia

Long-eared Owl e Strigiformes Strigidae Asio otus

Short-eared Owl e Strigiformes Strigidae Asio flammeus

Northern Saw-whet Owl a Strigiformes Strigidae Aegolius acadicus


Chuck-will's-widow Caprimulgiformes Caprimulgidae Caprimulgus carolinensis Whip-poor-will Caprimulgiformes Caprimulgidae Caprimulgus vociferus

Common Nighthawk Caprimulgiformes Caprimulgidae Choreiles minor


Chimney Swift Apodiformes Apodidae Chaetura pelagica

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Apodiformes Trochilidae Archilochus colubris
Hummingbird (Ruby-throated) WingbeatCoraciiformes

Belted Kingfisher Coraciiformes Alcedinidae Ceryle alcyon


Woodpeckers (General)

Northern Flicker Piciformes Picidae Colaptes auratus

Pileated Woodpecker (Call) Piciformes Picidae Dryocopus pileatus
Pileated Woodpecker (Drumming)Pileated Woodpecker (Awoik-awoik)

Red-bellied Woodpecker (Song) Piciformes Picidae Melanerpes carolinus
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Fall)

Red-headed Woodpecker Piciformes Picidae Melanerpus erythrocephalus

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Piciformes Picidae Sphyrapicus varius

Hairy Woodpecker Piciformes Picidae Picoides villosus

Downy Woodpecker (Feeding Nestlings) Piciformes Picidae Picoides pubescens