Minnesota Birds
Class Aves

Aves (birds) is the class of animals that is characterized by being warm-blooded, laying hard-shelled eggs, and having a backbone, feathers, wings, a beak with no teeth, and two legs for forelimbs. They are the only clade of dinosaurs (Dinosauria) to have survived the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event 65.5 million years ago.

According to the American Ornithologists’ Union, there are 2,008 species of birds naturally occurring without the intervention of man in “North and Middle America including the adjacent islands under the jurisdiction of the included nations; the Hawaiian Islands; Clipperton Island; Bermuda; the West Indies, including the Bahama Islands, the Greater Antilles, Leeward and Windward islands of the Lesser Antilles.”

According to the Minnesota DNR, there are 428 bird species found in Minnesota, 44 of which are year-round residents.


European Starling



Recent Additions

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

This is the smallest breeding bird in the eastern United States and southeastern Canada. It is seldom seen but easily recognized because it is the only hummingbird that breeds in or migrates through Minnesota. It is a migratory bird, arriving in Minnesota in late April and early May. It is a solitary breeder—after mating the male has nothing more to do with the female or its offspring. In the fall, adults migrate across the Gulf of Mexico or along the western coast of Mexico to Central or South America.

  Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  Photo by Bill Reynolds

Red-eyed Vireo

This is the most common and widespread vireo in Minnesota. It is found in deciduous and mixed woodlands with a dense cover and a shrubby understory. It is small for a songbird but relatively large for a vireo. The most distinguishing morphological feature, the dark red irises, an apparent only at close range. It is most often identified by its song, which sounds similar to a robin but is not as loud and is more variable.

  Red-eyed Vireo
  Photo by Bill Reynolds

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

This medium-sized woodpecker is common in young, second-growth, deciduous and mixed forests. It's name, though appropriately descriptive, is likely to elicit a smile or a raised eyebrow. It is easily recognized by the red crown and, on the males, the red chin. Other than the Pileated Woodpecker, a much larger bird, this is the only woodpecker in Minnesota with a red crown. The sign (indications not related to a footprint) is also distinctive. Look for horizontal, more or less straight lines of small, closely-spaced holes in the trunk of a tree.

  Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  Photo by Bill Reynolds

Other Recent Additions
  Yellow-shafted Flicker

Yellow-shafted Flicker (Colaptes auratus luteus)

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)









    Photo by Bill Reynolds


Coming in 2014


Work in Process (A–C Completed, D–Z Remaining)

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IUCN Conservation status

NatureServe Conservation status



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Acadian Flycatcher (Empidonax virescens)


American Coot





American Crow







American Goldfinch





American Robin





American White Pelican






American Woodcock






Baltimore Oriole Nest







Barn Swallow






Black-capped Chickadee





Black-necked Stilt





Blue Jay





Blue-winged Teal





Brown Thrasher





Brown-headed Cowbird





Canada Goose





Cedar Waxwing







Chipping Sparrow





Cliff Swallow Nests





Common Grackle





Dark-eyed Junco










Double-crested Cormorant







Downy Woodpecker







Eastern Bluebird







Eastern Phoebe





European Starling





Gray Catbird





Great Blue Heron





Great Crested Flycatcher





Great Egret <em>(Ardea alba)</em>





Great Gray Owl





Great Horned Owl







Green-winged Teal





Hairy Woodpecker







Harris’s Sparrow





House Finch





House Sparrow





House Wren







Indigo Bunting





Laughing Gull





Long-billed Curlew










Mourning Dove





Northern Bald Eagle





Northern Barred Owl







Northern Cardinal





Northern Hawk Owl





Northern Shoveler





Northern Shrike














Pileated Woodpecker







Red-breasted Nuthatch







Red-eyed Vireo






Red-headed Woodpecker







Red-winged Blackbird





Ring-billed Gull







Ring-necked Pheasant





Rose-breasted Grosbeak







Ruby-throated Hummingbird






Ruffed Grouse







Sandhill Crane





Sedge Wren







Short-billed Dowitcher





Song Sparrow





Swainson’s thrush





Tree Swallow







Trumpeter Swan





Tundra Swan





Turkey Vulture





Virginia Rail





White-breasted Nuthatch





White-crowned Sparrow







White-throated Sparrow





Wild Turkey





Yellow-bellied Sapsucker sign







Yellow-headed Blackbird







Yellow-shafted Flicker




Alder Flycatcher (Empidonax alnorum)


American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana)


American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus)


American Black Duck (Anas rubripes)

  Photo Photo

American Coot (Fulica americana)

  Photo Photo

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)


American Golden Plover (Pluvialis dominica)

  Photo Photo

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)


American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)


American Pipit (Anthus rubescens)


American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla)

  Photo Photo

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)


American Tree Sparrow (Spizella arborea)

  Photo Photo

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)


American Widgeon (Anas americana)

  Photo Photo

American Woodcock (Scolopax minor)


Baird’s Sparrow (Ammodramus bairdii)

  Photo Photo

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)


Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia)

  Photo Photo

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)


Barrow’s Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica)


Bell’s Vireo (Vireo bellii)


Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)


Black Scoter (Melanitta nigra)


Black Tern (Chlidonias niger)


Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia)


Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus)


Black-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus erythropthalmus)


Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia)

  Photo Photo

Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)


Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)

  Photo Photo

Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus)


Black-throated Green Warbler (Dendroica virens)


Blackburnian Warbler (Dendroica fusca)


Blue Grosbeak (Passerina caerulea)

  Photo Photo

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)


Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)


Blue-headed Vireo (Vireo solitarius)

  Photo Photo

Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors)


Blue-winged Warbler (Vermivora pinus)


Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus)


Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus)


Bonaparte’s Gull (Chroicocephalus philadelphia)


Boreal Chickadee (Poecile hudsonicus)


Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus)


Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)


Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus)


Brown Creeper (Certhia americana)

Profile Photo Video

Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)

  Photo Video

Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)


Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)


Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)

  Photo Video

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)


Canada Warbler (Wilsonia canadensis)


Canvasback (Aythya valisineria)


Caspian Tern (Sterna caspia)


Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)

Profile Photo Video

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)


Cerulean Warbler (Setophaga cerulea)


Chestnut-collared Longspur (Calcarius ornatus)


Chestnut-sided Warbler (Dendroica pensylvanica)


Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica)

  Photo Video

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)


Cinnamon Teal (Anas cyanoptera)


Clark’s Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana)


Clay-colored Sparrow (Spizella pallida)

  Photo Video

Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)


Common Gallinule (Gallinula galeata)


Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)

  Photo Video

Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)


Common Loon (Gavia immer)


Common Merganser (Mergus merganser)


Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)


Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor)


Common Raven (Corvus corax)


Common Redpoll (Acanthis flammea)


Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)


Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)


Connecticut Warbler (Oporonis agilis)


Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)


Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)


Dickcissel (Spiza americana)


Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)

Profile Photo Video

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)


Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)


Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)


Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)


Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna)


Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)


Eastern Screech Owl (Otus asio)


Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)


Eastern Wood-peewee (Contopus virens)


Evening Grosbeak (Coccothraustes vespertinus)


European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)


Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis)


Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla)


Forster’s Tern (Sterna forsteri)


Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca)


Franklin’s Gull (Larus pipixcan)


Gadwall (Anas strepera)


Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)


Golden-winged Warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera)


Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum)

Profile Photo Video

Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)


Gray Jay (Perisoreus canadensis)


Gray Partridge (Perdix perdix)

Profile Photo Video

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)


Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus)

Profile Photo Video

Great Egret (Ardea alba)


Great Gray Owl (Strix nebulosa)

  Photo Video

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)


Greater Prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus cupido)


Greater Scaup (Aythya marila)


Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca)


Green Heron (Butorides virescens)


Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca)


Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus)


Harris’s Sparrow (Zonotrichia querula)


Henslow’s Sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii)


Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus)


Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)


Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)


Hooded Warbler (Setophaga citrina)


Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus)


Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris)


House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)


House Sparrow (Spizella domesticus)


House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)


Hudsonian Godwit (Limosa haemastica)


Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)


Kentucky Warbler (Oporornis formosus)


Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)


King Rail (Rallus elegans)


Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus)


Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus)


Laughing Gull (Larus atricilla)


Le Conte’s Sparrow (Ammodramus leconteii)


Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis)


Least Flycatcher (Empidonax minimus)


Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)


Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes)


Lincoln’s Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii)


Little Blue Heron (Egrettacaerulea)


Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)


Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus)


Long-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus)


Louisiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla)


Magnolia Warbler (Dendroica magnolia)


Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)


Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa)


Marsh Wren (Othorus palustris)


Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides)

Profile Photo Video

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)


Mourning Warbler (Oporornis philadelphia)


Nashville Warbler (Vermivora ruficapilla)


Nelson’s Sparrow (Ammodramus nelsoni)

  Photo Photo

Northern Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus washingtoniensis)

Profile Photo Video

Northern Barred Owl (Strix varia varia)


Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus)


Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)


Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis)


Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)


Northern Hawk Owl (Surnia ulula)


Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)


Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)


Northern Rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)


Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus)


Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)


Northern Shrike (Lanius excubitor)


Northern Waterthrush (Seiurus noveboracensis)


Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi)


Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius)


Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)


Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillus)


Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)


Philadelphia Vireo (Vireo philadelphicus)


Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)

Profile Photo Video

Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)


Pine Warbler (Dendroica pinus)


Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus)


Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus)


Prairie Warbler (Dendroica discolor)


Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea)


Purple Martin (Progne subis)


Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra)


Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)


Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)


Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)

Profile Photo Video

Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus)


Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)


Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena holboellii)


Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)


Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)


Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)


Redhead (Aythya americana)


Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)


Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris)


Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)


Rock Pigeon (Columba livia)


Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus)


Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)

Profile Photo Video

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)


Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)


Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)


Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus)


Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus)


Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis)


Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)


Say’s Phoebe (Sayornis saya)


Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea)


Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis)


Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus)


Sharp-tailed Grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus)


Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus)


Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)


Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens)


Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)


Snowy Owl (Nyctea scandiaca)


Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria)


Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)


Sora (Porzana carolina)


Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularia)


Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)


Sprague’s Pipit (Anthus spragueii)


Spruce Grouse (Falcipennis canadensis)


Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra)


Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni)


Swainson's Thrush (Catharus ustulatus)


Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)


Townsend’s Solitaire (Myadestes townsendi)


Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)


Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor)


Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator)


Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)


Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus)


Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)


Upland Sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda)


Veery (Catharus fuscescens)


Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus)


Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola)


Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus)


Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis)


Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis)


Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)


White-breasted Nuthatch (Meleagris gallopavo)


White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi)


White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)


White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)


White-winged Crossbill (Loxia leucoptera)


Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)


Willet (Catoptrophorus semipalmatus)


Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii)


Wilson’s Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor)


Wilson’s Snipe (Gallinago delicata)


Wilson’s Warbler (Wilsonia pusilla)


Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)


Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)


Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina)


Yellow Rail (Coturnicops noveboracensis)


Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia)


Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (Empidonax flaviventris)

Profile Photo Video

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)


Yellow-crowned Night-heron (Nyctanassa violacea)


Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)


Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata)

Profile Photo Video

Yellow-shafted Flicker (Colaptes auratus luteus)


Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons)










Profile= Profile

Photo = Photo

Photo = Video







Capitalization of Common Names

Bird common names are governed by the International Ornithologists’ Union (IOU). In 1991 the IOU began a project to standardize English language names of birds. The goal was to officially sanction a single, unique name for each species. In 2006 the project was completed and the resulting list was published in book form as Birds of the World: Recommended English Names, by Frank Gill & Minturn Wright. According to the IOU, English language bird names have “graduated from the realm of ‘common/vernacular’ names,” and must be regarded as proper nouns. For this reason, bird common names are capitalized.


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