Birds of Florida – The Bird Guide (2024)

There are almost 530 bird species that have been recorded in Florida, and more than a quarter of them never visit anywhere else. There’s no better chance to see these avian gems than right here in the Sunshine State.

The warm climate and diverse range of habitats make Florida an ideal destination for bird-watching, the best place to see all those rare species – at least 120 of them are endangered or threatened. Floridians are fortunate to be able to see many of these species in their natural habitats, but it’s also possible to spot endangered birds at zoos and nature centers, nature preserves and refuges, parks and beaches. If you’re a bird lover, Florida is the state for you.

Florida is one of the few states in the United States where birders can find a year-round variety of native and migratory birds. The best time to bird in Florida is during spring and fall when migrating species pass through.

During our spring seasons, both resident and migratory birds can be found breeding or nesting nearby. These season’s are most often punctuated with showers of brilliant ruby red cardinals at feeders and the delightful cacophony of songbirds that fill Florida’s forests.

Fall seasons are when many birders from other states flock to the state in search of rarities, particularly shorebirds, raptors and passerines.

Every year more than 100 species of birds stop in Florida for at least part of their migration. The coastal areas attract shorebirds, waders, gulls and terns. While interior areas offer the best sites for warblers and sparrows.

Table of Contents

Popular Bird Watching Locations in Florida:

Upper Florida Keys

The variety of birds and possible sightings attributed to the Florida Keys are far too many to mention, but that is not the only reason birding is so popular in the Keys. Bird watching is possible in the Florida Keys all year long, and beginning in April the Keys are famous for migrating bird sightings.

With the warming temperatures many birds will leave the tropics and use the Keys as their travel route to the north. Another great prospect for birdwatching in the Florida Keys is that the weather permits birding during the months when it is not possible because of snow or poor weather conditions to the north.

The Florida Keys are located at the very end of the Florida peninsula. After passing through Florida City on US1, vacationers are officially in the Florida Keys. The Keys are distance measured by MMs, or mile markers. In the Florida Keys MMs denote location. For example, when you are on MM-88, you know you’re in Islamorada, and so forth.

John Pennekamp State Park

Just across the street from the DJHB Park is John Pennekamp State Park. JPSP is famous for it’s coral reef exploration, but it is also an excellent park for nature walks and birding. Birders can check with the information center and will be supplied with a list of potential bird sightings.

Some of the birds spotted regularly in JPSP are Bahamas mockingbird, gray kingbirds, Gannets, petrels, sooty terns, thick billed vireo and many more. Also for an added excursion, the park has daily glass bottomed boat trips.

The Florida Keys Wild Bird Center

The Florida Keys Wild Bird Center is located on Key Largo also, (mm 93.6) and this is where they take in sick or injured birds. The hope of the bird specialists there is always to return any rescued bird back into the wild, but many will have to live the remainder of their lives in the on-site sanctuary.

Birders may visit the entire facility and speak with any of the many Ornithology experts. As an added treat the center has recently built a that is open for visitors and includes daily parrot behavioral demonstrations.

Windley Key Fossil Reef Park

Windley Key, located near MM90, offers Windley Key Fossil Reef Park where you have a choice of 5 hiking trails with numbered stations for bird watching. At the park’s store you can acquire a 70 page illustrated list of birds and other forms of nature potentially spotted along the way.

Traveling along down US1 is the island of Islamorada and Islamorada Adventure Tours (MM 81.5). Here, they offer something for the whole family including wildlife identification. Boat trips and bird tours are offered where are likely. Bird sightings documented by Islamorada Adventure Tours include, but are not limited to, roseate spoonbills, reddish egrets and birds of prey such as bald eagles and osprey.

Long Key State Park

Long Key State Park can be found on MM 67.5 where they have birding trails and canoe rentals. On Long Key birders are likely to spot migrating spoon bills, warblers, egrets, and great blue herons. Long Key State Park offers the ideal habitat for a wide variety of birds that cannot be found further north. Habitats like mud flats, hammocks, and mangrove swamps, just to name a few. Also many long legged birds can be sighted there searching the shallows for food.

The Loop Road in Big Cypress National Preserve

This 26 mile, mostly unpaved, road is best explored in late afternoon when wading birds are settling in their roosts and other animals are more likely to be active. Drive slowly, allowing at least a couple of hours to get the most out of this road.

In addition to trees full of multiple species of heron and egrets in the mangrove swamps, both glossy and white ibis roost here as well. Birds of prey and songbirds may be seen in the drier areas at the beginning and end of the road.

Keep an eye out for river otter, turtles and alligators as this quieter part of the park complex often results in better viewing of these animal species. While Big Cypress National Preserve is probably best known for its , other Florida mammals are more likely to be seen here.

Flamingo Visitor Center in Everglades National Park

A variety of Florida specialty waders and shorebirds can be seen here. At the Visitor Center, get maps and ask about what birds have been seen recently, then scan Florida Bay for pelicans, terns, gulls and waders.

Check Eco Pond for roseate spoonbill, anhinga and black neck stilt among the herons and egrets. Harriers may be seen in the marshes behind the pond. Walk the entire path around Eco Pond, especially if there is a lot of human activity near the access point, as some of the shyer species such as night herons, will tend to stay at the back of the central island.

Everglades’ Snake Bight Trail for Songbirds

A short distance from the Flamingo Visitor Center is Snake Bight Trail. Be sure to bird this area early, as this is the place for warblers and other songbirds and the trail gets busy with walkers and bike riders as the day progresses.

The boardwalk at the end of the trail gives great views over Florida Bay and this area will have fewer boats than are around the Visitor Center. Herons, egrets and other waders may be seen feeding undisturbed. High tide viewing is best. Low tide exposes miles of mud flats, moving the birds further from shore.

The Road Through Everglades National Park

It is 60 miles from the Coe Visitor Center to the Flamingo Visitor Center. A bird watching tour along this road can take many hours. There are plenty of safe places to pull off when raptors appear. And with four species of kite and several hawks, it is usually worth stopping to check.

Anhinga Trail at Royal Palm Visitor Center in the Everglades

This trail, mostly boardwalk through mangrove swamp and marshes, is an all-person trail. While heavily visited by tourists looking for alligators and the anhinga for which it is named, the walk is populated by birds that are accustomed to human presence making for easy ticks on that checklist.

Hot Spots for Florida Storks and Relatives

Ibis can be found in almost all habitats frequented by herons and egrets. Thus, they are found in Fort Desoto County Park (Pinellas County), Lovers Key (Bonita Beach), Clam Pass (Naples), Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge (Sanibel Island), Briggs Wildlife Refuge, Marco Island, and Everglades City, Lettuce Lake Park (Tampa), Myakka River and Manatee River state parks (east of I-75), and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Glossy ibis tend to forage in slightly denser grassy vegetation than white ibis.

Spoonbills can regularly be found in all of the above except Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa, the Myakka River and Manatee River state parks, and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.

Limpkins are almost a sure bet in Lettuce Lake Park, Myakka and Manatee River state parks, and Corkscrew Swamp.

Sandhill cranes frequent many wet meadows along state road 17 between Interstate 4 and Charlotte Harbor. They may also be seen at the Southwest Florida Airport in Fort Myers, Myakka and Manatee River parks, and Corkscrew Swamp.

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary has one of the largest wood stork breeding populations in the world and this species can best be seen from the boardwalk in this preserve. They are also sporadically seen across Florida from the west coast to the east coast and from the Everglades in the south into Georgia in the north.

The only hot spot for flamingos in Southwerstern Florida is near the town of Flamingo at the bottom of Everglades National Park. They may be found sporadically north of that, but not with predictability.

What Are the Most Common Birds in Florida?

There are so many birds in Florida and here are the most common ones you can find easily:

  • Leach’s Storm-Petrel
  • Zebra Finch
  • Trumpeter Swan
  • Townsend’s Warbler
  • Black Swan
  • Fork-tailed Flycatcher
  • Red-billed Tropicbird
  • House Sparrow
  • Yellow Rail
  • Kirtland’s Warbler
  • Hooded Oriole
  • Baird’s Sandpiper
  • Zone-tailed Hawk
  • Ring-necked Pheasant
  • Connecticut Warbler
  • Mourning Warbler
  • Lazuli Bunting
  • Ruddy Shelduck
  • Red-legged Thrush
  • Yellow-throated Vireo
  • Heermann’s Gull
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler
  • Calliope Hummingbird
  • co*ckatiel
  • Black-faced Grassquit

What Are the Most Common Backyard Birds in Florida?

Florida is a wonderful place to live and grow up. It’s packed with beautiful beaches, lush forests, and of course, backyard birds! There are certain birds that make their home in the Sunshine State more than others. The most common ones are:

  • Gray Catbird
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • Blue Jay
  • Northern Mockingbird
  • Mourning Dove
  • Common Grackle
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • Carolina Wren
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Palm Warbler
  • Northern Cardinal

What Are the Common Small Birds of Florida?

Florida has many varieties of small birds, in particular the many species of sparrows and finches. Some of the more common small birds you can find in Florida:

  • Tufted titmice
  • Carolina chickadee
  • Northern parula
  • Ruby-throated hummingbird
  • Ruby-crowned kinglet
  • Bachman’s sparrow
  • Acadian flycatcher
  • Eastern bluebird

What Are the Common Large Birds of Florida?

Ever gaze into the sky and see a large bird soaring across the sky? If that’s been happening to you in Florida, there are likely to be herons. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides a list of the most common large birds found in Florida state parks, so if you do go for a walk or nature hike, keep these on your radar! It’s important to pay attention to these creatures because many have been in decline due to habitat destruction by humans over generations. Some of the larger birds that you can see in Florida are-

  • Great Egret
  • Sandhill crane
  • Great blue heron
  • Wood Stork
  • Little blue heron
  • Whooping crane

What Are the Common Florida Water Birds?

Many people are able to identify the seagulls of Florida as well as some of the seabirds that nest in coastal habitats. But what about the birds that live inland, or at least in locations only near freshwater? There are also many birds which breed primarily in Florida – not just seabirds – and most Floridians will never see them unless they happen to visit their breeding grounds or stop by a wetland on their way through. Some of the more common water birds in the Sunshine State are:

  • Ospreys
  • Anhinga
  • Brown Pelican
  • Double-crested Cormorant
  • White Pelican
  • Great Egret
  • Roseate spoonbills
  • Herons

What Are the Birds You Can Find in Southwest Florida?

There are many species of birds that live in the swamps and wetlands of Southwest Florida. In fact, many different bird species reside in the region all year long. You can find following bird species in Southwest Florida:

  • Cattle Egret
  • Ring-Billed Gull
  • Yellow-Crowned Heron
  • Foster’s Tern
  • Black Skimmer
  • Snowy Egret
  • Brown Pelican
  • Green Heron
  • American Peregrine Falcon
  • Royal Tern
  • Sandwich Tern
  • Anhinga
  • Bonaparte’s Gull
  • Tri-Colored Heron
  • Laughing Gull
  • Little Blue Heron
  • American White Pelican
  • Great Egret
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Reddish Egret
  • Osprey
  • Roseate Spoonbill
  • Double-Crest Cormorant
  • Least Tern

My favourite Floridian birds include:

Carolina Chickadees

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Carolina Chickadees (Poecile carolinensis) are small birds that are also very common at bird feeders. They are often heard calling “chickadeedeedee,” “tsee, tsee, tsee, tsee tsee tsee,” or “chickadee cheddar.” Bird identification for chickadees is as easy as it gets.

If you live in the Eastern United States, it’s quite possible for you to have seen a Carolina Chickadee. They grow to just under 5 inches in length, and have gray backs, light undersides, and black caps and throat areas.In fact, they’re so widespread that some people refer to them as “the little brown jobbies. ”

But what are Carolina Chickadees really like? What is their biology, their behavior? And why should we care about them at all? Let’s take a look.

Carolina Chickadees are omnivores. They eat insects, including caterpillars and spiders. They also eat seeds, fruit, nuts, and seeds. The majority of their food comes from the ground or from low hanging branches.

Carolina Chickadees are found in deciduous forests. In particular, they prefer oak forests. They like to live at low levels, under the cover of trees and shrubs. They nest in cavities, usually dead twigs or hollows in trees.

Unfortunately, the Eastern deciduous forest is not as widespread as it once was. Many of these forests have been cleared for farming or buildings, and many of these birds have moved to more urban settings. In fact, most Carolina Chickadees now live in cities, where people provide a ready source of food and shelter.

Tufted Titmouse

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The Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) is one of the most common birds in the Southeast. It grows to about 6.5 inches in length, and has a gray back and tail, light rust or orange colored sides, and a white underside. This bird also has a small crest, and can be heard saying “sher sher sher sher.

Eastern Towhees

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Once thought to be an eastern variant of the Rufous-sided Towhee, the eastern (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) and Spotted Towhees (the latter one being the western one) are now recognized as two separate species. Common in pine forests, these birds grow to about 8.5 inches, and have black heads, wings, backs, and tails, and white undersides with orange colored or rufous sides.

They have a noticeable white notch on the side of the wings. Females look like males, except they have brown where the male has black. These birds often hop around on the ground, and can be heard calling “drink your teeeeeeea.”

Brown Thrashers

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Bird identification for Brown Thrashers (Toxostoma rufum) should not be too difficult. These birds look very much like mockingbirds, except, instead of gray, they have rufous or reddish colored backs and tails, and brown streaks on their chests. The state birds of Georgia, brown thrashers grow to nearly one foot in length, and can be heard calling “chak chak chak chak.”

Red-Headed Woodpeckers

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Although Red-headed Woodpeckers (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) are not the only woodpeckers to live in southeastern pine forests (as numerous others, such as Pileated Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, sapsuckers, and flickers also live in much of the same area), the Red-headed Woodpeckers are some of the most common, and the ones that are easiest to identify.

These birds grow to just over 9 inches in length, and have bright red heads, black backs and wings, and white undersides and a big white square on each wing. They sound similar to many other woodpeckers.

Red Knot

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A shorebird sandpiper, the Red Knot is a medium-sized bird (10 inches in length) with a wingspan of about 20 inches. There are six subspecies found around the world, of which Calidris canutus rufa winters in South America and breeds in the Canadian Arctic. Winter plumage is uniformly grey, but the birds’ face, throat and breast show reddish cinnamon color in breeding plumage.

Red Knots are found in marine habitats, particularly along inlets and bays, in the winter, and their breeding range is the tundra of the high Arctic. Knots probe for crustaceans and bivalves in intertidal areas, and also feed on insects and spiders in their breeding grounds.

In February, Red Knots leave their wintering grounds at the far tip of South America, in Chile and Argentina. Flying in flocks of thousands, the birds make one of the longest and most remarkable migratory trips, some 15,000 kilometers to their Arctic breeding grounds.

After a week-long non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, their most important refueling stop, in May, is Delaware Bay and the coastlines of New Jersey and Delaware. Here the birds fatten up before undertaking the last long segment of their journey.

Males arrive at the breeding grounds before the females, immediately establishing and defending their territory. Females typically lay four eggs which incubate in about 22 days, and both male and female birds share nest incubation. Young Knots are precocial, hatched with downy feathers and almost immediately begin foraging with the parents.

Bald Eagle

Birds of Florida – The Bird Guide (7)No longer on the endangered list but still protected, the bald eagle now additionally reflects America’s ability to be strong and resilient in times of crisis, notably the economic woes of the last two years.

Found only on the North American continent, the bald eagle mates for life. When mating season rolls around, usually between late May and early June, they will stand guard in their nests over one to three eggs. The eggs are incubated for 34 to 36 days, during that time many of the park’s trails are closed to ensure the birds are not disturbed in any way during the process. Both parents feed the babies, but despite their care, only half of the little ones survive the first year.

Bald eagles often soar on the wind currents but when they wish to make time, they can fly as fast as 30 miles per hour. They live about 40 years in the wild, migrating to warmer climates in the winter months.

Crested Caracara

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The Crested Caracara is a remarkable bird that is found from the Southern United States to Northern South America. It is an opportunistic feeder that both hunts and scavenges, and it was sacred to several pre-Columbian civilizations of the Americas.

The Crested Caracara, also known as the Northern Caracara (Caracara cheriway) is a bird of prey of the Americas. It was once considered the same species as the Southern Caracara, of South America, though the two are now classified as different species.

Caracaras are mainly dark brown to black, with white necks and faces, tails (except for dark tips) and white coloring under their wingtips. They have black crests, orange-red beaks, and long, yellow-colored legs, making them easily distinguishable from other birds of prey. Their wingspans are usually less than 50 inches, and they generally weigh about 2.2 lbs on average.

The Northern Caracara is found in parts of Southern Arizona, Texas, and Florida, through much of Mexico, including lower Baja California, and in scattered places through the rest of Central America, in Northern South America, and in Cuba. It is found in deserts, dry tropical forests, open parts adjacent to lowland tropical forests, grasslands, coastal areas, and in some rainforest areas.

Yellow-Billed Cuckoo

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The Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus) is found in the U.S. in the summer months. It occurs throughout the lower 48 states, except in parts of the Northwest. It also breeds throughout much of Mexico, and migrates south to Central and South America for winter. This bird typically measures about 12 inches in length.

The Yellow-billed Cuckoo has a white underside, brown body and brown back of the tail (which has black sides), yellow bill with a black tip on it, a yellow ring around each eye, and a black and white patterned tail, visible from below. It also has some distinguishing red-brown feathers toward the ends of the wings. It feeds mainly on caterpillars, but it will also take other insects, snails, and small vertebrates. It often calls “ka ka ka ka kow, kow, kow, kow.”

Black-Billed Cuckoo

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This bird (Coccyzus erythropthalmus), also about 12 inches in length, is found throughout the northeastern two thirds of the U.S. and in parts of Canada in the summer, and it moves down to South America for winter.

The Black-billed Cuckoo is very similar in appearance to the Yellow-billed bird: it, however, has an all black bill, a grayer underside of the tail, red rings around the eyes, and it lacks the reddish feathers on the outer wings. It too feeds upon caterpillars, cicadas, other insects, and small creatures. It makes a sound like “cu cu cu cu.”

Mangrove Cuckoo

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The Mangrove Cuckoo (Coccyzus minor) also measures about 12 inches in length. It is found only in Southern Florida (year round in the Keys, and in summer up to about halfway up the Gulf Coast ) in the United States, and in many places in Caribbean, as well as Central and Northern South America.

It has a light underside, but some noticeable buff coloration around its stomach and throat set it apart from the other two American birds (though only the Yellow-billed is also found in Southern Florida). It has a grayish-brown head, brown body, and a black horizontal mask around each eye. It too feeds mainly on small invertebrates. This bird calls “gaw gaw gaw,” or makes related sounds.

All three species of Cuckoos found in the United States build stick nests, and both parents tend to the young. Yellow-billed and Black-billed birds occasionally lay eggs in the nests of other birds, but this is not solely detrimental: often, when this parasitic behavior happens, the cuckoo parents will assist the host bird parents (often robins or doves) in incubating all of the eggs or feeding all chicks. Also, at times, nesting Yellow-billed Cuckoos will receive help in feeding their chicks from other, unrelated male birds.

White Tailed Kite

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The White Tailed Kite is a raptor. Raptors swallow their prey whole and then disgorge the bones and fur in the form of pellets. Much like bears Kites use a large territory to obtain their food and meet their needs. White Tailed Kites roost in large groups to communicate with each other to show where there is a good food supply during the non-breeding season. This allows the kites to find an unexploited food supply.

These Kites usually inhabit swamps, farm lands, and grassy foothills that make the marsh an ideal place for these birds to prosper. They will hunt the grass along highways, fields or orchards for mice. Also these raptors, will hunt along creeks and streams, fruit and fields.

The White Tailed Kite prefers to build their small twig nests in the tree tops five to 60 feet high in sycamore, oak, and willow trees. Often they build the nest in a separate tree.

Usually bird watchers and wild life managers find four eggs in each nest and the kite may use it for several seasons. About every two days the female lays one of four eggs. The bird sits on the eggs as soon as the first egg is laid and each chick hatches in order of them being laid. In about 30 days the first egg will hatch. down protects the new born kites and their eyes are open. As far as feeding the new born kites the hatchlings take little pieces of meat from their mother’s beak.

A common occurrence among some raptors is cannibalism but not with the White Tailed Kite. About five to six weeks later the birds begin to fly from the nest. While nesting, the male does all the hunting for the female and their young.

Their diet consists of small mammals like field mice voles and other rodents, reptiles or amphibians like frog and toads, small birds and they kite will eat some large insects. Their voice or song is a whistle, croak sounding call.

The White Tailed Kite has expanded its territory and increased its population and now can be found in territories it didn’t live in previously. A similar species is the Mississippi Kite.

American Coot

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Also known as a “mudhen” and not as timid as the similar Moorhen.

The adult Coot stands about one foot tall and has a wingspan of about two feet and a short tail. Both the male and female Coot have similar plumage. They show a black head and neck Their beak is very thick with dark reddish ring just before the tip and often observed both swimming and walking. While walking on land it bobs it white tail. The coot’s toes have webbing making the bird a strong swimmer, especially in open water. Their neck, back and chests show black and their stomach has a grey coloring.

The newly hatched birds display a thick, black down on their head and back. The newborn has an exposed crown, blue eyes and black legs. The young birds look like the adults, except lighter in color. The juvenile Coots beak may lack the reddish ring near tip. The Coot inhabits marshes and ponds in most of Canada and the United States.

Around May and June when the Coot becomes romantic and time to mate the action begins with big show. Both the male and female Coot begins a display of themselves to each other. They chirp to one another and splash about while in the water. The breeding actions start on the water and ends on the land. The female Coot takes a submissive attitude as an invitation to the male for sex and keeps this position while mating.

The male and female Coots work together to build a nest. The location of the nest is at the edge of the reeds by the edge of the pond. All nests slant into the water for easier access for the young coots.

After mating the female Coot lays about nine pink colored eggs with brown spots. Both the male and female take turns keeping the eggs incubated until they hatch in about 3 1/2 weeks. Both parents share the feeding and teaching the young. The Coot prefers wetlands near open water for breeding. In about seven to eight weeks the juvenile Coots begin to fly. Normally the Coot has only one brood each year. Sometimes you will see them have a second brood.

Soon after hatching and drying the chicks follow parents for food and they swim well at this very early age. About thirty days after hatching the young can dive for their own food and they can fly in 35 to 40 days after hatching and are fully independent after about 60 days.

The Coot’s diet consists of plants, insects, seeds, marine animals like fish and tadpoles and will steal food from other birds. The Coots examine all plant life for eatable tidbits. Some of the plant life they eat are fronds, seeds, and roots of aquatic plants. They sometimes eat wild celery.

The Coot, is a migratory bird. During the summer months these birds inhabit areas around the fresh water lakes, water ways, marshes and ponds of the Northern United States and Southern Canada.

Loons

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Many people know the Loon’s call well because of its appearance in many movies and leisure tapes. Besides having a fascinating song, it is a handsome water bird.

Loons require at least 50 acres of lake area to supply enough fish to sustain a non-breeding pair of common loons. For common loons to produce successfully they need 100 acres or more and 200 acres or more to support two or more breeding pairs of this species. Loons do not show partiality for clear or colored lakes and raise broods on both types of lakes.

The loon breeds in the northern part of northern hemisphere. The bird breeds from Alaska to Greenland and from Northern California to Nova Scotia. The loon winters from British Columbia south to Southern California and the Gulf coast and from the Great Lakes region south to Florida.

In the summer months the loon’s plumage on its upper parts is glossy purplish black with greenish reflections. The loon has white spots and white on its under parts. There is a sharp white streak on its lower throat and other white streaks on each side of its neck.

In the wintertime the upper parts are greyish brown with no spots.

Loons have thick necks, knife-like bills and small pointed wings. Being a water bird, they naturally have webbed feet. Their feathers are hard and dense, except on their neck where the feathers are soft and fine. Found in both salt and fresh water, loons are the only birds having some solid bones. The average adult loon measures from 28-36 inches long.

The Dunlin

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The Dunlin breeds from western and northern Alaska east to Hudson Bay. Also bird watchers see the Dunlin in California, New England, Florida the Pacific Northwest, the Mid Atlantic states and the Southeastern North America.

After mating the female Dunlin lays four olive eggs, blotched with brown. Incubation of the eggs lasts about three weeks. The young birds begin to fledge in about three weeks and they normally have only one brood each year.

The Dunlin is seen on all estuaries of the United Kingdom with the largest numbers in winter. The Dunlin spends it winters along the sea shore from southern Alaska and Massachusetts south into Florida. Also the Dunlin winters in Eurasia.

The Fraser River Delta in suburban Vancouver supports the most northerly large wintering population of Pacific Dunlin. These shorebirds in Canada are the largest concentration of shorebirds that spend their winter there. Also the Dunlin spends the winter months in Alaska and Massachusetts on the shoreline of these states. It is generally seen in small flocks of occasionally 100 birds or more.

Their diet consists mainly of aquatic invertebrates like mollusks, crustaceans, and marine worms. Also it will eat Insects and snails.

Their voice consists of a soft chirp and a sequence of warbles. Bird watchers see the Dunlin all year round on the coast and on its breeding grounds from April to July.

A similar looking birds are the Rock Sandpiper, Curlew and Little Stint.

Common Terns

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Common terns nest on islands or peninsulas near large lakes and rivers that have little fruitful vegetation . Sandy substructures are the particular choice of the terns. Preferred nesting roosts have about thirty per cent vegetative protection.

Their menu consists mainly of small fish like minnows and alewives that they snare by floating in the air a few inches over the water’s surface. Then they plunge head first for next meal. Occasionally they will swim a few feet below the water’s surface to capture their quarry.

The Common Terns generally reaches breeding and nesting capabilities at age three. Like other terns and gull the Common Terns nest in groups. Common Tern breeding groups range from a few pairs at many inland breeding colonies, to thousands of pairs elsewhere.

After mating the female Common Tern lays three greenish white to deep brown colored eggs from late May to early June. The eggs have spots and blotches of brown, black and lavender. Both parents sit on the eggs and in about 25 days the young hatch. About one month later the birds have grown enough feathers to make their first flight.

The nest usually consists of a small hole in the dirt. The future parents pad the nest with grasses, seashells, or bits of seaweed. People observe the Common Terns around the world. Some classes of terns nest in crooks and crannies of the earth or in hovels and some terns nest in trees.

Loss of their breeding environment, lengthy severe climatic condition, animals, snakes and other birds affect whether terns have healthy chicks. Also destroying the nests and the eggs, people trespassing on the nesting site, removal of the young terns by other gulls, and chemical poisons are elements influencing the future of nesting terns.

Wild life managers should prevent people from trespassing, to see or take pictures near the birds while they nest. Managers should mange nesting sites to supply sparse foliage growth sections free of birds and animal predators, like the great horned owls, minks, rats, raccoons, and red foxes.

Reddish Egrets

Birds of Florida – The Bird Guide (17)

The Reddish Egret inhabits areas throughout the Gulf States, West Indies & Mexico south to El Salvador. Also there is a white form of this egret. The Reddish Egret of Central America and Southern United States is a medium sized heron. The State of Florida designated the Reddish Egret’s as a Species of Special Concern and Texas listed The Reddish Egret as a Threatened Species.

The Reddish Egret will live in seaside flooded areas in the mangrove swamps. Also the Red Egret will stay in the salt marshes, and lagoons in Florida. In Texas people see the Reddish Egret around cactus and willow trees. Birders observed the egret mainly in brackish lakes and salt marshes.

All these birds feed, by diving, swimming or gliding over the surface of the water picking up food. All these performances by the different species of birds is awesome, especially if you visit at the right time of the year.

During its courtship it is said this bird dances for its dinner. The egret has many postures during courtship. In some species of egrets the beak changes color because of excitement during courtship because of a flush of blood. When the egret is in the courtship phase the feathers on its back are raised. It was the want of these feathers by collectors for the plume trade during the late 1800s and early 1900s.that caused the Red Egret into near extinction.

Collectors killed so many Reddish Egrets just for this raised plume on their backs that it put the bird in a perilous position. Several reasons why this bird is threatened today are:

Man built businesses and private homes on wading pools and wetlands that the egret used while in transient. When man built in Florida Bay they changed their distribution and characteristics of the bay. These changes affected the water by increasing the salt content in the water that negatively affected the fish and water mammal’s food reserves.

Rosy Spoonbill

Birds of Florida – The Bird Guide (18)

Scientist call the spoonbill with deep rose colored feathers on its wings and body, The Roseate Spoonbill has an almost bare greenish colored head. This is the American representative of spoonbill ducks. The Rosy Spoonbill stands about two to 2 1/2 feet tall with a wing span of about 4 1/2 feet.

This long legged wading bird has a long neck, red or yellow eyes, a greyish or yellowish colored bill that looks like a flattened spoon, hence its name. When in flight the spoonbill extends its neck forward. Its legs and large feet are crimson colored and both the male and female birds are similar in color.

Birders spot the different spoonbill in the Gulf states of the USA. In South America they inhabit regions in Argentina and Chile.

With their head down the spoonbill searches for clams or shrimp in the shallow water. When the water level is low the spoonbill will eat bugs, snails, frogs, crawdads and everything else available like small fish. When feeding, the birds make a low croaking sound as if talking to each other.

When referring to the feeding of the young nesting birds T. Gilbert Pearson wrote, “What their parents brought them I could not see, nor for that matter could they. But with a confidence born of experience, the bird that had first opportunity pushed its bill and head far down in the parent’s mouth to get whatever was there. This singular action lasted about ten seconds and was only terminated by the parent against the will of the offspring; then after a short rest a second youngster was fed and in due time the whole family was satisfied.”

The nest consists of a platform of sticks in dense tropical marshes usually in cypress or mangrove bushes from eight to twenty feet off the ground. While one parent watches the other feeds.

After breeding the female lays between two to three eggs in the nest she built in wetlands near open water. During the breeding season the spoonbill may congregate in large colonies. She sits on the white eggs that have different shades of brown spots for a little more than three weeks. When the young birds hatch they show a white feathered head. After about five to six weeks the young birds start to fly and leave the nest. Normally the spoonbill has one brood of chicks each year.

They fly using slow powerful down beats to lift the large body with a rhythm of flapping their wings two or three times and then gliding. As they travel to their destination they continue the flapping and gliding. The common call is quack like and sometimes the birds clack their bills together

The spoon bill are closely related to flamingoes who are also pink. The flamingos have a distinct bill too and use it to eat crustaceans from the bottom of shallow waters.

Formerly hunters shot the Rosy for their feathers to make fans. In the United States hunters almost exterminated Rosy for its feathers.

Mainly man is the bird’s worst enemy followed by other predators that live in their habitat. Eggs are a wonderful diet for so many predators.

Ivory-Billed Woodpecker (Very Rare)

Birds of Florida – The Bird Guide (19)

Ivory-billed Woodpecker’s status with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is that it is critically endangered, or possibly extinct. The last series of sightings of the most endangered bird in America (presuming that Mexico’s Imperial Woodpecker is extinct) was in 2004, in Arkansas. Some have claimed to have seen the ivory-billed woodpecker in Florida since then, but conservationists generally doubt that.

The ivory-billed woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) is a very large woodpecker that is similar in shape to the though it is more closely related to the of Mexico, which, if not extinct, is the world’s largest woodpecker. Ivory-billed woodpeckers can (could) reach a length of about 20 inches, and weigh nearly a pound and a half.

The male birds have red crests, and black bodies with a white streak down each side, whereas the females have black crests and the same coloring elsewhere. They eat insect larvae found behind tree bark, particularly in dead trees.

The IUCN presently considers logging in the southeast, particularly in the bird’s remaining prime habitat in Louisiana to be the greatest threat to the species, if it has not gone extinct yet. These birds have historically inhabited forests of mainly hard pine, but they have also been reported in areas of mixed conifers and deciduous trees in swamps in the American South.

Although much of this habitat still remains, these birds frequently move from place to place, and individually inhabit large territories, and it is generally considered that they require large, uninterrupted tracts of pine forest, which are becoming rare these days. Louisiana has typically been at the heart of the bird’s range.

Birds of Florida – The Bird Guide (2024)

FAQs

What happened to the birds in Florida? ›

Florida is home to many species of imperiled birds. Most are considered imperiled because their habitat has been fragmented or eliminated by human development and agriculture. The remaining habitat, in many cases, is affected by human disturbance.

What bird is only found in Florida? ›

The round-headed, blue and gray Florida Scrub-Jay is the only bird species that lives exclusively in Florida, where it occurs in patches of low-growing scrub oak in sandy soils.

What is the tall GREY bird in Florida? ›

The Florida sandhill crane can reach a height of 47.2 inches (120 centimeters) with a wingspan around 78.7 inches (200 centimeters) (Nesbitt 1996). This species is gray with a long neck and legs, and a bald spot of red skin on the top of its head.

What is the Florida bird identification app? ›

The Audubon Bird Guide is a free and complete field guide to over 800 species of North American birds, right in your pocket. Built for all experience levels, it will help you identify the birds around you, keep track of the birds you've seen, and get outside to find new birds near you.

What bird just went extinct in Florida? ›

The Bachman's warbler was one of the rarest songbirds in North America. It spent part of its migratory time in Florida and was last spotted in Cuba in 1988.

What is the killer bird in Florida? ›

A Florida man was killed on Friday by what ornithologists say is the “world's most dangerous bird.” It was a cassowary — an enormous, flightless bird around which even experienced zookeepers take precautions. He raised the animal on his farm, along with other exotic birds, authorities said.

What is the prettiest Florida bird? ›

10 Stunning Native Birds Every Florida Visitor Needs to See
  • Florida Scrub-Yay (Aphelocoma coerulescens)
  • Snail Kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis)
  • Limpkin (Aramus guarauna)
  • White Crowned Pigeon (Patagioenas leucocephala)
  • Short-Tailed Hawk (Buteo brachyurus)
  • Gray Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis)
Nov 14, 2023

What is Florida's national bird? ›

The Northern Mockingbird is one of the most iconic birds of the South. It is probably the bird that people see the most as they travel around in their everyday lives. It's also the state bird of five states, one which is Florida.

What is the small blue jay looking bird in Florida? ›

The Florida scrub-jay is a blue and gray bird about the size of a blue jay. Scrub-jays have blue wings, head, and tail, and gray back and underparts, and a whitish forehead and neck. Unlike blue jays, this species does not have black markings or a crest.

What is a small white bird with a long skinny beak in Florida? ›

White Ibises are wetland birds. They use freshwater marshes, coastal estuaries, mangroves, flooded pastures, mudflats, and swamps. They usually forage in shallow areas with less than 8 inches of water, but they also use lawns and parks especially in southern Florida.

What is the big white bird in the water in Florida? ›

Great egret The largest of the white-colored wading birds in Florida, the great egret is frequently seen in wetlands areas and along waterways.

What is the little blue bird in Florida? ›

Bluebirds are small, beautifully colored thrushes. They're often seen perched in a hunched position on wires or fences in fields and open woodlands throughout central and north Florida. The adult male bluebird has a vibrant blue back, head and tail, chestnut colored throat and breast and white belly.

What is the best free bird identifier? ›

Merlin offers quick identification help for all levels of bird watchers and outdoor enthusiasts to help you learn about the birds in any country in the world.

Is there a free app that identifies birds? ›

The Audubon Bird Guide is a free and complete field guide to over 800 species of North American birds, right in your pocket. Built for all experience levels, it will help you identify the birds around you, keep track of the birds you've seen, and get outside to find new birds near you.

Why are there no birds around right now? ›

Bird populations fluctuate seasonally and from one year to the next for a range of reasons. Often when someone reports that birds have gone missing from their yard, they are just seeing normal variation. Causes for these regular changes include: Fluctuating food supplies/requirements.

Did the Florida state bird change? ›

The commission backed a change in the 2009 legislative session and revived the effort in 2022. But the northern mockingbird has maintained its perch as Florida's avian symbol, which it has held since 1927.

What happened to the quail in Florida? ›

Over the past 50 years, the bobwhite quail population in Florida has declined by approximately 82 percent. The decline in the number of quail is due to loss of suitable habitat.

Is there a bird virus in Florida? ›

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Florida by County – updated 1/23/2023. Current distribution by county of HPAI cases in wild birds in Florida January 2022 to present. Since January 2022, HPAI H5 has been confirmed in 35 counties in Florida: Jackson, Leon, Madison, Duval, Clay, St.

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