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List of birds of New York (state) facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

Eastern Bluebirds
The eastern bluebird is New York's state bird

The following list of birds of New York includes the 494 species and a species pair of wild birds documented in New York as of July 2020. Unless noted otherwise, the source is the Checklist of New York State Birds published by the New York State Avian Records Committee (NYSARC) of the New York State Ornithological Association. These species represent 23 orders and 67 families of birds. An additional, "hypothetical", species is also noted by NYSARC.

The list is presented in the taxonomic sequence of the Check-list of North and Middle American Birds, 7th edition through the 61st Supplement, published by the American Ornithological Society (AOS). Common and scientific names are also those of the Check-list, except that the common names of families are from the Clements taxonomy because the AOS list does not include them.

Unless otherwise noted, all species listed below are considered to occur regularly in New York as permanent residents, summer or winter visitors, or migrants. These tags are used to annotate some species:

  • (B) Breeding - a species that currently breeds or has bred in New York (248 species)
  • (†) Extinct - a species that used to live in what is now New York but is now extinct (2 or 3 species)
  • (E) Extirpated - a species that no longer occurs in New York, but populations exist elsewhere (2 species)
  • (I) Introduced - a population established solely as result of direct or indirect human intervention; synonymous with non-native and non-indigenous (8 species)
  • (IE) - an introduced population existed but is now extirpated (2 species)
  • (H) Hypothetical - a species with sight records but no description, specimen, or photograph (1 species)

Other markings denote birds that NYSARC requests documentation of in certain conditions:

  • (N) - documentation of this species should be submitted if seen anywhere in New York (153 species)
  • (U) - documentation of this species should be submitted if seen in upstate New York (30 species)
  • (D) - documentation of this species should be submitted if seen in downstate New York (4 species)
  • (A) - documentation of this species should be submitted if seen outside the Adirondacks (3 species)
  • (P) - documentation of this species should be submitted if seen outside of the pelagic zone (between 3 and 200 miles from shore) but within New York State. (4 species)
  • (S) - documentation of this species should be submitted if seen in New York in spring (3 species)

Ducks, geese, and waterfowl

Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) RWD2
Northern shoveler
Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) RWD
Harlequin duck

Order: Anseriformes   Family: Anatidae

The family Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These birds are adapted to an aquatic existence with webbed feet, bills which are flattened to a greater or lesser extent, and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to special oils. Forty-seven species have been recorded in New York.

New World quail

Order: Galliformes   Family: Odontophoridae

The New World quails are small, plump terrestrial birds only distantly related to the quails of the Old World, but named for their similar appearance and habits. One species has been recorded in New York.

Pheasants, grouse, and allies

Spruce grouse

Order: Galliformes   Family: Phasianidae

Phasianidae consists of the pheasants and their allies. These are terrestrial species, variable in size but generally plump with broad relatively short wings. Many species are gamebirds or have been domesticated as a food source for humans. Seven species have been recorded in New York.


Pied-billed Grebe in breeding plumage
Pied-billed grebe

Order: Podicipediformes   Family: Podicipedidae

Grebes are small to medium-large diving birds that breed on fresh water. They have lobed toes and are excellent swimmers and divers. However, they have their feet placed far back on the body, making them quite ungainly on land. six species have been recorded in New York.

Pigeons and doves

Mourning Dove 2006
Mourning dove

Order: Columbiformes   Family: Columbidae

Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere. Eight species have been recorded in New York.


Black-billed cuckoo

Order: Cuculiformes   Family: Cuculidae

The family Cuculidae includes cuckoos, roadrunners, and anis. These birds are of variable size with slender bodies, long tails, and strong legs. Two species have been recorded in New York.

Nightjars and allies

Chordeiles minor -British Columbia -Canada-8b
Common nighthawk

Order: Caprimulgiformes   Family: Caprimulgidae

Nightjars are medium-sized nocturnal birds that usually nest on the ground. They have long wings, short legs, and very short bills. Most have small feet, of little use for walking, and long pointed wings. Their soft plumage is cryptically colored to resemble bark or leaves. Three species have been recorded in New York.


Order: Apodiformes   Family: Apodidae

The swifts are small birds which spend the majority of their lives flying. These birds have very short legs and never settle voluntarily on the ground, perching instead only on vertical surfaces. Many swifts have long swept-back wings which resemble a crescent or boomerang. One species has been recorded in New York.


Archilochus colubris (Male)
Ruby-throated hummingbird

Order: Apodiformes   Family: Trochilidae

Hummingbirds are small birds capable of hovering in mid-air due to the rapid flapping of their wings. They are the only birds that can fly backwards. Five species have been recorded in New York.

Rails, gallinules, and coots

Mikebaird - Sora (Porzana carolina) bird waterbird in Morro Bay (by)

Order: Gruiformes   Family: Rallidae

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, making them difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs and long toes which are well adapted to soft uneven surfaces. They tend to have short rounded wings and to be weak fliers. Eleven species have been recorded in New York.

  • Clapper rail, Rallus crepitans (U)(B)
  • King rail, Rallus elegans (N)(B)
  • Virginia rail, Rallus limicola (B)
  • Corn crake, Crex crex (N)
  • Sora, Porzana carolina (B)
  • Common gallinule, Gallinula galeata (B)
  • American coot, Fulica americana (B)
  • Purple gallinule, Porphyrio martinicus (N)
  • Azure gallinule, Porphyrio flavirostris (N)
  • Yellow rail, Coturnicops noveboracensis (N)
  • Black rail, Laterallus jamaicensis (N)(B)


Order: Gruiformes   Family: Gruidae

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". One species has been recorded in New York.

Stilts and avocets

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Recurvirostridae

Recurvirostridae is a family of large wading birds which includes the avocets and stilts. The avocets have long legs and long up-curved bills. The stilts have extremely long legs and long, thin, straight bills. Two species have been recorded in New York.

  • Black-necked stilt, Himantopus mexicanus (N)
  • American avocet, Recurvirostra americana


American Oystercatcher
American oystercatcher

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Haematopodidae

The oystercatchers are large, obvious, noisy plover-like birds with strong bills used for smashing or prying open molluscs. One species has been recorded in New York.

  • American oystercatcher, Haematopus palliatus (U)(B)

Plovers and lapwings

Pluvialis dominica1
American golden-plover

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Charadriidae

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. Nine species have been recorded in New York.

Sandpipers and allies

Upland sandpiper
Arenaria interpres3
Ruddy turnstone
American Woodcock Scolopax minor
American woodcock

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Scolopacidae

Scolopacidae is a large, diverse family of small to medium-sized shorebirds which includes the sandpipers, curlews, godwits, shanks, tattlers, woodcocks, snipes, dowitchers, and phalaropes. Most species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Different lengths of legs and bills enable multiple species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food. Forty-two species have been recorded in New York.

Skuas and jaegers

Parasitic jaeger

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Stercorariidae

Skuas and jaegers are long-distant migrants, breeding on the high arctic tundra but flying as far as Antarctica. During the breeding season, they hunt small mammals and birds, but at other times of the year they will scavenge and steal food from other birds. Five species have been recorded in New York.

  • Great skua, Stercorarius skua (N)
  • South polar skua, Stercorarius maccormicki (N)
  • Pomarine jaeger, Stercorarius pomarinus
  • Parasitic jaeger, Stercorarius parasiticus
  • Long-tailed jaeger, Stercorarius longicaudus (P)

Auks, murres, and puffins

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Alcidae

Alcids are superficially similar to penguins in their black-and-white colors, their upright posture, and some of their habits. However they are only distantly related to the penguins and are able to fly. Auks live on the open sea, deliberately coming ashore only to nest. Eight species have been recorded in New York.

  • Dovekie, Alle alle (U)
  • Common murre, Uria aalge (P)
  • Thick-billed murre, Uria lomvia (N)
  • Razorbill, Alca torda (U)
  • Black guillemot, Cepphus grylle (U)
  • Long-billed murrelet, Brachyramphus perdix (N)
  • Ancient murrelet, Synthliboramphus antiques (N)
  • Atlantic puffin, Fratercula arctica (N)

Gulls, terns, and skimmers

Krummhörn, Greetsiel, Hafen, 2010-06 CN-01
Herring gull
Havstrut aka Larus marinus aka Great black-backed gull
Great black-backed gull

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Laridae

Laridae is a family of medium to large seabirds and includes jaegers, skuas, gulls, terns, kittiwakes, and skimmers. They are typically gray or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet. Thirty-six species have been recorded in New York.

  • Black-legged kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla
  • Ivory gull, Pagophila eburnea (N)
  • Sabine's gull, Xema sabini (S)(D)
  • Bonaparte's gull, Chroicocephalus philadelphia
  • Gray-hooded gull, Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus (N)
  • Black-headed gull, Chroicocephalus ridibundus
  • Little gull, Hydrocoloeus minutus
  • Ross's gull, Rhodostethia rosea (N)
  • Laughing gull, Leucophaeus atricilla (B)
  • Franklin's gull, Leucophaeus pipixcan (D)
  • Black-tailed gull, Larus crassirostris (N)
  • Mew gull, Larus canus (N)
  • Ring-billed gull, Larus delawarensis (B)
  • Western gull, Larus occidentalis (N)
  • California gull, Larus californicus (N)
  • Herring gull, Larus smithsonianus (B)
  • Iceland gull, Larus glaucoides
  • Lesser black-backed gull, Larus fuscus
  • Slaty-backed gull, Larus schistisagus (N)
  • Glaucous gull, Larus hyperboreus
  • Great black-backed gull, Larus marinus (B)
  • Sooty tern, Onychoprion fuscatus (N)
  • Bridled tern, Onychoprion anaethetus (N)
  • Least tern, Sternula antillarum (U)(B)
  • Gull-billed tern, Gelochelidon nilotica (U)(B)
  • Caspian tern, Hydroprogne caspia (B)
  • Black tern, Chlidonias niger (B)
  • White-winged tern, Chlidonias leucopterus (N)(B)
  • Roseate tern, Sterna dougallii (U)(B)
  • Common tern, Sterna hirundo (B)
  • Arctic tern, Sterna paradisaea (N, excluding Cupsogue County Park)
  • Forster's tern, Sterna forsteri (B)
  • Royal tern, Thalasseus maximus (U)
  • Sandwich tern, Thalasseus sandvicensis (N)
  • Elegant tern, Thalasseus elegans (N)
  • Black skimmer, Rynchops niger (U)(B)


Order: Phaethontiformes   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. Two species have been recorded in New York.


Common Loon
Common loon

Order: Gaviiformes   Family: Gaviidae

Loons are aquatic birds the size of large ducks, which they superficially resemble. Their plumage is largely gray or black, and they have spear-shaped bills. Loons swim well and fly adequately, but, because their legs are placed towards the rear of the body, are not well adapted to locomotion on land. Four species have been recorded in New York.

  • Red-throated loon, Gavia stellata
  • Pacific loon, Gavia pacifica (N)
  • Common loon, Gavia immer (B)
  • Yellow-billed loon, Gavia adamsii (N)


Order: Procellariiformes   Family: Diomedeidae

The albatrosses are among the largest of flying birds, and the great albatrosses from the genus Diomedea have the largest wingspans of any extant birds. One species has appeared in New York.

  • Yellow-nosed albatross, Thalassarche chlororhynchos (N)

Southern storm-petrels

White-faced storm-petrel

Order: Procellariiformes   Family: Oceanitidae

The storm-petrels are the smallest seabirds, relatives of the petrels, feeding on planktonic crustaceans and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. The flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like. Until 2018, the family's three species were included with the other storm-petrels in family Hydrobatidae. Two species have been recorded in New York.

Northern storm-petrels

Order: Procellariiformes   Family: Hydrobatidae

Though the members of this family are similar in many respects to the southern storm-petrels, including their general appearance and habits, there are enough genetic differences to warrant their placement in a separate family. Two species have been recorded in New York.

  • Leach's storm-petrel, Hydrobates leucorhous (P)
  • Band-rumped storm-petrel, Hydrobates castro (N)

Shearwaters and petrels

Order: Procellariiformes   Family: Procellariidae

The procellariids are the main group of medium-sized "true petrels", characterized by united nostrils with medium septum and a long outer functional primary. Ten species have been recorded in New York.

  • Northern fulmar, Fulmarus glacialis (U)
  • Trindade petrel, Pterodroma arminjoniana (N)
  • Mottled petrel, Pterodroma inexpectata (N)
  • Black-capped petrel, Pterodroma hasitata (N)
  • Fea's petrel, Pterodroma feae (N)
  • Cory's shearwater, Calonectris diomedea (U)
  • Sooty shearwater, Ardenna griseus (U)
  • Great shearwater, Ardenna gravis (U)
  • Manx shearwater, Puffinus puffinus (U)
  • Audubon's shearwater, Puffinus lherminieri (P)


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. One species has been recorded in New York.


Order: Suliformes   Family: Fregatidae

Frigatebirds are large seabirds usually found over tropical oceans. They are large, black, or black-and-white, with long wings and deeply forked tails. The males have colored inflatable throat pouches. They do not swim or walk and cannot take off from a flat surface. Having the largest wingspan-to-weight ratio of any bird, they are essentially aerial, able to stay aloft for more than a week. One species has been recorded in New York.

  • Magnificent frigatebird, Fregata magnificens (N)

Boobies and gannets

Morus bassanus adu
Northern gannet

Order: Suliformes   Family: Sulidae

The sulids comprise the gannets and boobies. Both groups are medium-large coastal seabirds that plunge-dive for fish. Two species have been recorded in New York.

  • Brown booby, Sula leucogaster (N)
  • Northern gannet, Morus bassanus


Order: Suliformes   Family: Anhingidae

Anhingas are cormorant-like water birds with very long necks and long, straight beaks. They are fish eaters which often swim with only their neck above the water. One species has been recorded in New York.

Cormorants and shags

Great cormorant
Great cormorant

Order: Suliformes   Family: Phalacrocoracidae

Cormorants are medium to large aquatic birds, usually with mainly dark plumage and areas of colored skin on the face. The bill is long, thin, and sharply hooked. Their feet are four-toed and webbed. Three species have been recorded in New York.


Order: Pelecaniformes   Family: Pelecanidae

Pelicans are very large water birds with a distinctive pouch under their beak. Like other birds in the order Pelecaniformes, they have four webbed toes. Two species have been recorded in New York.

Herons, egrets, and bitterns

Ardea herodias 01957t
Great blue heron
Green heron 0060
Green heron

Order: Pelecaniformes   Family: Ardeidae

The family Ardeidae contains the herons, egrets, and bitterns. Herons and egrets are medium-sized to large wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter-necked and more secretive. Members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted, unlike other long-necked birds such as storks, ibises and spoonbills. Fourteen species have been recorded in New York.

Ibises and spoonbills

Order: Pelecaniformes   Family: Threskiornithidae

The family Threskiornithidae includes the ibises and spoonbills. They have long, broad wings. Their bodies tend to be elongated, the neck more so, with rather long legs. The bill is also long, decurved in the case of the ibises, straight and distinctively flattened in the spoonbills. Four species have been recorded in New York.

New World vultures

Black Vulture-27527
Black vulture

Order: Cathartiformes   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, but unlike Old World vultures, which find carcasses by sight, some New World vultures have a good sense of smell with which they find carcasses. Two species have been recorded in New York.


Order: Accipitriformes   Family: Pandionidae

Pandionidae is a monotypic family of fish-eating birds of prey, possessing a very large, powerful hooked beak for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons, and keen eyesight.

  • Osprey, Pandion haliaetus (B)

Hawks, eagles, and kites

Bald Eagle - "Helga" - Haliaeetus leucocephalus2
Bald eagle

Order: Accipitriformes   Family: Accipitridae

Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey which includes hawks, eagles, kites, and harriers. These birds have very large powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons, and keen eyesight. Fourteen species have been recorded in New York.


Order: Strigiformes   Family: Tytonidae

Barn-owls are medium to large owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons. One species has been recorded in New York.


Short-eared owl
Short-eared owl

Order: Strigiformes   Family: Strigidae

Typical owls are small to large solitary nocturnal birds of prey. They have large forward-facing eyes and ears, a hawk-like beak, and a conspicuous circle of feathers around each eye called a facial disk. Eleven species have been recorded in New York.


Belted Kingfisher
Belted kingfisher

Order: Coraciiformes   Family: Alcedinidae

Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long, pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails. One species has been recorded in New York.

  • Belted kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon (B)


Woodpecker 20040529 151837 1c
Pileated woodpecker

Order: Piciformes   Family: Picidae

Woodpeckers are small to medium-sized birds with chisel-like beaks, short legs, stiff tails, and long tongues used for capturing insects. Some species have feet with two toes pointing forward and two backward, while several species have only three toes. Many woodpeckers have the habit of tapping noisily on tree trunks with their beaks. Eleven species have been recorded in New York.

Falcons and caracaras

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 talons. Five species have been recorded in New York.

  • Crested caracara, Caracara cheriway (N)
  • American kestrel, Falco sparverius (B)
  • Merlin, Falco columbarius (B)
  • Gyrfalcon, Falco rusticolus (N)
  • Peregrine falcon, Falco peregrinus (B)

New World and African parrots

Order: Psittaciformes   Family: Psittacidae

Parrots are small to large birds with a characteristic curved beak. Their upper mandibles have slight mobility in the joint with the skull and they have a generally erect stance. All parrots are zygodactyl, having the four toes on each foot placed two at the front and two to the back. Most of the more than 150 species in the family are found in the New World. One species has been definitively recorded in New York, and one other that is extinct may also have been recorded.

Tyrant flycatchers

Eastern kingbird

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Tyrannidae

Tyrant flycatchers are passerines which are found throughout the Americas. They bear a superficially resemblance to the Old World flycatchers, but are more robust and have stronger bills. They lack the sophisticated vocal capabilities of the songbirds. Most are insectivorous. Twenty-one species have been recorded in New York.


Lanius excubitor 1 (Marek Szczepanek)
Northern shrike

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Laniidae

Shrikes are passerine birds known for their habit of catching other birds and small animals and impaling the uneaten portions of their bodies on thorns. A shrike's beak is hooked, like that of a typical bird of prey. Two species have been recorded in New York.

  • Loggerhead shrike, Lanius ludovicianus (N)(B)
  • Northern shrike, Lanius borealis

Vireos, shrike-babblers, and erpornis

Yellow-throated vireo

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Vireonidae

The vireos are a group of small to medium-sized passerine birds mostly restricted to the New World, though other members of the family are found in Africa. They are typically greenish in color and resemble wood warblers apart from their heavier bills. Eight species have been recorded in New York.

Crows, jays, and magpies

Blue jay

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Corvidae

The family Corvidae includes crows, ravens, jays, choughs, magpies, treepies, nutcrackers, and ground jays. Corvids are above average in size among the Passeriformes, and some of the larger species show high levels of intelligence. Six species have been recorded in New York.


Order: Passeriformes   Family: Alaudidae

Larks are small terrestrial birds with often extravagant songs and display flights. Most larks are fairly dull in appearance. Their food is insects and seeds. Two species have been recorded in New York.

  • Eurasian skylark, Alauda arvensis (IE)(B)
  • Horned lark, Eremophila alpestris (B)


Tachycineta bicolor -Central New York, USA -flying-8
Tree swallow

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Hirundinidae

The family Hirundinidae is adapted to aerial feeding. They have a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings, and a short bill with a wide gape. The feet are adapted to perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base. Seven species have been recorded in New York.

  • Bank swallow, Riparia riparia (B)
  • Tree swallow, Tachycineta bicolor (B)
  • Northern rough-winged swallow, Stelgidopteryx serripennis (B)
  • Purple martin, Progne subis (B)
  • Barn swallow, Hirundo rustica (B)
  • Cliff swallow, Petrochelidon pyrrhonota (B)
  • Cave swallow, Petrochelidon fulva (N)

Tits, chickadees, and titmice

Tufted Titmouse-27527-2
Tufted titmouse

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Paridae

The Paridae are mainly small stocky woodland species with short stout bills. Some have crests. They are adaptable birds, with a mixed diet including seeds and insects. Three species have been recorded in New York.


White-breasted nuthatch

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Sittidae

Nuthatches are small woodland birds. They have the unusual ability to climb down trees head first, unlike other birds which can only go upwards. Nuthatches have big heads, short tails, and powerful bills and feet. Three species have been recorded in New York.


Order: Passeriformes   Family: Certhiidae

Treecreepers are small woodland birds, brown above and white below. They have thin pointed down-curved bills, which they use to extricate insects from bark. They have stiff tail feathers, like woodpeckers, which they use to support themselves on vertical trees. One species has been recorded in New York.


Marsh wren

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Troglodytidae

Wrens are small and inconspicuous birds, except for their loud songs. They have short wings and thin down-turned bills. Several species often hold their tails upright. All are insectivorous. Seven species have been recorded in New York.


Order: Passeriformes   Family: Polioptilidae

These dainty birds resemble Old World warblers in their structure and habits, moving restlessly through the foliage seeking insects. The gnatcatchers are mainly soft bluish gray in color and have the typical insectivore's long sharp bill. Many species have distinctive black head patterns (especially males) and long, regularly cocked, black-and-white tails. One species has been recorded in New York.


Ruby-crowned Kinglet1
Ruby-crowned kinglet

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Regulidae

The kinglets are a small family of birds which resemble the titmice. They are very small insectivorous birds in the genus Regulus. The adults have colored crowns, giving rise to their name. Two species have been recorded in New York.

Old World flycatchers

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Muscicapidae

The Old World flycatchers form a large family of small passerine birds. These are mainly small arboreal insectivores, many of which, as the name implies, take their prey on the wing. One species has been recorded in New York.

Thrushes and allies

Hermit Thrush in winter
Hermit thrush

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Turdidae

The thrushes are a group of passerine birds that occur mainly but not exclusively in the Old World. They are plump, soft plumaged, small to medium-sized insectivores or sometimes omnivores, often feeding on the ground. Many have attractive songs. Thirteen species have been recorded in New York.

Mockingbirds and thrashers

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Mimidae

The Mimics are a family of passerine birds which includes thrashers, mockingbirds, tremblers, and the New World catbirds. These birds are notable for their vocalizations, especially their remarkable ability to mimic a wide variety of birds and other sounds heard outdoors. The species tend towards dull grays and browns in their appearance. Four species have been recorded in New York.


European Starling in breeding plumage
European starling

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Sturnidae

Starlings are small to medium-sized Old World passerine birds with strong feet. Their flight is strong and direct and most are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country, and they eat insects and fruit. The plumage of several species is dark with a metallic sheen. One species has been recorded in New York.

  • European starling, Sturnus vulgaris (I)(B)


Cedar Waxwing-27527-2
Cedar waxwing

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Bombycillidae

The waxwings are a group of passerine birds with soft silky plumage and unique red tips to some of the wing feathers. In the Bohemian and cedar waxwings, these tips look like sealing wax and give the group its name. These are arboreal birds of northern forests. They live on insects in summer and berries in winter. Two species have been recorded in New York.

  • Bohemian waxwing, Bombycilla garrulus
  • Cedar waxwing, Bombycilla cedrorum (B)

Old World sparrows

House sparrowIII
House sparrow

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Passeridae

Old World sparrows are small passerine birds. In general, sparrows tend to be small plump brownish or grayish birds with short tails and short powerful beaks. Sparrows are seed eaters, but they also consume small insects. One species has been recorded in New York.

Wagtails and pipits

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Motacillidae

Motacillidae is a family of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They include the wagtails, longclaws, and pipits. They are slender ground-feeding insectivores of open country. One species and a species pair have been recorded in New York.

  • Eastern yellow wagtail/Western yellow wagtail ("Yellow") wagtail, Motacilla tschutschensis/Motacilla flava (N)
  • American pipit, Anthus rubescens

Finches, euphonias, and allies

Hesperiphona vespertina CT3
Evening grosbeak

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Fringillidae

Finches are seed-eating passerine birds that are small to moderately large and have a strong beak, usually conical and in some species very large. All have twelve tail feathers and nine primaries. These birds have a bouncing flight with alternating bouts of flapping and gliding on closed wings, and most sing well. Thirteen species have been recorded in New York.

  • Brambling, Fringilla montifringilla (N)
  • Evening grosbeak, Coccothraustes vespertinus (B)
  • Pine grosbeak, Pinicola enucleator
  • Gray-crowned rosy-finch, Leucosticte tephrocotis (N)
  • House finch, Haemorhous mexicanus (I)(B)(native to the southwestern U.S.; introduced in the east)
  • Purple finch, Haemorhous purpureus (B)
  • Common redpoll, Acanthis flammea
  • Hoary redpoll, Acanthis hornemanni (D)
  • Red crossbill, Loxia curvirostra (B)
  • White-winged crossbill, Loxia leucoptera (B)
  • European goldfinch, Carduelis carduelis (IE)(B)
  • Pine siskin, Spinus pinus (B)
  • American goldfinch, Spinus tristis (B)

Longspurs and snow buntings

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Calcariidae

The Calcariidae are a group of passerine birds that have been traditionally grouped with the New World sparrows, but differ in a number of respects. They are usually found in open grassy areas. Four species have been recorded in New York.

New World sparrows

Eastern Towhee-27527-3
Eastern towhee
Spizella-arborea-002 edit2
American tree sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco-27527
Dark-eyed junco

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Passerellidae

Until 2017, these species were considered part of the family Emberizidae. Most of the species are known as sparrows, but these birds are not closely related to the Old World sparrows which are in the family Passeridae. Many of these have distinctive head patterns. Twenty-nine species have been recorded in New York.

Yellow-breasted chat

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Icteriidae

This species was historically placed in the wood-warblers (Parulidae) but nonetheless most authorities were unsure if it belonged there. It was placed in its own family in 2017.

Troupials and allies

Agelaius phoeniceus 0123
Red-winged blackbird

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Icteridae

The icterids are a group of small to medium-sized, often colorful passerine birds restricted to the New World and include the grackles, New World blackbirds and New World orioles. Most species have black as a predominant plumage color, often enlivened by yellow, orange, or red. Fifteen species have been recorded in New York.

New World warblers

Black-throated green warbler
Cerulean warbler
Blackburnian warbler
Protonotaria-citrea-002 edit notags
Prothonotary warbler

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Parulidae

The wood warblers are a group of small often colorful passerine birds restricted to the New World. Most are arboreal, but some are more terrestrial. Most members of the family are insectivores. Forty-four species have been recorded in New York.

Cardinals and allies

Rose-breasted grosbeak

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Cardinalidae

The cardinals are a family of robust, seed-eating birds with strong bills. They are typically associated with open woodland. The sexes usually have distinct plumages. Eleven species have been recorded in New York.

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List of birds of New York (state) Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.