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List of birds of Ohio facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Northern Cardinal Male-27527-4
The northern cardinal is the state bird of Ohio

This list of birds of Ohio includes every wild bird species recorded in the U.S. state of Ohio, based on the list published by the Ohio Ornithological Society. There are 434 species in total.

Only birds that are considered to have established, self-sustaining, wild populations in Ohio are included on this list. This means that birds that are considered probable escapees, although they may have been sighted flying free in Ohio, are not included.

This list is presented in taxonomic order and follows The Check-list of North American Birds (7th edition, 1998, through the 57th Supplement, 2016) published by the American Ornithologists' Union. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflect this taxonomy, as do the species counts found in each family account.

The following codes are used to designate some species:

  • (B) Breeding - species having a confirmed nest in modern times
  • (A) Accidental - recorded no more than three times in the last 10 years
  • (E) Extinct - a recent species that no longer exists
  • (I) Introduced - a species established solely as result of direct or indirect human intervention; synonymous with non-native and non-indigenous

Ducks, geese and swans

Ring-necked 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. There are 43 Ohio species.

  • Black-bellied whistling-duck, Dendrocygna autumnalis (A)
  • Fulvous whistling-duck, Dendrocygna bicolor (A)
  • Greater white-fronted goose, Anser albifrons
  • Snow goose, Chen caerulescens
  • Ross's goose, Chen rossii
  • Brant, Branta bernicla
  • Cackling goose, Branta hutchinsii
  • Canada goose, Branta canadensis (B)
  • Mute swan, Cygnus olor (I)(B)
  • Trumpeter swan, Cygnus buccinator (B)
  • Tundra swan, Cygnus columbianus
  • Wood duck, Aix sponsa (B)
  • Gadwall, Anas strepera (B)
  • Eurasian wigeon, Anas penelope
  • American wigeon, Anas americana
  • American black duck, Anas rubripes (B)
  • Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos (B)
  • Blue-winged teal, Anas discors (B)
  • Cinnamon teal, Anas cyanoptera (A)
  • Northern shoveler, Anas clypeata (B)
  • Northern pintail, Anas acuta (B)
  • Garganey, Anas querquedula (A)
  • Green-winged teal, Anas crecca carolinensis (B)
  • Canvasback, Aythya valisineria (B)
  • Redhead, Aythya americana (B)
  • Ring-necked duck, Aythya collaris
  • Tufted duck, Aythya fuligula (A)
  • Greater scaup, Aythya marila
  • Lesser scaup, Aythya affinis (B)
  • King eider, Somateria spectabilis
  • Common eider, Somateria mollissima (A)
  • Harlequin duck, Histrionicus histrionicus
  • Surf scoter, Melanitta perspicillata
  • White-winged scoter, Melanitta fusca
  • Black scoter, Melanitta americana
  • Long-tailed duck, Clangula hyemalis
  • Bufflehead, Bucephala albeola
  • Common goldeneye, Bucephala clangula
  • Barrow's goldeneye, Bucephala islandica (A)
  • Hooded merganser, Lophodytes cucullatus (B)
  • Common merganser, Mergus merganser (B)
  • Red-breasted merganser, Mergus serrator
  • Ruddy duck, Oxyura jamaicensis (B)

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. There is one Ohio species.

  • Northern bobwhite, Colinus virginianus (B)

Partridges, grouse, turkeys and Old World quail

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. There are five Ohio species.

  • Gray partridge, Perdix perdix (I)
  • Ring-necked pheasant, Phasianus colchicus (I)(B)
  • Ruffed grouse, Bonasa umbellus (B)
  • Greater prairie-chicken, Tympanuchus cupido (A) (extirpated)
  • Wild turkey, Meleagris gallopavo (B)


Pied-billed grebe

Order: Podicipediformes   Family: Podicipedidae

Grebes are small to medium-large freshwater diving birds. 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. There are five Ohio species.

Pigeons and doves

Order: Columbiformes   Family: Columbidae

Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere. There are six Ohio species.

Cuckoos, roadrunners and anis

Yellow-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. The Old World cuckoos are brood parasites. There are four Ohio species.

  • Yellow-billed cuckoo, Coccyzus americanus (B)
  • Black-billed cuckoo, Coccyzus erythropthalmus (B)
  • Smooth-billed ani, Crotophaga ani (A)
  • Groove-billed ani, Crotophaga sulcirostris (A)


Chordeiles minor -British Columbia -Canada-8c
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. There are three Ohio species.

  • Common nighthawk, Chordeiles minor (B)
  • Chuck-will's-widow, Antrostomus carolinensis (B)
  • Eastern whip-poor-will, Antrostomus vociferus (B)


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 very long, swept-back wings which resemble a crescent or boomerang. There are two Ohio species.

  • Chimney swift, Chaetura pelagica (B)
  • White-throated swift, Aeronautes saxatalis (A)


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. There are six Ohio species.

Juvenile Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Ruby-throated hummingbird
  • Mexican violetear, Colibri thalassinus (A)
  • Ruby-throated hummingbird, Archilochus colubris (B)
  • Anna's hummingbird, Calypte anna (A)
  • Rufous hummingbird, Selasphorus rufus
  • Allen's hummingbird, Selasphorus sasin (A)
  • Calliope hummingbird, Selasphorus calliope (A)

Rails, gallinules and coots

Sora (Porzana carolina)
Fulica americana3
American coot

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 tend to be weak fliers. Eight species have been recorded in Ohio.

  • Yellow rail, Coturnicops noveboracensis
  • Black rail, Laterallus jamaicensis
  • King rail, Rallus elegans (B)
  • Virginia rail, Rallus limicola (B)
  • Sora, Porzana carolina (B)
  • Purple gallinule, Porphyrio martinicus (B)
  • Common gallinule, Gallinula galeata (B)
  • American coot, Fulica americana (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". There are two Ohio species.

  • Sandhill crane, Grus canadensis (B)
  • Whooping crane, Grus americana (A)

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. There are two Ohio species.

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

Lapwings and plovers


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. There are eight Ohio species.

  • Northern lapwing, Vanellus vanellus (A)
  • Black-bellied plover, Pluvialis squatarola
  • American golden-plover, Pluvialis dominica
  • Snowy plover, Charadrius nivosus (A)
  • Wilson's plover, Charadrius wilsonia (A)
  • Semipalmated plover, Charadrius semipalmatus
  • Piping plover, Charadrius melodus
  • Killdeer, Charadrius vociferus (B)

Sandpipers and allies

Phalaropus tricolor - breeding female
Wilson's phalarope

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Scolopacidae

Scolopacidae is a large diverse family of small to medium-sized shorebirds including the sandpipers, curlews, godwits, shanks, tattlers, woodcocks, snipes, dowitchers and phalaropes. The majority of these 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. There are 37 Ohio species.

  • Upland sandpiper, Bartramia longicauda (B)
  • Eskimo curlew, Numenius borealis (E)
  • Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus
  • Long-billed curlew, Numenius americanus (A)
  • Hudsonian godwit, Limosa haemastica
  • Marbled godwit, Limosa fedoa
  • Ruddy turnstone, Arenaria interpres
  • Red knot, Calidris canutus
  • Ruff, Calidris pugnax
  • Sharp-tailed sandpiper, Calidris acuminata (A)
  • Stilt sandpiper, Calidris himantopus
  • Curlew sandpiper, Calidris ferruginea
  • Red-necked stint, Calidris ruficollis (A)
  • Sanderling, Calidris alba
  • Dunlin, Calidris alpina
  • Purple sandpiper, Calidris maritima
  • Baird's sandpiper, Calidris bairdii
  • Least sandpiper, Calidris minutilla
  • White-rumped sandpiper, Calidris fuscicollis
  • Buff-breasted sandpiper, Calidris subruficollis
  • Pectoral sandpiper, Calidris melanotos
  • Semipalmated sandpiper, Calidris pusilla
  • Western sandpiper, Calidris mauri
  • Short-billed dowitcher, Limnodromus griseus
  • Long-billed dowitcher, Limnodromus scolopaceus
  • Wilson's snipe, Gallinago delicata (B)
  • Eurasian woodcock, Scolopax rusticola (A)
  • American woodcock, Scolopax minor (B)
  • Spotted sandpiper, Actitis macularius (B)
  • Solitary sandpiper, Tringa solitaria
  • Spotted redshank, Tringa erythropus (A)
  • Greater yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca
  • Willet, Tringa semipalmata
  • Lesser yellowlegs, Tringa flavipes
  • Wilson's phalarope, Phalaropus tricolor (B)
  • Red-necked phalarope, Phalaropus lobatus
  • Red phalarope, Phalaropus fulicarius


Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Stercorariidae

  • Pomarine jaeger, Stercorarius pomarinus
  • Parasitic jaeger, Stercorarius parasiticus
  • Long-tailed jaeger, Stercorarius longicaudus (A)

Auks, murres and puffins

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Alcidae

The family Alcidae includes auks, murres and puffins. These are short winged birds that live on the open sea and normally only come ashore for breeding. There are five Ohio species.

  • Thick-billed murre, Uria lomvia (A)
  • Black guillemot, Cepphus grylle (A)
  • Long-billed murrelet, Brachyramphus perdix (A)
  • Ancient murrelet, Synthliboarmphus antiquus (A)
  • Atlantic puffin, Fratercula arctica (A)

Gulls, terns and skimmers

Ring-billed gull

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Laridae

Laridae is a family of medium to large seabirds and includes 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. There are 30 Ohio species.

Caspian tern
  • Black-legged kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla
  • Ivory gull, Pagophila eburnea (A)
  • Sabine’s gull, Xema sabini
  • Bonaparte's gull, Chroicocephalus philadelphia
  • Black-headed gull, Chroicocephalus ridibundus
  • Little gull, Hydrocoleus minutus
  • Ross's gull, Rhodostethia rosea (A)
  • Laughing gull, Leucophaeus atricilla
  • Franklin's gull, Leucophaeus pipixcan
  • Black-tailed gull, Larus crassirostris (A)
  • Heermann's gull, Larus heermanni (A)
  • Mew gull, Larus canus
  • Ring-billed gull, Larus delawarensis (B)
  • California gull, Larus californicus
  • Herring gull, Larus argentatus (B)
  • Thayer's gull, Larus thayeri
  • Iceland gull, Larus glaucoides
  • Lesser black-backed gull, Larus fuscus
  • Glaucous gull, Larus hyperboreus
  • Great black-backed gull, Larus marinus
  • Kelp gull, Larus dominicanus (A)
  • Sooty tern, Onychoprion fuscatus (A)
  • Least tern, Sternula antillarum
  • Large-billed tern, Phaetusa simplex (A)
  • Caspian tern, Hydroprogne caspia
  • Black tern, Chlidonias niger (B)
  • Common tern, Sterna hirundo (B)
  • Arctic tern, Sterna paradisaea (A)
  • Forster's tern, Sterna forsteri
  • Royal tern, Thalasseus maximus (A)


Order: Gaviiformes   Family: Gaviidae

Loons are aquatic birds the size of a large duck, to which they are unrelated. Their plumage is largely gray or black, and they have spear-shaped bills. Loons swim well and fly adequately, but are almost hopeless on land, because their legs are placed towards the rear of the body. There are four Ohio species.

  • Red-throated loon, Gavia stellata
  • Arctic loon, Gavia arctica (A)
  • Pacific loon, Gavia pacifica (A)
  • Common loon, Gavia immer

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. There is one Ohio species.

  • Black-capped petrel, Pterodroma hasitata (A)


Order: Procellariiformes   Family: Hydrobatidae

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. There is one Ohio species.

  • Leach's storm-petrel, Oceanodroma leucorhoa (A)


Order: Ciconiiformes   Family: Ciconiidae

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

  • Wood stork, Mycteria americana (A)


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-body-weight ratio of any bird, they are essentially aerial, able to stay aloft for more than a week. There is one Ohio species.

  • Magnificent frigatebird, Fregata magnificens (A)

Boobies and gannets

Order: Suliformes   Family: Sulidae

The sulids comprise the gannets and boobies. Both groups are medium-large coastal seabirds that plunge-dive for fish. There is one Ohio species.

  • Northern gannet, Morus bassanus


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, a distinguishing feature among the Pelecaniformes order. There are three Ohio species.

  • Neotropic cormorant, Phalacrocorax brasilianus (A)
  • Double-crested cormorant, Phalacrocorax auritus (B)
  • Great cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo (A)


Order: Suliformes   Family: Anhingidae

Darters 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. There is one Ohio species.

  • Anhinga, Anhinga anhinga (A)


American white pelican

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. There are two Ohio species.

  • American white pelican, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
  • Brown pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis (A)

Bitterns, herons and egrets

Lightmatter greatblueheron2
Great blue heron

Order: Pelecaniformes   Family: Ardeidae

The family Ardeidae contains the herons, egrets and bitterns. Herons and egrets are medium 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. There are 12 Ohio species.

  • American bittern, Botaurus lentiginosus (B)
  • Least bittern, Ixobrychus exilis (B)
  • Great blue heron, Ardea herodias (B)
  • Great egret, Ardea alba (B)
  • Snowy egret, Egretta thula (B)
  • Little blue heron, Egretta caerulea (B)
  • Tricolored heron, Egretta tricolor
  • Reddish egret, Egretta rufescens (A)
  • Cattle egret, Bubulcus ibis (B)
  • Green heron, Butorides virescens (B)
  • Black-crowned night-heron, Nycticorax nycticorax (B)
  • Yellow-crowned night-heron, Nyctanassa violacea (B)

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. There are four Ohio species.

  • White ibis, Eudocimus albus (A)
  • Glossy ibis, Plegadis falcinellus
  • White-faced ibis, Plegadis chihi
  • Roseate spoonbill, Platalea ajaja (A)

New World vultures

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, however, unlike Old World vultures, which find carcasses by sight, New World vultures have a good sense of smell with which they locate carcasses. There are two Ohio species.

  • Black vulture, Coragyps atratus (B)
  • Turkey vulture, Cathartes aura (B)


Order: Accipitriformes   Family: Pandionidae

  • Osprey, Pandion haliaetus (B)

Hawks, kites and eagles

Order: Accipitriformes   Family: Accipitridae

Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey, which includes hawks, eagles, kites, harriers and Old World vultures. These birds have very large powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons and keen eyesight. There are 14 Ohio species.

Accipiter cooperii Quebec
Cooper's hawk
  • Swallow-tailed kite, Elanoides forficatus (A)
  • Mississippi kite, Ictinia mississippiensis (B)
  • Bald eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus (B)
  • Northern harrier, Circus cyaneus (B)
  • Sharp-shinned hawk, Accipiter striatus (B)
  • Cooper's hawk, Accipiter cooperii (B)
  • Northern goshawk, Accipiter gentilis
  • Harris's hawk, Parabuteo unicinctus (A)
  • Red-shouldered hawk, Buteo lineatus (B)
  • Broad-winged hawk, Buteo platypterus (B)
  • Swainson's hawk, Buteo swainsoni (A)
  • Red-tailed hawk, Buteo jamaicensis (B)
  • Rough-legged hawk, Buteo lagopus
  • Golden eagle, Aquila chrysaetos

Barn owls

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. There is one Ohio species.

True owls

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. There are 11 Ohio species.

  • Eastern screech-owl, Megascops asio (B)
  • Great horned owl, Bubo virginianus (B)
  • Snowy owl, Bubo scandiacus
  • Northern hawk owl, Surnia ulula (A)
  • Burrowing owl, Athene cunicularia (A)
  • Barred owl, Strix varia (B)
  • Great gray owl, Strix nebulosa (A)
  • Long-eared owl, Asio otus
  • Short-eared owl, Asio flammeus
  • Boreal owl, Aegolius funereus (A)
  • Northern saw-whet owl, Aegolius acadicus (B)


Order: Coraciiformes   Family: Alcedinidae

Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long, pointed bills, short legs and stubby tails. There is one Ohio species.

  • Belted kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon (B)


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. There are 11 Ohio species.

Pileated woodpecker
  • Red-headed woodpecker, Melanerpes erythrocephalus (B)
  • Red-bellied woodpecker, Melanerpes carolinus (B)
  • Yellow-bellied sapsucker, Sphyrapicus varius (B)
  • Red-naped sapsucker, Sphyrapicus nuchalis (A)
  • Downy woodpecker, Picoides pubescens (B)
  • Hairy woodpecker, Picoides villosus (B)
  • Red-cockaded woodpecker, Picoides borealis (A)
  • Black-backed woodpecker, Picoides arcticus (A)
  • Northern flicker, Colaptes auratus (B)
  • Pileated woodpecker, Dryocopus pileatus (B)
  • Ivory-billed woodpecker, Campephilus principalis (E)

Caracaras and falcons

Order: Falconiformes   Family: Falconidae

Falconidae is a family of diurnal birds of prey, notably the falcons and caracaras. They differ from hawks, eagles and kites in that they kill with their beaks instead of their talons. There are six Ohio species.

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

Lories, parakeets, macaws and 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. There was one Ohio species.

Tyrant flycatchers

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Tyrannidae

Tyrant flycatchers are Passerine birds which occur throughout North and South America. They superficially resemble the Old World flycatchers, but are more robust and have stronger bills. They do not have the sophisticated vocal capabilities of the songbirds. Most, but not all, are rather plain. As the name implies, most are insectivorous. There are 16 Ohio species.

Acadian Flycatcher
Acadian flycatcher
  • Olive-sided flycatcher, Contopus cooperi
  • Eastern wood-pewee, Contopus virens (B)
  • Yellow-bellied flycatcher, Empidonax flaviventris
  • Acadian flycatcher, Empidonax virescens (B)
  • Alder flycatcher, Empidonax alnorum (B)
  • Willow flycatcher, Empidonax traillii (B)
  • Least flycatcher, Empidonax minimus (B)
  • Gray flycatcher, Empidonax wrightii (A)
  • Dusky flycatcher, Empidonax oberholseri (A)
  • Eastern phoebe, Sayornis phoebe (B)
  • Say's phoebe, Sayornis saya (A)
  • Vermilion flycatcher, Pyrocephalus rubinus (A)
  • Great crested flycatcher, Myiarchus crinitus (B)
  • Western kingbird, Tyrannus verticalis
  • Eastern kingbird, Tyrannus tyrannus (B)
  • Scissor-tailed flycatcher, Tyrannus forficatus (A)


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 typical shrike's beak is hooked, like a bird of prey. There are two Ohio species.

  • Loggerhead shrike, Lanius ludovicianus (B)
  • Northern shrike, Lanius excubitor


Order: Passeriformes   Family: Vireonidae

The vireos are a group of small to medium-sized passerine birds restricted to the New World. They are typically greenish in color and resemble wood warblers apart from their heavier bills. There are seven Ohio species.

Yellow-throated vireo
  • White-eyed vireo, Vireo griseus (B)
  • Bell's vireo, Vireo bellii (B)
  • Yellow-throated vireo, Vireo flavifrons (B)
  • Blue-headed vireo, Vireo solitarius (B)
  • Philadelphia vireo, Vireo philadelphicus
  • Warbling vireo, Vireo gilvus (B)
  • Red-eyed vireo, Vireo olivaceus (B)

Jays, crows, magpies and ravens

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. There are five Ohio species.


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. There is one Ohio species.

  • Horned lark, Eremophila alpestris (B)

Swallows and martins

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. There are eight Ohio species.

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

Chickadees and titmice

Baeolophus bicolor 15
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. There are four Ohio species.

  • Carolina chickadee, Poecile carolinensis (B)
  • Black-capped chickadee, Poecile atricapilla (B)
  • Boreal chickadee, Poecile hudsonica (A)
  • Tufted titmouse, Baeolophus bicolor (B)


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. There are three Ohio species.

  • Red-breasted nuthatch, Sitta canadensis (B)
  • White-breasted nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis (B)
  • Brown-headed nuthatch, Sitta pusilla (A)


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. There is one Ohio species.

  • Brown creeper, Certhia americana (B)


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. There are seven Ohio species.

Cistothorus palustris CT
Marsh wren
  • Rock wren, Salpinctes obsoletus (A)
  • House wren, Troglodytes aedon (B)
  • Winter wren, Troglodytes hiemalis (B)
  • Sedge wren, Cistothorus platensis (B)
  • Marsh wren, Cistothorus palustris (B)
  • Carolina wren, Thryothorus ludovicianus (B)
  • Bewick's wren, Thryomanes bewickii (A)


Order: Passeriformes   Family: Polioptilidae

  • Blue-gray gnatcatcher, Polioptila caerulea (B)


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 names. There are two Ohio species.

  • Golden-crowned kinglet, Regulus satrapa (B)
  • Ruby-crowned kinglet, Regulus calendula

Old World flycatchers

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Muscicapidae

  • Northern wheatear, Oenanthe oenanthe (A)


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. There are 10 Ohio species.

Hermit thrush
  • Eastern bluebird, Sialia sialis (B)
  • Mountain bluebird, Sialia currucoides (A)
  • Townsend's solitaire, Myadestes townsendi (A)
  • Veery, Catharus fuscescens (B)
  • Gray-cheeked thrush, Catharus minimus
  • Swainson's thrush, Catharus ustulatus
  • Hermit thrush, Catharus guttatus (B)
  • Wood thrush, Hylocichla mustelina (B)
  • American robin, Turdus migratorius (B)
  • Varied thrush, Ixoreus naevius

Mockingbirds and thrashers

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Mimidae

The mimids are a family of passerine birds which includes thrashers, mockingbirds, tremblers and the New World catbirds. These birds are notable for their vocalization, 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. There are three Ohio species.

  • Gray catbird, Dumetella carolinensis (B)
  • Brown thrasher, Toxostoma rufum (B)
  • Northern mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos (B)


Order: Passeriformes   Family: Sturnidae

Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds. They are medium-sized passerines with strong feet. Their flight is strong and direct and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country, and they eat insects and fruit. Plumage is typically dark with a metallic sheen. There is one Ohio species.

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


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. There are two Ohio species.

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

Old World sparrows

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. There are two Ohio species.

  • House sparrow, Passer domesticus (I)(B)
  • Eurasian tree sparrow, Passer montanus (I)(A)

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. There are two Ohio species.

  • American pipit, Anthus rubescens
  • Sprague's pipit, Anthus spragueii (A)

Finches and allies

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. There are 12 Ohio species.

Carduelis flammea CT6
Common redpoll
  • Brambling, Fringilla montifringilla (A)
  • Gray-crowned rosy-finch, Leucosticte tephrocotis (A)
  • Pine grosbeak, Pinicola enucleator (A)
  • House finch, Haemorhous mexicanus (B)
  • Purple finch, Haemorhous purpureus (B)
  • Red crossbill, Loxia curvirostra
  • White-winged crossbill, Loxia leucoptera
  • Common redpoll, Acanthis flammea
  • Hoary redpoll, Acanthis hornemanni
  • Pine siskin, Spinus pinus (B)
  • American goldfinch, Spinus tristis (B)
  • Evening grosbeak, Coccothraustes vespertinus

Longspurs and snow buntings

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Calcariidae

  • Lapland longspur, Calcarius lapponicus
  • Smith's longspur, Calcarius pictus
  • Snow bunting, Plectrophenax nivalis

Wood warblers

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Parulidae

The wood warblers are a group of small and often colorful passerine birds restricted to the New World. Most are arboreal, but some, like the ovenbird and the two waterthrushes, are more terrestrial. Most members of this family are insectivores. There are 41 Ohio species.

Chestnut-sided warbler
Blackburnian warbler
Cerulean warbler
Prothonotary warbler
  • Ovenbird, Seiurus aurocapilla (B)
  • Worm-eating warbler, Helmitheros vermivorus (B)
  • Louisiana waterthrush, Parkesia motacilla (B)
  • Northern waterthrush, Parkesia noveboracensis (B)
  • Golden-winged warbler, Vermivora chrysoptera
  • Blue-winged warbler, Vermivora cyanoptera (B)
  • Black-and-white warbler, Mniotilta varia (B)
  • Prothonotary warbler, Protonotaria citrea (B)
  • Swainson's warbler, Limnothlypis swainsonii
  • Tennessee warbler, Oreothlypis peregrina
  • Orange-crowned warbler, Oreothlypis celata
  • Nashville warbler, Oreothlypis ruficapilla (B)
  • Connecticut warbler, Oporornis agilis
  • Mourning warbler, Geothlypis philadelphia (B)
  • Kentucky warbler, Geothlypis formosa (B)
  • Common yellowthroat, Geothlypis trichas (B)
  • Hooded warbler, Setophaga citrina (B)
  • American redstart, Setophaga ruticilla (B)
  • Kirtland's warbler, Setophaga kirtlandii
  • Cape May warbler, Setophaga tigrina
  • Cerulean warbler, Setophaga cerulea (B)
  • Northern parula, Setophaga americana (B)
  • Magnolia warbler, Setophaga magnolia (B)
  • Bay-breasted warbler, Setophaga castanea
  • Blackburnian warbler, Setophaga fusca (B)
  • Yellow warbler, Setophaga petechia (B)
  • Chestnut-sided warbler, Setophaga pensylvanica (B)
  • Blackpoll warbler, Setophaga striata
  • Black-throated blue warbler, Setophaga caerulescens (B)
  • Palm warbler, Setophaga palmarum
  • Pine warbler, Setophaga pinus (B)
  • Yellow-rumped warbler, Setophaga coronata
  • Yellow-throated warbler, Setophaga dominica (B)
  • Prairie warbler, Setophaga discolor (B)
  • Black-throated gray warbler, Setophaga nigrescens
  • Townsend's warbler, Setophaga townsendi (A)
  • Black-throated green warbler, Setophaga virens (B)
  • Canada warbler, Cardellina canadensis (B)
  • Wilson's warbler, Cardellina pusilla
  • Painted redstart, Myioborus pictus (A)
  • Yellow-breasted chat, Icteria virens (B)

American sparrows, towhees and juncos

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Emberizidae

Emberizidae is a large family of passerine birds. They are seed-eating birds with distinctively shaped bills. In Europe, most species are called buntings. In North America, most of the species in this family are known as sparrows, but these birds are not closely related to the Old World sparrows which are in the family Passeridae. Many emberizid species have distinctive head patterns. There are 28 Ohio species.

Melospiza georgiana MN1
Swamp sparrow
  • Green-tailed towhee, Pipilo chlorurus (A)
  • Spotted towhee, Pipilo maculatus (A)
  • Eastern towhee, Pipilo erythrophthalmus (B)
  • Cassin's sparrow, Peucaea cassinii (A)
  • Bachman's sparrow, Peucaea aestivalis
  • American tree sparrow, Spizelloides arborea
  • Chipping sparrow, Spizella passerina (B)
  • Clay-colored sparrow, Spizella pallida (B)
  • Field sparrow, Spizella pusilla (B)
  • Vesper sparrow, Pooecetes gramineus (B)
  • Lark sparrow, Chondestes grammacus (B)
  • Black-throated sparrow, Amphispiza bilineata (A)
  • Lark bunting, Calamospiza melanocorys (A)
  • Savannah sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis (B)
  • Grasshopper sparrow, Ammodramus savannarum (B)
  • Baird's sparrow, Ammodramus bairdii (A)
  • Henslow's sparrow, Ammodramus henslowii (B)
  • Le Conte's sparrow, Ammodramus leconteii
  • Nelson's sparrow, Ammodramus nelsoni
  • Fox sparrow, Passerella iliaca
  • Song sparrow, Melospiza melodia (B)
  • Lincoln's sparrow, Melospiza lincolnii
  • Swamp sparrow, Melospiza georgiana (B)
  • White-throated sparrow, Zonotrichia albicollis
  • Harris's sparrow, Zonotrichia querula
  • White-crowned sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
  • Golden-crowned sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla (A)
  • Dark-eyed junco, Junco hyemalis (B)

Cardinals, saltators and grosbeaks

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. There are 10 Ohio species.

  • Summer tanager, Piranga rubra (B)
  • Scarlet tanager, Piranga olivacea (B)
  • Western tanager, Piranga ludoviciana (A)
  • Northern cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis (B)
  • Rose-breasted grosbeak, Pheucticus ludovicianus (B)
  • Black-headed grosbeak, Pheucticus melanocephalus (A)
  • Blue grosbeak, Passerina caerulea (B)
  • Indigo bunting, Passerina cyanea (B)
  • Painted bunting, Passerina ciris (A)
  • Dickcissel, Spiza americana (B)


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. There are 13 Ohio species.

  • Bobolink, Dolichonyx oryzivorus (B)
  • Red-winged blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus (B)
  • Eastern meadowlark, Sturnella magna (B)
  • Western meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta (B)
  • Yellow-headed blackbird, Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus (B)
  • Rusty blackbird, Euphagus carolinus
  • Brewer's blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
  • Common grackle, Quiscalus quiscula (B)
  • Great-tailed grackle, Quiscalus mexicanus (A)
  • Brown-headed cowbird, Molothrus ater (B)
  • Orchard oriole, Icterus spurius (B)
  • Bullock's oriole, Icterus bullockii (A)
  • Baltimore oriole, Icterus galbula (B)
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