List of birds of Maryland

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The Baltimore oriole is the state bird of Maryland.

This list of birds of Maryland includes species credibly documented in the U.S. state of Maryland and accepted by the Maryland / District of Columbia Records Committee (MRC) of the Maryland Ornithological Society as of November 2016. There are 450 species included in the official list. Eight additional species of questionable origin and two of exotic origin per the MRC are also included in this page.[1] Of the 450 species, 108 are rare anywhere in the state, 56 are rare in some part of the state, six have been introduced to North America, three are extinct, and one has been extirpated.

This list is presented in the taxonomic sequence of The Check-list of North American Birds (7th edition through the 57th supplement, 2016), published by the American Ornithological Society.[2] Common and scientific names are also those of the Check-list.

Unless otherwise noted, all species listed below are considered to occur regularly in Maryland as permanent residents, summer or winter visitors, or migrants. The following tags are used to designate some species:

  • (R) Rare - "Reviewable if found anywhere in Maryland" per the MRC
  • (R*) Rare (limited area) - "Reviewable if found in certain specified ranges in Maryland" per the MRC
  • (QO) Questionable origin - "Accepted species that may or may not be wild or naturally occurring" per the MRC
  • (EO) Exotic origin - "Accepted species whose natural history precludes wild or natural occurrence" per the MRC
  • (I) Introduced - a species that has been introduced to North America by the actions of humans, either directly or indirectly
  • (X) Extinct - a recent species that no longer exists
  • (E) Extirpated - a species which is no longer found in Maryland, but still exists elsewhere

Ducks, geese, and waterfowl

Wood ducks
Mallards
Northern shoveler
Hooded merganser

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 that are flattened to a greater or lesser extent, and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to special oils. In Maryland, 45 confirmed species, two of questionable origin, and one of exotic origin have been recorded.

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. In Maryland, one confirmed species and one of questionable origin have been recorded.

Pheasants, grouse, and allies

Ruffed 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. In Maryland, one species has been introduced and one has been extirpated. Turkeys have a distinctive fleshy wattle that hangs from the underside of the beak and a fleshy protuberance that hangs from the top of its beak called a snood. As with many galliform species, the female (the hen) is smaller and much less colorful than the male (the tom). With wingspans of 1.5–1.8 metres (4.9–5.9 ft), the turkeys are the largest birds in the open forests in which they live and are rarely mistaken for any other species. One species has been recorded in Maryland. Grouse inhabit temperate and subarctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere. In all of Maryland's species, males are polygamous and have elaborate courtship displays. These heavily built birds have legs feathered to the toes. Most species are year-round residents and do not migrate. One species has been recorded in Maryland.

Flamingoes

Order: Phoenicopteriformes   Family: Phoenicopteridae

Flamingoes are gregarious wading birds, usually 0.91 to 1.5 metres (3.0 to 4.9 ft) in height, found in both the Western and Eastern Hemispheres. Flamingos filter-feed on shellfish and algae. Their oddly shaped beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they consume and, uniquely, are used upside-down. There are six species worldwide and one North American species, which has occurred in Maryland.

Grebes

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. In Maryland, five species have been recorded.

Pigeons and doves

Mourning dove

Order: Columbiformes   Family: Columbidae

Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere. In Maryland, seven species have been recorded, one of which is extinct.

Cuckoos and anis

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. In Maryland, three species have been recorded.

Nightjars and allies

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 that are of little use for walking and long, pointed wings. Their soft plumage is cryptically colored to resemble bark or leaves. In Maryland, three species have been recorded.

Swifts

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. In Maryland, one species has been recorded.

Hummingbirds

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. In Maryland, six species have been recorded.

Rails, gallinules, and coots

Virginia rail

Order: Gruiformes   Family: Rallidae

Rallidae is a large family of small- to medium-sized birds that 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 that are well adapted to soft uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and to be weak fliers. In Maryland, ten species have been recorded.

Limpkin

Order: Gruiformes   Family: Aramidae

The Limpkin is a large bird in a monotypic family. It is similar in appearance to the rails, but skeletally it is closer to the cranes. It is found in marshes and gets its common name from its appearance of limping as it walks. In Maryland, one species has been recorded.

Cranes

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". In Maryland, one species has been recorded.

Stilts and avocets

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Recurvirostridae

Recurvirostridae is a family of large wading birds that 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. In Maryland, two species have been recorded.

Oystercatchers

American oystercatcher

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Haematopodidae

The oystercatchers are large and noisy plover-like birds, with strong bills used for smashing or prying open molluscs. In Maryland, one species has been recorded.

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 usually found in open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water. In Maryland, eight definitive species have been recorded, along with one species of questionable origin.

Sandpipers and allies

Willet
Sanderling
Ruddy turnstone
Wilson's snipe

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. In Maryland, 35 species have been recorded.

Skuas and jaegers

Pomarine jaeger

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Stercorariidae

The skuas and jaegers are in general medium to large birds, typically with gray or brown plumage, often with white markings on the wings. They have longish bills with hooked tips and webbed feet with sharp claws. They look like large dark gulls, but have a fleshy cere above the upper mandible. They are strong, acrobatic fliers. Five species have been recorded in Maryland.

Auks, murres, and puffins

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Alcidae

Alcids are superficially similar to penguins due to 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, only deliberately coming ashore to nest. In Maryland, five species and a species pair have been recorded.

Gulls, terns, and skimmers

Laughing gull
Ring-billed gull
Royal tern

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Laridae

Gulls are typically medium-to-large birds, usually gray or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet. The large species take up to four years to attain full adult plumage, but two years is typical for small gulls. In Maryland, 20 definitive species have been recorded along with one species of questionable origin. Terns are in general medium-to-large birds, typically with gray or white plumage, often with black markings on the head. They have longish bills and webbed feet. They are lighter bodied and more streamlined than gulls, and look elegant in flight with long tails and long narrow wings. In Maryland, 12 species have been recorded. Skimmers are tropical and subtropical species. They have an elongated lower mandible. They feed by flying low over the water surface with the lower mandible skimming the water for small fish. One species has been recorded in Maryland.

Tropicbirds

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. In Maryland, one species has been recorded.

Loons

Common loon

Order: Gaviiformes   Family: Gaviidae

Loons are aquatic birds that are 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, because their legs are placed towards the rear of the body, are extremely poor at walking. In Maryland, three species have been recorded.

Albatrosses

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. In Maryland, one species has been recorded.

Fulmars, petrels, and shearwaters

Sooty shearwater

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. In Maryland, eight species have been recorded.

Storm-petrels

Leach's storm-petrel

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. Their flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like. In Maryland, four species have been recorded.

Storks

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. In Maryland, one species has been recorded.

Frigatebirds

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. In Maryland, one species has been recorded.

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. In Maryland, two species have been recorded.

Cormorants

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. In Maryland, three species have been recorded.

Anhingas

Anhinga

Order: Suliformes   Family: Anhingidae

Darters and anhingas are cormorant-like water birds with long necks and long, straight beaks. They are fish eaters which often swim with only their neck above the water. In Maryland, one species has been recorded.

Pelicans

Brown pelican

Order: Pelecaniformes   Family: Pelecanidae

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

Bitterns, herons, and egrets

Great egret
Green 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. In Maryland, 12 species have been recorded.

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. In Maryland, four species have occurred.

New World vultures

Turkey 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. However, unlike Old World vultures, which find carcasses by sight, New World vultures have a good sense of smell with which they locate carcasses. In Maryland, two species have been recorded.

Osprey

Order: Accipitriformes   Family: Pandionidae

The Osprey is a medium-large fish-eating bird of prey or raptor. It is widely distributed because it tolerates a wide variety of habitats, nesting in any location that is near a body of water and provides an adequate food supply. It is the only member of its family.

Hawks, kites, and eagles

Red-tailed hawks at nest

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 large powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons, and keen eyesight. In Maryland, 14 species have been recorded.

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. In Maryland, one species has been recorded.

Typical owls

Great horned owl

Order: Strigiformes   Family: Strigidae

The 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. In Maryland, eight species have been recorded.

Kingfishers

Order: Coraciiformes   Family: Alcedinidae

Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long, pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails. In Maryland, one species has been recorded.

Woodpeckers

Red-headed 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. In Maryland, eight species have been recorded.

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. In Maryland, four species have been recorded.

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. In Maryland, one extinct species has been recorded along with one species of questionable origin.

Tyrant flycatchers

Least flycatcher
Eastern kingbird

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 in plumage. As the name implies, most are insectivorous. In Maryland, 20 species and a species pair have been recorded.

Shrikes

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. In Maryland, two species have been recorded.

Vireos

Red-eyed vireo

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 the wood warblers, except for their heavier bills. In Maryland, seven species have been recorded.

Jays, crows, magpies, and ravens

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. In Maryland, four species have been recorded.

Larks

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Alaudidae

Larks are small terrestrial birds with often extravagant songs and display flights. Most larks are fairly dull in appearance. They feed on insects and seeds. In Maryland, one species has been recorded.

Swallows and martins

Barn 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. In Maryland, seven species have been recorded.

Chickadees and titmice

Carolina chickadee

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 which includes seeds and insects. In Maryland, five species have been recorded.

Nuthatches

Brown-headed 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. In Maryland, three species have been recorded.

Treecreepers

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Certhiidae

Treecreepers are small woodland birds with brown backs and white underparts. 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. In Maryland, one species has been recorded.

Wrens

Carolina 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. In Maryland, seven species have been recorded.

Gnatcatchers

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Polioptilidae

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

Kinglets

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Regulidae

The kinglets are a family of birds that are small insectivorous birds in the genus Regulus. The adults have colored crowns, giving rise to their name. In Maryland, two species have been recorded.

Old World flycatchers

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Muscicapidae

Thrushes

Wood thrush

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Turdidae

The thrushes are a group of passerine birds that inhabit 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. In Maryland, 11 species have been recorded.

Mockingbirds and thrashers

Northern mockingbird

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' appearance tends towards dull grays and browns in plumage. In Maryland, four species have been recorded.

Starlings

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 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. In Maryland, one species has been recorded.

Waxwings

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Bombycillidae

The waxwings are a group of 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. In Maryland, two species have been recorded.

Old World sparrows

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Passeridae

Old World sparrows are small passerine birds. In general, these 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. In Maryland, one species has been recorded.

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. In Maryland, one species has been recorded.

Finches

American goldfinch

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. In Maryland, ten definitive species have been recorded along with two species of questionable origin.

Longspurs and snow buntings

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Calcariidae

Wood-warblers

Chestnut-sided warbler
Black-throated blue warbler
Yellow-rumped warbler
Blackburnian warbler
Common yellowthroat

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Parulidae

The New World warblers are a group of small, often colorful passerine birds restricted to the New World. Most are arboreal, but some are more terrestrial, such as the Ovenbird. Most members of this family are insectivores. In Maryland, 40 species have been recorded.

New World sparrows

Saltmarsh sparrow
Chipping sparrow
Eastern towhee

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. In Maryland, 29 species have been recorded.

Cardinals and allies

Rose-breasted grosbeak

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Cardinalidae

The Cardinals are a family of robust, seed-eating birds with strong bills. They typically live in open woodland. The sexes usually have distinct plumages. In Maryland, eleven species have been recorded.

Blackbirds, meadowlarks, cowbirds, grackles, and orioles

Red-winged blackbird

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Icteridae

The icterids are a group of small-to-medium, 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. In Maryland, 13 species have been recorded.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Official List of the Birds of Maryland" (PDF). Maryland / District of Columbia Records Committee. 7 November 2016. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  2. ^ Check-List of North American Birds, 7th Edition, 57th Supplement retrieved 25 July 2016
  3. ^ Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/ retrieved 11 August 2016

External links

  • Maryland Ornithological Society web site
  • Recent Maryland bird sightings
  • RedKnot.org links to shorebird recovery sites, movies, events & other info on red knot rufa & horseshoe crabs.
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