List of birds of Ontario

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The common loon is the official provincial bird of Ontario.

This list of birds of Ontario includes all the bird species recorded in the Canadian province of Ontario as determined by the Ontario Bird Records Committee (OBRC). There are, as of April 2017, 496 species on this list, 291 of which are known to breed in the province.[1] Ontario has a considerable variety of bird species. One of the factors in this diversity is the size and range of environments in Ontario. Another is the Great Lakes; many birds use the shores as a stopping point during migration.[2]

The OBRC Checklist divides the province into the Lowlands, Central, and South review zones and requests documentation of sightings of birds which are rare or accidental in one, two, or all of the zones. Of the 496 species on the list, 167 are noted as rare anywhere in the province and another 108 are rare in one or two of the zones. Eight species have been introduced to North America. One species has been extirpated, one is extinct, and another might be.

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.[3] Common and scientific names are also those of the Check-list.

The following codes are used to categorise some species:

  • (A) Accidental - rare or accidental anywhere in Ontario
  • (L) Lowlands - rare or accidental in the Lowlands Review Zone
  • (C) Central - rare or accidental in the Central Review Zone
  • (S) South - rare or accidental in the South Review Zone
  • (I) Introduced - established solely as result of direct or indirect human intervention; synonymous with non-native and non-indigenous
  • (E) Extinct – a recent species that no longer exists
  • (Ex) Extirpated – a species that no longer occurs in Ontario, but populations still exist elsewhere

Ducks, geese, and waterfowl

Canada goose
Mute swan
Greater scaup
Common eider
Common goldeneye
Hooded merganser

Order: Anseriformes   Family: Anatidae

The family Anatidae includes 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.

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.

Pheasants, grouse, and allies

Ruffed grouse

Order: Galliformes   Family: Phasianidae

The Phasianidae is a family of birds which consists of pheasants, partridges, grouse, turkeys, 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.

Grebes

Horned grebe

Order: Podicipediformes   Family: Podicipedidae

Grebes 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.

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.

Cuckoos 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.

Nightjars and allies

Common nighthawk

Order: Caprimulgiformes   Family: Caprimulgidae

Nightjars are medium-sized ground-nesting nocturnal birds with 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 camouflaged to resemble bark or leaves.

Swifts

Order: Apodiformes   Family: Apodidae

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.

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 backward.

Rails, gallinules, and coots

American coot

Order: Gruiformes   Family: Rallidae

Rallidae is a large family of small to medium-sized birds which includes the rails, crakes, gallinules, and coots. 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.

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".

Stilts and avocets

American avocet

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.

Oystercatchers

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Haematopodidae

The oystercatchers are large, obvious and noisy plover-like birds, with strong bills used for smashing or prising open molluscs.

Plovers and lapwings

Killdeer

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Charadriidae

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.

Sandpipers and allies

Willet
Western sandpiper
Dunlin
Wilson's snipe
Red-necked 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. Variation in length of legs and bills enables multiple species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food.

Jaegers

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Stercorariidae

The family Stercorariidae are large birds, typically with grey 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.

Auks, murres, and puffins

Black guillemot

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Alcidae

Alcids are superficially similar to penguins due to their black-and-white colours, 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.

Gulls, terns, and skimmers

Laughing gull
Ring-billed gull
Iceland gull
Black tern

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Laridae

Laridae is a family of medium to large seabirds and includes gulls, terns, kittiwakes, and skimmers. They are typically grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet.

Loons

Red-throated loon

Order: Gaviiformes   Family: Gaviidae

Loons, known as divers in Europe, are aquatic birds the size of a large duck, to which they are unrelated. Their plumage is largely grey 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 almost helpless on land.

Albatrosses

Order: Procellariiformes   Family: Diomedeidae

The albatrosses are amongst the largest of flying birds, and the great albatrosses from the genus Diomedea have the largest wingspans of any extant birds.

Shearwaters and petrels

Northern fulmar

Order: Procellariiformes   Family: Procellariidae

The procellariids are the main group of medium-sized "true petrels", characterised by united nostrils with medium septum and a long outer functional primary.

Storm-petrels

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.

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.

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 coloured 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.

Boobies and gannets

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.

Cormorants

Double-crested cormorant

Order: Suliformes   Family: Phalacrocoracidae

Cormorants are medium-to-large aquatic birds, usually with mainly dark plumage and areas of coloured skin on the face. The bill is long, thin and sharply hooked. Their feet are four-toed and webbed.

Anhingas

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.

Pelicans

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.

Bitterns, herons, and egrets

American bittern
Great blue heron

Order: Pelecaniformes   Family: Ardeidae

The family Ardeidae contains the bitterns, herons, and egrets. Herons and egrets are medium to large wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and warier. Unlike other long-necked birds such as storks, ibises, and spoonbills, members of this family fly with their necks retracted.

Ibises and spoonbills

Order: Pelecaniformes   Family: Threskiornithidae

Threskiornithidae is a family of large terrestrial and wading birds which comprises the ibises and spoonbills. Its members have long, broad wings with 11 primary and about 20 secondary flight feathers. They are strong fliers and, despite their size and weight, very capable soarers.

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.

Osprey

Order: Accipitriformes   Family: Pandionidae

Pandionidae is a 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. The family is monotypic.

Hawks, kites, and eagles

Red-tailed hawk
Golden eagle

Order: Accipitriformes   Family: Accipitridae

The Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey, which includes hawks, eagles, kites, harriers, and Old World vultures. These birds mostly have powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons, and keen eyesight.

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.

Typical owls

Northern saw-whet 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.

Kingfishers

Order: Coraciiformes   Family: Alcedinidae

Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails.

Woodpeckers

Downy woodpecker

Order: Piciformes   Family: Picidae

Woodpeckers, sapsuckers, and flickers 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.

Caracaras and falcons

Peregrine falcon

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.

Tyrant flycatchers

Acadian flycatcher
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 are rather plain. As the name implies, most are insectivorous.

Shrikes

Northern shrike

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Laniidae

Shrikes are passerine birds known for the 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.

Vireos

Yellow-throated 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 colour and resemble wood warblers apart from their heavier bills.

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.

Larks

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.

Swallows and martins

Tree swallow

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Hirundinidae

The family Hirundinidae is a group of passerines characterised by their adaptation to aerial feeding. The family includes swallows and martins. These adaptations include a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings, and short bills with a wide gape. The feet are adapted to perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base.

Chickadees and titmice

Black-capped chickadee

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Paridae

Chickadees and titmice 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.

Nuthatches

Red-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.

Treecreepers

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.

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.

Gnatcatchers

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Polioptilidae

Gnatcatchers are a group of small insectivorous passerine birds. Most are of generally undistinguished appearance, but many have distinctive songs.

Kinglets

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 coloured crowns, giving rise to their name.

Old World flycatchers

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Muscicapidae

The Old World flycatchers are 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.

Thrushes

Eastern bluebird
American robin

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Turdidae

The thrushes are a group of passerine birds that occur mainly 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.

Mockingbirds and thrashers

Northern mockingbird

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Mimidae

The mimids are a family of passerine birds that 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 greys and browns in their appearance.

Starlings

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Sturnidae

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

Waxwings

Cedar waxwing

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.

Silky-flycatchers

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Ptiliogonatidae

The silky-flycatchers are a small family of passerine birds which occur mainly in Central America. They are related to waxwings and most species have small crests.

Old World sparrows

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Passeridae

Old World sparrows are small passerine birds. In general, sparrows tend to be small plump brownish or greyish birds with short tails and short powerful beaks. Sparrows are seed-eaters, but they also consume small insects.

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.

Finches

Purple finch
Red crossbill
American goldfinch

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Fringillidae

Finches are small to moderately large seed-eating passerine birds with a strong beak, usually conical and in some species very large. All have 12 tail feathers and nine primaries flight feathers. Finches have a bouncing flight, alternating bouts of flapping with gliding on closed wings, and most sing well.

Longspurs and snow buntings

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Calcariidae

The Calcariidae are a group of passerine birds that were traditionally grouped with the Emberizeridae (New World sparrows), but differ in a number of respects and are usually found in open grassy areas.

Wood-warblers

Blue-winged warbler
Northern parula
American redstart
Common yellowthroat
Yellow-breasted chat

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Parulidae

The wood-warblers are a group of small often colourful passerine birds restricted to the New World. Most are arboreal, but some are more terrestrial. Most members of this family are insectivores.

New World sparrows

Eastern towhee
American tree sparrow
Dark-eyed junco

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Emberizidae

Emberizidae is a large family of passerine birds which includes American sparrows, towhees, and juncos. 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.

Cardinals and allies

Rose-breasted grosbeak

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Cardinalidae

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.

Blackbirds, meadowlarks, cowbirds, grackles, and orioles

Red-winged blackbird
Common grackle

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Icteridae

The icterids are a group of small to medium-sized, often colourful passerine birds restricted to the New World and include the blackbirds, meadowlarks, cowbirds, grackles, and New World orioles. Most species have black as a predominant plumage colour, often enlivened by yellow, orange, or red.

References

  1. ^ "Checklist of the Birds of Ontario". Ontario Field Ornithologists. Retrieved 26 June 2017. 
  2. ^ Hughes, Janice M. (2001). The ROM Field Guide to Birds of Ontario. Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum. pp. 5–12. ISBN 978-0-7710-7650-3. 
  3. ^ http://www.americanornithology.org/content/checklist-north-and-middle-american-birds Check-List of North American Birds, 7th Edition, 57th Supplement retrieved 25 July 2016

See also

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