List of birds of South Carolina

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A small, squat rufous brown bird stands in the grass, looking right and holding its short tail up.
The Carolina wren is the state bird of South Carolina.

This list of birds of South Carolina includes species documented in the U.S. state of South Carolina and accepted by the South Carolina Bird Records Committee (SCBRC) of the Carolina Bird Club. As of July 2016, there are 420 species definitively included in the official list. Thirteen additional species are on the list but classed as Provisional I (see definitions below).[1] Of the 433 species on the list, 107 are rare anywhere in the state, 36 are rare away from the coast, four have been introduced to North America, and four are extinct. Fifteen species are classed as Provisional II and 11 as Hypothetical as defined below.

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 South Carolina as permanent residents, summer or winter visitors, or migrants. The following tags are used to designate some species:

  • (R) - Rare - a species whose report is reviewable by the SCBRC if the bird is found anywhere in South Carolina
  • (RI) - Rare inland - a species whose report is reviewable by the SCBRC if the bird is found away from the coast
  • (I) - Introduced - an established species introduced to North America by humans, either directly or indirectly
  • (E) - Extinct - a recent species that no longer exists
  • (P1) - Provisional I list - species which have been approved by the SCBRC but are known only from sight records
  • (P2) - Provisional II list - "Species whose occurrence in South Carolina is believed to be the result of human assistance, and which have not become established" per the SCBRC
  • (H) - Hypothetical - "Species which are undocumented to the committee but reported in North American Birds or The Chat" (the journal of the Carolina Bird Club)

Ducks, geese, and waterfowl

A large, gray bird with a black head flies low to the ground with spread wings.
Canada goose
Two ducks, one gray with a green head and the other brown, paddle across a clear lake.
Mallards
A duck with a green head, white body, rufous side and large bill swims through vegetation.
Northern shoveler
A brown duck with a white cheek and blue bill sits on a lake.
Ruddy 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 that are flattened to a greater or lesser extent, and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to special oils. In South Carolina, forty definitive species have been recorded and two of questionable origin have also been reported.

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 South Carolina, one species has been recorded.

Pheasants, grouse, and allies

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 game birds or have been domesticated as a food source for humans. 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 4.9–5.9 feet (1.5–1.8 m), the turkeys are the largest birds in the open forests in which they live and are rarely mistaken for any other species. Grouse inhabit temperate and subarctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere. They are game birds and are sometimes hunted for food. In all of South Carolina'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. Three species have been recorded in South Carolina.

Flamingoes

Order: Phoenicopteriformes   Family: Phoenicopteridae

Flamingoes are gregarious wading birds, usually 3 to 5 feet (0.9 to 1.5 m) tall, 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, of which one species of questionable origin and one hypothetical species have been recorded.

Grebes

A small, brown bird with a black stripe on its bill swims to the left.
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 South Carolina, five species have been recorded.

Pigeons and doves

A pale brown dove with black on the neck squats in the dirt
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 South Carolina, seven species have been recorded, one of which is extinct, in addition to one species of questionable origin.

Cuckoos and anis

A bird with a long tail, brown back and white belly is perched in a tree
Yellow-billed cuckoo

Order: Cuculiformes   Family: Cuculidae

The family Cuculidae includes cuckoos, roadrunners, and anis. These are birds of various sizes with slender bodies, long tails, and strong legs. In South Carolina, four species have been recorded.

Nightjars and allies

A dark brown bird blends in with a tree branch against a blue sky
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 South Carolina, 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 South Carolina, one species has been recorded.

Hummingbirds

A hummingbird with a bright red throat hovers in midair
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 South Carolina, nine species have been recorded in addition to one hypothetical species.

Rails, gallinules, and coots

A brown-and-black plumaged bird with a long bill stands in the swamp, with its head twisted to the left
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. Most members of this family 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.

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 South Carolina, 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 South Carolina, two species have 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 South Carolina, two species have been recorded.

Oystercatchers

A large bird with a black head, bright red bill and brown body stands on a rocky coast
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 South Carolina, one species has been recorded.

Lapwings and plovers

A tan bird with a black neckstripe and orange bill and legs stands on a sandy beach staring right
Piping plover

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Charadriidae

The Charadriidae family 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 South Carolina, nine species have been recorded.

Sandpipers and allies

A large tan bird with a black bill stands on a sandy beach by the water
Willet
A small gray bird with a black shoulder runs on a beach to the left
Sanderling
A brown bird with a white belly and orange feet stands on a dock
Ruddy turnstone
A brownish bird with long legs and a long beak stands on a fence post
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 Scolopacidae 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 South Carolina, thirty-five species have been recorded in addition to two hypothetical species.

Skuas and jaegers

A brown bird with a tan-yellow neck stripe flies right with its wings down over the ocean
Pomarine jaeger

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Stercorariidae

The skuas 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. Three jaeger species, an unidentified skua species, and one "hypothetical" skua species, have been recorded in South Carolina.

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 not related to the penguins and are able to fly. Auks live on the open sea, only deliberately coming ashore to nest. In South Carolina, six species have been recorded.

Gulls, terns, and skimmers

A gull with a black head and an orange bill stands on the coast
Laughing gull
A gull with a speckled head and a yellow beak with a black stripe stands before the oncoming tide
Ring-billed gull
Several terns with black feathers emerging crownlike from the back of their heads stand on the beach, their orange bills open
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 South Carolina, 15 species have been recorded. 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 South Carolina, 14 species have been recorded. Skimmers are tropical and subtropical species. They have an elongated lower mandible which they use by flying low over the water surface skimming the water for small fish. One species has been recorded in South Carolina.

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 South Carolina, two species have been recorded.

Loons

A black and white bird with a red eye sits upon a lake.
Common loon

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, because their legs are placed towards the rear of the body, are extremely poor at walking. In South Carolina, three species have been recorded.

Fulmars, petrels, and shearwaters

A dark gray shearwater flies across the night sky.
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 South Carolina, nine species have been recorded.

Storm-petrels

A black storm-petrel sits on the ground while looking right.
Leach's storm-petrel

Order: Procellariiformes   Family: Hydrobatidae

The storm-petrels are the smallest seabirds. They are relatives of the petrels and feed on planktonic crustaceans and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. Their flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like. In South Carolina, three species have been recorded.

Storks

A white bird with a gray, wrinkled head stands on the shore of a lake, looking right
Wood stork

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 South Carolina, 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 South Carolina, 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 South Carolina, four 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 South Carolina, two species have been recorded.

Anhingas

A black bird sits with spread silver wings, its head and long yellow bill twisted back so that it can preen its back
Anhinga

Order: Suliformes   Family: Anhingidae

Anhingas are cormorant-like water birds with long necks and long, straight beaks. They are fish eaters and often swim with only their neck above water giving them the appearance of a snake. In South Carolina, one species has been recorded.

Pelicans

A brown bird with a huge orange bill flaps its wings upward as it flies to the right.
Brown pelican

Order: Pelecaniformes   Family: Pelecanidae

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

Bitterns, herons, and egrets

A white egret in the water faces right, with its beak open and a fish in the air
Great egret

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 South Carolina, twelve species have been recorded.

Ibises and spoonbills

Order: Pelecaniformes   Family: Threskiornithidae

Threskiornithidae includes the ibises and spoonbills. They have long, broad wings and their bodies tend to be elongated, the neck more so, with rather long legs. The bill is also long and decurved in the case of the ibises, and straight and distinctively flattened in the spoonbills. In South Carolina, three species have occurred along with one species of questionable origin.

New World vultures

A large black bird with a bald red head sits in a tree looking left
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 South Carolina, 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

A nest in a tree contains two white, downy birds with sharp beaks being looked over by their mother, a hawk with a white breast and a sharp yellow beak.
Red-tailed hawks at nest

Order: Accipitriformes   Family: Accipitridae

The Accipitridae family of birds of prey 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 South Carolina, 15 species have been recorded as well as one hypothetical species.

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 South Carolina, one species has been recorded.

Typical owls

An owl with stripes on its belly perches in a tree against a pale landscape
Barred 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 South Carolina, 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 South Carolina, one species has been recorded.

Woodpeckers

A woodpecker with a red head, black back and white belly and tail curves itself around the bottom of a bird feeder
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 South Carolina, nine species have been recorded, one of which is presumed extinct.

Caracaras and falcons

A black falcon with a white chin clings to the side of a black cliff.
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. In South Carolina, four species have been recorded as well as one of questionable origin.

Old World parrots

Order: Psittaciformes   Family: Psittaculidae

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 at the back. In South Carolina one extinct species has been recorded as well as two species of questionable origin.

Tyrant flycatchers

A drab gray, plump bird with white wingbars sits upon a branch
Least flycatcher
A bird with a black back and a white belly and tail tip sits on a branch
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, have rather plain plumage. As the name implies, most are insectivorous. In South Carolina, fifteen species have been recorded as well as three hypothetical species.

Shrikes

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 South Carolina, one species has been recorded.

Vireos

A long, greenish bird with a white eye stripe hides on a branch in the shade
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 and resemble the wood warblers, except for their heavier bills. In South Carolina, seven species have been recorded.

Jays, crows, magpies, and ravens

A blue and white bird sits on a branch in the snow
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 for the Passeriformes. Some of the larger species show high levels of learned behavior. In South Carolina, four species have been recorded as well as one species of questionable origin and one hypothetical.

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 South Carolina, one species has been recorded.

Swallows and martins

A swallow with a blue back, red throat and pale tan belly sits on a metal pole
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. Their feet are designed for perching rather than walking and the front toes are partially joined at the base. In South Carolina, seven species have been recorded.

Chickadees and titmice

A small bird with a black cap and white cheeks stares forward from a branch
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 South Carolina, two species have been recorded as well as one hypothetical species.

Long-tailed tits

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Aegithalidae

Long-tailed tits are a group of small passerine birds with medium-to-long tails. They make woven bag nests in trees. Most eat a mixed diet which includes insects. One hypothetical species has been recorded in South Carolina.

  • Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus (H) (R)

Nuthatches

A blue bird with a brown head clings to the side of a tree as it moves down the trunk
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 South Carolina, 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 South Carolina, one species has been recorded.

Wrens

A cinnamon bird with a white eyestripe sits on a wooden beam, its tail raised up
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 South Carolina, six 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 South Carolina, one species has been recorded.

Kinglets

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Regulidae

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

Old World flycatchers

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Muscicapidae

The Old World flycatchers are a large family of small passerine birds. These are mainly arboreal insectivores, many of which, as the name implies, take their prey on the wing.

Thrushes

A bird with a brown back and speckles on a white chest sits facing forward on a branch in the underbrush
Wood thrush

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Turdidae

The thrushes are a group of passerine birds that are 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 South Carolina, nine species have been recorded, in addition to one hypothetical species.

Mockingbirds and thrashers

A gray bird with a long tail sits on a branch in the snow
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' appearance tends towards dull grays and browns. In South Carolina, three species have been recorded.

Starlings

Several black glossy birds with spots stand on the paved ground
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 South Carolina, 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 South Carolina, one species has been recorded.

Weavers and allies

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Ploceidae

The weavers are small passerine birds related to the finches. They are seed-eating birds with rounded conical bills. The males of many species are brightly colored, usually in red or yellow and black. Some species show variation in color only in the breeding season. One species of questionable origin has been seen in South Carolina.

Old World sparrows

A bird with a red back, black chin and gray belly sits on a fencepost
House sparrow

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 South Carolina, 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 South Carolina, three species have been recorded.

Finches

A yellow bird with black wings perches on a green plant
American goldfinch

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Fringillidae

Finches are seed-eating passerines 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 South Carolina, nine definitive species have been recorded along with one species of questionable origin.

Longspurs and snow buntings

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Calcariidae

The Calcariidae are a group of passerine birds that had been 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

A warbler with a yellow crown and red dots on its side perches on a post
Chestnut-sided warbler
A bird with a blue back, black sides and white belly sits in the undergrowth, facing forward
Black-throated blue warbler
A gray bird with a bright yellow rump sits above a creek
Yellow-rumped warbler
A black bird with a bright orange face looks to the left
Blackburnian warbler

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, such as the ovenbird, are more terrestrial. Most members of this family are insectivores. In South Carolina, forty species have been recorded, including one which is extinct.

Tanagers

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Thraupidae

The tanagers are a large group of small- to medium-sized passerine birds that inhabit the New World, mainly in the tropics. Many species are brightly colored. They are seed eaters, but prefer fruit and nectar. Most have short, rounded wings. In South Carolina, one species of questionable origin has been recorded.

  • Red-crested cardinal, Paroaria coronata (P2) (R) (not on the AOS Check-list; name and placement are per Clements)

New World sparrows

A drab brown bird sits on top of a log
Saltmarsh sparrow
A brown-backed bird with a gray belly and red crown twists its head to look right
Chipping sparrow
A large bird with a black back, red sides and white belly stands on the ground
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 South Carolina, twenty-seven species have been recorded.

Cardinals and allies

A red-breasted bird with a black back and white belly feeds from a bird feeder
Rose-breasted grosbeak

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Cardinalidae

The cardinals are a family of robust seed-eating passerines with strong bills. They typically live in open woodland. The sexes usually have distinct plumage. In South Carolina, eleven species have been recorded.

Blackbirds, meadowlarks, cowbirds, grackles, and orioles

A black bird with red and yellow on the wings sits on top of a post
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. In South Carolina, 15 species have been recorded, in addition to one species of questionable origin.

References

  1. ^ "Official List of the Birds of South Carolina". South Carolina Bird Records Committee. July 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2017. 
  2. ^ 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
  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

See also

External links

  • Carolina Bird Club website
  • Recent bird sitings in the Carolinas
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