50 Water Birds That Stay in the USA! (2023)

What sorts of water birds can you discover in the USA?

common water birds

Go to any lake, river, or wetland, and you’re nearly sure to see some kind of chook within the water, whether or not it’s a duck looking for meals within the shallows or a heron stalking prey alongside the shore.

Right here is how the under record is organized. Click on the hyperlink to leap straight to that part!

Geese, Geese, & Swans:

#1. Mallard

mallard ducks common

  • Males have a vivid inexperienced head, skinny white collar, darkish reddish-brown chest, yellow invoice, and a black rump with a white-tipped tail.
  • Females are mottled brown with orange and brown payments.
  • Each sexes have purple-blue secondary feathers on their wing, which is most seen when standing or flying.

My guess is that just about everyone seems to be aware of the Mallard. These geese are the most typical water birds in the USA!

Mallard Vary Map

mallard duck range map

Mallards are extraordinarily snug round individuals, which is why these adaptable geese are so widespread. They’re present in just about any wetland habitat, regardless of the place it’s situated. We even discover these water birds in our swimming pool each summer time and should chase them away so that they don’t make a multitude on our deck! 🙂

If you consider a duck quacking, it’s nearly inevitably a feminine Mallard. If there’s a higher duck sound, we haven’t heard it! Apparently, males don’t quack like females however as an alternative make a raspy name.

#2. Canada Goose

canada goose

  • Giant goose with an extended black neck and a distinctive white cheek patch.
  • Brown physique with a pale white chest and underparts.
  • Black toes and legs.

Canada Geese are extraordinarily frequent water birds in the USA.

I’m certain you most likely acknowledge them, as they’re very snug dwelling round individuals and human improvement. Search for them wherever there are grasses or grains to eat, resembling lawns, parks, farm fields, and golf programs. I do know I’ve been responsible of stepping of their “droppings” no less than a number of occasions in my very own yard as they arrive to eat corn from my feeding station. 🙂

Canada Goose Vary Map

canada goose range map

In reality, these geese at the moment are so ample many individuals think about them pests for the quantity of waste they produce! When you’ve got a manicured garden maintained to the water’s edge, you have got an open invitation for these birds to go to.

So many individuals, together with Canadians, name them Canadian Geese, however they don’t seem to be. They’re Canada Geese!

Hear for all kinds of loud honks and cackles. They’ve even hissed at me for by accident approaching a nest too intently.

#3. American Wigeon

american wigeon

  • Compact water birds with spherical heads. Blue-gray payments which can be tipped in black.
  • Males are principally brown however have a particular inexperienced band behind their eyes and a white crown.
  • Females have brown our bodies general, with a grayer-colored head.

American Wigeons are quite a few, however they like quiet lakes and marshes away from individuals. Their weight-reduction plan consists of extra plant matter than different geese, and they’re going to even go to farm fields to feed, just like geese. Their quick invoice offers quite a lot of energy to assist pluck vegetation with ease!

American Wigeon Vary Map

american wigeon range map

Since they’ll scare simply when approached, the most effective methods to see these water birds in the USA is to pay attention for them! Males give a 3-part nasal whistle (whew-whew-whew) at any time of the 12 months, which kind of seems like a kazoo (pay attention under)! Females don’t whistle, however they do produce a harsh grunt quack.

#4. Northern Pintail

northern pintail ducks

  • Slender geese with lengthy tails and necks and a pale black-gray invoice.
  • Males have cinnamon-brown heads, grey our bodies, and a white throat and breast.
  • Females have plain tan heads and rufous-brown plumage on their our bodies.

Northern Pintails have an extended neck that exaggerates their extraordinarily pointy tail (therefore the title) when in flight. Even when floating on water, its tail stands out farther from its physique than its head. Non-breeding males and all females have shorter however nonetheless outstanding pintails.

Northern Pintail Vary Map

northern pintail range map

One of the best place to seek out these water birds in the USA is in wetland habitats away from individuals. Wildlife refuges are good locations to start out. They have a tendency to stay to shallower areas close to the perimeters of lakes and ponds. Apparently, they’re additionally proficient at strolling on land, so that you’ll discover them cleansing farm fields of barley, wheat, rice, and corn leftovers.

Males have a singular name, which sounds a bit like a practice whistle. Females utter low-pitched quacking “kuk” notes.

#5. Northern Shoveler

northern shovelers male female

  • Males have reddish-brown flanks, inexperienced heads, a white chest, black backs, and yellow eyes.
  • Females are brown, and typically, you possibly can see a bluish shoulder patch.
  • Each sexes have distinctive payments, that are giant and extensive!

If you happen to solely look at their inexperienced heads, informal observers in the USA would possibly by accident assume these water birds are Mallards. However upon nearer assessment, it’s best to discover the ENORMOUS spoon-shaped invoice, which is how Northern Shovelers received their title.

Northern Shoveler Vary Map

northern shoveler range map

They use their giant invoice to shovel and sift via mud and sand to seek out tasty tidbits like crustaceans, mollusks, and aquatic bugs. Apparently, their invoice has over 100 tiny projections on the perimeters referred to as lamellae that assist filter out the meals they need to eat.

Males make a guttural “took-took” sound throughout courtship when alarmed and in flight. Females make a nasally-sounding quack.

#6. Redhead

redhead ducks

  • Each sexes have steep foreheads main all the way down to their black-tipped grey invoice.
  • Males have a particular cinnamon-red head with yellow eyes. Grey physique and black chest.
  • Females are brownish general with a paler face. Has darkish eyes.

In the USA, Redheads are among the many extra sociable water birds you will see that, particularly in winter. It’s frequent to see them gathered collectively in huge flocks, typically hundreds robust, in comparatively giant lakes.

Redhead Vary Map

redhead duck range map

Apparently, feminine Redheads apply a little bit of brood parasitism, which suggests they may lay a few of their eggs within the nests of different duck species and allow them to increase these hatchlings! What’s fascinating is that additionally they construct their very own nests and lift these hatchlings themselves. Speak about taking part in the percentages!

Males make a cat-like “whee-uogh” or “keyair” name when attempting to courtroom a feminine. When threatening one other Redhead, the males additionally emit a low, trilling “rrrrr.”

#7. Widespread Goldeneye

common goldeneyes

  • Males have a darkish inexperienced head, a vivid yellow eye, and a particular white cheek patch. The physique is generally white, with a black again and rump.
  • Females have a brown head, a brief darkish invoice with a yellow tip on the finish, and a pale yellow eye. Search for their white neck collar and grayish our bodies.

These water birds are knowledgeable diving geese in the USA. Widespread Goldeneyes can keep underwater for as much as a minute in size as they seek for their prey, which incorporates aquatic invertebrates, fish, and fish eggs, together with seeds and tubers from submerged vegetation.

Widespread Goldeneye Vary Map

common goldeneye range map

Fortunately, their inhabitants has remained robust and secure. Considered one of their largest threats is that they’re cavity nesters and depend upon forestry practices that don’t lower down lifeless bushes. Many devoted individuals have put up nest bins of their breeding vary to assist present extra ample nesting spots.

Many individuals generally confer with the Widespread Goldeneye because the “whistler” due to the distinctive whistling noises their wings make when flying. Each men and women are usually silent geese besides throughout courtship.

#8. Pink-breasted Merganser

red breasted mergansers male female

  • Slim geese with lengthy our bodies and necks and an extended, skinny invoice.
  • Breeding males have a darkish inexperienced head with a spiky-looking crest. Cinnamon-colored chest and pink eyes.
  • Females and non-breeding males are greyish-brown general.

Pink-breasted Mergansers breed in boreal forests throughout a lot of North America, the place they are often discovered on many inland lakes. Throughout winter, these sea geese migrate south and spend most of their time simply off the coast, though it’s attainable to seek out them in nearly any giant, unfrozen physique of water.

Pink-breasted Merganser Vary Map

red breasted merganser range map

Fish are their main meals supply, and they should eat roughly 15-20 per day to produce their vitality calls for. To catch this quantity of fish, it’s estimated they should make about 250 dives per day! Typically, they may assist one another out, and people will work collectively to herd minnows to shallower water, which makes the fish simpler to catch.

Do you know that birds that primarily eat fish sometimes style horrible? Due to this, Pink-breasted Mergansers and the opposite merganser species present in the USA will not be normally hunted. It’s additionally why you don’t discover anybody attempting to eat a penguin!

#9. Gadwall

Kinds of ducks in United States

  • Males have an intricate sample of grey, brown, and black feathers, which appear like white-fringed “scales.” Brown head and darkish gray or black invoice. The again is roofed with medium and darkish brown feathers. Males have a darkish invoice.
  • Females are mottled shades of brown with a darkish orange-black invoice. They appear just like feminine Mallards.

Gadwalls are straightforward water birds to miss in the USA!

Not like most different species, males don’t sport any patches of blue, inexperienced, or white plumage. Search for them in small ponds which have a number of vegetation.

Gadwall Vary Map

gadwall range map

Gadwalls have a humorous behavior of stealing meals from diving geese upon surfacing, with American Coots being their favourite sufferer! This habits is seen extra typically in the summertime, the place animal matter could make as much as 50% of their weight-reduction plan, whereas it drops to round 5% in winter.

If you happen to hear somebody burping and also you’re close to water, it might be a male Gadwall. Their quick, reedy calls are sometimes described as “burps.”

#10. Blue-winged Teal

blue winged teal male and female

  • Males have a head that’s bluish with a white band in entrance of the attention. Black invoice and black wings. The physique is brown with black spots.
  • Females have brown our bodies. Search for a darkish eyeline and crown on their head.

Blue-winged Teals are present in shallow wetlands throughout the USA. These water birds get their title from the attractive blue shoulder patch solely seen in flight! Simply as fairly is the inexperienced plumage under the blue on the wing.

Blue-winged Teal Vary Map

blue winged teal range map

Consider it or not, these lovely waterfowl are the second most ample duck in North America, behind solely (you guessed it) the Mallard. Blue-winged Teal are a well-liked species for hunters, though the variety of birds taken per 12 months is monitored intently to make sure the inhabitants stays robust.

Males produce a excessive whistled “tsee-tsee.”

#11. Inexperienced-winged Teal

green winged teal

  • Males have chestnut-brown heads and a inexperienced ear patch. Stunning gray-barred our bodies with vertical white stripes on either side.
  • Females have a darkish eye-line and are mottled brown all through.
  • Each sexes have a inexperienced patch on their wing, seen in flight and more often than not when resting.

Inexperienced-winged Teals are one of many smallest water birds you will see that in the USA. They’re solely 12-15 inches (31-39 cm) in size and weigh between 5 and 18 ounces (140-510 g).

Inexperienced-winged Teal Vary Map

green winged teal range map

These birds typically journey and hang around with different species. Look intently for the smallest duck in a combined flock, and there’s a good likelihood it’s a Inexperienced-winged Teal. Even females, which look just like feminine Mallards, ought to stand out as a result of they’re noticeably smaller!

Males give a brief, clear, repeated whistle, which is a singular sound for a duck should you ask me! Females typically give a sequence of quacks at any time of the 12 months.

#12. Wooden Duck

wood ducks

  • Males have very intricate plumage. Search for the inexperienced crested head, pink eyes, and chestnut breast with white flecks.
  • Females have brown our bodies with a grayish head, which can be barely crested. White teardrop eye patch and a blue patch on the wing.

Walt Disney used to say that “the world is a carousel of shade,” and few waterfowl have taken this extra to coronary heart than the male Wooden Duck. In reality, it appears to be like like an artist used each shade to color a duck with inexperienced, pink, orange, lime, yellow, buff, rose, brown, tan, black, white, grey, purple, and blue coloring.

Wooden Duck Vary Map

wood duck range map

This is among the few water chook species in the USA you may even see in a tree! Wooden Geese use deserted tree cavities for nesting, however additionally they readily take to elevated nesting bins.

When hatchlings depart the nest for the primary time, they typically need to make an enormous leap of religion (as much as 50 toes / 15 m) to the bottom under! It’s important to watch the video under to consider it. 🙂

Apparently, Wooden Geese are completely developed for his or her life spent in bushes. Their claws are highly effective, which permits them to perch and grasp onto branches!

The commonest sound heard from Wooden Geese is when they’re disturbed. I’ve typically by accident stumble upon them solely to listen to them flying away saying “ooeek-ooeek” loudly!

#13. Bufflehead

bufflehead male female

  • Small geese with giant heads.
  • Males have white chests and flanks and a big white patch on their heads. Darkish again. Iridescent purple-green plumage on their face.
  • Females are principally brownish with a darker head. Search for the distinctive white cheek patch.

It’s arduous to misidentify these hanging water birds when seen in the USA.

They spend as much as half their time foraging underwater, in search of aquatic invertebrates and crustaceans, which they eat whereas nonetheless submerged. After they dive, be affected person and preserve scanning the world for these small birds to resurface.

Bufflehead Vary Map

bufflehead range map

Buffleheads are choosy nesters, and they’re going to ONLY lay eggs within a cavity. They nearly solely use holes excavated by Northern Glints and Pileated Woodpeckers. They’re dropping nest websites attributable to logging, however they do take readily to nest bins.

General, Buffleheads are extra silent than different geese. In late winter to early spring, it’s attainable to listen to the males make a squeaky whistle.

#14. Hooded Merganser

hooded merganser male and female

  • Small water chook with an extended, slender invoice.
  • Breeding males have an unmistakable giant black crest with a big white patch on either side. Yellow eyes.
  • Females have darkish eyes and are brown general with a barely lighter coloured crest, which nearly appears to be like like a mohawk.

Look-wise, Hooded Mergansers are amongst my favourite water birds in the USA. Seeing a breeding male with its giant black and white crest erected is a wonderful sight.

Hooded Merganser Vary Map

hooded merganser range map

Their lengthy, skinny invoice is serrated, which helps them catch small fish, crayfish, and aquatic bugs. Their meals is nearly at all times swallowed entire, no matter dimension. They hunt underwater by sight and have imaginative and prescient diversifications that permit them to see fairly clearly when submerged.

Females have an fascinating habits the place they could lay a few of their eggs in different Hooded Mergansers’ nests. Whereas every chook can lay as much as a dozen eggs, nests have been discovered with greater than 40 eggs, making one duck work a lot more durable than others.

#15. Widespread Merganser

common mergansers

  • A reasonably large duck that has an extended, slender orange invoice with a black tip and darkish eyes.
  • Breeding males have a largely white physique, a black again, and a mallard-like inexperienced head.
  • Females and non-breeding males sport a cinnamon-colored head and a grayish-white physique.

Resulting from their skinny invoice, Widespread Mergansers stand out pretty simply from most different water birds in the USA. Their favourite meals is fish, which they catch with the assistance of their serrated invoice, however additionally they bask in aquatic invertebrates resembling crustaceans, mollusks, bugs, and worms.

Widespread Merganser Vary Map

common merganser range map

Widespread Mergansers are so good at fishing that different birds attempt to steal from them once they floor. In reality, it’s frequent to see flocks of seagulls following them, hoping to grab a straightforward meal. Even Bald Eagles have been recognized to rob them of their hard-earned fish!

Naturally, these geese nest in tree cavities that woodpeckers have carved out. Apparently, new child ducklings are solely a couple of day previous once they leap from the doorway to the bottom, at which level the mom will make them water, they usually catch all their very own meals instantly.

#16. Canvasback

canvasback duck male female

  • A comparatively giant diving duck with a black breast, black tail, and a pale grey physique.
  • Males have red-brown heads and pink eyes.
  • Females are duller general, with a brown head and black eyes.

Canvasbacks are giant diving geese that not often ever go to dry land. In reality, they even sleep whereas floating and construct their nests in lots of floating vegetation!

Canvasback Vary Map

canvasback range map

Canvasbacks are omnivores that eat all the pieces from bugs and mussels to plant tubers and seeds. They will dive as much as 7 toes (2.1 m) deep, in search of aquatic vegetation, which they rip off with their robust payments.

These principally silent water birds have had their populations fluctuate during the last 100 years. The lack of huge quantities of wetland habitat to improvement brought on a decline in numbers, together with the lack of their main meals supply (wild celery) disappearing in lots of locations. However general, their inhabitants has remained regular because the Eighties.

#17. Ruddy Duck

ruddy duck

  • Breeding males are blue-billed and white-cheeked. A stiff black tail is usually erect. Search for the sunshine blue invoice.
  • Females are tawny and smooth brown, aside from the darker cap. Females (and non-breeding males) have a black, scoop-like invoice.

Ruddy Geese are among the many most fascinating water birds in the USA!

First, the males of their breeding plumage are unmistakable and appear like no different duck. It’s arduous to overlook their vivid blue payments and very thick necks.

Ruddy Duck Vary Map

ruddy duck range map

Ruddy Geese are significantly better swimmers than flyers. After they really feel threatened by a predator, they a lot choose to dive and swim away than take to the air.

Males even have a singular means of attracting females. They may beat their invoice in opposition to their neck so arduous that it forces air via the feathers, which creates a swirl of bubbles within the water. To complete off this show, they emit a belch-like sound!

#18. Snow Goose

snow goose

  • Most Snow Geese are all white with black tail feathers. However some people show a “blue morph,” whose heads are nonetheless white however our bodies are sooty grey.
  • Pink legs.
  • Pink invoice, which has a black patch on either side.

Snow Geese spend their time within the continent’s northernmost areas throughout the breeding season, away from human civilization. Most individuals solely get the pleasure of seeing this ample goose in the USA once they migrate south in fall and winter.

Snow Goose Vary Map

snow goose range map

Search for these water birds in giant fields and our bodies of water. If they’re round, it’s normally not arduous to seek out them, as they’re nearly at all times seen in big flocks accompanied by quite a lot of honking!

In reality, one of the vital spectacular issues you’ll watch at present is the video under, which reveals an ENORMOUS flock of Snow Geese. It’s arduous to fathom what number of birds are touring collectively!

As you possibly can most likely hear from the video above, Snow Geese are one of many noisiest waterfowl you’ll encounter in the USA. Their nasally, one-syllable honk could be heard at any time of day or night time, at any time of the 12 months!

#19. Cinnamon Teal

cinnamon teal male female

  • Breeding males have a cinnamon-colored physique with a thick, lengthy black invoice. Search for their pink eyes!
  • Females are mottled brown general, black eyes, and enormous black payments.

Cinnamon Teals are most ample in giant, everlasting wetlands in the USA. They’re most frequently seen on the edges of reeds and different vegetation that gives cowl.

Cinnamon Teal Vary Map

cinnamon teal range map

Whereas their inhabitants remains to be wholesome, it has slowly declined over the previous 50+ years. A lot of their habitat has been misplaced as wetlands have been transformed to agriculture or different kinds of improvement. And what stays is usually contaminated and polluted, which Cinnamon Teals are delicate in the direction of.

Males give a low-pitched rattling, “karr, karr, karr,” which sounds a bit like somebody attempting to start out a chainsaw unsuccessfully.

#20. Tundra Swan

tundra swan

Throughout summer time, you’ll not see Tundra Swans close to individuals, as they spend the breeding season within the distant Arctic. Search for them in winter and migration, the place they’re guests to many giant our bodies of water. Additionally they go to farm fields in giant flocks, in search of meals.

Tundra Swans kind long-term, devoted relationships. Sometimes, by the point they’re 2 or 3, they’ve discovered a companion. As soon as that occurs, these two birds will breed, feed, roost, and journey collectively year-round.  

The commonest sound these birds make is a “hoo-ho-ho” bugle, with the second syllable being emphasised. (Hear under)

One other typical sound related to Tundra Swans is the whistling of their wings. Lewis and Clark initially referred to as them “whistling swans” once they first encountered them, and many individuals nonetheless use this title at present.

#21. Mute Swan

mute swans

Mute Swans are among the many most elegant and exquisite birds you will notice within the water. They’re additionally huge and are one of many heaviest birds that may fly!

However do you know these water birds are NOT native to the USA?

Resulting from their magnificence, Mute Swans have been imported from Europe and launched in parks, giant estates, and zoos. Sadly, these people escaped and have established an invasive wild inhabitants.

Don’t be fooled by their look; these swans could be aggressive, they usually usually assault kayakers and different individuals who get too near their nest. Additionally they displace native ecosystems attributable to their voracious urge for food, which requires as much as 8 kilos (3.6 kg) of aquatic vegetation each day!

Regardless of their title, these swans will not be mute! Whereas it’s true they’re comparatively quiet, they make a hoarse trumpet sound when defending their territory. And if they’re threatened, anticipate to listen to numerous barks, hisses, and snorts.

#22. Ross’s Goose

Geese and Swans species that live in United States

  • Small, stocky goose that’s utterly white, aside from black wingtips. They’re barely bigger than a Mallard duck.
  • A stubby red-orange invoice that has a grey base.
  • Legs and toes are additionally red-orange.

Ross’s Goose appears to be like similar to the Snow Goose, besides they’re smaller and have a shorter neck and stubbier invoice. It’s frequent for these two species to journey collectively in the identical giant flocks!

Ross’s Goose Vary Map

ross goose range map

Populations of Ross’s Goose have been rising attributable to local weather change. As their summer time breeding grounds within the Arctic are warming, the snow cowl has been lowered, which will increase plant progress. Extra vegetation imply extra meals for Ross’s Goose, which results in extra infants being born and surviving!

Through the non-breeding season, these water birds migrate south and could be seen in the USA in marshes, lakes, and farm fields, the place they get pleasure from consuming leftover crops.

If you happen to see a flock of white geese flying overhead, pay attention for Ross’s Goose, which provides a particular “keekkeek keek” name. It’s going to sound greater in pitch than a Snow Goose.

#23. Trumpeter Swan

trumpeter swan

Trumpeter Swans are the most important chook by weight in the USA!

They’ve a wingspan of just about 6 toes (1.8 m) and weigh round 25 kilos (11.3 kg), which is about twice the quantity of a Tundra Swan. In reality, they’re so large that about 100 yards of open water is required for them to get sufficient velocity to take off!  

Trumpeter Swans have been as soon as endangered attributable to overhunting, however fortunately, their inhabitants has recovered, and they’re rising their numbers. Not like Tundra Swans, this species doesn’t journey to the Arctic in summer time to nest and breed. Search for them close to ponds, lakes, rivers, and marshes, and the farther from individuals, the higher!

These giant birds sometimes nest on an present construction surrounded by water, resembling beaver dams, muskrat dens, small islands, floating lots of vegetation, and synthetic platforms. Trumpeter Swans are very delicate when breeding and can generally abandon their nest websites and infants attributable to human disturbance.

#24. Better White-fronted Goose

greater white fronted goose

These birds breed within the arctic tundra however then migrate south for winter. Search for these giant geese in the USA in giant flocks in wetlands, lakes, and farm fields.

Better White-fronted Goose Vary Map

greater white fronted goose range map

Better White-fronted Geese have INCREDIBLY robust household bonds. Mated pairs migrate with one another and keep collectively for a few years. Their offspring even stick round for longer than most different species, and it’s commonplace to see the younger with their dad and mom via the following breeding season.

Their flight name is comparatively straightforward to establish. Hear for a two to three-syllable sound that resembles laughing.

#25. Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

black bellied whistling duck

  • Not like most different geese in the USA, men and women look the identical.
  • Our bodies are principally cinnamon-colored. Reddish invoice and lengthy pink legs.
  • Grey face and black stomach. White patch on the wings.

Utilizing their lengthy legs, Black-bellied Whistling-Geese spend quite a lot of day out of water strolling or perching on fences or in bushes. In reality, they even nest in bushes in previous woodpecker holes.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck Vary Map

black bellied range map

Black-bellied Whistling-Geese have an extremely correct title. Clearly, their bellies are black, however the “whistling” title comes from the distinctive sounds they make. Hear for a smooth, excessive whistle that has an extended first be aware and a number of other shorter ones that comply with.

#26. Fulvous Whistling-Duck

fulvous whistling ducks

  • Men and women look related.
  • Principally cinnamon-colored, aside from white traces on their sides and a blackish again.
  • Darkish invoice and legs.

Look-wise, Fulvous Whistling-Geese resemble small geese with their plump our bodies and lengthy legs.

Fulvous Whistling-Duck Vary Map

fulvous whistling duck range map

In the USA, they’re almost certainly discovered close to rice fields, crayfish farms, or flooded pastures. These locations present each meals and a perfect water depth for them, which is lower than 20 inches. Apparently, these geese by no means bred right here till the beginning of rice cultivation within the early Twentieth century.

Because the title suggests, these geese give a high-pitched whistle, typically heard whereas flying. 

Herons, Ibises, and Cranes:

#27. Nice Blue Heron

great blue heron

These water birds are sometimes seen in the USA alongside the perimeters of rivers, lakes, and wetlands.

Nice Blue Herons seem majestic in flight, and as soon as what to search for, it’s fairly straightforward to identify them. Watch the skies for a LARGE chook that folds its neck into an “s” form and has its legs trailing straight behind.

Nice Blue Heron Vary Map

great blue heron range map

More often than not, they may both be immobile or slowly shifting via the water, in search of their prey. However watch them intently as a result of when a chance presents itself, these herons will strike shortly and ferociously to seize one thing to eat. Widespread meals embody fish, frogs, reptiles, small mammals, and different birds.

Consider it or not, Nice Blue Herons principally construct their nests, that are made out of sticks, very excessive up in bushes. As well as, they nearly at all times nest in giant colonies that may embody as much as 500 completely different breeding pairs. And unbelievably, almost all of the breeding pairs nest in the identical few bushes!

#28. American Bittern

american bittern

  • A medium-sized, stout water chook that may be a buffy brown shade.
  • The underparts are white with brown streaks.

Contemplate your self fortunate should you can spot an American Bittern!

These herons reside in freshwater marshes and are extraordinarily secretive and completely camouflaged for his or her habitat.

American Bittern Vary Map

american bittern range map

American Bitterns are most frequently seen standing immobile, ready for a fish, invertebrate, amphibian, or reptile to wander close to. As soon as their prey will get shut sufficient, their head darts shortly to seize the sufferer to swallow headfirst. Apparently, indigestible components don’t move via their digestive system however as an alternative are regurgitated as pellets!

Sound is among the greatest methods to seek out these water birds in the USA! Through the breeding season, pay attention for a loud, odd-sounding “oong-KA-chunk” name, which has a liquid sound. (Hear under)

#29. Inexperienced Heron

green heron

  • Small heron with an extended, dagger-like invoice.
  • Their again is gray-green. The top and neck are chestnut-brown, aside from the green-black cap on the top.
  • The neck is often drawn into their physique.

This small water chook is present in the USA in any moist habitat that features a number of vegetation, which offers locations for them to remain hidden. You’ll most frequently see them foraging at daybreak or nightfall, as they like to maintain out of sight throughout a lot of the day.

Inexperienced Heron Vary Map

green heron range map

The primary time I heard the “skeow” name of an alarmed Inexperienced Heron within the marsh behind my home, I had no concept what I heard as a result of it was so distinctive. However fortunately, these sounds are straightforward to be taught, and now I can simply establish these herons when visiting most wetlands.

#30. Nice Egret

great egret

Nice Egrets are giant water birds present in the USA. These herons are gorgeous and particularly placed on a present throughout breeding season once they develop lengthy feathery plumes referred to as aigrettes, that are held up throughout courtship shows.

Nice Egret Vary Map

great egret range map

In reality, these aigrettes are so lovely that nice Egrets have been nearly hunted to extinction within the nineteenth century as a result of these feathers made such good decorations on girls’ hats. The Nationwide Audubon Society was shaped in response to assist defend these birds from being slaughtered. To today, the Nice Egret serves because the group’s image.

Barely smaller than a Nice Blue Heron, this species eats nearly something which may be within the water. The record consists of reptiles, birds, amphibians, small mammals, and numerous invertebrates.

#31. Black-crowned Night time Heron

black crowned night heron

  • A comparatively small, stocky, compact heron.
  • Seems a bit hunchbacked, because it typically tucks its neck into its physique.
  • Black head and again, which distinction in opposition to its white stomach and grey wings.

Black-crowned Night time Herons are frequent in wetlands throughout the USA. In reality, they’re probably the most widespread heron on the earth, however they’re typically arduous to truly find and see!

Black-crowned Night time Heron Vary Map

black crowned night heron range map

As their title suggests, these herons are most energetic at nightfall and throughout the night. Whereas the solar is out, they spend the day hiding amongst brush and vegetation close to the water’s edge. By foraging at night time, these birds keep away from competitors from different heron species!

When shocked or below duress, Black-crowned Night time Herons give a loud, barking “quawk. Whereas at their nesting colonies, you possibly can hear a wide range of different croaks, barks, hisses, screams, clucks, and rattles.

#32. Cattle Egret

cattle egret

  • Smaller heron with a yellow invoice that always perches with its neck drawn in.
  • Non-breeding adults are completely white with black legs.
  • Breeding adults are white however have yellow legs and golden feathers on their head, again, and breast.

Cattle Egrets are a bit distinctive when in comparison with different water birds in the USA. As a substitute of spending their time close to water, these birds sometimes reside in fields, the place they forage for invertebrates which were kicked up on the toes of grazing livestock. It’s additionally frequent to see them in search of ticks on the backs of cattle!

Apparently, Cattle Egrets will not be native to North America. These herons are initially from Africa however discovered their means right here within the Nineteen Fifties and have since unfold throughout the nation. Their vary retains slowly increasing as individuals convert land for farming and livestock.

Cattle Egret Vary Map

cattle egret range map

#33. Snowy Egret

snowy egret

  • A totally white, medium-sized water chook with a black dagger-like invoice.
  • They’ve black legs, however their toes are yellow.
  • A yellow patch of pores and skin beneath their eye.

These lovely herons typically use their yellow toes to fire up water or mud to assist them uncover hiding invertebrates, amphibians, or fish. As soon as their prey has been discovered, Snowy Egrets don’t have any drawback working their meals down to complete the job!

Snowy Egret Vary Map

snowy egret range map

Apparently, these water birds will breed with different heron species, resembling different equally sized birds like Tricolored Herons, Little Blue Herons, and Cattle Egrets. So, should you see a heron that you would be able to’t appear to establish, it might be a hybrid!

#34. Sandhill Crane

sandhill crane

If you happen to go to the correct habitat, Sandhill Cranes are straightforward to identify in the USA. These water birds are giant, elegant, and placed on some fancy dancing whereas attempting to draw a mate! It’s frequent to see a breeding male pump their wings, bow, stretch their wings, and soar into the air, all within the title of affection. 🙂

Sandhill Crane Vary Map

sandhill crane range map

Sandhill Cranes are well-known for his or her LOUD bugling calls.

In reality, these sounds could be heard over 2 miles away and are given each on the bottom or whereas flying. They’ve tailored extraordinarily lengthy windpipes that truly coil into the sternum, which helps produce the low, loud pitch.

One factor that amazes me about Sandhill Cranes is how lengthy they reside. The oldest one on file was no less than 36 years previous, because it was banded initially in 1973 after which discovered once more in 2010!

#35. Least Bittern

least bittern

  • A small heron with a hunchbacked look and an extended pointed yellow invoice.
  • Not like most different heron species, female and male Least Bitterns look completely different.
    • Males: Extraordinarily darkish inexperienced again and crown.
    • Females: Darkish brown again and crown.

Least Bitterns are the smallest heron you will see that in the USA!

Not solely are these water birds small, however they are often robust to see. Least Bitterns mix in completely to their wetland environments and appear to seem out of the reeds or cattails. To search out one, you have to a number of persistence and a little bit of luck. 🙂

Least Bittern Vary Map

least bittern range map

Surprisingly, Least Bitterns could be discovered looking for meals in pretty deep water. Not like different herons that wade via the water, these birds are mild sufficient to understand onto reeds, which permits them to hunt whereas being suspended in midair! You’ll be able to see this habits within the video under:

#36. White-faced Ibis

white-faced ibis

  • Maroon water birds with an extended curved invoice. Wings seem metallic inexperienced and bronze in the correct mild.
  • On the base of the invoice, breeding adults have a naked patch of pink pores and skin surrounded by a white border. Pink legs.
  • Non-breeding adults lack the pores and skin patch and white border on the face. Greenish-black legs.

At first look, White-faced Ibises seem black. However upon nearer inspection, you will notice a wonderful combination of inexperienced, bronze, and purple plumage.

These lovely wading birds are present in marshes throughout the USA, the place they are often discovered digging their lengthy invoice into mud, in search of earthworms, bugs, and crayfish.

White-faced Ibis Vary Map

white faced ibis range map

These birds typically use human-made objects of their nests. Every little thing from lighters to dolls to shotgun shells has been discovered!

Whereas they’re feeding or flying, chances are you’ll hear a smooth “oink,” which is usually repeated.

#37. Little Blue Heron

little blue heron

  • Adults: Have a slate-gray physique and a purple-maroon head and neck.
  • Juveniles: Throughout their first 12 months, these herons are utterly white!
  • Search for a two-toned invoice, whatever the chook’s age, which is grey with a black tip.

These water birds are present in shallow wetlands in the USA.

Little Blue Herons are affected person hunters and can keep immobile for lengthy intervals, ready for prey to move by them. Whereas ready, they preserve their dagger-like invoice pointed downwards to be ready for the second a fish, amphibian, insect, or crustacean seems.

Little Blue Heron Vary Map

little blue heron range map

As you possibly can see above, juvenile Little Blue Herons look utterly completely different than adults! It’s thought that these birds tailored this white plumage to allow them to be tolerated by Snowy Egrets, who catch extra fish. Hanging out with giant flocks of white herons additionally most likely helps with avoiding predators. 🙂

Little Blue Herons are principally silent, however it’s attainable to listen to them squeaking when alarmed. Additionally they emit numerous screams and croaks whereas nesting in a colony.

#38. White Ibis

white ibis

  • White our bodies and pink legs. The pink invoice is lengthy and curved.
  • A naked patch of pink pores and skin behind the invoice and across the eye.
  • When flying, search for black wing suggestions.

Though they are often discovered extra inland, the most effective spot to see these water birds in the USA is close to the coast. White Ibises sometimes forage collectively in giant teams in shallow wetlands, in search of crustaceans and bugs.

White Ibis Vary Map

white ibis range map

These social water birds don’t prefer to be alone. Along with feeding, they nest in giant colonies, fly in flocks, and even take group baths!

Their name just isn’t very musical. Hear for a nasally honk given whereas in search of meals or flying.

Lastly, I discover it fascinating that White Ibis chicks are born with utterly straight payments. Over their first two weeks of being alive, they slowly curve. 🙂

#39. Wooden Stork

white birds

Wooden Storks are extremely tall water birds in the USA, standing over 3 toes tall. Additionally they have a big wingspan that’s sometimes between 5 – 6 toes from tip to tip. They’re normally seen in marshes or swamps in search of meals, which incorporates fish and crustaceans.

Wooden Stork Vary Map

wood stork range map

Wooden Storks will not be frequent, and also you normally want to go to a big wetland to seek out one. Wildlife refuges and preserves are usually nice locations. However fortunately, due to their giant dimension and distinctive head and invoice, they’re straightforward to establish when seen.

And my youngsters have been joyful to listen to I don’t share the identical parenting strategies because the Wooden Stork. To maintain their nestlings cool when it turns into too scorching, mum or dad storks regurgitate water throughout their infants. 🙂

Loons, grebes, and different water birds:

#40. Widespread Loon

common loon

  • Lengthy our bodies with robust, thick, dagger-like payments. They sit low within the water.
  • Breeding adults have a black head and a black and white checkerboard again.
  • Non-breeding adults are a lot duller and have a uniformly grayish again and head.

Widespread Loons are certainly one of my FAVORITE water birds in the USA.

These attractive birds are robust and quick swimmers who catch fish in high-speed underwater chases. They’ve even tailored strong bones (most chook bones are hole), which makes it simpler to dive since they’re much less buoyant.

Widespread Loon Vary Map

common loon range map

To assist forestall different birds from stealing their meals, Widespread Loons sometimes swallow their prize whereas nonetheless underwater. And to make sure the slippery fish doesn’t escape as soon as caught, loons have rear-facing projections inside their mouth that sink in and supply a decent grip.

Considered one of my favourite issues about these birds is the fantastic, eerie sounds they make. Hear for a repertoire of vocalizations, which all signify one thing. LISTEN BELOW!

#41. Herring Gull

types of gulls in the united states

  • Breeding adults have mild grey backs, white heads, white undersides, and black wingtips and will have dusky marks on their heads throughout the winter.
  • They’ve yellow eyes, uninteresting pink legs, hefty payments, and barrel chests.

Herring Gulls are the acquainted, quintessential “seagull” in the USA. They occupy farmland, coasts, bays, seashores, lakes, piers, and landfills. They’re most ample on the coast and surrounding giant lakes and river methods.

If you happen to spend time on the seashore, you’ve most likely seen Herring Gulls ready so that you can drop your snack! Along with popcorn and chips from people, they eat fish, crustaceans, mollusks, sea urchins, marine worms, smaller birds, eggs, carrion, and bugs.

The inhabitants of Herring Gulls declined steeply throughout the nineteenth century due to overhunting. Whereas their vary and inhabitants recovered throughout the Twentieth century, overfishing, oil spills, and pesticide contamination have lowered some populations.

#42. Noticed Sandpiper

  • Adults have a grayish-brown again, plain white breast, and pale yellow invoice in winter.
  • Breeding adults develop darkish brown speckles throughout their our bodies.

Noticed Sandpipers are energetic foragers and have a particular searching type. They stroll in meandering paths, out of the blue darting at prey resembling bugs and small crabs. They bob their tail ends in a easy movement nearly continuously.

Not like most shorebirds in the USA, feminine Noticed Sandpipers carry out courtship shows and defend territories.

Females are typically polyandrous and mate with multiple male. The males will kind their very own smaller territories inside the feminine’s territory and defend them from each other.

Whereas it’s nonetheless a standard species, Noticed Sandpiper populations have declined within the final a number of many years. The decline is primarily brought on by compromised water high quality attributable to herbicides, pesticides, and different run-off air pollution.

#43. American Coot

american coot

  • Solely black, aside from a white sloping invoice.
  • Pink eyes.
  • Toes are NOT webbed, however as an alternative, they’re lengthy and lobed.

American Coots are distinctive water birds which can be ample in the USA.

At first look, they seem fairly like a duck, however they’re really extra associated to Sandhill Cranes!

American Coot Vary Map

american coot range map

As a result of they don’t have webbed toes, American Coots can stroll fairly nicely on land. However don’t let this reality idiot you into pondering they’ll’t swim as a result of they’re EXCELLENT swimmers. Every of their lengthy toes has lobes of pores and skin that assist them propel via the water.

These water birds are fairly vocal. Hear for a wide range of squawks, croaks, and grunts.

#44. Double-crested Cormorant

double crested cormorant

Double-crested Cormorants look extremely distinctive, with many individuals pondering they seem like a cross between a loon and a goose. These knowledgeable divers eat nearly solely fish, which they catch underwater with their completely tailored hooked payments.

Double-crested Cormorant Vary Map

double crested cormorant range map

One of many BEST methods to seek out these water birds in the USA is to search for them on land with their wings unfold out. Double-crested Cormorants don’t have waterproof feathers, so after swimming, they need to dry them.

Giant colonies of those birds collect in bushes close to water, the place all of them construct their nests in a small cluster of bushes. Sadly, there could be so many birds so shut collectively that their poop finally ends up killing the bushes!

Double-crested Cormorants emit distinctive, deep guttural grunts, which I feel sound extra like a big walrus than a chook. Hear under!

#45. Pied-billed Grebe

pied bill grebe

  • Small, chunky water chook with a brief, thick invoice and nearly no tail.
  • Principally brown. Breeding adults have a vertical black stripe on their beak.

These frequent water birds are present in freshwater marshes, lakes, and slow-moving rivers throughout the USA. They seem just like a duck from a distance, however upon nearer investigation, you will notice a brief, chunky invoice and a blocky-looking head.

Pied-billed Grebe Vary Map

pied billed grebe range map

Pied-billed Grebes are wonderful divers who eat crustaceans, amphibians, fish, and bugs. They’re nearly completely tailored for all times within the water, and you’ll seldom see them out of it. However their aquatic abilities come at a value, as they’re extraordinarily awkward strolling on land and pretty gradual flyers.

Pied-billed Grebes don’t even lay their eggs on land! As a substitute, they sometimes assemble a bowl-shaped nest of lifeless vegetation that sit immediately on floating vegetation. On a facet be aware, they’ve ADORABLE infants, which have cute black and white faces.

It may be arduous to identify certainly one of these grebes, as they typically cover amongst dense vegetation. Many occasions, it’s simpler to find one by listening for its distinct sounds. The commonest name is a loud, wailing “kuk-kuk-kuk-kaow-kaow,” which slows down on the finish.

#46. Eared Grebe

eared grebe

  • Small grebe with a skinny, straight, black invoice. Brilliant pink eyes.
  • Breeding adults are principally black however have lovely golden feathers behind their eyes.
  • Non-breeding adults lack golden feathers. Principally black with a grayish neck, white cheek patches, and white sides.

Eared Grebes will not be solely frequent water birds within the western United States, however they’re really probably the most ample grebe in the whole world!

Eared Grebe Vary Map

eared grebe range map

Apparently, yearly, once they molt, they’re completely flightless for round two months! However they’re such poor flyers, it doesn’t matter a lot, as they like to swim to get away from predators anyway.

For a chook that doesn’t prefer to fly and isn’t superb at it, they certain do migrate a good distance! They journey as a lot as 3,700 miles (6000 km) to succeed in their wintering feeding grounds. Apparently, on their means south, the whole inhabitants of Eared Grebes stops in a single of some salt lakes (Nice Salt Lake, Mono Lake) to fatten up on brine shrimp and alkali flies earlier than migrating farther south.

These water birds are usually quiet, besides throughout the breeding season when it’s attainable to listen to a rising whistle that ends with a hiccup (ooEEK).

#47. Brown Pelican

brown pelican

It’s arduous to mistake these giant water birds in the USA since no different chook appears to be like fairly prefer it!

After I go to the seashore, I really like seeing the way in which that Brown Pelicans elegantly fly simply over the water’s floor. Whereas these water birds are frequent at present, consider it or not, they nearly went extinct within the mid-Twentieth century attributable to DDT poisoning.

Brown Pelican Vary Map

brown pelican range map

These seabirds are generally seen alongside the coast as they plunge aggressively headfirst into the water. These dives are supposed to stun the encompassing fish, which then are scooped up with their huge throat pouch and swallowed entire.

Don’t trouble listening for them, as Brown Pelicans are principally silent creatures. You might hear loud popping sounds once they defend their nests, that are made out of them snapping their payments collectively sharply.

#48. American White Pelican

  • Pelecanus erythrorhynchos

white pelican

  • It’s a GIANT white water chook with an extended neck and invoice.
  • Yellow patch on the base of the invoice that wraps round their eyes.
  • Breeding adults have an odd plate that sticks up from the top of the invoice.

American White Pelicans are arduous to overlook attributable to their huge dimension. In reality, they’re one of many largest birds in the USA. They sometimes weigh between 11 – 20 kilos (5.0 – 9.1 kg), but it surely’s their wingspan that’s most spectacular.

When totally unfold, the wings measure over 9 toes (2.7 m) from tip to tip, which is the second widest in North America, behind the California Condor.

American White Pelican Vary Map

white pelican range map

Regardless of what you would possibly assume, American White Pelicans don’t dive underwater to catch fish. As a substitute, they use their big neck pouches to scoop up fish. People generally work collectively to herd fish to shallow areas to make them simpler to catch.

Their invoice can maintain a number of gallons of water, so earlier than swallowing, they tilt their invoice upward to empty out the water!

Apparently, chicks nonetheless INSIDE the egg can squawk to convey discomfort if situations develop into too scorching or too chilly! In any other case, adults are usually silent.

#49. Roseate Spoonbill

roseate spoonbill pic

  • Giant and pink with vivid pink on their shoulders and tail and a yellowish-green head
  • Eyes are pink, and their invoice is lengthy and extensive with a spoonlike form.
  • It’s typically confused with a flamingo.

Search for this lovely water chook within the southern United States in shallow freshwater marshes, bays, wetlands, and forested swamps. As Roseate Spoonbills wade in shallow water, they swing their payments backwards and forwards, looking for meals. Their pink coloring comes from crustaceans that eat pink algae.

These pink birds primarily eat shrimp, aquatic bugs, prawns, and fish. They sway their invoice within the water to seek out their prey after which clamp their invoice shut to swallow it entire.

An fascinating reality concerning the Roseate Spoonbill is because it will get older, it loses the feathers on prime of its head. I assume they’ve quite a bit in frequent with many males! 🙂

#50. Anhinga


  • Males show shiny black-green plumage with shiny black-blue wings and tails. Elongated feathers on the again of its head and neck.
  • Females resemble males however have a pale gray-buff or mild brown head, neck, and higher chest. As well as, its decrease chest or breast displays a chestnut shade, and its again is browner in comparison with the male. 

The Anhinga acquired the nickname “water turkey” attributable to its distinctive form, resembling a swimming turkey with its distinctive tail. Many individuals additionally name them “snake birds” owing to their lengthy, snakelike neck that sticks up because it glides via the water. 

Apparently, Anhingas are completely different from most waterbirds as a result of they don’t have waterproof feathers. Due to this trait, you’ll typically see them perched with their wings unfold out, drying within the solar.

One have a look at their dagger-like beak, and it needs to be obvious that Anhingas are hunters, preying on numerous fish, amphibians, aquatic invertebrates, and bugs.

snake bird

Search for them swimming with simply their heads above water or perched, drying themselves. They’re nearly at all times discovered close to lakes and ponds.

To be taught extra about birds in the USA, try these different guides!

Which of those water birds have you ever seen earlier than in the USA?

Go away a remark under!

Some vary maps under have been generously shared with permission from The Birds of The World, printed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I exploit their web site OFTEN to be taught new details about birds!

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