Bird-watching is a popular pastime for native Missourians. The activity draws other avid bird lovers to Missouri to enjoy the array of birds. Check out the 27 popular birds of Missouri below!
1. Eastern Bluebird
The Eastern bluebird is the state bird of Missouri. They are territorial birds when the breeding season comes around. They have plump, short bodies with straight bills. Males have a bright blue upper body, while females are a gray-blue color. They have a blurry whistled song that is recognizable by most Missourians.
2. Northern Cardinal
The northern cardinal has made an impact on the state of Missouri. It is the mascot of the professional baseball team in St. Louis, Missouri. The northern cardinal is one of the most recognizable birds because of its bright red color and crest on its head. Both males and females sing a slurred whistle.
3. American Goldfinch
The American goldfinch is found across Missouri. The males have bright yellow upper parts and black wings, tails, and foreheads. They have two white wing bars and tail spots. Females have greenish-yellow upper parts and dark tails and wings. They have a song filled with warbles, twitters, and whistles.
The tit is a small bird in the Paridae family. They live in the woodlands of Missouri, eating an adaptable diet of seeds and insects. Tits live near humans have gotten acquainted with bird feeders supplying them with sunflower seeds. Some tits have crests, while most have small, stout bills.
5. Blue Jay
Blue jays are large songbirds with blue upperparts and white underparts. They are recognizable by the blue crest on top of their head. Depending on the bird’s mood, the crest will be raised or lowered. The blue jay’s strong bill and feet are jet black. Their voice ranges from a soft murmur to a scream.
6. White-breasted Nuthatch
The white-breasted nuthatch has bluish-gray upper body parts and a black forehead and nape with white cheeks. They can be recognized in the woods because they tend to climb tree trunks and branches upside down. They have a nasal song that is low-pitched.
7. Black-capped Chickadee
The black-capped chickadee is found in the northern parts of Missouri from midwinter to spring. They can be hard to tell apart from Carolina chickadees, also in Missouri. Both species have gray upper parts with black caps and white cheeks. The black-capped chickadee has a recognizable song of 2- or 3-syllable phrases with the first note higher than the second.
8. Mourning Dove
The mourning doves have slender bodies, rounded heads, and smooth breasts. They have gray-brown plumage with black spots on their wings. Their tail feathers are long and tapered with white tips. Dark eyes give them a distinct look, along with their soft coos.
9. Dark-eyed Junco
As their name suggests, dark-eyed juncos have dark eyes and dark feathers around their eyes. The rest of their plumage is dark gray or white. They have bright pink beaks and pink legs. Dark-eyed juncos live in woods, openings in the woods, by the roadside, or in fields.
10. Red-winged Blackbird
Male red-winged blackbirds are all black with a bright red shoulder patch. The females are dark brown with streaks of light brown on their backs and heads. The females also have light underparts with streaks of dark brown. Young males can be hard to decipher from a female because they haven’t developed the deep black color yet.
11. Tufted Titmouse
The tufted titmouse is a small bird with gray-blue plumage on the upper parts of its body. They have a tufted crest on top of their head with white streaks by their dark eyes. Right below their wings is a streak of a rust-orange color. Their breasts are white. They have a whistled song.
12. Carolina Wren
The Carolina wren lives in brambles and vines on river banks where tree roots are exposed. Adults have rich red-brown upper parts with pronounced white eyebrows. Their underparts are a warm buff color with a whitish throat. They are commonly hunting for insects and spiders with quick scurry movements.
13. New World Warblers
New World warblers are common in the southern Ozark territories of Missouri. They are a deep blue color with a white belly. They have dark blue/black streaks across their flanks and back. When they are young, warblers are a brownish-gray color with a pale center crown and white bellies.
14. White-Throated Sparrow
White-throated sparrows spend their time foraging in brushy woodlands for insects, fruit, and seeds. Adults have reddish-brown upper parts with dark streaks. They have a recognizable yellow spot in front of each eye. Instead of walking, white-throated sparrows hop across the ground.
15. Northern Mockingbird
The northern mockingbird is found in Missouri only in the summertime. They are seen in open areas with shrubs like parks, gardens, and yards. They have recognizable songs from varied series. The phrases repeat 3-5 times before the next phase begins.
16. Red-bellied Woodpecker
The red-bellied woodpecker lives in forests, woodlands, suburban areas, and parks. They will often visit backyard bird feeders for a quick meal. They forage for acorns, fruits, and insects. They use their strong bills to peck away at the bark to uncover hidden insects. They have a redhead and red belly.
17. Ruby-throated hummingbird
These tiny birds with needle-sized beaks hover around and fly backward while making a humming sound. They have a high metabolism that requires a high number of calories. They get these calories from the nectar of flowers. They have metallic green upperparts and a red throat.
18. Common Yellowthroat
Common Yellowthroats are small, round birds with dark olive upperparts and a black mask on their face. They thrive in thick vegetation in marshy habitats. They love moisture and do best in wet prairies or moist grasslands. They forage the ground for spiders, small seeds, and insects.
19. Chipping Sparrow
The chipping sparrow is found across the state in the summertime but migrates to the south during the colder winter months. They are a rusty brown color with a gray rump and head. They live in pine forests and parks, foraging the ground for seeds and insects.
20. Purple Finch
Purple finches are a raspberry-red color with black and brown streak in their wings. They live in cities and towns, on farms, and in suburban areas. They forage the ground and trees for seeds, insects, and tree buds.
21. Cedar Waxwing
Adult cedar waxwings have brown upper parts on their heads and gray-brown on their backs. They live in wooded areas with flowering trees and shrubs nearby. They enjoy small fruits like mulberries and wild grapes. They can become intoxicated when they consume too many fermented berries.
22. Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine falcons are blue-gray with black accents on their body. They nest on the bluffs along large rivers across the state. They became endangered by the late 1800s. They were reintroduced and use tall buildings as a substitute for the bluffs on rivers today.
23. Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-headed woodpeckers use their strong beaks to break away bark and drill through the wood to uncover hidden insects, seeds, and spiders. They have bright red heads with black overcoats and white bellies. They live in forests, wooded areas, and parks.
24. Eastern Meadowlark
The eastern meadowlark is black and brown speckled on the upper parts of the body, and has a yellow belly. They are permanent residents of Missouri, inhabiting pastures, hay fields, prairies, and crop fields. They hunt grubs, grasshoppers, and crickets in the grass.
25. Snowy Egret
The snowy egret is one of the four species of herons that inhabit Missouri. These large birds are bright white with black legs, orange feet, and a black beak. They have an orange streak from their eye to their beak. They live in marshy areas and hunt for fish and other small aquatic animals in shallow water.
26. Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Rose-breasted grosbeaks are chubby birds with stubby, thick beaks. They have a black upper body and a white belly. They gather flower and leaf buds, eat insects, and forage for seeds, fruits, and berries.
27. Orchard Oriole
The orchard oriole arrives in Missouri in late April and leaves by the end of August. These summer residents have black upperparts and orange bellies. They forage insects, fruits, and flower nectar.
From the smaller species to the larger ones, there’s a wide range of birds in Missouri, but these are some of the most popular ones you may encounter.