Missouri Birds: What birds are in Missouri?

Which are the highlight Missouri birds?

How many species of birds are in Missouri?

And what birds are in Missouri?

Here’s 10 Missouri birds to watch our for plus some FAQs about birds in Missouri…

10 Birds Of Missouri To Watch Out For

1. Eurasian Tree Sparrow

You can find this nesting in farmland, parks, villages, and lightly wooded areas. Aside from Missouri, the Eurasian Tree Sparrow is still found in parts of Illinois and southeastern Iowa.

It’s a small and chubby songbird with adults measuring up to 6 inches long and weighing up to 1 ounce. It has a rounded head and short neck while it’s bill is thick and conical.

Adults have a black face and rich brown color. Young birds have the same colors, only much duller.  They have a back patch on their white cheeks. Their short legs are colored pale brown with the bill colored blue in summer and black in the winter.

See Also: Florida Birds Of Prey: 21 Birds To Watch Out For!

2. Painted Bunting

You can spot Painted Buntings in roadsides, woodland edges, and gardens in Missouri. The bird is also known to thrive in other parts of Northern America including the east coast of the US and Alberta, Canada up north.

In the winter, the bird typically migrates to Florida, Cuba, Mexico, and parts of the Bahamas.

Often referred to as the most beautiful bird in the world, the Painted Bunting’s body is a combination of colors such as blue, green, and red.

An adult Painted Bunting can grow up to 5.5 inches long and weigh up to .67 ounce. An adult male has blue upperparts, green wings, and back, red rump and eye-ring.

Females have green upper and underparts. Females and juveniles have green and yellow-green plumage that serve as camouflage.

3. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

You can find this bird in farms, roadsides, and ranches. It likes to stay in grasslands with scattered trees.

It may also breed in open grassland without trees as long as there are utility posts that can serve as nest sites.

The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher has a long and elegant tail. It is roughly the same size as robin albeit with a slenderer body. It is colored light gray above its underwings.

 The adult male has pale gray heads and forked black-and-white tail. Females have white upperparts while juveniles have short tails.

They can reach up to 15 inches long with a wingspan of about 6 inches.

4. Western Kingbird

You might have seen one in city parks near water. It also likes to stay in forest edges, savannas, and shrublands. It is often seen flying from its perch to chase away intruders or capture insects.

San Luis National Wildlife Refuge, Los Banos, California

The Western Kingbird has a gray head and back, white throat, and a yellow belly. They also have a reddish crown that only appears during confrontations and courtship.

This bird has a black tail that’s outlined in white which is the primary difference from two other kingbirds– the tropical and Couch’s.

It also has a smaller bill compared to the two species. Adults can grow up to 9.4 inches long and weigh up to 1.6 ounces.

5. Swainson’s Warbler

You’ll find them in moist woodlands, forests and mountain ravines. In some cases, you might spot them in young pine plantations. During the winter, they migrate to the Caribbean and stay in forests.

Solidly built with a heavy bill and strong legs, the Swainson’s Warbler has a brownish body. It has a rusty brown head with a whitish stripe on its eyebrow.

It is a small bird that can grow to just 5.5 inches long and about half an ounce. It has an indistinct eyeline and a pale eyebrow.

The wingspan reaches up to 9 inches. Their underparts are colored pale yellow.

6. Snow Goose

It’s easy to spot snow geese especially during the fall, where they can be seen in agricultural fields. They can also be seen bathing in open water. During winter, they stay in plowed cornfields, lakes, marshes, and ponds.

The snow goose has a long neck and thick, pink bill. There’s a dark line along the bill commonly referred to as ‘black lips’ and which gives the impression that the bird is smiling.

It has a white body with black wingtips that are noticeable when the bird is in flight. The head can be rusty brown in color.

Adults are slightly bigger than juveniles. They can grow up to 32 inches long and close to 116 ounces in weight.

7. Prothonotary Warbler

The Prothonotary Warbler commonly stays in bottomland forests and swamps. You can also find them in streams, rivers, and other bodies of water. 

It likes to stay in trees with woodpecker holes, using the cavities for nesting.

This bird is brilliantly colored with yellow head, breast, neck, and belly. The eye is prominently black while the wings are blue-grayish. Its undertail, meanwhile, is white. 

Adult Prothonotary Warblers have a big head, bill, and body. It is bigger than a Carolina Chikadee but tinier than a Song Sparrow. Male adults have more brilliant colors than their female counterparts.

8. Black Vulture

True to its scavenging nature, the Black Vulture can be found gathering around dumpsters searching for food.

In the morning, flocks of Black Vulture can be found perched in structures and trees. In the forests, the bird likes to nest in wooded areas.

The Black Vulture has broad, rounded wings when in flight. It has a short and rounded tail. Its body is uniform black except for patches of white on the underside of its wingtips.

Black Vultures are slightly bigger than a Red-Tailed Hawk but slightly smaller than a Turkey Vulture. 

They can grow up to 27 inches long with their wingspan up to 60 inches long. They have small heads and gray feet.  There are no feathers in the head and neck while their skin is wrinkled.

9. Greater Prairie-Chicken

The Greater Prairie-Chicken prefers to stay in a native tall-grass prairie. In some cases, you may spot them in agricultural fields with the prairie.

With its round wings, short and rounded tails, and chicken-like appearance, the Greater Prairie-Chicken is not difficult to recognize.

It has orange feathers over the eyes and blackhead feathers that inflate while displaying.  

It has a small head and short legs. The chubby body of this game bird comes in various colors such as black, brown, and white. Adults can grow up to 17 inches long with a wingspan of about 28 inches.

10. Roadrunner

The roadrunner is a habitant of the Southwest USA as well as Mexico. It is often found in mountainous woodland or arid lowland.  It can also be seen in thick vegetation and on elevated perches.

With its size and color, you can easily identify and spot the roadrunner. It has a long tail and legs with streaks of gray and brown. Its crest is bushy and elevates whenever the bird gets excited.

The roadrunner is a large and slender bird. Its length extends to 24 inches from tail to beak. It has long legs and a big, dark bill.  It also has a bare patch of skin that is colored blue and right behind the eyes.

How many bird species are in Missouri?

According to the Audubon Society of Missouri, there are 435 bird species in Missouri.

Birds species in Missouri by region

Central Region

The central region of Missouri is where the state capital, Jefferson City, is located. It also includes Columbia City, which is the largest in the state.

American kestrels

It includes portions of the Ozark Mountains, Lake Ozarks, and the Missouri Rhineland.

Some of the birds spotted in the region are American kestrels, dickcissels, brown creepers, wood warbles, woodpeckers, nuthatches, and eastern meadowlarks.

The St. Louis Area

The St. Louis Area is known for being an important trade and culture center of the state.

Situated along the western bank of the Mississippi River, it has a wide assortment of residential neighborhoods and industrial counties. It also happens to be one of the most active flyways in America for birds migrating to the south every year.

Wood Warblers

Some of the birds that are found in this area are American black ducks, black-crowned night-herons, wood warblers, bald eagles, little blue herons, ruddy ducks, ospreys, and other raptors.

Kansas City Region


Consisting of 14 counties, the Kansas City region includes Kansas City, Overland Park, and Independence City.

It has two trails that feature the countryside, grasslands, farmland, and rolling hills. It also has lakes, nature trails, and open woodland habitats.

Some of the birds you will see here are bobolinks, bald eagles, ducks, geese, prairie falcons, hawks, owls, sedge wrens, and wading birds.

Southeast Region

The Southeast region covers thousands of miles of streams, rivers, forests, and agricultural fields.

It includes cities such as Doniphan, Cape Girardeau, New Madrid, Poplar Buff, and West plains.

It is home to different bird species such as bald eagles, bobolinks, dickcissels, bobwhite quails, red-bellied woodpeckers, wood warblers, prothonotary, eastern meadowlands, and bobwhite quails.

Northeast Region

The Northeast region covers the cities of Bowling Green, Hannibal, Kirksville, and Mexico. It is known for being a favorite destination of birds during the winter.

This can be attributed to the forest management practices in the region that restore native bird habitat.

This region is gifted with rolling savannas, huge reservoir lakes, vast crop fields, and bushy fencerows. It also has quality forests and wetlands.

As such, you can find all the woodpecker species of Missouri in this region. Some of the birds that are prevalent in the region are American tree sparrows, Acadian flycatchers, and bobolinks.

There are also dickcissels, dark-eyed juncos, common redpolls, winter and white-crown sparrows in the region. 

Other birds found in the region are American white pelicans, ducks, double-crested cormorants, swans, gulls, bald eagles, and green herons. You can also spot snowy owls and several species of grebe in the area.

See Also: Facts About Owls: 15 Fun & Mysterious Facts About Owls

Southwest Region

The Southwest region of Missouri is popular with birders thanks to its beautiful rivers, large springs, open prairies, and savannas.


Some of the counties covered by the region are Barry, Dade, Cedar, Greene, Dallas, Jasper, Lawrence, Polk, Newton, Stone, and Taney.

This region is also covered by beautiful glades, streams, long valleys, forests, and even man-made lakes.

You can find birds such as painted buntings, bald eagles, woodpeckers, ospreys, and vireos in the region. Other birds prevalent in the area are wild turkeys, wood warblers, flycatchers, and bobwhite quail.

See Also: Amazing Fun Facts About Eagles


What birds are in Missouri?

Thanks to its strategic location and diverse terrain, the state of Missouri is gifted with more than 400 bird species. Out of that number, five are reported to have been extinct. Many birds are also considered casual visitors.

Missouri has ducks, geese, and waterfowl as well as pheasants, grouse, and allies. It also has flamingos and grebes. New World quail, pigeons and doves,  and nightjars and allies are also prevalent in the state.

Hummingbirds are found in the region as well as swifts, cranes, and rails, gallinules, and coots. 

Lapwings and plovers, jaegers, gulls, terns, and skimmers thrive in Missouri, too. Other birds that live in Missouri are pelicans, New World vultures, storks, cormorants, and frigatebirds.

Hawks and eagles are included in the lists as well as woodpeckers, kingfishers, barn-owls, and typical owls.

How many species of birds are in Missouri?

According to the Audubon Society of Missouri, there are 435 bird species in Missouri.

Are there Magpies in Missouri?

Yes, magpies are one of the 435 bird species found in Missouri.

The Lewis and Clark expedition of the 1800s provided one of the earliest recordings of magpies in Missouri.

The two explorers first noted the magpies thriving near the great bend of the state.

What is the largest bird in Missouri?

The bald eagle (scientific name Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is not only the largest bird in Missouri; it is also one of the largest in the world. It can grow up to 36 inches long and with a wingspan of 84 inches.

While formerly thought to have been extinct in Missouri, there are more than 2,000 of this type of bird reported in the state during the winter. Bald eagles move to the state starting mid-fall with most of them arriving in December.

You can spot bald eagles in Missouri in lakes and rivers. During the winter, they stay in dams in search of fish for food.

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