• Are in the class Aves within the subphylum Vertebrata.
  • Are warm-blooded. They have the ability to maintain their body temperature by internal means. The technical word for this is endothermy. Mammals are the only other group of animals in the world that can do this
  • Have a four-chambered heart. This is the most advanced kind of heart. It keeps the arterial (oxygenated) and venous (oxygen-depleted) blood completely separate.
  • Have feathers. These special structures are unique to birds and are highly modified for different purposes, such as: flight, protection from the elements, camouflage, and communication (body language).
  • Can fly. No other type of vertebrate has conquered the air like birds have. The only true flying mammals are bats. Some reptiles, amphibians and fish are capable of gliding, but that is all. Insects are the only other large group of animals to successfully inhabit the atmosphere.
    • Flight exceptions: There are some birds that cannot fly. The ostrich, emu, rheas, cassowaries, and kiwis all have large muscular legs adapted for running. The penguins do not fly in the air, but "fly" very well in the water with their flipper-like wings.
  • Lay a hard-shelled egg. These eggs are then incubated by one or both of the parents until they hatch. An interesting exception are the mound-builders (Family Megapodiidae) which bury their eggs in sand, warm volcanic ash or a heap of rotting vegetation.  The warmth necessary for incubation is provided by these media instead of the parents.  These birds are found in Australia and parts of Polynesia.
  • Do not have teeth. However, the beaks of birds are widely diversified for their various lifestyles.

To find out more about specific types of birds you can visit these pages: The Shoreline, Peep's Puddle, Raptor's Roost


The Western Meadowlark

Official State Bird of Kansas

The Western meadowlark is a familiar songbird of open country across the western two-thirds of the continent. 

List of Kansas Birds

There are about 10,000 species of birds in 31 living orders.
The list of birds known from Kansas includes 475 species from 61 families in 20 orders.

The following list is taken from the Kansas Ornithological Society checklist of Birds of Kansas, updated August 2013. An asterisk ( * ) indicates species (78) with 10 or fewer records from Kansas. Species shown in red (3) are extinct or extirpated from the state. Species shown in purple (14) have not been substantiated with physical evidence and are considered hypothetical. Taxonomic sequence and nomenclature are taken from the American Ornithologist's Union Checklist, 7th edition, 54th Supplement, 2013. The scientific name of each species follows the common name and is written in italics.

Order of Ducks and relatives [Anseriformes]

Family Anatidae
Black-bellied Whistling Duck - Dendrocygna autumnalis
Fulvous Whistling Duck - Dendrocygna bicolor
Greater White-fronted Goose - Anser albifrons
Snow Goose - Chen caerulescens
Ross' Goose - Chen rossii
Brant - Branta bernicla
Cackling Goose - Branta hutchinsii
Canada Goose - Branta canadensis
Trumpeter Swan - Cygnus buccinator
Tundra Swan - Cygnus columbianus
Wood Duck - Aix sponsa
Gadwall - Anas strepera
*Eurasian Wigeon - Anas penelope
American Wigeon - Anas americana
American Black Duck - Anas rubripes
Mallard - Anas platyrhynchos
Mottled Duck - Anas fulvigula
Blue-winged Teal - Anas discors
Cinnamon Teal - Anas cyanoptera
Northern Shoveler - Anas clypeata
Northern Pintail - Anas acuta
*Garganey - Anas querquedula
Green-winged Teal - Anas crecca
Canvasback - Aythya valisineria
Redhead - Aythya americana
Ring-necked Duck - Aythya collaris
*Tufted Duck - Aythya fuligula
Greater Scaup - Aythya marila
Lesser Scaup - Aythya affinis
*King Eider - Somateria spectabilis
*Common Eider - Somateria mollissima
*Harlequin Duck - Histrionicus histrionicus
Surf Scoter - Melanitta perspicillata
White-winged Scoter - Melanitta fusca
Black Scoter - Melanitta americana
Long-tailed Duck - Clangula hyemalis
Bufflehead - Bucephala albeola
Common Goldeneye - Bucephala clangula
Barrow's Goldeneye - Bucephala islandica
Hooded Merganser - Lophodytes cucullatus
Common Merganser - Mergus merganser
Red-breasted Merganser - Mergus serrator
Ruddy Duck - Oxyura jamaicensis

Order of Grouse and relatives [Galliformes]

Family Odontophoridae
Scaled Quail - Callipepla squamata
Northern Bobwhite - Colinus virginianus
Family Phasianidae
Ring-necked Pheasant - Phasianus colchicus
Ruffed Grouse - Bonasa umbellus
Gunnison Sage Grouse - Centrocercus urophasianus
Sharp-tailed Grouse - Tympanuchus phasianellus
Greater Prairie Chicken - Tympanuchus cupido
Lesser Prairie Chicken - Tympanuchus pallidicinctus
Wild Turkey - Meleagris gallopavo

Order of Flamingoes [Phoenicopteriformes]

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Family Phoenicopteridae
*American Flamingo - Phoenicopterus ruber

Order of Storks [Ciconiiformes]

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Family Ciconiidae
*Wood Stork - Mycteria americana

Order of Frigatebirds [Suliformes]

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Family Fregatidae
            *Magnificant Frigatebird - Fregata magnificens
        Family Phalocrocoracidae
            Neotropic Cormorant - Phalacrocorax brasilianus
            Double-crested Cormorant - Phalocrocorax auritus
        Family Anhingidae
            Anhinga - Anhinga anhinga

Order of Sandpipers and relatives [Charadriiformes]

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Family Recurvirostridae
Black-necked Stilt - Himantopus mexicanus
American Avocet - Recurvirostra americana
Family Charadriidae
Black-bellied Plover - Pluvialis squatarola
American Golden-Plover - Pluvialis dominica
Snowy Plover - Charadrius nivosus
*Wilson's Plover - Charadrius wilsonia
Semipalmated Plover - Charadrius semipalmatus
Piping Plover - Charadrius melodus
Killdeer - Charadrius vociferus
Mountain Plover - Charadrius montanus
Family Scolopacidae
Spotted Sandpiper - Actitis macularius
Solitary Sandpiper - Tringa solitaria
*Spotted Redshank - Tringa erythropus
Greater Yellowlegs - Tringa melanoleuca
Willet - Tringa semipalmata
Lesser Yellowlegs - Tringa flavipes
Upland Sandpiper - Bartramia longicauda
Eskimo Curlew - Numenius borealis
Whimbrel - Numenius phaeopus
Long-billed Curlew - Numenius americanus
Hudsonian Godwit - Limosa haemastica
Marbled Godwit - Limosa fedoa
Ruddy Turnstone - Arenaria interpres
Red Knot - Calidris canutus
*Ruff - Philomachus pugnax
Stilt Sandpiper - Calidris himantopus
*Curlew Sandpiper - Calidris ferruginea
*Red-necked Stint – Calidris ruficollis
Sanderling - Calidris alba
Dunlin - Calidris alpina
Baird's Sandpiper - Calidris bairdii
Least Sandpiper - Calidris minutilla
White-rumped Sandpiper - Calidris fuscicollis
Buff-breasted Sandpiper - Tryngites subruficollis
Pectoral Sandpiper - Calidris melanotos
Semipalmated Sandpiper - Calidris pusilla
Western Sandpiper - Calidris mauri
Short-billed Dowitcher - Limnodromus griseus
Long-billed Dowitcher - Limnodromus scolopaceus
Wilson's Snipe - Gallinago delicata
American Woodcock - Scolopax minor
Wilson's Phalarope - Phalaropus tricolor
Red-necked Phalarope - Phalaropus lobatus
Red Phalarope - Phalaropus fulicarius
Family Laridae (Check out The Shoreline)
Black-legged Kittiwake - Rissa tridactyla
Sabine's Gull - Xema sabini
Bonaparte's Gull - Chroicocephalus philadelphia
*Black-headed Gull - Chroicocephalus ridibundus
Little Gull - Hydrocoloeus minutus
*Ross's Gull - Rhodostethia rosea
Laughing Gull - Leucophaeus atricilla
Franklin's Gull - Leucophaeus pipixcan
Mew Gull - Larus canus
Ring-billed Gull - Larus delawarensis
California Gull - Larus californicus
Herring Gull - Larus argentatus
Thayer's Gull - Larus thayeri
*Iceland Gull - Larus glaucoides
Lesser Black-backed Gull - Larus fuscus
*Glaucous-winged Gull - Larus glaucescens
Glaucous Gull - Larus hyperboreus
Great Black-backed Gull - Larus marinus
Least Tern - Sternula antillarum
*Gull-billed Tern - Gelochidon nilotica
Caspian Tern - Hydroprogne caspia
Black Tern - Chlidonias niger
Common Tern - Sterna hirundo
*Arctic Tern - Sterna paradisaea
Forster's Tern - Sterna forsteri
*Black Skimmer - Rynchops niger
Family Stercorariidae
*Pomarine Jaeger - Stercorarius pomarinus
Parasitic Jaeger - Stercorarius parasiticus
*Long-tailed Jaeger - Stercorarius longicaudus
Family Alcidae
*Long-billed Murrelet - Brachyramphus perdix

Order of Pigeons and Doves [Columbiformes]

Family Columbidae
Rock Pigeon - Columba livia
*Band-tailed Pigeon - Patagioenas fasciata
Eurasian Collared-Dove - Streptopelia decaocto
White-winged Dove - Zenaida asiatica
Mourning Dove - Zenaida macroura
Passenger Pigeon - Ectopistes migratorius
Inca Dove - Columbina inca
Common Ground-Dove - Columbina passerina

Order of Parrots and relatives [Psittaciformes]

Family Psittacidae
Carolina Parakeet - Conuropsis carolinensis

Order of Cuckoos and relatives [Cuculiformes]

Family Cuculidae
Yellow-billed Cuckoo - Coccyzus americanus
Black-billed Cuckoo - Coccyzus erythropthalmus
Greater Roadrunner - Geococcyx californianus
Groove-billed Ani - Crotophaga sulcirostris

Order of Owls [Strigiformes]

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Family Tytonidae
Barn-Owl - Tyto alba
Family Strigidae
*Flammulated Owl - Otus flammeolus
*Western Screech-Owl - Megascops kennicottii
Eastern Screech-Owl - Megascops asio
Great Horned Owl - Bubo virginianus
Snowy Owl - Bubo scandiaca
Burrowing Owl - Athene cunicularia
Barred Owl - Strix varia
Long-eared Owl - Asio otus
Short-eared Owl - Asio flammeus
Northern Saw-whet Owl - Aegolius acadicus

Order of Nighthawks and relatives [Caprimulgiformes]

Family Caprimulgidae
*Lesser Nighthawk - Chordeiles acutipennis
Common Nighthawk - Chordeiles minor
Common Poorwill - Phalaenoptilus nuttallii
Chuck-will's-widow - Caprimulgus carolinensis
Eastern Whip-poor-will - Caprimulgus vociferus

Order of Swifts and Hummingbirds [Apodiformes]

Family Apodidae
Chimney Swift - Chaetura pelagica
*White-throated Swift - Aeronautes saxatalis
Family Trochilidae
*Broad-billed Hummingbird - Cynanthus latirostris
*Magnificent Hummingbird - Eugenes fulgens
Ruby-throated Hummingbird - Archilochus colubris
Black-chinned Hummingbird - Archilochus alexandri
*Anna's Hummingbird - Calypte anna
*Costa's Hummingbird - Calypte costae
Calliope Hummingbird - Stellula calliope
Broad-tailed Hummingbird - Selasphorus platycercus
Rufous Hummingbird - Selasphorus rufus
*Allen's Hummingbird - Selasphorus sasin

Order of Kingfishers [Coraciiformes]

Family Alcedinidae
Belted Kingfisher - Ceryle alcyon

Order of Woodpeckers [Piciformes]

Family Picidae
Lewis' Woodpecker - Melanerpes lewis
Red-headed Woodpecker - Melanerpes erythrocephalus
Red-bellied Woodpecker - Melanerpes carolinus
*Williamson's Sapsucker - Sphyrapicus thyroideus
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - Sphyrapicus varius
Red-naped Sapsucker - Sphyrapicus nuchalis
Ladder-backed Woodpecker - Picoides scalaris
Downy Woodpecker - Picoides pubescens
Hairy Woodpecker - Picoides villosus
*American Three-toed Woodpecker - Picoides dorsalis
Northern Flicker - Colaptes auratus
Pileated Woodpecker - Dryocopus pileatus

Order of Songbirds [Passeriformes]

Family Tyrannidae
Olive-sided Flycatcher - Contopus cooperi
Western Wood-Pewee - Contopus sordidulus
Eastern Wood-Pewee - Contopus virens
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - Empidonax flaviventris
Acadian Flycatcher - Empidonax virescens
Alder Flycatcher - Empidonax alnorum
Willow Flycatcher - Empidonax traillii
Least Flycatcher - Empidonax minimus
Hammond's Flycatcher - Empidonax hammondii
*Gray Flycatcher - Empidonax wrightii
Dusky Flycatcher - Empidonax oberholseri
Cordilleran Flycatcher - Empidonax occidentalis
*Black Phoebe - Sayornis nigricans
Eastern Phoebe - Sayornis phoebe
Say's Phoebe - Sayornis saya
Vermilion Flycatcher - Pyrocephalus rubinus
Ash-throated Flycatcher - Myiarchus cinerascens
Great Crested Flycatcher - Myiarchus crinitus
*Great Kiskadee - Pitangus sulphuratus
Cassin's Kingbird - Tyrannus vociferans
Western Kingbird - Tyrannus verticalis
Eastern Kingbird - Tyrannus tyrannus
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - Tyrannus forficatus
*Fork-tailed Flycatcher - Tyrannus savana
Family Laniidae
Loggerhead Shrike - Lanius ludovicianus
Northern Shrike - Lanius excubitor
Family Vireonidae
White-eyed Vireo - Vireo griseus
Bell's Vireo- Vireo bellii
*Black-capped Vireo - Vireo atricapilla
*Gray Vireo - Vireo vicinior
Yellow-throated Vireo - Vireo flavifrons
*Plumbeous Vireo - Vireo plumbeus
*Cassin's Vireo - Vireo cassinii
Blue-headed Vireo - Vireo solitarius
Warbling Vireo - Vireo gilvus
Philadelphia Vireo - Vireo philadelphicus
Red-eyed Vireo - Vireo olivaceus
Family Corvidae
Pinyon Jay - Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus
Steller's Jay - Cyanocitta stelleri
Blue Jay - Cyanocitta cristata
Western Scrub Jay - Aphelocoma californica
*Mexican Jay - Aphelocoma ultramarina
Clark's Nutcracker - Nucifraga columbiana
Black-billed Magpie - Pica hudsonia
American Crow - Corvus brachyrhynchos
Fish Crow - Corvus ossifragus
Chihuahuan Raven - Corvus cryptoleucus
Common Raven - Corvus corax
Family Alaudidae
Horned Lark - Eremophila alpestris
Family Hirundinidae
Purple Martin - Progne subis
Tree Swallow - Tachycineta bicolor
Violet-green Swallow - Tachycineta thalassina
Northern Rough-winged Swallow - Stelgidopteryx serripennis
Bank Swallow - Riparia riparia
Cliff Swallow - Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
*Cave Swallow - Petrochelidon fulva
Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica
Family Paridae
Carolina Chickadee - Poecile carolinensis
Black-capped Chickadee - Poecile atricapillus
Mountain Chickadee - Poecile gambeli
*Juniper Titmouse - Baeolophus ridgwayi
Tufted Titmouse - Baeolophus bicolor
Family Aegithalidae
Bushtit - Psaltriparus minimus
Family Sittidae
Red-breasted Nuthatch - Sitta canadensis
White-breasted Nuthatch - Sitta carolinensis
*Pygmy Nuthatch - Sitta pygmaea
*Brown-headed Nuthatch - Sitta pusilla
Family Certhiidae
Brown Creeper - Certhia americana
Family Troglodytidae
Rock Wren - Salpinctes obsoletus
*Canyon Wren - Catherpes mexicanus
Carolina Wren - Thryothorus ludovicianus
Bewick's Wren - Thryomanes bewickii
House Wren - Troglodytes aedon
Winter Wren - Troglodytes hiemalis
Sedge Wren - Cistothorus platensis
Marsh Wren - Cistothorus palustris
Family Sylviidae
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - Polioptila caerulea
Family Regulidae
Golden-crowned Kinglet - Regulus satrapa
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - Regulus calendula
Family Turdidae
*Northern Wheatear - Oenanthe oenanthe
Eastern Bluebird - Sialia sialis
*Western Bluebird - Sialia mexicana
Mountain Bluebird - Sialia currucoides
Townsend's Solitaire - Myadestes townsendi
Veery - Catharus fuscescens
Gray-cheeked Thrush - Catharus minimus
Swainson's Thrush - Catharus ustulatus
Hermit Thrush - Catharus guttatus
Wood Thrush - Hylocichla mustelina
American Robin - Turdus migratorius
Varied Thrush - Ixoreus naevius
Family Mimidae
Gray Catbird - Dumetella carolinensis
Northern Mockingbird - Mimus polyglottus
Sage Thrasher - Oreoscoptes montanus
Brown Thrasher - Toxostoma rufum
Curve-billed Thrasher - Toxostoma curvirostre
Family Sturnidae
European Starling - Sturnus vulgaris
Family Motacillidae
American Pipit - Anthus rubescens
Sprague's Pipit - Anthus spragueii
Family Bombycillidae
Bohemian Waxwing - Bombycilla garrulus
Cedar Waxwing - Bombycilla cedrorum
Family Ptilogonatidae
*Phainopepla - Phainopepla nitens
Family Calcariidae
Lapland Longspur - Calcarius lapponicus
Chestnut-collared Longspur - Calcarius ornatus
Smith's Longspur - Calcarius pictus
McCown's Longspur - Rhynchopanes mccownii
Snow Bunting - Plectrophenax nivalis
Family Parulidae
Blue-winged Warbler - Vermivora cyanoptera
Golden-winged Warbler - Vermivora chrysoptera
Tennessee Warbler - Vermivora peregrina
Orange-crowned Warbler - Oreothylypis celata
Nashville Warbler - Oreothylypis ruficapilla
Virginia's Warbler - Oreothylypis virginiae
Northern Parula - Parula americana
Yellow Warbler - Dendroica petechia
Chestnut-sided Warbler - Dendroica pensylvanica
Magnolia Warbler - Dendroica magnolia
Cape May Warbler - Dendroica tigrina
Black-throated Blue Warbler - Dendroica caerulescens
Yellow-rumped Warbler - Dendroica coronata
Black-throated Gray Warbler - Dendroica nigrescens
Black-throated Green Warbler - Dendroica virens
Townsend's Warbler - Dendroica townsendi
*Hermit Warbler - Dendroica occidentalis
Blackburnian Warbler - Dendroica fusca
Yellow-throated Warbler - Dendroica dominica
Pine Warbler - Dendroica pinus
Prairie Warbler - Dendroica discolor
Palm Warbler - Dendroica palmarum
Bay-breasted Warbler - Dendroica castanea
Blackpoll Warbler - Dendroica striata
Cerulean Warbler - Dendroica cerulea
Black-and-white Warbler - Mniotilta varia
American Redstart - Setophaga ruticilla
Prothonotary Warbler - Protonotaria citrea
Worm-eating Warbler - Helmitheros vermivorum
*Swainson's Warbler - Limnothlypis swainsonii
Ovenbird - Seiurus aurocapilla
Northern Waterthrush - Parkesia noveboracensis
Louisiana Waterthrush - Parksia motacilla
Kentucky Warbler - Oporornis formosus
Connecticut Warbler - Oporornis agilis
Mourning Warbler - Oporornis philadelphia
MacGillivray's Warbler - Oporornis tolmiei
Common Yellowthroat - Geothlypis trichas
Hooded Warbler - Wilsonia citrina
Wilson's Warbler - Wilsonia pusilla
Canada Warbler - Wilsonia canadensis
*Painted Redstart - Myioborus pictus
Yellow-breasted Chat - Icteria virens
Family Emberizidae
Green-Tailed Towhee - Pipilo chlorurus
Spotted Towhee - Pipilo maculatus
Eastern Towhee - Pipilo erythrophthalmus
Rufous-crowned Sparrow - Aimophila ruficeps
Canyon Towhee - Pipilo fuscus
Cassin's Sparrow - Peucaea cassinii
*Bachman's Sparrow - Peucaea aestivalis
American Tree Sparrow - Spizella arborea
Chipping Sparrow - Spizella passerina
Clay-colored Sparrow - Spizella pallida
Brewer's Sparrow - Spizella breweri
Field Sparrow - Spizella pusilla
Vesper Sparrow - Pooecetes gramineus
Lark Sparrow - Chondestes grammacus
*Black-throated Sparrow - Amphispiza bilineata
*Sage Sparrow - Amphispiza belli
Lark Bunting - Calamospiza melanocorys
Savannah Sparrow - Passerculus sandwichensis
Grasshopper Sparrow - Ammodramus savannarum
Baird's Sparrow - Ammodramus bairdii
Henslow's Sparrow - Ammodramus henslowii
LeConte's Sparrow - Ammodramus leconteii
Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow - Ammodramus nelsoni
Fox Sparrow - Passerella iliaca
Song Sparrow - Melospiza melodia
Lincoln's Sparrow - Melospiza lincolnii
Swamp Sparrow - Melospiza georgiana
White-throated Sparrow - Zonotrichia albicollis
Harris's Sparrow - Zonotrichia querula
White-crowned Sparrow - Zonotrichia leucophrys
Golden-crowned Sparrow - Zonotrichia atricapilla
Dark-eyed Junco - Junco hyemalis
Family Cardinalidae
*Hepatic Tanager - Piranga flava
Summer Tanager - Piranga rubra
Scarlet Tanager - Piranga olivacea
Western Tanager - Piranga ludoviciana
Northern Cardinal - Cardinalis cardinalis
*Pyrrhuloxia - Cardinalis sinuatus
Rose-breasted Grosbeak - Pheucticus ludovicianus
Black-headed Grosbeak - Pheucticus melanocephalus
Blue Grosbeak - Passerina caerulea
Lazuli Bunting - Passerina amoena
Indigo Bunting - Passerina cyanea
Painted Bunting - Passerina ciris
Dickcissel - Spiza americana
Family Icteridae
Bobolink - Dolichonyx oryzivorus
Red-winged Blackbird - Agelaius phoeniceus
Eastern Meadowlark - Sturnella magna
Western Meadowlark - Sturnella neglecta
Yellow-headed Blackbird - Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus
Rusty Blackbird - Euphagus carolinus
Brewer's Blackbird - Euphagus cyanocephalus
Common Grackle - Quiscalus quiscula
Great-tailed Grackle - Quiscalus mexicanus
Brown-headed Cowbird - Molothrus ater
Orchard Oriole - Icterus spurius
Bullock's Oriole - Icterus bullockii
Baltimore Oriole - Icterus galbula
*Scott's Oriole - Icterus parisorum
Family Fringillidae
*Brambling - Fringilla montifringilla
*Gray-crowned Rosy Finch - Leucosticte tephrocotis
Pine Grosbeak - Pinicola enucleator
Purple Finch - Carpodacus purpureus
Cassin's Finch - Carpodacus cassinii
House Finch - Carpodacus mexicanus
Red Crossbill - Loxia curvirostra
White-winged Crossbill - Loxia leucoptera
Common Redpoll - Acanthis flammea
Pine Siskin - Spinus pinus
Lesser Goldfinch - Spinus psaltria
American Goldfinch - Spinus tristis
Evening Grosbeak - Coccothraustes vespertinus
Family Passeridae
House Sparrow - Passer domesticus

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