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Birds :: Publications :: Checklist of Michigan Birds

A Checklist of Michigan Birds

by R. B. Payne, Autumn 1998

The list includes all birds known to have occurred under natural conditions, or introduced birds that have established wild breeding populations in Michigan, where the bird has been seen at least ten times in recent years. These are the birds we may expect to see. Other rarities are always a possibility.

Names of species, families, and orders are adapted from "The AOU Check-List of North American Birds," Sixth Edition, 1983. Common names of orders are those in most common usage. Common names of families and subfamilies are adapted from AOU names, in some cases in short form useful in our part of North America.


The abundance codes are impressions of numbers relative to other species in the same habitats and with similar life styles. In most cases we do not know their actual numbers. In many cases, their abundance varies in different parts of the state. The localities where breeding birds were observed in the 1980's are mapped in R. Brewer, G.A. McPeek, and R.J. Adams, Jr. (eds.), 1991, "The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Michigan," Michigan State University Press, East Lansing. The list and information are adapted and updated from "A Distributional Checklist of the Birds of Michigan," University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, Misc. Publ. 164, 1983, where more details are given. Sightings and photographs of unusual birds and new information on the nesting and distribution of birds should written and sent for our permanent records, to the Curator of Birds, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109.


* - breeding record for Michigan

S - summer resident

W - winter resident or visitor

u - uncommon

c - common or abundant

E - extinct

T - transient, in migration

e - extirpated (or formerly occurred, when used with a season code)

r - rare (occasional, not seen on most days in season)

i - irregular (cyclic or irruptive)

P - permanent resident

V - vagrant, outside migration route

f - fairly common

x - accidental (fewer than 10 records in recent years)

l - local (occurs in less than 10% of the state)

Order Gaviiformes, Loons

Family Gaviidae, Loons

  •  Red-throated Loon, xS, uT, xW
  •  Common Loon, uS, fT, rW

Order Podicipediformes, Grebes

Family Podicipedidae, Grebes

  •  Pied-billed Grebe, cS, rW
  •  Red-necked Grebe, xS, uT, xW
  •  Western Grebe, rV, xW
  •  Horned Grebe, rS, fT, rW
  •  Eared Grebe, rV, xW

Order Pelecaniformes, Pelicans and Allies

Family Pelecanidae, Pelicans

  •  American White Pelican, rV

Family Phalacrocoracidae, Cormorants

  •  Double-crested Cormorant, fS, fT, rW

Order Ciconiiformes, Large Wading Birds

Family Ardeidae, Herons and Bitterns

  •  Great Blue Heron, cS, luW
  •  Green-backed Heron, cS
  •  Great Egret, fS
  •  Black-crowned Night-heron, fS, rW
  •  Cattle Egret, uS
  •   Yellow-crowned Night-heron, lrS
  •  Snowy Egret, rS
  •  Least Bittern, uS
  •  Little Blue Heron, rS
  •   American Bittern, uS, xW

Family Threskiornithidae, Ibises and Spoonbills

  •  Glossy Ibis, rV

Anseriformes, Waterfowl

Family Anatidae, Swans, Geese and Ducks

  •  Tundra Swan, xS, cT, rW
  •  Canavasback, rS, fT, lfW
  •  Mute Swan, fP, fT, luW
  •  Redhead, rS, cT, rW
  •  Greater White-fronted Goose, rV
  •  Ring-necked Duck, uS, cT, rW
  •  Snow Goose, xS, cT, rW
  •  Greater Scaup, rS, fT, uW
  •  Brant, rT, xW
  •  Lesser Scaup, rS, cT, uW
  •  Canada Goose, cS, cT, fW
  •  Harlequin Duck, rV, rW
  •  Wood Duck, fS, rW
  •  Oldsquaw, fT, uW
  •  Green-winged Teal, uS, cT, rW
  •  Black Scoter, uT, xW
  •  American Black Duck, fS, uW
  •  Surf Scoter, uT, xW
  •  Mallard, cS, fW
  •  White-winged Scoter, uT, rW
  •  Northern Pintail, rS, cT, rW
  •  Common Goldeneye, uS, cT, fW
  •  Blue-winged Teal, cS, xW
  •  Bufflehead, rS, fT, uW
  •  Northern Shoveler, rS, fT, rW
  •  Hooded Merganser, uS, fT, rW
  •  Gadwall, uS, fT, rW
  •  Common Merganser, fS, cT, fW
  •  Eurasian Wigeon, rV
  •  Red-breasted Merganser, fS, cT, uW
  •  American Wigeon, rS, cT, rW
  •  Ruddy Duck, rS, cT, rW

Order Falconiformes, Diurnal Raptors

Family Cathartidae, American Vultures

  •  Turkey Vulture, fS

Family Accipitridae, Kites, Eagles, and Hawks

  •  Bald Eagle, uS, rW
  •  Broad-winged Hawk, fS, cT
  •  Northern Harrier, uS, fT, rW
  •  Swainson's Hawk, rT
  •  Sharp-shinned Hawk, uS, cT, rW
  •  Red-tailed Hawk, cS, fW
  •  Cooper's Hawk, uS, cT, fW
  •  Rough-legged Hawk, fT, ifW
  •  Northern Goshawk, uP
  •  Golden Eagle, rT, rW
  •  Red-shouldered Hawk, uS, rW
  •  Osprey, uS, fT

Family Falconidae, Caracaras and Falcons

  •  American Kestrel, cS, uW
  •  Peregrine Falcon, eS, rT, xW
  •  Merlin, lrS, uT, rW
  •  Gyrfalcon, irW

Galliformes, Gamebirds

Family Phasianidae, Partridges, Grouse, Turkeys and Quail

  •  Ring-necked Pheasant, fP
  •  Sharp-tailed Grouse, lrP
  •  Spruce Grouse, uP
  •  Wild Turkey, uP
  •  Ruffed Grouse, fP
  •  Northern Bobwhite, uP

Gruiformes, Rails and Cranes

Family Rallidae, Rails, Gallinules, and Coots

  •  Yellow Rail, rS,rT
  •  Sora, fS, xW
  •   King Rail, lrS, xW
  •  Common Moorhen, fS, xW
  •   Virginia Rail, fS, rW
  •  American Coot, cS, uW

Family Gruidae, Cranes

  •  Sandhill Crane, uS, fT,xW

Charadriiformes, Shorebirds, Gulls and Allies

Family Charadriidae, Plovers and Lapwings

  •  Black-bellied Plover, fT
  •  Semipalmated Plover, cT
  •  Killdeer, cS, cT, rW
  •  Lesser Golden Plover, fT
  •  Piping Plover, lrS

Family Recurvirostridae, Stilts and Avocets

  •  American Avocet, rT

Family Scolopacidae, Sandpipers and Phalaropes

  •  Greater Yellowlegs, fT
  •  Red Knot, uT
  •  Stilt Sandpiper, uT
  •  Lesser Yellowlegs, cT
  •   Sanderling, cT, xW
  •  Buff-breasted Sandpiper, uT
  •  Solitary Sandpiper, fT
  •  Semipalmated Sandpiper, cT
  •  Ruff, rV
  •   Willet, rT
  •  Western Sandpiper, uT
  •  Short-billed Dowitcher, fT
  •  Spotted Sandpiper, cT, cS
  •  Least Sandpiper, cT
  •   Long-billed Dowitcher, uT
  •  Upland Sandpiper, uS, uS
  •  White-rumped Sandpiper, uT
  •  Common Snipe, fS, cT, rW
  •  Whimbrel, uT
  •  Baird's Sandpiper, uT
  •  American Woodcock, cS, xW
  •  Hudsonian Godwit, rT
  •  Pectoral Sandpiper, cT
  •  Wilson's Phalarope, xS, uT
  •  Marbled Godwit, rT
  •  Purple Sandpiper, rT, xW
  •  Red-necked Phalarope, uT
  •  Ruddy Turnstone, cT
  •  Dunlin, cT
  •  Red Phalarope, rT

Family Laridae, Skuas, Gulls, Terns and Skimmers

  •  Pomarine Jaeger, rT, xW
  •  Iceland Gull, rT, rW
  •  Parasitic Jaeger, uT
  •  Lesser Black-backed Gull, xV
  •  Laughing Gull, rV, xW
  •  Glaucous Gull, xS, rW
  •  Franklin's Gull, uT
  •  Great Black-backed Gull, xS, luW
  •  Little Gull, xS, rT, xW
  •  Black-legged Kittiwake, uT, xW
  •  Common Black-headed Gull, rV, xW
  •  Sabine's Gull, rT
  •  Bonaparte's Gull, rS, cT, rW
  •  Caspian Tern, fS, fT
  •  Ring-billed Gull, cS, cT, rW
  •  Common Tern, fS, cT
  •   Herring Gull, cS, cT, fW
  •   Forster's Tern, fS, cT
  •  Thayer's Gull, rT, rW
  •  Black Tern, uS, fT

Columbiformes, Pigeons and Doves

Family Columbidae, Pigeons and Doves

  •  Rock Dove, cP
  •  Mourning Dove, cS, fW

Cuculiformes, Cuckoos

Family Cuculidae, Cuckoos

  •  Black-billed Cuckoo, fS
  •  Yellow-billed Cuckoo, fS

Strigiformes, Owls

Family Tytonidae, Barn Owls

  •  Barn Owl, rP

Family Strigidae, Typical Owls

  •  Eastern Screech-Owl, fP
  •  Great Gray Owl, xS, irW
  •  Great Horned Owl, cP
  •  Long-eared Owl, uP, uT, uW
  •   Snowy Owl, iuW
  •  Short-eared Owl, rS, uT, uW
  •  Northern Hawk Owl, xS, irW
  •  Boreal Owl, iuW
  •  Barred Owl, fP
  •  Northern Saw-whet Owl, uS, fT, uW

Caprimulgiformes, Goatsuckers and Allies

Family Caprimulgidae, Goatsuckers

  •  Common Nighthawk, cS, cT
  •  Whip-poor-will, cS

Apodiformes, Swifts and Hummingbirds

Family Apodidae, Swifts

  •  Chimney Swift, cS

Family Trochilidae, Hummingbirds

  •  Ruby-throated Hummingbird, fS

Coraciiformes, Kingfishers and Allies

Family Alcedinidae, Kingfishers

  •  Belted Kingfisher, fS, uW

Piciformes, Woodpeckers and Allies

Family Picidae, Woodpeckers

  •  Red-headed Woodpecker, fS, uW
  •  Downy Woodpecker, cP
  •  Black-backed Woodpecker, uP
  •  Red-bellied Woodpecker, fP
  •  Hairy Woodpecker, fP
  •   Northern Flicker, cS, uW
  •   Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, uS, fT, rW
  •  Three-toed Woodpecker, xS, rW
  •  Pileated Woodpecker, uP

Passeriformes, Perching Birds

Family Tyrannidae, Tyrant Flycatchers

  •  Olive-sided Flycatcher, fS, fT
  •   Alder Flycatcher, fS
  •  Great Crested Flycatcher, cS
  •  Eastern Wood-Pewee, cS
  •  Willow Flycatcher, fS
  •  Western Kingbird, lrS, rT
  •  Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, uS, fT
  •  Least Flycatcher, cS, cT
  •  Eastern Kingbird, cS
  •  Acadian Flycatcher, uS
  •  Eastern Phoebe, fS
  •  Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, rV

Family Alaudidae, Larks

  •  Horned Lark, cS, fW

Family Hirundinidae, Swallows

  •  Purple Martin, fS
  •  Northern Rough-winged Swallow, fS, cT
  •  Cliff Swallow, uS, fT
  •  Tree Swallow, cS,cT
  •  Bank Swallow, cS, cT
  •  Barn Swallow, cS, cT

Family Corvidae, Jays, Magpies and Crows

  •  Gray Jay, uS, uW
  •   American Crow, cS, fW
  •   Blue Jay, cP, cT
  •  Common Raven, fP

Family Paridae, Titmice

  •  Black-capped Chickadee, cP, uT
  •  Boreal Chickadee, uP, iuW
  •  Tufted Titmouse, fP

Family Sittidae, Nuthatches

  •  Red-breasted Nuthatch, fS, icW
  •  White-breasted Nuthatch, cP

Family Certhiidae, Creepers

  •  Brown Creeper, uS, cT, uW

Family Troglodytidae, Wrens

  •  Carolina Wren, flP
  •  House Wren, cS
  •  Sedge Wren, uS, xW
  •   Bewick's Wren, eS, rV
  •  Winter Wren, fS, rW
  •   Marsh Wren, fS, xW

Family Sylviidae, Old World Warblers

  •  Golden-crowned Kinglet, uS, cT, uW
  •  Ruby-crowned Kinglet, uS, cT, rW
  •  Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, fS, cT

Family Turdidae, Thrushes

  •  Eastern Bluebird, fS, rW
  •  Gray-cheeked Thrush, fT
  •  Wood Thrush, cS
  •  Townsend's Solitaire, xV, rW
  •   Swainson's Thrush, fS, cT
  •  American Robin, cS, cT, uW
  •  Veery, fS, fT
  •  Hermit Thrush, fS, cT, rW
  •   Varied Thrush, rV, rW

Family Mimidae, Mockingbirds, Thrashers and Allies

  •  Gray Catbird, cS, xW
  •  Northern Mockingbird, uS, rW
  •  Brown Thrasher, fS, rW

Family Motacillidae, Wagtails and Pipits

  •  American Pipit, fT, xW

Family Bombycillidae, Waxwings

  •  Bohemian Waxwing, iuW
  •  Cedar Waxwing, cS, cT, ifW

Family Laniidae, Shrikes

  •  Northern Shrike, iuW
  •  Loggerhead Shrike, rP

Family Sturnidae, Starlings

  •  European Starling, cP, cT

Family Vireonidae, Vireos

  •  White-eyed Vireo, luS, xV
  •  Warbling Vireo, cS
  •  Bell's Vireo, lrS
  •   Philadelphia Vireo, rS, uT
  •  Solitary Vireo, uS, fT
  •   Red-eyed Vireo, cS
  •  Yellow-throated Vireo, fS

Family Parulidae, Wood-Warblers

  •   Blue-winged Warbler, fS
  •  Blackburnian Warbler, fS, cT
  •  Ovenbird, cS, cT
  •  Golden-winged Warbler, fS
  •   Yellow-throated Warbler, lrS, rV
  •   Northern Waterthrush, fS, fT
  •  Tennessee Warbler, uS, cT
  •  Pine Warbler, uS, uT,xW
  •  Louisiana Waterthrush, uS
  •  Orange-crowned Warbler, uT, xW
  •  Kirtland's Warbler, luS
  •   Kentucky Warbler, lrS, rV
  •   Nashville Warbler, fS, cT
  •  Prairie Warbler, lrS
  •  Connecticut Warbler, uS
  •  Northern Parula, uS, uT
  •  Palm Warbler, lrS, cT
  •  Mourning Warbler, fS
  •   Yellow Warbler, cS, cT
  •   Bay-breasted Warbler, lrS, cT
  •  Common Yellowthroat, cS, cT
  •  Chestnut-sided Warbler, fS, cT
  •   Blackpoll Warbler, xS, cT
  •   Hooded Warbler, luS
  •  Magnolia Warbler, fS, cT
  •  Cerulean Warbler, uS
  •  Wilson's Warbler, fT
  •  Cape May Warbler, iuS, fT, xW
  •  Black-and-white Warbler, fS, cT
  •  Canada Warbler, fS
  •  Black-throated Blue Warbler, uS, fT
  •  American Redstart, cS, cT
  •  Yellow-breasted Chat, uS, xW
  •  Yellow-rumped Warbler, fS, cT, rW
  •  Prothonotary Warbler, uS
  •  Black-throated Green Warbler, fS, cT
  •   Worm-eating Warbler, rS, rV

Family Thraupidae, Tanagers

  •  Summer Tanager, lrS, rV
  •  Scarlet Tanager, cS

Family Emberizidae, Buntings

Subfamily Cardinalinae, Cardinals, Grosbeaks and Allies
  •  Northern Cardinal, cP
  •  Indigo Bunting, cS, xW
  •  Rose-breasted Grosbeak, cS, xW
  •  Dickcissel, iuS
  •  Black-headed Grosbeak, xV, rW
Subfamily Emberizinae, New World Sparrows
  •  Rufous-sided Towhee, cS, rW
  •  Sharp-tailed Sparrow, rT
  •  American Tree Sparrow, cT, cW
  •  Fox Sparrow, fT, uW
  •  Chipping Sparrow, cS, xW
  •   Song Sparrow, cS, uW
  •  Clay-colored Sparrow, fS, uT
  •  Lincoln's Sparrow, uS, fT, xW
  •  Field Sparrow, cS, rW
  •  Swamp Sparrow, cS, cT, uW
  •  Vesper Sparrow, fS, rW
  •  White-throated Sparrow, cS, cT, uW
  •   Lark Sparrow, eS, rV
  •  White-crowned Sparrow, fT, rW
  •  Savannah Sparrow, cS, cT, rW
  •  Harris' Sparrow, rT, xW
  •  Grasshopper Sparrow, uS
  •  Dark-eyed Junco, fS, cW
  •  Henslow's Sparrow, uS
  •  Lapland Longspur, fT, uW
  •  Le Conte's Sparrow, luS, rT
  •  Snow Bunting, cT, ifW

Family Icteridae, American Blackbirds

  •  Bobolink, fS
  •  Brewer's Blackbird, fS, xW
  •  Red-winged Blackbird, cS, uW
  •   Common Grackle, cS, cT, uW
  •  Eastern Meadowlark, cS, rW
  •  Brown-headed Cowbird, cS, uW
  •  Western Meadowlark, uS, rW
  •  Orchard Oriole, uS
  •  Yellow-headed Blackbird, lrS
  •  Baltimore Oriole, cS, xW
  •   Rusty Blackbird, xS, cT, rW

Family Fringillidae, Finches

Subfamily Carduelinae, Cardueline Finches
  •  Pine Grosbeak, xS, ifW
  •  Common Redpoll, icW
  •  Purple Finch, fS, cT, ifW
  •  Hoary Redpoll, irW
  •  House Finch, cP
  •  Pine Siskin, ifS, cT, ifW
  •  Red Crossbill, iuS, ifW
  •  American Goldfinch, cS, cT, ifW
  •  White-winged Crossbill, irS, iuW
  •  Evening Grosbeak, fS, icW

Family Passeridae, Old World Sparrows

  •  House Sparrow, cP