Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
The 100 most recent account entries/updates.
Eurasian Collared-DoveStreptopelia decaoctoThe Eurasian Collared-Dove is the latest of the relatively few species (along with Rock Pigeon, Euro...Breeder; IntroducedDefinitiveBreeding, permanent resident; nonmigratory though possibly nomadic; increasing. Locally uncommon to...Mostly a visitor, but a breeding permanent resident at only a few sites, mainly in the southern Pied...Visitor, but expected to become a breeding permanent resident in low elevations. Relatively few rec...Not hard to find by driving around side streets of Morehead City, Beaufort, and Harkers Island.***2017-10-24
Northern FulmarFulmarus glacialisNorthern Fulmars are among the most charismatic of our seabirds, as they seem to enjoy flying in ver...NonbreederDefinitiveWinter visitor and transient offshore; somewhat declining. Uncommon (to occasionally fairly common)...No records.No records.Your best bet to see a fulmar is to take a winter pelagic trip, but even then it is an iffy proposit...**2017-10-10
Magnolia WarblerSetophaga magnoliaThe Magnolia Warbler nests across most of the boreal forest zone of Canada and the northeastern stat...BreederDefinitiveTransient. In spring, rare to uncommon in the western portions, rare over central portions, and ver...Transient. Mainly uncommon in spring, and fairly common in fall, over most of the province. Clearl...Scarce summer resident (at higher elevations), and transient. In summer, rare to locally uncommon (...It usually can be found in fall migration in the mountains, in various parks and along the Blue Ridg...***2017-09-28
Cliff SwallowPetrochelidon pyrrhonotaThe Cliff Swallow nests from coast to coast across the continent, and it is much more abundant in th...BreederDefinitiveTransient, and very sparse and local breeder near the coast; expanding its range in recent years and...Summer resident, with noticeable migratory movements; slightly increasing as a breeder. In summer (...Summer resident, with migratory movements. In summer (as a breeder), mostly uncommon and local; not...Though numerically not a common bird in the state, they are practically impossible to miss in May or...****2017-09-20
Brewer's BlackbirdEuphagus cyanocephalusThe Brewer's Blackbird is an abundant bird of the Western half of the country. It is somewhat migra...NonbreederDefinitiveWinter resident at one site, otherwise a sparse winter visitor and transient. Known to winter regul...Scarce transient and winter visitor; some published records are certainly of mid-identifications. ...Scarce transient. Very rare in southern mountain valleys, and casual in the northern half of the pr...Arrangements to access Open Ground Farms have always been tricky. Thus, you must try to find one on...*2017-08-25
Yellow-headed BlackbirdXanthocephalus xanthocephalusThe Yellow-headed Blackbird is practically a "waterbird", in that in its nesting range in the upper ...NonbreederDefinitiveSparse transient and winter visitor. Rare in fall along the immediate coast, more so along the Oute...Casual to very rare visitor. There are only about 12 reports from the province -- six from late sum...Casual to very rare visitor. There are only about ten reports from the mountains, all since 1988. ...The Yellow-headed Blackbird is a difficult bird to find in the state. When birding along the coast ...*2017-08-25
BobolinkDolichonyx oryzivorusThe Bobolink is in a monotypic genus, with no close relatives among the other icterids (blackbirds a...BreederDefinitiveTransient. In spring, uncommon to occasionally fairly common in the western portions, but generally...Transient, and accidental nester. In spring, fairly common over the region. In fall, less common t...Sparse summer resident, and transient. In summer, very rare and local (though nests persistently at...If one knows where the specific nesting meadows are in the mountains, it might be readily found. Ot...** to ***2017-08-25
DickcisselSpiza americanaAlthough there are numerous birds that are highly erratic wintering species in North Carolina and el...BreederDefinitiveSporadic and very local summer resident, and sparse winter visitor. In summer, very rare to rare ov...Sporadic and very local summer resident, and very sparse winter visitor. In summer, rare and sporad...Sparse transient; seldom in summer or winter. Despite many wide valleys with farmland at low elevat...From 2005 - 2015, the species has been easily found in summer at North River Farms, but this is a pr...**2017-08-25
Black-headed GrosbeakPheucticus melanocephalusThe Black-headed Grosbeak, the Western counterpart of the Rose-breasted Grosbeak, is a casual visito...NonbreederDefinitiveCasual visitor. There are six records: one in Wilmington, 8-16 Apr 1969 (Chat 33:4); one at Bodie I...Casual visitor. There are five records: one in Greensboro, 6 Jan - 12 Apr 1964 (Chat 28:2); a male ...Casual/accidental, with just one record: a breeding-plumaged male was photographed at a feeder on 11...1/2 *2017-08-25
Rose-breasted GrosbeakPheucticus ludovicianusThe Rose-breasted Grosbeak is a bird of the cooler hardwood and mixed forests of the eastern parts o...BreederDefinitiveTransient. In spring, rare to uncommon along the western margin of the province, but generally rare...Transient. In spring, uncommon to at times fairly common in the western portion, but uncommon over ...Summer resident and transient. Fairly common (and common in a few ranges) in summer at middle to hi...You should be able to find the species in a morning of birding along the Blue Ridge Parkway at eleva...*** to ****2017-08-25
Western TanagerPiranga ludovicianaThe Western Tanager is a rare visitor and over-wintering "resident" in North Carolina, but it occurs...NonbreederDefinitiveScarce "transient" and winter visitor, with over 70 records. Very rare to rare in winter along the ...Scarce "transient" and winter visitor, with only about 14 records. Casual to very rare visitor, mai...Casual visitor. Only about six records, though only one since 1991. Oddly, the dates are "strangel...You likely will see your first in the state at a feeder near the coast.*2017-08-25
Lincoln's SparrowMelospiza lincolniiDespite the Lincoln's Sparrow having a very wide breeding range, from Alaska to Newfoundland, and so...NonbreederDefinitiveWinter resident, and poorly known transient. In winter, uncommon and easily overlooked in the south...Transient, with a few lingering into early winter. In fall, rare to uncommon and easily overlooked;...Transient. In fall, uncommon and easily overlooked, at least at the lower elevations; poorly known ...If you bird around brush piles and thickets in winter in the Lake Phelps to Lake Mattamuskeet areas,...**2017-08-25
Lark SparrowChondestes grammacusThe Lark Sparrow, as with the Vesper Sparrow, is by itself in a monotypic genus; no other sparrow is...BreederDefinitiveSparse summer resident, transient, and winter straggler. In summer, rare and local, only in the San...Transient. Casual to very rare in spring, and very rare in fall; scattered over the region. Mainly...Transient. Casual in spring (five records), and very rare in late summer/fall (nine records). In s...The breeding sites are generally off-limits to birders; thus, the best places to look are along the ...* to **2017-08-25
Clay-colored SparrowSpizella pallidaThe Clay-colored Sparrow was a primarily "Western"/Midwestern" species until a few decades ago. How...NonbreederDefinitiveTransient, and sparse winter resident, mainly near the coast. In fall, rare to uncommon along the c...Transient, essentially in fall and winter. Casual to very rare in fall and winter (about 10-11 reco...Transient. Very rare in fall, winter, and spring, nearly all records in low elevations in the south...Your best bet is probably Fort Fisher in Sep and Oct. A few have been seen semi-regularly in winter...**2017-08-25
Kirtland's WarblerSetophaga kirtlandiiConsidering that North Carolina is about halfway between the species' wintering grounds in the Baham...NonbreederDefinitiveNo accepted records. It is quite a surprise that, as of 2013, there are still no documented records...Casual fall transient in the western portion of the province, but no accepted records yet for the ea...Casual/extremely rare transient. A first-year female was seen by five birders along the Blue Ridge ...1/2 *2017-08-25
Mourning WarblerGeothlypis philadelphiaThe Mourning Warbler, until 2011, was placed in the same genus (Oporornis) with the Connectic...Probable BreederDefinitiveTransient. Casual in spring, so far only along or near the coast; very rare in fall along the immed...Transient. In spring, casual to very rare throughout the region (mainly in the western half of the ...Transient; also very rare (in the past few years) in summer, and probable breeder, though as yet wit...This is a difficult bird to find in the state, because relatively few pass through, and then mainly ...*2017-08-25
Common RavenCorvus coraxThe Common Raven is considered to be the largest passerine in the world. It also is the one occurri...BreederDefinitiveFormerly (prior to 1932), accidental/casual visitor to the coast: 2, Beaufort (Carteret), 4 J...Present, but scarce, all year over much of the province, occasionally breeding; mainly since about 1...Permanent resident, with migratory movements rather imperceptible. Little distributional change ove...Though uncommon number-wise in the mountains, it can be heard calling at long distances, so not hard...***2017-08-25
Philadelphia VireoVireo philadelphicusThis is the only Eastern vireo that does not nest in North Carolina. Instead, the Philadelphia Vireo...NonbreederDefinitiveTransient, essentially only in fall; very sparse in spring. In fall, rare along the coast, and very...Transient. Rare to uncommon (and easily overlooked) across the province in fall, and very rare in s...Transient; more numerous in this province in both spring and fall than downstate. Uncommon in fall,...Jackson Park in Hendersonville in the latter part of September provides a decent chance to see the s...* to **2017-08-25
Scissor-tailed FlycatcherTyrannus forficatusThe beautiful Scissor-tailed Flycatcher nests in the south-central United States, primarily in Texas...BreederDefinitiveTransient/vagrant, both in late spring/summer and again in fall; accidental breeder. Very rare to r...Transient/vagrant, and sporadic breeder at two known sites. Very rare in migration, with more recor...Accidental. One was photographed in Swannanoa (Buncombe) on 10 May 1984 (Chat 48:100). Your best bet is to drive to a known nesting site. If none are available for an easy "tick", you ar...*2017-08-25
Ash-throated FlycatcherMyiarchus cinerascensThe Ash-throated Flycatcher is another Western species, breeding from southern Washington to Texas. ...NonbreederDefinitiveLate autumn stray, with birds attempting to overwinter (though none apparently have been completely ...Accidental. Two sight reports are from the Raleigh area: one on 16 May 1973 (Chat 39:40-43), (Chat ...Accidental. One videotaped in Henderson on 28 Oct 1999 is the only record for the mountains....There have now been multiple records at Alligator River NWR, near Pungo Lake, and along the NC 94 ca...*2017-08-25
Belted KingfisherMegaceryle alcyonFew other birds in the state are as readily identifiable as the Belted Kingfisher, as it is found ac...BreederDefinitivePermanent resident, with some migratory movements. Fairly common over nearly all the province in su...Permanent resident. Fairly common essentially throughout, with little evidence of migratory movemen...Permanent resident. In summer and during migration, generally fairly common at lower elevations (to...Spending an hour or two around a reservoir or other sizable lake, or boating down a river such as th...*** to ****2017-08-24
Broad-winged HawkButeo platypterusThe Broad-winged Hawk is famous for its strongly migratory habits, as it completely leaves the Unite...BreederDefinitiveMigrant and scarce summer resident. Uncommon spring migrant, and rare to uncommon fall migrant, ove...Summer resident and migrant. Mostly uncommon migrant (spring and fall); rare to very uncommon summe...Summer resident and migrant. In summer, uncommon to fairly common, and reasonably widespread, over ...If you visit a hawk-watch site in the mountains in fall, such as Pilot Mountain, you might be able t...***2017-08-24
Mississippi KiteIctinia mississippiensisMississippi Kites are a major success story in North Carolina and elsewhere in their breeding range,...BreederDefinitiveSummer resident, breeding. Occurs primarily close to brownwater rivers, and most numerous along the...Increasing stray or overshooting migrant, as well as a post-breeding visitor; breeds at a few local ...Very rare to (now) rare migrant/visitor in the southern mountains (about 20 records). Casual north o...Visiting the Lock and Dam #1 area or the NC 11 bridge over the Cape Fear River has been consistently...***2017-08-24
Swallow-tailed KiteElanoides forficatusArguably the most spectacular bird of prey in the world, especially when seen in flight, the Swallow...BreederDefinitiveAnnual visitor, mainly in spring along and near the coast, and breeder at one area; records increasi...Very rare to occasionally rare, but increasing, visitor in the warmer months; about 30 records, from...Very rare visitor in the warmer months; about 11 records, with five coming in fall 2016. Mid-May to...Birders can usually spot one to several birds, along with some Mississippi Kites, either close to th...**2017-08-24
Brown BoobySula leucogasterThe Brown Booby is a rarer bird off our coast than is the Masked Booby, even though both species bre...NonbreederDefinitiveNonbreeding visitor, mainly offshore in the Gulf Stream, but there are a handful of records from sho...Accidental, with two records. An adult female was seen and photographed on many dates at Lookout Sh...No records.As with other rare pelagic species, you will have to take dozens of trips out of Oregon Inlet or Hat...1/2 *2017-08-24
Magnificent FrigatebirdFregata magnificensThe Magnificent Frigatebird is a common coastal bird of subtropical and tropical waters around the w...NonbreederDefinitiveNonbreeding visitor, almost always in flight over the immediate coast or over estuaries; seldom seen...Accidental/casual to the eastern edge of the province, with just three records: one seen and later p...No records.North Carolina averages about three reports of this species per year, most often in July or August o...*2017-08-24
Wood StorkMycteria americanaThe Wood Stork is probably the most significant wader in the state, because it is a Federally listed...BreederDefinitiveSummer resident and post-breeding visitor, increasing. Locally common only at its primary breeding ...Post-breeding visitor, increasing. Very rare to now locally rare, mainly in Jun and Jul, but scatte...Post-breeding visitor; casual to very rare in the southern and central mountains (only), with about ...The species can almost always be found around the margins of the two freshwater ponds at Twin Lakes,...****2017-08-24
White-faced Storm-PetrelPelagodroma marinaThough there are rarer pelagic birds in North Carolina waters than the monotypic White-faced Storm-P...NonbreederDefinitiveScarce offshore visitor, but very few records since 2000 (despite a large number of pelagic trips). ...No definite report. One probable White-faced was seen at Jordan Lake, 6 Sep 1996, after Hurricane F...No records.Though the species has been seen on a fair number of occasions in the edge of the Gulf Stream, on th...*2017-08-24
Sooty TernOnychoprion fuscatusThe Sooty Tern is sometimes considered to be the most abundant bird in the world, it being found com...Accidental BreederDefinitiveMainly a pelagic visitor in the warmer seasons, but a sporadic breeder (at least formerly). Mostly ...Storm-carried visitor to the eastern portion of the province, plus one record for the southern porti...No records.Offshore, this species is normally less numerous than the Bridled Tern. The best times to look for ...**2017-08-24
Buff-breasted SandpiperCalidris subruficollisThe Buff-breasted Sandpiper is one of our most beautiful shorebirds, and its dove-like appearance se...NonbreederDefinitiveTransient, only in fall. Very uncommon to occasionally uncommon on the Outer Banks, but generally r...Transient, only in fall. Rare to occasionally very uncommon (such as at extensive mudflats), scatter...Transient, only in fall. Rare but seemingly regular since 1996, in the Henderson/TransylvaniaThere are no consistent spots in fall to see the species. The turf farm just west of Creswell (Wa...**2017-08-24
White-rumped SandpiperCalidris fuscicollisThis and the Baird's Sandpiper are the two large "peep" species found in the state. Neither is comm...NonbreederDefinitiveTransient. Uncommon to locally fairly common in spring along the northern coast, particularly at Bo...Transient. Rare to uncommon (at least locally) in spring and fall; mainly early May to early Jun, a...Transient. At least in spring, essentially only in low elevations in the southern counties; very ra...This can be a difficult to find species away from the Bodie-Pea Island or Cape Hatteras area. You sh...** to ***2017-08-24
Baird's SandpiperCalidris bairdiiThe Baird's Sandpiper is the rarest of the five non-accidental "peep" species in North Carolina, and...NonbreederDefinitiveTransient. Casual in spring, and rare to locally uncommon in fall, mainly along the coast. Three s...Transient. Rare in fall, mainly at the larger reservoirs (when mudflats are present); no spring rec...Transient, though essentially only in low elevation valleys in Henderson, and single records ...In mid-autumn, the impoundments at Pea and Bodie islands, and the tidal pool at Cape Hatteras point,...* to **2017-08-24
Curlew SandpiperCalidris ferrugineaThe Curlew Sandpiper is one of just several species of Eurasian nesting shorebirds on the North Caro...NonbreederDefinitiveTransient along the coast, declining. Formerly rare in spring, and again from mid-summer into fall. ...No records.No records.The species seems to prefer the impoundments at Pea Island NWR, at least formerly the large tidal po...* 2017-08-24
Marbled GodwitLimosa fedoaThough this species is a godwit, it has quite a few similarities to the Long-billed Curlew; both bre...NonbreederDefinitiveTransient and winter resident, essentially along the coast. Uncommon to locally fairly common fall m...Fall transient only. Very rare (about 18 records) at reservoirs, where birds put down at night duri...Accidental to casual, in spring and fall. The only records (three) are of 2 birds, Hooper Lane (...This species can usually be found along the coast in Aug and Sep, less so later in fall and winter. ...***2017-08-24
Bar-tailed GodwitLimosa lapponicaThis Eurasian shorebird has appeared along the East Coast much more often than the Black-tailed Godw...NonbreederDefinitiveCasual to very rare visitor, with three spring and six fall reports, all from the coast. The spring...No records.No records.1/2 *2017-08-24
Piping PloverCharadrius melodusThe Piping Plover is one of the few Federally listed birds in North Carolina, especially now that th...BreederDefinitiveBreeding permanent resident, with migratory movements, along the coast. Generally uncommon and decl...Transient. Very rare in fall; late July to early Oct; no spring records. About 12 records, mostly f...Accidental, with just one record: one at Hooper Lane, Henderson on 4-5 Sep 2012* (Chat 77:6-1...The best area to see this species is at Portsmouth Island in late summer and fall, but a boat is nec...**2017-08-24
Snowy PloverCharadrius nivosusIn 2011, the American Ornithologists' Union split the European subspecies and the American subspecie...NonbreederDefinitiveVery rare stray along the central and southern coast, from spring to fall; one winter record. There ...No records.No records.In the warmer months, it doesn't hurt to carefully scrutinize small plovers along the beaches and in...*2017-08-24
American Golden-PloverPluvialis dominicaUnlike its slightly larger cousin, the Black-bellied Plover, the American Golden-Plover is a good fi...NonbreederDefinitiveTransient. Very rare in spring, rare in fall, along the entire coast, particularly the Outer Banks; ...Transient. Casual in spring (only about four records), rare but annual in fall, over most of the pr...Transient, but nearly all records are from Hooper Lane/Mills River area in Henderson, where v...The species is best located in Sep and Oct, especially after cold fronts. A few birds are present e...* to **2017-08-24
Black-bellied PloverPluvialis squatarolaThe Black-bellied Plover is one of the more familiar shorebirds of coastal areas, wintering in good ...Nonbreeder DefinitiveTransient, and coastal winter resident. Common to very common in migration, and common in winter, a...Transient. Rare in fall, and very rare to rare in spring, in the eastern part of the province (such...Transient. Very rare (about 20 records) in the Henderson/Transylvania area of the southern m...This species is easily found along the coast except during Jun. Inland birds are most often found o...****2017-08-24
American AvocetRecurvirostra americanaOver most of the world, various species of stilts (genus Himantopus) and avocets (genus Re...Accidental BreederDefinitiveWinter resident and migrant, coastally; accidental breeder, along the coast. Fairly common to commo...Transient. Very rare fall migrant, and accidental/casual spring migrant, with most records from lar...Transient. Casual fall migrant, with five known records: 1, Cashiers (Jackson), 3 Jul 1985; ...The only reliable spots are the impoundments at Pea Island NWR and adjacent Bodie Island. At least ...***2017-08-24
SoraPorzana carolinaThe Sora is the least shy of the six rails in the state and is the one most often seen in freshwater...Nonbreeder DefinitiveWinter resident and transient near the coast, but farther inland mainly a transient. Fairly common ...Transient, with a few winter records. Mostly rare to uncommon (records fairly scarce, but easily un...Transient, with one winter record. Generally rare, to perhaps locally uncommon at low elevations; m...During Apr and early May, and again in fall, the Sora can be heard in many fresh to slightly brackis...***2017-08-24
Virginia RailRallus limicolaOnly a few decades ago, relatively little was understood of the Virginia Rail's habitats and range i...BreederDefinitivePermanent resident near the coast, with migratory movements; mostly a transient farther inland. Loca...Mostly a transient, but scattered summer and winter records, where status at these two seasons is un...Poorly known transient (about 18 reports), with the possibility of local breeding not out of the que...The descending grunting call is easily heard in migration and winter in tidewater marshes, especiall...***2017-08-24
Clapper RailRallus crepitansThe Clapper Rail is, by far, the easiest rail to see in the state and is the most characteristic bir...BreederDefinitivePermanent resident along the coast (tidal marshes); casual migrant elsewhere. Common to very common...Casual to very rare transient. At least 11 records: records from Raleigh on 13 Apr and 21 Apr (year ...No records.The species is easily heard calling at dawn or dusk, and sporadically during the day and night, in m...**** 2017-08-24
Yellow-billed CuckooCoccyzus americanusThe Yellow-billed Cuckoo is a widespread breeding bird across the state, nesting in every county. H...BreederDefinitiveSummer resident, breeding. Fairly common to common across the region, except uncommon to locally ab...Summer resident, breeding. Fairly common and reasonably widespread across the region, though only u...Summer resident, breeding. Uncommon in the lower elevations (below about 3,500 feet); rare to uncom...This species can normally be found away from the mountains in a day of birding. A count or 10 or mo...***2017-08-24
Baltimore OrioleIcterus galbulaThe male Baltimore Oriole is one of the more beautiful birds in North America, nesting over the nort...BreederDefinitiveTransient, and scarce winter resident. In winter, numerically rare to very uncommon; however, in to...Transient, scarce winter resident, and very scarce and local summer resident. In summer, very rare ...Summer resident, with noticeable migratory movements. In summer, uncommon to fairly common, at leas...The species should be found in summer by driving along roads that parallel the New River, or South F...*** 2017-08-23
Bullock's OrioleIcterus bullockiiThe Bullock's Oriole is the western counterpart to the Baltimore Oriole. Originally classified as s...NonbreederDefinitiveCasual to (formerly) very rare winter visitor; sadly, the last record was in 1994, except for a sing...Casual winter visitor. There are about 8 records, with three birds over-wintering. Records are sca...No records.Your first Bullock's Oriole will likely be seen at someone's feeder.1/2*2017-08-23
Blue GrosbeakPasserina caeruleaThe Blue Grosbeak breeds across the southern half to two-thirds of the United States, and winters in...BreederDefinitiveSummer resident, with a few winter records. Common in summer across most of the province, but can b...Summer resident, with about 11 winter records. Common over the eastern and central portions, and fa...Summer resident at low elevations; little migratory movement through the region. In summer, uncommo...None needed in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain.****2017-08-23
Summer TanagerPiranga rubraThe Summer Tanager is a characteristic bird of the Deep South, nesting north only to southern New Je...BreederDefinitiveSummer resident, and winter straggler. Common in the southern half of the region, from the Croatan ...Summer resident, with a few winter records. Fairly common to common over most of the region, more n...Sparse summer resident, with little migratory movement noted. Uncommon in the extreme southwestern ...None needed in the southern Coastal Plain, such as in the Sandhills Game Land, Weymouth Woods Preser...****2017-08-23
Blackpoll WarblerSetophaga striataThe Blackpoll Warbler, at a glance at its breeding range, would seem to have a similar migration pat...NonbreederDefinitiveTransient. In spring, fairly common over most of the region, likely less numerous in the central an...Transient. Fairly common (formerly common) across the region in spring; in fall, generally uncommon...Transient. Fairly common in low to middle elevations in spring; rare at high elevations. In fall, g...Normally not hard to find between 5-20 May, especially around 10-15 May, in many parks in the state....***2017-08-23
Yellow WarblerSetophaga petechiaThe Yellow Warbler has one of the most extensive breeding ranges of any warbler -- across nearly all...BreederDefinitiveTransient, and sparse breeder; a few winter records. In summer, formerly uncommon, but now apparent...Summer resident (strongly declining), and transient. In summer, now (2013) rare to uncommon in the ...Summer resident (strongly declining), and transient. In summer, fairly common to formerly common in...Driving back roads in the [open] "country" in the mountains in May and Jun should yield a few Yellow...***2017-08-23
Northern ParulaSetophaga americanaThe Northern Parula is a bird saddled with an awful common name, and this is even more so now that i...BreederDefinitiveSummer resident. Over most of the region -- common, to very common in several of the larger river f...Summer resident, with noticeable migratory movements. In summer, fairly common over most of the pro...Summer resident, with noticeable migratory movements. Uncommon to fairly common at lower to middle ...It is hard to miss in the Coastal Plain in spring or summer if birding close to rivers, such as the ...****2017-08-23
Cape May WarblerSetophaga tigrinaThe Cape May Warbler has a breeding range similar to that of the Tennessee Warbler, being a classic ...NonbreederDefinitiveTransient, and winter straggler. In spring, rare to uncommon along the western border, but generall...Transient, and winter straggler. In spring, fairly common in the western third, uncommon in the cen...Transient. Fairly common in both spring and fall; in spring, mostly at low to middle elevations, bu...The best bets are perhaps the southwestern Piedmont, such as Polk, in spring, and along the B...***2017-08-23
American RedstartSetophaga ruticillaThe very active American Redstart was, until 2011, in a genus all to itself; however, all of the for...BreederDefinitiveSummer resident, and transient. In summer, mainly uncommon and local over the region as a whole (bu...Summer resident, and transient. In summer, breeds over most of the region, but highly local; can be...Summer resident, and transient. Breeds over the entire region; generally fairly common, mainly to 3...The species is easy to find from late Apr into Jun along the Roanoke and Neuse rivers, such as at Ho...****2017-08-23
Common YellowthroatGeothlypis trichasThis is the most widespread breeding warbler in the country, nesting across most of Canada and the U...BreederDefinitivePermanent resident, with migratory movements. In summer, common and very widespread across the prov...Summer resident, and winter resident in parts of the region. In summer, common and widespread, thou...Summer resident; sparse into early winter. In summer, fairly common to common over the entire regio...No finding tips needed.****2017-08-23
Nashville WarblerOreothlypis ruficapillaThe Nashville Warbler, along with the Tennessee Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, and several Western...NonbreederDefinitiveTransient, and scarce straggler into early winter. Very rare in spring (essentially avoiding the re...Transient, and a very scarce straggler into early winter. In spring, rare in the western and centra...Transient; one recent record of a potential breeding bird. Rare to occasionally uncommon in spring, ...Pure migrant species can be hard to pin down in time and place, depending on cold fronts in fall, et...**2017-08-23
Northern WaterthrushParkesia noveboracensisThe Northern Waterthrush is one of the few warblers that nests from coast to coast, though this rang...NonbreederDefinitiveTransient, and a very sparse early winter straggler. In spring, generally uncommon in the western ha...Transient. Uncommon to fairly common essentially across the entire region, in both spring and fall;...Transient. Mostly uncommon, at lower to middle elevations; presumably quite scarce over about 4,500...If you bird in suitable damp wooded areas over a several-day period in early May, or in Sep, you sta...**2017-08-23
OvenbirdSeiurus aurocapillaThe Ovenbird recently "lost" its two nearest relatives -- the Louisiana and Northern waterthrushes -...BreederDefinitiveSummer resident, and sparse winter visitor/resident. In summer, generally common over the northwest...Summer resident. Common over the region as a whole. Reasonably widespread, and common also in foot...Summer resident. Common at low to middle elevations, to about 4,000 feet, and fairly common to abou...None needed; easily heard in a morning of birding in most areas of the state in May and Jun.****2017-08-23
Blue-gray GnatcatcherPolioptila caeruleaThe Blue-gray Gnatcatcher is the only member of its small family found in the eastern half of the co...BreederDefinitiveSummer resident region-wise, and a sparse winter resident in part of the region. Common (to locally...Summer resident, with stragglers into winter. In summer, generally common to at least locally very ...Summer resident. Fairly common in lower elevations, at least in broad valleys below 2,500 feet; unc...None needed.****2017-08-23
Peregrine FalconFalco peregrinusAs with the Bald Eagle, the Peregrine Falcon populations on the continent nose-dived in the middle p...BreederDefinitiveTransient, and winter resident near the coast. Along the coast, uncommon to occasionally fairly com...Transient, with some winter reports; casual breeder. Rare in fall, and very rare to rare in spring,...Permanent resident, with migratory movements. Rare and local breeder, nesting at 10-12 cliff sites....In fall and winter, your best bet is the Bodie-Pea Island area, particularly around the impoundments...** to ***2017-08-23
American BitternBotaurus lentiginosusBoth bittern species are secretive birds of marshes, sharing their home with rails and a very few ot...BreederDefinitiveTransient and winter resident, and sparse and poorly known breeder. Uncommon migrant in coastal and...Transient and scarce winter visitor. Rare (to possibly uncommon, but easily overlooked) during migr...Transient. Rare in Apr-May and again early Aug to mid-Nov; one record in Dec. Most recent records f...Observers inland should look for bitterns during spring and fall migration at large marshes, general...**2017-08-23
American White PelicanPelecanus erythrorhynchosThis spectacular and huge species, which nests in the Great Plains and the Western states, has under...NonbreederDefinitiveMigrant and winter visitor, mainly along the northern coast and Tidewater; increasing. Coastally, r...Very rare to rare (but increasing) migrant and winter visitor, with a minimum of 28 reports. Most a...Casual to now very rare (since 2000) migrant, with at least eight records, all from the southern mou...Fortunately for the birder, individuals of this species often linger for a month or more in NC. Form...** to ***2017-08-23
Northern GannetMorus bassanusBirders seldom fail to thrill at seeing Gannets plunge-diving from dozens of feet into the ocean. T...NonbreederDefinitiveWinter resident. Common to abundant along the coast, Nov thru Apr; reasonably common in Oct and May...Accidental. One sick or injured sub-adult at Jordan Lake, 25-26 Aug 1984 (Chat 49:49); and one imma...No records.This species is a gimme along the northern half of the coast in the colder months. Hundreds can oft...****2017-08-23
Manx ShearwaterPuffinus puffinusThough the Manx Shearwater is not a rare pelagic species in North Carolina waters, it wasn't until t...NonbreederDefinitiveOffshore visitor. Generally uncommon, from Dec thru Mar, though can be fairly common in Mar; rare t...No records.No records.The several winter pelagic trips that are currently taken off Hatteras or Oregon inlets often produc...**2017-08-23
Common LoonGavia immerThe Common Loon is one of the best known waterbirds on the continent, known both to the layman and t...NonbreederDefinitiveWinter resident and transient. Along the entire coast, generally common, though less so along east-...Winter resident and transient. In midwinter, mainly uncommon on larger reservoirs, and very rare to ...Winter visitor and transient. Rare in midwinter on larger lakes (in the southern mountains), mainly...The Common Loon is more widespread in coastal areas than is the Red-throated Loon, being found on th...****2017-08-23
Red-throated LoonGavia stellataThe Red-throated Loon is often one of the most common birds on the ocean in the winter, as well as o...NonbreederDefinitiveWinter resident. Common to locally abundant along the northern coast, and generally common along th...Winter visitor and transient. Rare on larger reservoirs, with the bulk of the records from Roanoke ...Accidental; the only two records are one at "Biltmore (1904)" (Pearson et al., 1942); and one on Lak...The Swan Quarter to Ocracoke ferry, the beaches from Cape Hatteras to the Virginia border, and the b...****2017-08-23
Lesser Black-backed GullLarus fuscusHardly any other gull species' status in North Carolina has changed as rapidly over the last 20-30 y...NonbreederDefinitiveWinter visitor/resident, greatly increasing in recent years. Formerly (prior to about 1990), rare a...Winter visitor. Rare to locally uncommon, but increasing, at large lakes and landfills in the Trian...Casual or accidental. The only record is a first-year bird photographed at the Hooper Lane Sod Farm...This species is fairly easy to find in the large gull flocks that congregate at Cape Hatteras Point ...***2017-08-23
Iceland GullLarus glaucoidesThe Iceland Gull is one of the more subtly "beautiful" of the gulls, it being somewhat dainty, thoug...NonbreederDefinitiveWinter visitor, essentially coastal, with a preponderance of records from Cape Hatteras and offshore...Winter visitor; very rare, primarily to the eastern edge of the province.

Kumlien's: Very rare...

No records.To find Iceland Gulls (both taxa), you must have patience and some knowledge of gull identification,...* to **2017-08-23
RazorbillAlca tordaBy far the most numerous alcid in North Carolina waters is the Razorbill. In some recent winters, h...NonbreederDefinitiveWinter visitor offshore and coastally, increasing. Formerly (prior to 1995) rare along the coast, b...No records.No records.The Razorbill is now seldom missed on winter pelagic trips, but on some trips the birds are infreque...***2017-08-23
Thick-billed MurreUria lomviaQuite similar to the Common Murre in appearance and in overall habits, the Thick-billed Murre is a s...NonbreederDefinitiveWinter visitor, essentially coastal (inshore ocean); perhaps slightly declining in recent years. Ve...No records.No records.You will just have to luck into one along the coast in winter, though a more careful observer who sc...1/2* to *2017-08-23
Anna's HummingbirdCalypte annaThis would seem to be one of the more unlikely birds on the state list, but Anna's Hummingbirds, lik...NonbreederDefinitiveTwo records (see above).One record (see above).No records.1/2 *2017-08-23
Chuck-will's-widowAntrostomus carolinensisThis strictly nocturnal species is a characteristic breeding bird of our drier forest edges and open...BreederDefinitiveBreeding summer resident, and occasional winter visitor. Generally common in the warmer months over...Breeding summer resident. Fairly common in the extreme eastern and southern portions of the provinc...Probable breeding summer resident in a few very low elevation areas; absent in most counties. Recen...Hearing this species is seldom a problem. Simply, drive around a little bit after dusk, or before d...***2017-08-23
Red-breasted MerganserMergus serratorThe Red-breasted Merganser is one of the state's most common wintering waterfowl species, it being e...Accidental BreederDefinitiveWinter resident, and accidental breeding resident. Common to locally abundant in the Tidewater and ...Transient and winter visitor. Rare to occasionally uncommon in fall and winter, and uncommon in spr...Transient and winter visitor. Rare to occasionally uncommon in fall and winter, but more frequent (...The species is practically impossible to miss in a day of birding around salt or brackish water in w...****2017-08-23
Common MerganserMergus merganserThe Common Merganser winters regularly in the state only at one to a few inland lakes, as North Caro...BreederDefinitiveWinter resident. Rare and local over the northern half of the province, with a flock averaging at l...Winter visitor, though possibly a winter resident at Roanoke Rapids Lake; casual breeder, at a singl...Winter visitor, and casual breeder. Generally very rare, with nearly all records from the southern m...To see this species, look at Lake Phelps in the winter, with a good scope. The wintering flock usua...** to ***2017-08-23
Long-tailed DuckClangula hyemalisThis species was long known as the Oldsquaw, but its name was changed in recent years to conform to ...Nonbreeder DefinitiveWinter resident. Common in a fairly small area of northwestern Pamlico Sound near Swan Quarter; els...Transient and winter visitor. Very rare to rare, mainly at large reservoirs in the eastern part of ...Winter visitor. Casual, with only four known records, all of single individuals: in Buncombe...To see Long-tailed Ducks in NC, you should take the Swan Quarter to Ocracoke ferry. The species is ...***2017-08-23
Harlequin DuckHistrionicus histrionicusThe Harlequin Duck is the third of the three "jetty/pier" sea ducks (along with the two eiders) that...NonbreederDefinitiveRare winter visitor along the immediate coast, and very rare in estuarine waters of bays and sounds....Accidental; a single record, an immature male seen at Lake Brandt (Guilford) on 18 Feb 2007, ...No records.The finding tips are essentially the same as for eiders. Look especially under the southern end of ...*2017-08-23
Common EiderSomateria mollissimaThere are perhaps four times as many records of the Common Eider in the state as for the King Eider,...Nonbreeder DefinitiveWinter visitor, with records increasing in recent years. Rare along the entire coast (though no rec...No records.No records.You should carefully check around jetties, piers, and bridges. Also check the Oregon Inlet groin an...* to **2017-08-23
Greater ScaupAythya marilaOf our regular wintering waterfowl, the range and abundance of the Greater Scaup is more difficult t...NonbreederDefinitiveWinter visitor or possibly winter resident. Uncommon along the northern half of the coast and in Ti...Transient and winter visitor. Rare over most of the province, occurring almost solely on large lake...Transient and winter visitor. Rare in the southern mountains, from Buncombe southward. Casua...This can be a difficult bird to find and identify. Nowhere does it occur in NC in any numbers, and ...**2017-08-23
RedheadAythya americanaAs with the Canvasback, the Redhead had suffered continental population declines in recent decades, ...NonbreederDefinitiveWinter resident. Generally uncommon along the northern coast and in the Tidewater area, south to Co...Winter visitor/resident. Rare to locally uncommon, mostly in the eastern portion of the province. G...Winter visitor; rare to locally uncommon, essentially at lower elevations (below 3,000 feet). Mainly...This can be an elusive bird to find, even though thousands winter in the state. Several thousand wi...***2017-08-23
Mottled DuckAnas fulvigulaThis is the only dabbling duck (excluding Wood Duck) that regularly nests as a natural population in...NonbreederDefinitiveA recent visitor, currently rare but records greatly increasing, to the southern half of the coast. ...One male was seen by multiple observers and photographed at Riverbend Park (Catawba), 24 Jul ...No records.Your best bet is to look at ponds at Twin Lakes in summer, fall, and winter. Any other ponds and im...*2017-08-22
Tundra SwanCygnus columbianusThe only common swan in eastern North America, the Tundra Swan (formerly named the Whistling Swan) h...NonbreederDefinitiveLocally abundant winter resident in the northeastern quarter of the province, south to Pea Island NW...Rare winter visitor; no regular wintering locales. Seen mainly on larger reservoirs; typically late...Very rare winter visitor; extreme dates are 8 Nov - 30 Mar. Peak counts: 12 in flight over Valle Cru...This species can often be seen by the thousands at places such as Pea Island, Bodie Island, Pungo La...****2017-08-22
Trumpeter SwanCygnus buccinatorThis relatively rare swan of the northwestern United States and western Canada formerly nested as fa...NonbreederDefinitiveCasual (but increasing) winter visitor, but only to the Pungo and Mattamuskeet refuge areas (so far)...One accepted record -- an immature was seen and photographed at Jordan Lake (Chatham) on 19 D...One report, being reviewed by the NC BRC -- one seen and photographed on the French Broad River near...Your best (slim) hope is to search through large flocks of Tundra Swans, such as in the fields just ...1/2 *2017-08-22
Cackling GooseBranta hutchinsiiThe Cackling Goose is a rare, or overlooked, winter visitor, mainly in large concentrations of Canad...NonbreederDefinitiveProbably a rare (but annual) winter visitor, to the eastern (tidewater and north coastal) portions, ...Formerly casual, but now a very rare winter visitor; records greatly increasing in recent years. On...Casual winter visitor. At least 5 reports: Lake Junaluska (Haywood), 27 Dec 2004 - 8 Jan 200...Look for this species in fields at Pungo refuge, at Lake Mattamuskeet or in nearby fields, or at Pea...*2017-08-22
Ross's GooseAnser rossiiThe Ross's Goose is a somewhat regular winter visitor/resident, in very small numbers, amid large fl...NonbreederDefinitiveWinter visitor. Rare (to locally uncommon) but increasing winter visitor and an apparent winter res...Winter visitor. Formerly casual; now very rare to rare but greatly increasing, with about 35 records...Winter visitor. Very rare to now rare (2017), but greatly increasing, in the southern counties, wit...In the past few winters, the species has been seen, generally with Snow Geese, in fields near Pungo ...**2017-08-22
Greater White-fronted GooseAnser albifronsThe Greater White-fronted Goose is a very rare to rare winter visitor across all portions of the sta...NonbreederDefinitiveWinter visitor. Most frequent in areas where large numbers of geese and swans winter. Rare in the ...Winter visitor; very rare but somewhat increasing in recent years. Approximately 30 records, fallin...Winter visitor, slightly increasing in recent years. Very rare to rare in the southern mountains; n...There is a tendency for the species to appear with flocks of Canada Geese, both feeding in plowed fi...*2017-08-22
Northern ShrikeLanius borealisThis Far Northern species ranges routinely in winter to New Jersey and Pennsylvania, tantalizingly "...NonbreederDefinitiveAccidental. One immature male collected at Pea Island on 9 December 1909 was noted by T.G. Pearson ...No records.Accidental. There are two reports from Christmas Bird Counts near the Nathan's Creek community (...1/2 *2017-07-07
Northern HarrierCircus hudsoniusThe Northern Harrier is our only hawk that is strictly tied to marshes and fields, completely avoidi...BreederDefinitiveMigrant, winter resident, and sparse breeder; somewhat declining. Rare and poorly known breeder near...Migrant and winter visitor/resident, declining. Rare to uncommon over the entire province from mid-...Migrant, and scarce winter visitor, probably declining. Rare spring migrant, mainly in May; very ra...This species is usually easily found near the coast at extensive marshes or extensive fields, from O...****2017-07-07
LeConte's SparrowAmmodramus leconteiiThe LeConte's Sparrow is another secretive grassland/marsh sparrow of the central part of the contin...NonbreederDefinitiveWinter resident, but scarce and easily overlooked. Generally rare, to perhaps locally uncommon, in ...Transient, and straggler into winter; scarce and poorly known. Casual to very rare in both fall (be...Transient, scarce. Casual, with only five reports of single birds: in Franklin (Macon) on 17...The only reliable spot in recent years has been at a privately-owned conservation area -- North Rive...* to **2017-07-07
American WigeonMareca americanaThis American Wigeon winters over much of the state and has a distribution like so many other waterf...NonbreederDefinitiveWinter resident. Common to locally very common in the Tidewater and coastal areas south to DareUncommon winter resident, though locally fairly common (but seldom common anywhere), generally in th...Rare winter visitor, mainly at low elevations. Late Oct into Apr. Peak counts:This species is easier to find than most other dabbling ducks near the coast, though it is still har...****2017-07-07
Eurasian WigeonMareca penelopeThis Eurasian breeding species winters regularly in small numbers both along the Pacific and Atlanti...NonbreederDefinitiveRare (but annual) winter visitor to the Tidewater and northern coastal areas, though primarily at Bo...Very rare winter visitor in Wake, with roughly 10 records, but accidental to casual elsewhere...No records.To find the species, you must go to where the American Wigeons are found. The species can be found ...* to **2017-07-07
GadwallMareca streperaThough not one of our more abundant ducks, the Gadwall is one of the few that nests in some numbers ...BreederDefinitiveUncommon to locally fairly common breeding summer resident along and near the northern and central c...Winter resident. Uncommon in most areas, but locally fairly common; generally late Oct to early Apr...Winter visitor. Rare, in low elevations (mainly below 2,500 feet). Very rare at higher elevations. ...The coastal NWR's are good for finding nearly all of the dabbling ducks, including the Gadwall. A d...****2017-07-07
Northern ShovelerSpatula clypeataThe Northern Shoveler is one of the few species of waterfowl that is clearly increasing in the state...NonbreederDefinitiveWinter resident; increasing. Generally fairly common, but locally common to very common, along the ...Locally uncommon fall and spring migrant, most frequent in Mar. Rare to locally uncommon in midwint...Rare spring and fall migrant, and very rare winter visitor, mainly in lower elevations. Late Oct to...It is easily found at most coastal NWR's, such as Mattamuskeet and Pea Island. You should be able t...****2017-07-07
Cinnamon TealSpatula cyanopteraThe Cinnamon Teal is a stray to the Eastern states from the western half of the continent. As with ...NonbreederDefinitiveCasual to very rare visitor. At least 11 records, all of single birds, the last in spring 2001. In ...No records.No records.The species, of course, cannot be searched for in NC with any realistic hope of finding. However, t...1/2*2017-07-07
Blue-winged TealSpatula discorsUnlike nearly all other species of waterfowl in the East, the bulk of the population of Blue-winged ...Former BreederDefinitiveCommon spring and fall migrant in the Tidewater section, including the coast; generally uncommon in ...Uncommon to often fairly common spring and fall migrant; mid-Mar to mid-May, and late Aug to mid-Oct...Uncommon spring and fall migrant, mainly at low elevations; early Apr to early May, and late Aug to ...This species is easily found at coastal impoundments and other freshwater bodies near the coast, in ...*** to ****2017-07-07
GarganeySpatula querquedulaThis Old World species breeds from the British Isles eastward to the Pacific Coast of Siberia. Thus...NonbreederProvisionalAccidental. The only state record, accepted by the NC BRC as being of wild origin, was of a male see...No records.No records.1/2*2017-07-07
Snow GooseAnser caerulescensThe Snow Goose is a winter resident, occurring in large numbers in the northern tidewater areas; it ...NonbreederDefinitiveWinter resident, mainly near the coast. Locally common to abundant in winter, mainly in several lar...Scarce winter visitor, though sightings increasing in the western portions in recent years. Rare, s...Scarce, but increasing, winter visitor. Very rare; all but five records are from the southern areas...Though notably declining along the immediate coast, Snow Geese are usually seen in winter at Bodie a...****2017-07-07
Crested CaracaraCaracara cheriwayThe Crested Caracara is essentially a non-migratory "falcon" of dry grasslands, prairies, ranchlands...NonbreederDefinitiveOne definitive record, and two other non-accepted reports (see above).No records.No records.1/2 *2017-04-25
Little EgretEgretta garzettaThis Old World species strays to the Atlantic coast on rare occasions, and VA has had several record...NonbreederDefinitiveOne record (see above).No records.No records.1/2*2017-04-25
Violet-green SwallowTachycineta thalassinaThe Violet-green Swallow is a reasonably common breeding species of open montane forests of the west...NonbreederProvisionalNo records.One accepted record (see above).No records.The species can easily be overlooked as a Tree Swallow. It seems more likely to appear in NC as a f...1/2*2017-04-25
White-cheeked PintailAnas bahamensisThe White-cheeked Pintail is a species native to the West Indies and southward far into South Americ...NonbreederDefinitiveThree records (see above), though only one accepted as wild (and thus valid).No records.No records.The species is likely to appear again in the state in the near future, as wild or escaped, and thus ...1/2*2017-04-25
Henslow's SparrowAmmodramus henslowiiThe Henslow's Sparrow has always been one of the rarest sparrows in North America, and being a grass...BreederDefinitiveSummer resident, and winter resident, over parts of the region; strongly declining. In summer, now ...Spring transient and former breeder; strongly declining. Currently, casual to very rare spring migra...Transient, and possible former breeder; strongly declining. Casual in spring; mainly Apr to early M...The species can now be difficult to find at VOA site A, as most birds are now (2015) found in the sh...** to ***2017-02-06