Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
The 100 most recent account entries/updates.
Blue-winged TealSpatula discorsUnlike nearly all other species of waterfowl in the East, the bulk of the population of Blue-winged ...Former BreederDefinitiveWSHB,S2NG5Common 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 ****2021-10-21
Yellow-green VireoVireo flavoviridisThis is a species of the Neotropics, nesting from northern Mexico into northern South America. Is i...NonbreederProvisionalSAG5One record (see above).No records.No records.1/2 *2021-09-05
Wedge-tailed ShearwaterArdenna pacificaThis is a very common shearwater of the warmer Pacific and Indian oceans but is essentially absent f...NonbreederProvisionalSAG5One record (see above).No records.No records.1/2 *2021-09-05
MerlinFalco columbariusThe Merlin is a very feisty raptor for its size, and its dashing flight chasing down shorebirds and ...Possible breederDefinitiveS3NG5Transient, and winter resident in the eastern part of the region. Uncommon to fairly common fall mi...Transient, with some winter reports. Rare fall and spring migrant, may be locally uncommon in fall ...Transient, with some winter reports. Very rare to rare fall and spring migrant; very rare winter vi...Your best chance to see a Merlin is to visit the coast in Oct, especially after a cold front. Birds...** to ***2021-09-04
Painted BuntingPasserina cirisThe adult male Painted Bunting is certainly the gaudiest-colored of North American songbirds. Thank...BreederDefinitiveSCS3BG5Summer resident along the southern coast, and sparse winter resident/visitor along the coast, even t...Very rare (but increasing) visitor, scattered over the year. About 27 records, all of single birds....Accidental visitor. The only known records are one at a feeder in Asheville, 9-12 Mar 2004; and a f...Should be easily found along the southern coast in late Apr, May, and Jun, at places such as Fort Ma...*** to ****2021-09-04
Lazuli BuntingPasserina amoenaAccidental; two confirmed records, with three others currently under review. An immature male was s...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG5One confirmed record, and two additional ones under review (see above). One record (see above).No confirmed records.1/2*2021-09-04
Western TanagerPiranga ludovicianaThe Western Tanager is a rare visitor and over-wintering "resident" in North Carolina, but it occurs...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Scarce "transient" and winter visitor, with close to 90 records. Very rare to rare in winter along ...Scarce "transient" and winter visitor, with about 28 records. Very rare visitor, mainly from early ...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.*2021-09-04
Tennessee WarblerLeiothlypis peregrinaIn 2010, the American Ornithologists' Union moved several warblers out of the genus Vermivora...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Transient. In spring, very rare in the region (about 12 reports -- 3 in 2021). In fall, generally ...Transient. In spring, very rare to rare in the eastern portion, and rare farther west. In fall, fa...Transient. In spring, rare to uncommon, mainly in valleys and elsewhere below about 3,500 feet. In...The species is difficult to miss on a day of birding in the mountains during much of September, such...****2021-09-04
Blue-winged WarblerVermivora cyanopteraThe Blue-winged Warbler nests in the eastern United States and extreme southeastern Canada. Its nes...BreederDefinitiveSRS2BG5Transient. Migrates in spring and fall across the region, but scarce. In spring, uncommon in the w...Transient. Uncommon and easily overlooked in both spring and fall (not really "rare"). Distributio...Transient, and scarce summer resident, though with few records of breeding evidence. In summer, rar...Perhaps a visit to Sandy Mush Game Land in late May or early June could produce a sighting, as might...**2021-09-04
Brewer's BlackbirdEuphagus cyanocephalusThe Brewer's Blackbird is an abundant bird of the Western half of the country. It is somewhat migra...NonbreederDefinitiveS1NG5Winter resident at one and possibly two sites, otherwise a sparse winter visitor and transient. Kno...Scarce transient and winter visitor; some published records are certainly of mid-identifications. ...Scarce transient. Very rare to rare in southern mountain valleys, and casual in the northern half o...Arrangements to access Open Ground Farms have always been tricky, and this is not a good option. Re...* to **2021-09-04
Bullock's OrioleIcterus bullockiiThe Bullock's Oriole is the western counterpart to the Baltimore Oriole. Originally classified as s...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Casual to (formerly) very rare winter visitor; most records prior to 2010. There are about 10 recor...Casual to very rare winter visitor. There are about 12 records, with five birds over-wintering. Re...No records.Your first Bullock's Oriole will likely be seen at someone's feeder.1/2*2021-09-04
LeConte's SparrowAmmospiza leconteiiThe LeConte's Sparrow is another secretive grassland/marsh sparrow of the central part of the contin...NonbreederDefinitiveS1?NG5Winter resident, but scarce and easily overlooked. Generally rare, to perhaps locally uncommon, in ...Transient, and straggler into winter; scarce and poorly known. Very rare in both fall (between 23 O...Transient, scarce. Casual, with only eight reports of single birds: in Franklin (Macon) on 1...The only reliable spot in recent years has been at a privately-owned conservation area -- North Rive...* to **2021-09-04
Dark-eyed JuncoJunco hyemalisThe Dark-eyed Junco has been a taxonomic "nightmare" for decades. Until a few decades ago, this spe...BreederDefinitiveS5B,S5NG5Winter resident. Common to abundant over the western and central portions; fairly common to common i...Winter resident, and a very sparse breeder in a few foothill ranges. Very common to abundant in win...Permanent resident (but not in summer at low elevations), with migratory movements. Common to very ...None needed.****2021-09-04
Clay-colored SparrowSpizella pallidaThe Clay-colored Sparrow was primarily a "Western"/Midwestern" species until a few decades ago. How...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Transient, and sparse winter resident, mainly near the coast. In fall, rare to uncommon along the c...Transient, essentially in fall and winter. Very rare in fall and winter (about 15 records in fall a...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...**2021-09-04
Varied ThrushIxoreus naeviusThis Far Western thrush was an embarrassing "miss" or "hole" on the North Carolina bird list for man...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG5No records. Accidental to casual; four records. An adult female was seen on three dates between 19 and 29 Dec 2...Accidental. An adult male was photographed in Fletcher (Henderson) on 1 Feb 2010* (Chat 74:6...1/2 *2021-09-04
Common RavenCorvus coraxThe Common Raven is considered to be the largest passerine in the world. It also is the one occurri...BreederDefinitiveWS3G5Formerly (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...***2021-09-04
Loggerhead ShrikeLanius ludovicianusThe Loggerhead Shrike was historically rare to absent as a breeding species in the East, but with th...BreederDefinitiveSCS3B,S3NG4Permanent resident, with migratory movements. Nests east to about Roanoke Rapids, Washington, and W...Permanent resident, with slightly noticeable migratory movements. Formerly (prior to about 1975) ne...Transient and winter visitor/resident, and likely former breeder. Now a very rare transient in the ...Your best bet is to drive secondary roads in Robeson or Scotland counties, where the s...***2021-09-04
Black-whiskered VireoVireo altiloquusFor a species that nests in the West Indies and north to the western and southern coasts of Florida,...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Casual to very rare along and near the coast, in spring; a remarkable 12 records so far. One was se...No records.No records.If one is birding along the southern coastline in May or early June, especially on islands, it doesn...1/2*2021-09-04
Willow FlycatcherEmpidonax trailliiIn 1973, the American Ornithologists' Union split Traill's Flycatcher into two "song type" species -...BreederDefinitiveWS3BG5Transient. Poorly known because of difficulty of identification. Very rare to rare (probably) alon...Transient, and sparse summer resident. Rare and local breeder in scattered sites in the western half...Summer resident. Uncommon, to very locally fairly common, at lower elevations throughout the region...Good places to look for the species are to drive along roads that parallel the New River, or the Sou...***2021-09-04
Alder FlycatcherEmpidonax alnorumPrior to 1973, Alder and Willow flycatchers were considered as a single species -- Traill's Flycatch...BreederDefinitiveSRS2BG5Transient. Status very poorly known, but apparently casual to (at best) very rare. There are only ...Transient; apparently very rare. Very poorly known, though possible regular in both spring and fall...Summer resident; breeding, mainly above 3,500 feet elevation. Generally uncommon and local, with th...Some of the better sites for finding the species are the road to the Shining Rock Wilderness and Bla...***2021-09-04
Scissor-tailed FlycatcherTyrannus forficatusThe beautiful Scissor-tailed Flycatcher nests in the south-central United States, primarily in Texas...BreederDefinitiveWSAB,SZG5Transient/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...*2021-09-04
Ash-throated FlycatcherMyiarchus cinerascensThe Ash-throated Flycatcher is another Western species, breeding from southern Washington to Texas. ...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Greatly increasing in late fall and winter. Late autumn migrant/visitor, with birds attempting to o...Casual stray/visitor. Two sight reports are from the Raleigh area: one on 16 May 1973 (Chat 39:40-4...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...*2021-09-04
Snowy OwlBubo scandiacusArguably one of the most spectacular birds in North America, the Snowy Owl is, unfortunately, seldom...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG4Winter visitor. Until the late fall and winter 2013-2014, casual to very rare along the immediate co...Winter visitor; formerly (prior to about 1953) very rare. No records between that year and early wi...Winter visitor; accidental. Multiple reports from north of Weaverville, Buncombe, in 1891; an...Because it is too rare to search for in NC, you will need to keep abreast of listserves. Needless t...1/2*2021-09-03
Mississippi KiteIctinia mississippiensisMississippi Kites are a major success story in North Carolina and elsewhere in their breeding range,...BreederDefinitiveS3BG5Summer 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 ...Rare migrant/visitor (increasing) in the southern mountains (about 25 records). Casual north of H...Visiting the Lock and Dam #1 area or the NC 11 bridge over the Cape Fear River has been consistently...***2021-09-03
Cooper's HawkAccipiter cooperiiThis Accipiter was apparently a reasonably numerous breeding species in the first half of the...BreederDefinitiveS3S4B,S4NG5Permanent resident, with migratory movements; increasing. Generally uncommon in migration and as a w...Permanent resident, with some migratory movements; increasing. Uncommon in fall, winter, and spring...Permanent resident, with some migratory movements; slightly increasing. Uncommon fall migrant, rare...You simply cannot search for this species; you must be afield frequently, and keep your eyes open to...**2021-09-03
Golden EagleAquila chrysaetosThis very large and powerful raptor -- the largest in the state -- has always had a mysterious prese...Former Probable BreederDefinitiveSRSUB,S1NG5Migrant and winter visitor. Rare in the vicinity of lakes Mattamuskeet and Pungo and at Alligator R...Scarce migrant; about 27 reports. Very rare, mainly in fall and early winter, across the province; ...Scarce winter resident, and also a scarce year-round visitor and migrant. Presently, a rare fall mi...Over the years there has been a record of Golden Eagle every few winters in the Lake Mattamuskeet --...*2021-09-03
Roseate SpoonbillPlatalea ajajaHardly any bird is more easily identified than the Roseate Spoonbill. This tropical breeder nests no...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Post-breeding visitor and stray, mostly to the coast. Very rare to (now) rare along the southern co...Formerly accidental to casual, but now very rare, post-breeding visitor, with seven known records un...Casual post-breeding visitor, with all records from 2018 (Chat 82:112). Singles were seen on the Fr...Increasing annually now, and can now be tracked down to see, as some have lingered for a while, espe...* to **2021-09-03
American White PelicanPelecanus erythrorhynchosThis spectacular and huge species, which nests in the Great Plains and the Western states, has under...NonbreederDefinitiveS1NG4Migrant and winter visitor, most frequent along the northern coast and Tidewater; increasing. Coast...Rare (but increasing) migrant and winter visitor. Most are from large reservoirs, early Sep to mid-...Very rare migrant, with at least 11 records, nearly all from the southern mountains; records and num...Fortunately for the birder, individuals of this species often linger for a month or more in NC. Form...***2021-09-03
Brown BoobySula leucogasterThe Brown Booby is (or at least was a few years ago) a rarer bird off our coast than is the Masked B...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Nonbreeding visitor, mainly offshore in the Gulf Stream, but there are quite a few records from shor...Casual, with four records. An adult female was seen and photographed on many dates at Lookout Shoal...No records.As with other rare pelagic species, you will have to take dozens of trips out of Oregon Inlet or Hat...*2021-09-03
Masked BoobySula dactylatraAs with the tropicbirds, the two boobies recorded in North Carolina waters also are rare enough, and...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Nonbreeding visitor, mainly offshore in the Gulf Stream. Rare from early Jun to mid-Sep; very rare ...No records.No records.Finding the Masked Booby in North Carolina is a matter of persistence; you must be prepared to take ...*2021-09-03
Wood StorkMycteria americanaThe Wood Stork is probably the most significant wader in the state, because it is a Federally listed...BreederDefinitiveTTS1B,S1NG4Summer resident and post-breeding visitor, greatly increasing; rare straggler in winter. Locally co...Post-breeding visitor, greatly increasing. Formerly very rare to now locally rare, mainly from Jun ...Post-breeding visitor; very rare to now rare in the southern and central mountains, with about 12 re...The species can almost always be found around the margins of the two freshwater ponds at Twin Lakes,...****2021-09-03
Manx ShearwaterPuffinus puffinusThough the Manx Shearwater is not a rare pelagic species in North Carolina waters, it wasn't until t...NonbreederDefinitiveS1NG5Offshore visitor, but at times seen from shore. Generally uncommon, from Dec thru Mar, though can b...No records.No records.The several winter pelagic trips that are currently taken off Hatteras or Oregon inlets often produc...**2021-09-03
Sooty ShearwaterArdenna griseaThe Sooty Shearwater is one of the most abundant birds in the world, as it occurs nearly worldwide, ...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Offshore visitor, though frequently seen from shore, especially at Cape Hatteras Point and elsewhere...Accidental visitor, but with no confirmation as yet. One seen at Falls Lake (Wake/Durham) af...Accidental visitor; one record, a specimen found at Twin Oaks, Alleghany, Aug 1939 (Auk 65:14...To find this species, you must make a conscious effort to look for it within its one-month window. ...** to ***2021-09-03
Wilson's Storm-PetrelOceanites oceanicusSome authorities consider the Wilson's Storm-Petrel to be the world's most abundant seabird. Certai...NonbreederDefinitiveS5NG5Offshore visitor to the Gulf Stream, and less so to the cooler water zones. Common to abundant from ...Accidental to casual visitor, after hurricanes. Three records: 3 at Jordan Lake, 6 Sep 1996 (after ...No records.This is seldom missed on pelagic trips from May into Oct. ****2021-09-03
Pacific LoonGavia pacificaThis Arctic breeding species winters essentially along the Pacific coast. For unknown reasons, the ...NonbreederDefinitiveS1NG5Winter visitor along the coast, and a winter resident in a local area; many dozen records, greatly i...Casual. Four records: one at L. Tahoma (McDowell) on 6 May 2007, in alternate plumage (Chat ...Accidental. A single record: one photographed at Lake Julian (Buncombe) on 5-6 Jan 2012* (Ch...To look for this species, you must be prepared to carefully scrutinize loons on the ocean, with a sc...* to **2021-09-03
Red-billed TropicbirdPhaethon aethereusUntil the mid- or late 1990's, there were very few records of the spectacular Red-billed Tropicbird,...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Offshore visitor. Rare in the Gulf Stream, and less regular than White-tailed, from spring to fall;...No records.No records.Seeing a Red-billed Tropicbird on an organized pelagic trip is simply a matter of luck, though there...*2021-09-03
Arctic TernSterna paradisaeaTo see this species in North Carolina, one must take a pelagic trip in late spring, or less likely i...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Transient, essentially offshore. Offshore -- uncommon in spring, and rare in fall; status in fall w...Very rare storm-carried visitor. Seven records: one at a parking lot in Shelby on 22 Sep 1989 (afte...No records.Your best bet, by far, is to take a pelagic trip out of Oregon or Hatteras inlets in the latter half...**2021-09-03
Least TernSternula antillarumThe smallest tern in North America, the Least Tern is a familiar yet slowly declining breeding speci...BreederDefinitiveSCS3BG4Breeding summer resident along the coast; declining until a few years ago, but recently has increase...Primarily a storm-carried visitor. Very rare at reservoirs, mainly during and after hurricanes; abo...No records.This species is not usually missed on coastal birding trips from May through Aug, though it isn't qu...***2021-09-03
Lesser Black-backed GullLarus fuscusHardly any other gull species' status in North Carolina has changed as rapidly over the last 20-30 y...NonbreederDefinitiveS3NG5Winter visitor/resident, greatly increasing in recent years. Formerly (prior to about 1990), rare a...Winter visitor/resident?. Rare to locally uncommon, but greatly increasing, at large lakes and land...Casual or accidental. The only records are a first-year bird photographed at the Hooper Lane Sod Fa...This species is easy to find in the large gull flocks that congregate at Cape Hatteras Point from la...***2021-09-03
California GullLarus californicusDespite this being a very common to locally abundant nesting bird in the Canadian and United States ...Nonbreeder DefinitiveSZG5Winter visitor along the coast, with most records from Cape Hatteras Point. Typically occurs as sin...Accidental. The only record is of an adult seen at the Raleigh landfill on 22 Jan 2005* (Chat 69:80...No records.To see this species in the state, one should be in an ORV at Cape Hatteras Point in winter, carefull...*2021-09-03
Franklin's GullLeucophaeus pipixcanThe Franklin's Gull, the "cousin" of the Laughing Gull, does not breed along the ocean coasts, but i...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Visitor/transient, essentially along the coast, and mostly in fall. Coastally, casual in spring, wi...Very rare visitor (11 records). Accidental in spring, with the only record being of one in breeding...Very rare visitor to the southern portion of the province. Eight records: 1 at Hooper Lane (Hende...The species is too rare to intentionally search for. However, birders should be aware of the specie...*2021-09-03
Little GullHydrocoloeus minutusLike the Black-headed Gull, the Little Gull is essentially an Old World species, though in the past ...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Winter visitor, essentially only along the coast and in near offshore waters. From Hatteras Inlet n...Casual to now very rare winter visitor. Five records of single birds at Jordan Lake: an immature se...No records.This species is reliably found among the large flocks of Bonaparte's Gulls along the northern half o...**2021-09-03
Black-headed GullChroicocephalus ridibundusAs mentioned under the Bonaparte's Gull account, the Black-headed Gull has a new scientific name, af...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Winter visitor, essentially only along the coast and in the Tidewater zone. Rare, and perhaps sligh...Casual to very rare; six records. One adult seen in a flock of Bonaparte's Gulls at Jordan Lake on ...No records.Black-headed Gulls are somewhat more likely to be found with Ring-billed Gulls than with other gulls...*2021-09-03
Atlantic PuffinFratercula arcticaThe Atlantic Puffin is one of the most charismatic waterbirds in North America, very popular with th...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Winter visitor/resident, essentially only offshore. Formerly very rare, but now uncommon and increa...No records.No records.Take a pelagic trip out of Hatteras or Oregon inlets in winter. In recent winters, several trips usu...**2021-09-03
RazorbillAlca tordaBy far the most numerous alcid in North Carolina waters is the Razorbill. In some recent winters, h...NonbreederDefinitiveS2NG5Winter resident offshore and coastally, increasing. Formerly (prior to 1995) rare along the coast, ...No records.No records.The Razorbill is now seldom missed on winter pelagic trips, but on some trips the birds are infreque...***2021-09-03
Red-necked PhalaropePhalaropus lobatusThe Red-necked Phalarope and the Red Phalarope are the two pelagic shorebirds, and to see both in th...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG4G5Transient, primarily offshore. Generally a fairly common offshore migrant in both spring and fall, ...Transient. Very rare to rare, in both spring and fall, usually seen only during and after storms, an...Transient. Casual/very rare in spring; the only records are 1 in Linville (Avery) on 17-18 M...Take a pelagic trip out of Hatteras or Oregon inlets -- either in the latter part of May, or in the ...**2021-09-03
DovekieAlle alleThe Dovekie is, by far, the smallest of the six species of Atlantic alcids. It is one of three -- a...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Mostly an offshore winter visitor, quite erratic from winter to winter. There were several notable ...Accidental. One record, during the memorable late 1950 flight, is from Raleigh on 7 or 8 Dec (1950) ...No records.To try to see the species in NC, you should sign up for a pelagic trip, preferably in Feb, to the co...**2021-09-03
Parasitic JaegerStercorarius parasiticusThough the Parasitic Jaeger is probably more numerous globally than the Pomarine Jaeger, in our wate...NonbreederDefinitiveS1NG5Transient, and poorly-known winter visitor/resident, to the offshore zone and the inshore ocean. Un...Visitor to lakes and reservoirs, mostly storm-related. Casual to very rare, with six records: 1 at ...No records.This species can be seen from shore almost anywhere along the coast, though Cape Lookout and Cape Ha...**2021-09-03
South Polar SkuaStercorarius maccormickiAlthough there are many more records (over 75) in the state of this Antarctic region breeder than th...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Offshore migrant and summer visitor. Rare to occasionally uncommon in late spring, mostly from the ...No records.No records.A trip to the warm waters of the Gulf Stream is necessary to have a good chance of seeing this speci...* to **2021-09-03
WilletTringa semipalmataThe Willet is one of the few shorebirds that nests in North Carolina, and essentially the only one t...BreederDefinitiveS4B,S4NG5Permanent resident, with migratory movements, along the coast, breeding in salt and brackish marshes...Transient. Very rare in spring, and very rare to rare in fall; quite erratic, and many records in f...Transient, nearly all records at low elevations in the southern mountains. Very rare in spring, with...Willets are noisy and hard to miss along the coast for most of the year.****2021-08-30
Short-billed DowitcherLimnodromus griseusAmong the most difficult identification problem facing birders is the separation of the two dowitche...NonbreederDefinitiveS4NG5Transient and winter resident, mainly along the coast. Common to abundant spring and fall migrant a...Transient. Very rare in spring, and rare to often uncommon (though local) in fall. Mainly early an...Transient, mainly in Henderson and Transylvania. Very rare in spring and in fall, at ...This species is hard to miss along the coast during the migrations.****2021-08-30
RuffCalidris pugnaxThis Old World breeder makes annual visits to the eastern shore of North America, and its appearance...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Transient/visitor during the warmer months, essentially along the coast. There are at least 45 repo...Accidental in spring, and casual in fall (four reports), with all five reports from the eastern Pied...No records.The species is simply too rare in the state to hope to find on your own. Check impoundments and sew...1/2 * to *2021-08-30
Ruddy TurnstoneArenaria interpresExcept for the closely related Black Turnstone of the Pacific Coast, the Ruddy Turnstone is a rather...NonbreederDefinitiveS3NG5Transient and winter resident, mainly along the coast. Common migrant along the coast, though seldo...Transient. Casual to very rare in spring, and rare in fall, mainly at large reservoirs. In spring,...Transient. Casual to very rare in spring and fall, with all records from Henderson except fo...Turnstones are widespread along the coast, at least during the migrations, and are easily found, exc...****2021-08-30
Bar-tailed GodwitLimosa lapponicaThis Eurasian shorebird has appeared along the East Coast much more often than the Black-tailed Godw...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG4Very rare visitor, with four spring and 10+ fall reports, all from the coast, plus one in winter. T...No records.No records.As the species has been seen now for five consecutive falls (2016-20) at the eastern end of Shacklef...*2021-08-30
Eared GrebePodiceps nigricollisThe Eared Grebe also breeds, like the Red-necked and Horned grebes, in some Prairie pothole lakes an...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Winter visitor and transient, and former winter resident at Goldsboro. Rare but annual along the ent...Winter visitor and transient. Very rare to rare on the larger reservoirs, and very rare elsewhere; s...Casual to very rare transient in the southern mountains. Records are of single birds at Brevard, 10 ...It was formerly seen each fall and winter at the Goldsboro sewage ponds; however, reports have been ...* to **2021-08-30
Common MerganserMergus merganserThe Common Merganser is both a breeder and a wintering bird in the state, but with different "popula...BreederDefinitiveWS1B,S1NG5Winter 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. Rare in m...Formerly casual to now (2020) rare but increasing breeder; scarce winter visitor. Generally rare in...To best see this species, look at Lake Phelps in the winter, with a good scope. The wintering flock...** to ***2021-08-30
Common EiderSomateria mollissimaThere are perhaps four times as many records of the Common Eider in the state as for the King Eider,...Nonbreeder DefinitiveSZG5Winter 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 **2021-08-30
Cinnamon TealSpatula cyanopteraThe Cinnamon Teal is a stray to the Eastern states from the western half of the continent. As with ...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Casual to very rare visitor. At least 14 records, all but one of single birds, and just a few since...No records.No records.The species, of course, cannot be searched for in NC with any realistic hope of finding. However, t...1/2*2021-08-30
Greater White-fronted GooseAnser albifronsThe Greater White-fronted Goose is a rare (but increasing) winter visitor across all portions of the...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Winter visitor, though seemingly not a winter resident (yet) like Ross's Goose and Cackling Goose. ...Winter visitor; very rare to now rare, somewhat increasing in recent years. Approximately 39 record...Winter visitor, slightly increasing in recent years. Now rare in the southern mountains; no records...There is a tendency for the species to appear with flocks of Canada Geese, both feeding in plowed fi...* to **2021-08-30
Black-bellied Whistling-DuckDendrocygna autumnalisThe Black-bellied Whistling-Duck is a recent stray to coastal and tidewater areas, with the only acc...Accidental BreederDefinitiveSZG5Now a rare to occasionally uncommon but strongly increasing visitor to the southern coastal areas an...Very rare but increasing; only about 11 known records, though records should increase greatly over t...Very rare but increasing; about 7 records as of early 2020. A flock of 12 was seen and photographed...The species is most likely to show up in the Twin Lakes area of Brunswick, based on closest p...**2021-08-30
Golden-crowned SparrowZonotrichia atricapillaThough this is a species of the northwestern portions of North America, breeding only from Alaska to...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG5One record (see above).No records.No records.1/2*2021-08-30
Pine SiskinSpinus pinusThe Pine Siskin is another "winter finch", but like the Red Crossbill, it also nests in the North Ca...BreederDefinitiveWS1B,S3NG5Winter visitor, erratic from season to season; declining. Currently, very rare to rare in some seas...Winter visitor, erratic from season to season; declining; apparently an accidental breeder. Current...Summer resident at higher elevations, and winter visitor elsewhere (but erratic and declining). In ...Your best bet is to bird the spruce-fir forests, such as Roan Mountain, Mount Mitchell, or in the De...**2021-08-04
Hermit ThrushCatharus guttatusThe Hermit Thrush is the only Catharus thrush that winters in the United States, even though ...BreederDefinitiveSRS3B,S5NG5Winter resident. Formerly fairly common, but now common over the eastern half of the region, and fa...Winter resident. Fairly common over the southeastern half or two-thirds of the province, but uncomm...Summer resident at high elevations, and winter resident throughout. In summer, uncommon to locally ...This species is reasonably easy to find in winter in forests near the coast that have much broadleaf...*** to ****2021-08-04
Cliff SwallowPetrochelidon pyrrhonotaThe Cliff Swallow nests from coast to coast across the continent, and it is much more abundant in th...BreederDefinitiveS4BG5Transient, 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...****2021-08-04
Olive-sided FlycatcherContopus cooperiThe Olive-sided Flycatcher has a very wide breeding range, in the boreal forests from Alaska to Labr...Former Probable BreederDefinitiveWSUG4Transient. Very rare in fall, and casual/accidental in spring; only about 16 records. The only two...Transient. Rare in both spring and fall, across the region. Primarily from early May to late May, w...Transient and former summer resident, with current "breeding" status undetermined. Many scattered re...This bird is too rare to expect to see one. Your best bet is to drive roads in the mountains, especi...*2021-08-04
Yellow-bellied SapsuckerSphyrapicus variusThe Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is the only true migratory woodpecker species in eastern North America....BreederDefinitiveSRS2B,S5NG5Winter resident. Fairly common to occasionally or locally common throughout; less common on barrier ...Winter resident. Fairly common essentially throughout. Mainly from late Sep to mid-Apr; dates rang...Breeder and winter resident, with strong migratory movements. Rare to uncommon and quite local as a...In the breeding season, check any of the areas listed above, for the mountains. From Oct through Mar...*** (winter)2021-08-04
Rufous HummingbirdSelasphorus rufusThe Rufous Hummingbird is the state's second-most numerous hummingbird, and though it breeds in the ...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG4Transient and winter visitor. Very rare along the coast and in the Tidewater zone, mainly at feeders...Transient and winter visitor. Very rare to rare (essentially only at feeders) across the province, ...Fall transient and winter visitor, but primary in the fall season. Very rare, and mainly at feeders...One has a reasonable chance to see one during the year, but only by visiting a feeder with a known b...* to **2021-08-04
Barred OwlStrix variaThis is the "swamp owl", being the nocturnal counterpart of the Red-shouldered Hawk; both nest and f...BreederDefinitiveS5G5Permanent resident, apparently non-migratory. Fairly common over the province, except absent on mos...Permanent resident, non-migratory. Fairly common in suitable floodplains, but uncommon in areas whe...Permanent resident, non-migratory. Uncommon in most areas, but locally fairly common, and it even o...To hear a Barred Owl, be at a road crossing through a bottomland or swamp. They normally call witho...***2021-08-04
Purple GallinulePorphyrio martinicusThe beautiful Purple Gallinule has always been at the northeastern periphery of its breeding range i...BreederDefinitiveSRS1BG5Sparse and irregular visitor, and former (to possibly current) breeding summer resident; casual to v...Stray (about nine records). Casual in migration; mainly May-Jun. Two other records: 1, Camp Grayst...Accidental stray (three records): 1 found in emaciated condition, Hazelwood (Haywood), 18 Apr...Formerly, one could see the Purple Gallinule from the causeway at Orton Plantation. However, the ve...*2021-08-04
Black RailLaterallus jamaicensisAs notoriously secretive as the Yellow Rail, this species at least can be coaxed into view on occasi...BreederDefinitiveSCTS1G3Permanent resident, with migratory movements, near the coast; decreasing in recent years. Seemingly...Poorly known breeder (at least formerly) and transient. Casual to very rare breeder, at least forme...Formerly casual breeder at low elevations; now essentially unknown/accidental. Formerly nested near...To hear a Black Rail, visit the Cedar Island marsh causeway (NC 12), or the Wanchese marshes east of...**2021-08-04
Black VultureCoragyps atratusThough the Black Vulture is one of the most abundant and widespread "raptors" in the New World, in N...BreederDefinitiveS5G5Permanent resident, mostly non-migratory but with some local movements; slightly increasing. Fairly ...Permanent resident, with barely noticeable local movements; slightly increasing. Uncommon to fairly...Permanent resident, with some migratory movements; increasing?. Mostly rare to uncommon in lower el...In a normal day of birding downstate, you are likely to see it once every day or two, if reasonably ...***2021-08-04
MallardAnas platyrhynchosThe overly familiar Mallard used to be only a winter resident in NC, except as "accidental" nesters....Breeder; FeralDefinitiveS5B,S5NG5Common winter resident in the Tidewater region and northern coastal region, though often only fairly...Fairly common to common winter resident; fairly common breeder, increasing (feral population). Peak ...Mostly uncommon to locally fairly common winter resident, and rare to uncommon but increasing breede...This is a widespread species during the cooler months, and though not a "gimme", it is the most ofte...****2021-08-04
Cackling GooseBranta hutchinsiiThe Cackling Goose is a rare but increasing winter resident (near the coast) and winter visitor inla...NonbreederDefinitiveS1NG5Rare to locally uncommon winter resident, to the eastern (tidewater and north coastal) portions, alm...Formerly casual, but now a rare winter visitor to the western Piedmont, but still (oddly) very rare ...Very rare winter visitor (but only in the southern counties). At least 7 reports: Lake Junaluska (<...Look for this species in fields at Pungo refuge, at Lake Mattamuskeet or in nearby fields, or at Pea...**2021-08-04
Ross's GooseAnser rossiiThe Ross's Goose is a regular winter resident, in very small numbers, amid large flocks of Snow Gees...NonbreederDefinitiveS1NG4Winter resident. Rare to locally uncommon but increasing in winter -- regular at a few sites -- in ...Winter visitor. Formerly casual; now rare but greatly increasing, with about 44 records. Scattered ...Winter visitor. Rare, but greatly increasing, in the southern counties, with about 40 records. All...In the past few winters, the species has been seen, generally with Snow Geese, in fields near Pungo ...**2021-08-04
Great CormorantPhalacrocorax carboThe Great Cormorant is still another species that has greatly increased in the East over the past se...NonbreederDefinitiveS1NG5Winter resident and visitor along the coast. Uncommon and local, mainly around inlets; generally fro...Very rare migrant and winter visitor. About 12 records, all at reservoirs in the eastern and centra...No records.The species is reliably seen at just a few places along the NC coast. Your best bet is at Wrightsvi...***2021-08-04
White-winged ScoterMelanitta deglandiBy far the least common of the scoters along the mid-Atlantic coast, the White-winged Scoter can be ...NonbreederDefinitiveS1NG5Winter visitor. Uncommon and erratic (depending on the severity of the weather) along the immediate...Transient and winter visitor. Rare (but the most frequent scoter in the province), mainly to larger...Transient. Very rare to rare in the southern counties, and unknown as yet from north of Buncombe...This is a tough bird to find in the state, and many birders often require two or three winters to fi...**2021-08-04
Great EgretArdea albaThe Great Egret is one of the most easily observed and identified wading birds in North Carolina, oc...BreederDefinitiveS4B,S4NG5Permanent resident along the coast and in Tidewater areas, with numbers increased during migration. ...Primarily a post-breeding visitor; however, it breeds in a colony with Great Blue Herons in Rowan...Essentially a post-breeding visitor. Uncommon in lower elevations, mainly mid-Jul to late Sep; rare...The species is difficult to miss near the coast, except in late winter. Often seen inland at lakes ...****2021-07-16
White-winged TernChlidonias leucopterusThis European species has been quite regular in late summer and early fall at refuges to our North, ...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG5Two records (see above).No records.No records.1/2*2021-07-13
Painted RedstartMyioborus pictusThe Painted Redstart is one of the more beautiful of North American wood-warblers, being a species p...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG5One record (see above).No records.No records.1/2 *2021-07-13
Cassin's KingbirdTyrannus vociferansThis is a species of the western United States, nesting from Montana and California southward into M...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG5No records.One record (see above).No records.1/2*2021-07-13
Bronzed CowbirdMolothrus aeneusThis is a species of the Southwestern states, ranging north only to central Texas and central Arizon...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG5Two records (see above).No records.No records.1/2*2021-07-13
Neotropic CormorantNannopterum brasilianumThis species is found across most of Latin America, north into eastern Texas and Louisiana. There a...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG5No records.One record (see above).No records.1/2*2021-07-13
Short-billed GullLarus brachyrhynchusIn summer 2021, the American Ornithological Society (AOS) split the former Mew Gull (Larus canus) in...NonbreederProvisionalSAG5One record. Accidental or casual stray. The only published record is one first-winter individual, ...No records.No records.You likely will need to find a large number (hundreds or more) of gulls to sort through, at rest. T...1/2*2021-07-12
Sedge WrenCistothorus stellarisCalled the Short-billed Marsh Wren many decades ago, the Sedge Wren is now (as of summer 2021) restr...NonbreederDefinitiveSUB,S4NG5Winter resident eastward, but otherwise a scarce transient. Generally fairly common, to locally com...Transient, and occasional straggler into winter. Generally rare (or at least secretive enough that ...Transient. Very rare (no records for many counties) to rare in spring and fall, mainly limited to l...The species is fairly easy in fall and winter in shrubby marshes, such as at Bodie Island (near the ...***2021-07-12
Ruby-crowned KingletCorthylio calendulaThe Ruby-crowned Kinglet, like the Golden-crowned, is a tiny bundle of energy, having to constantly ...NonbreederDefinitiveS5NG5Winter resident. Common to occasionally very common (in early winter) over the region; fairly commo...Winter resident. Common, to sometimes very common, in early winter, across the eastern and southern...Winter resident and transient. Fairly common transient in spring and fall; generally uncommon in th...None needed.****2021-07-12
Crested CaracaraCaracara plancusThe Crested Caracara is essentially a non-migratory "falcon" of dry grasslands, prairies, ranchlands...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG5One definitive record, and two other non-accepted reports (see above).No records.No records.1/2 *2021-07-12
Common GullLarus canusIn summer 2021, the American Ornithological Society (AOS) split the former Mew Gull (Larus canus) in...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Casual along the coast in winter. Five records: one adult seen at Cape Hatteras Point, on 31 Dec 198...No records.No records.The species may be more frequent in NC than the four records indicate. Adult Common Gulls are typic...1/2*2021-07-12
Double-crested CormorantNannopterum auritumHardly any bird in North Carolina has increased in recent decades as dramatically as has the Double-...BreederDefinitiveSRS1B,S5NG5Permanent resident, but breeding only at two or three sites. Coastally, abundant during migration a...Migrant and winter resident, with some birds all summer, increasing as non-breeders; breeds at one s...Year-round visitor. Generally uncommon but increasing, in the southern mountains (mainly Buncomb...None needed. Spectacular concentrations of 10,000 or more individuals can be seen in winter in Hatt...****2021-07-12
Blue GrosbeakPasserina caeruleaThe Blue Grosbeak breeds across the southern half to two-thirds of the United States, and winters in...BreederDefinitiveS5BG5Summer resident, with a few winter records. Common in summer across most of the province, but can b...Summer resident, with about 13 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.****2021-05-18
Rose-breasted GrosbeakPheucticus ludovicianusThe Rose-breasted Grosbeak is a bird of the cooler hardwood and mixed forests of the eastern parts o...BreederDefinitiveS3S4BG5Transient. 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 ****2021-05-18
Summer TanagerPiranga rubraThe Summer Tanager is a characteristic bird of the Deep South, nesting north only to southern New Je...BreederDefinitiveS5BG5Summer 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...****2021-05-18
Wilson's WarblerCardellina pusillaThe Wilson's Warbler has a very wide breeding range, from Alaska to Newfoundland, and southward in m...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Transient, and rare winter straggler. In spring, very rare in the western portions, and casual to v...Transient, and very rare winter straggler. Rare to very uncommon in both spring and fall, generally...Transient. Very rare to rare in spring, and rare in fall. Mainly early to mid-May, and early Sep t...There are no real hotspots for the species, but Jackson Park in Hendersonville may be the best bet, ...* to **2021-05-18
Black-throated Green WarblerSetophaga virensThe Black-throated Green Warbler has a fragmented breeding range, thanks to a separate subspecies --...BreederDefinitiveE*S4BG5Summer resident, and transient. In summer, variously rare to locally common in the eastern third to...Sparse summer resident, and transient. In summer, formerly common (but decreasing due to loss/death...Summer resident, with migratory movements. Breeds over the entire region, but local; can be common ...Should be easily found in late Apr or May in many areas of the higher mountains, such as along the B...****2021-05-18
Black-throated Gray WarblerSetophaga nigrescensThe Western-breeding Black-throated Gray Warbler was one of the very few species that was admitted t...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG5Casual, all apparently being seen in stands of live oaks, mainly in suburban/residential areas. Wil...Accidental. One was seen in Greensboro (Guilford) on 24 Feb 1992* (Chat 57:66). One was see...No records.1/2*2021-05-18
Prairie WarblerSetophaga discolorThe Prairie Warbler is another mis-named warbler, as it is not found in prairies (i.e., native grass...BreederDefinitiveS5B,S1NG5Summer resident, and sparse winter visitor/resident. In summer, common over most of the region, thou...Summer resident. Common in the eastern portions, and fairly common to common in the central section...Summer resident. Uncommon over the region, as a whole; essentially below 3,000 feet. Fairly common...The species is easily found in the Coastal Plain and eastern Piedmont. Driving US 264 through Alliga...****2021-05-18
Yellow-throated WarblerSetophaga dominicaThe Yellow-throated Warbler is a "Southern" warbler, as it breeds in the eastern United States only ...BreederDefinitiveS5BG5Summer resident, and sparse winter resident near the southern coast. In summer, common over most of ...Summer resident, and very rare winter straggler. In summer, fairly common to locally common in the ...Summer resident. Uncommon along rivers and streams at low elevations, essentially below 2,500 feet;...The species is easily found in many parks and preserves, and Croatan National Forest, in the southea...****2021-05-18
Black-throated Blue WarblerSetophaga caerulescensCompared with most warblers, the Black-throated Blue has a relatively small breeding range, found in...BreederDefinitiveS4BG5Transient, and casually into early winter. In spring, uncommon to fairly common in the western port...Transient, and sparse breeder (currently?) in foothill ranges. Fairly common over the region in spr...Summer resident, and transient. In summer, common and relatively widespread over the province, main...The species is hard to miss in several hours of birding at middle to somewhat high elevations in the...****2021-05-18
Blackpoll WarblerSetophaga striataThe Blackpoll Warbler, at a glance at its breeding range, would seem to have a similar migration pat...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Transient. 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....***2021-05-18
Northern ParulaSetophaga americanaThe Northern Parula is a bird saddled with an awful common name, and this is even more so now that i...BreederDefinitiveS5BG5Summer 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 ...****2021-05-18
MacGillivray's WarblerGeothlypis tolmieiAccidental/casual. There are four accepted records of this Western species, with two of them found ...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG5Four records (see above).No records.No records.1/2 *2021-05-18