Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
The 100 most recent account entries/updates.
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; a few reports of males singing on terri...Casual visitor. The only known records are one at a feeder in Asheville, 9-12 Mar 2004; a female or...Should be easily found along the southern coast in late Apr, May, and Jun, at places such as Fort Ma...*** to ****2023-05-19
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 14 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.****2023-05-19
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 ****2023-05-19
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...****2023-05-19
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 **2023-05-19
Townsend's WarblerSetophaga townsendiThis close relative of the Black-throated Green Warbler breeds only from Alaska to the northwestern ...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG5Casual visitor, mainly in fall, with seven published reports. Four have been reviewed and accepted b...No records.The only record is of a first-year female photographed at the Richland Balsam Overlook, along the <...1/2*2023-05-19
Yellow-rumped WarblerSetophaga coronataThe Yellow-rumped Warbler, often called the "Butter-butt", is arguably the most abundant warbler on ...BreederDefinitiveSRS1B,S5NG5Winter resident. Along the coast and in Tidewater near sounds, abundant in winter, particularly on ...Winter resident, with noticeable migratory movements. In winter, common in the southeastern half, a...Very sparse (and recent) breeder, widespread transient, and winter resident/visitor. In summer, rar...None needed near the coast in winter.****2023-05-19
Nashville WarblerLeiothlypis ruficapillaThe Nashville Warbler, along with the Tennessee Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, and several Western...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Transient, 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...**2023-05-19
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, as the province is generally east of the migration routes; some...Scarce, though a regular transient. Rare in southern mountain valleys, and casual in the northern h...Arrangements to access Open Ground Farms have always been tricky, and this is not a good option. Re...*2023-05-19
American Tree SparrowSpizelloides arboreaOf the several dozen species of sparrows in North America, the American Tree Sparrow is the hardiest...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Winter visitor to the northeastern corner of the province. Scarce and declining, with few recent re...Winter visitor, declining. Very rare along the northern two tiers of counties, and casual farther s...Winter visitor, declining. Very rare in the northern counties, casual to very rare in the central c...To look for this species, work weedy fields in the coldest part of the winter, and pour over flocks ...*2023-05-19
Grasshopper SparrowAmmodramus savannarumThe Grasshopper Sparrow is another sparrow that breeds from the Atlantic to the Pacific, but it nest...BreederDefinitiveWS3B,S1NG5Summer resident in most of the region, and scarce winter resident; declining. In summer, uncommon ov...Summer resident, with a few winter stragglers; declining. In summer, rare to uncommon across the re...Summer resident; declining. Rare to locally uncommon (formerly uncommon but widespread) over the re...Still can be heard and seen reliably in a few places; the two large Voice of America fields in south...** to ***2023-05-19
Snow BuntingPlectrophenax nivalisThe Snow Bunting breeding range and abundance is remarkably similar to that of the Lapland Longspur,...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Winter visitor, mainly coastally; declining in numbers in the past several decades. Rare though nea...Very sparse winter visitor. Casual to very rare; barely 15 reports for the province. Mainly late O...Very sparse winter visitor. Casual to very rare; about 18-19 records. Has occurred on a handful of...If you spend a lot of time walking or driving beaches in the winter, you might find a few each year....* 2023-05-19
Evening GrosbeakCoccothraustes vespertinusPerhaps the epitome of "winter finches" is the Evening Grosbeak, and each fall or early winter, bird...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Erratic winter visitor; strongly declining. Currently, rare to uncommon in "good" winters; rarely e...Erratic winter visitor; strongly declining. Currently, uncommon in invasive winters; rarely fairly ...Erratic winter visitor; strongly declining. Currently, uncommon in invasive winters; rarely fairly ...The species is seldom seen in the state in recent years, though there were enough birds at feeders d...*2023-05-19
Marsh WrenCistothorus palustrisThe Marsh Wren was formerly named the Long-billed Marsh Wren, thus causing some confusion with the S...BreederDefinitiveS3B,S4NG5Permanent resident in coastal areas, with migratory movements; transient and scarce winter resident ...Transient, and straggler into winter (few overwinter). Rare to locally uncommon in spring and fall ...Transient. Rare (but easily overlooked) in low elevation valleys; casual to very rare at higher ele...The marshes along NC 615 through Great Marsh at Mackay Island NWR abound with them in summer. Howeve...*** 2023-05-19
Sedge WrenCistothorus stellarisCalled the Short-billed Marsh Wren many decades ago, the Sedge Wren is now restricted just to North ...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 ...***2023-05-19
Northern Rough-winged SwallowStelgidopteryx serripennisThis species, long known as the Rough-winged Swallow, had to have its common name changed several de...BreederDefinitiveS4BG5Summer resident. Fairly common over the inner two-thirds of the province, but uncommon to locally f...Summer resident. Fairly common over nearly the entire region, perhaps slightly more frequent near r...Summer resident. Fairly common over the region, up to about 4,000 feet, and sparingly up to about 5...The species is normally seen in a day of birding in most sites away from coastal counties. The best...***2023-05-19
Warbling VireoVireo gilvusThe Warbling Vireo, along with the Red-eyed Vireo, has the most extensive breeding range of any vire...BreederDefinitiveSRS2BG5Transient, and possible accidental breeder. Very rare in both spring and fall. Records are increasin...Transient (mainly in spring), and scarce summer resident. In spring, rare in the western half, and ...Summer resident and transient. Uncommon in summer in the New River area of Ashe and Alleg...Though a scarce bird in the state, driving roads that parallel or cross the South Fork New River, wi...***2023-05-19
Blue-headed VireoVireo solitariusLong known as the Blue-headed Vireo, in the 1970's its name was changed to Solitary Vireo, for no ob...BreederDefinitiveS5B,S3NG5Primarily a transient and winter resident; sparse breeder. In the nesting season, rare to uncommon ...Primarily a transient, but also a summer resident in parts of the region, and a sparse winter visito...Summer resident. Breeds essentially at all elevation levels, though more numerous (common) above 3,...The species is easily found in spring and summer in the mountains. Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway a...****2023-05-19
Yellow-throated VireoVireo flavifronsThe Yellow-throated Vireo has a breeding range that closely matches the "eastern deciduous forest" b...BreederDefinitiveS4BG5Summer resident. Fairly common over the western and central portions, but rare to locally absent fa...Summer resident. Fairly common over most of the province, though likely slightly less numerous in t...Summer resident. Generally uncommon (to perhaps locally fairly common) in the lower elevations (to ...Usually a few can be found in a morning of birding in the Coastal Plain and Piedmont, such as in a s...***2023-05-19
Say's PhoebeSayornis sayaThe Say's Phoebe breeds over much of the Western United States and Western Canada, but it withdraws ...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Very rare fall migrant/stray, occasionally lingering into the winter; 13 records. One was seen near ...Casual; five or six records. One was seen near Raleigh on 23 Oct 1965 (Chat 30:28), (Chat 54:56). A...No records.The bird along Howerton Road in northeastern Guilford has been present for the past two falls...*2023-05-19
Pacific-slope/Cordilleran FlycatcherEmpidonax difficilis/occidentalisAccidental. There are three records of this closely related species pair (of Western species): an i...NonbreederDefinitiveSAOne record (see above).Two records (see above).No records.1/2*2023-05-19
Western KingbirdTyrannus verticalisThe Western Kingbird history in North Carolina is a sad one. Back in the 1960's and early 1970's, o...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Fall transient, regularly lingering into early winter; declining, at least in fall. Along the coast...Fall stray/transient. Casual to very rare, with only 13 records. Eight of the records fall between ...Casual. Four records: three in fall (one in Aug and two in Sep). The report of two birds in Ash...Try driving NC 12 down the Outer Banks in fall, a day or two after a strong cold front. A bird coul...*2023-05-19
Great Crested FlycatcherMyiarchus crinitusThe Great Crested Flycatcher, like the Eastern Wood-Pewee and Acadian Flycatcher, is a species that ...BreederDefinitiveS5BG5Summer resident and transient. In summer, generally common throughout the province, even nesting on...Summer resident and transient. In summer, fairly common essentially throughout; likely uncommon in ...Summer resident and transient. In summer, uncommon over most of the region, but fairly common local...A day of birding in the southern half of the Coastal Plain, especially where Longleaf Pine is presen...*** to ****2023-05-19
Northern Saw-whet OwlAegolius acadicusThe smallest owl in eastern North America, the Northern Saw-whet Owl usually requires a special sear...BreederDefinitiveTS2B,S2NG5Winter visitor or resident. Status is poorly known, but generally rare (to possibly locally uncommo...Winter visitor. Very rare (or at least very rarely reported) in the northeastern portion, with abou...Breeder in the higher elevations; winter resident over most of the region. Uncommon to fairly commo...To find the species in the state, it is obviously more advantageous to try for it on the breeding gr...**2023-05-19
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, and possible winter resident at one site. Most ar...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...*** 2023-05-17
Manx ShearwaterPuffinus puffinusThough the Manx Shearwater is not a rare pelagic species in North Carolina waters, it wasn't until t...NonbreederDefinitiveS1NG5Offshore transient and winter visitor, but at times seen from shore. Generally uncommon, from Dec t...No records.No records.The several winter pelagic trips that are currently taken off Hatteras or Oregon inlets often produc...**2023-05-17
Great ShearwaterArdenna gravisIn 2010, the American Ornithologists' Union changed the common name of Greater Shearwater to Great S...NonbreederDefinitiveS3NG5Offshore visitor, mainly to the Gulf Stream. Generally fairly common, to occasionally common in mid...No records.No records.This shearwater is best seen by taking a chartered birding trip to the Gulf Stream off Oregon or Hat...***2023-05-17
Northern FulmarFulmarus glacialisNorthern Fulmars are among the most charismatic of our seabirds, as they seem to enjoy flying in ver...NonbreederDefinitiveS1NG5Winter 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, particularly later in winter (Feb to...**2023-05-17
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. Five 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 **2023-05-17
Herring GullLarus argentatusThe Herring Gull is, along with the Ring-billed Gull, one of the most abundant birds in tidal waters...BreederDefinitiveS3B,S5NG5Year-round resident, with migratory movements. Fairly common to locally common, and increasing, bre...Winter resident/visitor. Uncommon to locally fairly common, but mainly at larger reservoirs and lan...Winter visitor. Surprisingly scarce, generally rare and sporadic, mainly in low elevations; very ra...None needed.****2023-05-17
Heermann's GullLarus heermanniThe thought of a strictly West Coast gull species like Heermann's Gull showing up along the Atlantic...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG4Three records (see above), though possibly the same individual was involved in all of these sighting...No records.No records.1/2*2023-05-17
Black-legged KittiwakeRissa tridactylaThe Black-legged Kittiwake is one of just two (along with the Sabine's) essentially pelagic gulls th...NonbreederDefinitiveS1NG5Winter resident offshore; clearly declining. From the late 1990's to about 2005, generally fairly c...Casual in late fall, with three records: an immature seen and photographed at Beaverdam Reservoir (<...Accidental: an immature was seen and photographed at Lake Julian (Buncombe) on the remarkably...If you take a pelagic trip from Cape Hatteras northward during the winter, you now have about a 50% ...**2023-05-17
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; greatly increasing in recent years. Formerly ve...No records.No records.Take a pelagic trip out of Hatteras or Oregon inlets in winter. In recent winters, several trips usu...**2023-05-17
Black GuillemotCepphus grylleOf the six Atlantic alcids, the Black Guillemot was the last one to be added to the state's Definiti...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG5Casual winter visitor to the coast. The four accepted records are of single birds in basic plumage ...No records.No records.1/2*2023-05-17
RazorbillAlca tordaBy far the most numerous alcid in North Carolina waters is the Razorbill, and thankfully for all of ...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...***2023-05-17
Thick-billed MurreUria lomviaQuite similar to the Common Murre in appearance and in overall habits, the Thick-billed Murre is a s...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Winter visitor, essentially coastal (inshore ocean); perhaps slightly declining in recent years, tho...No records.No records.You will just have to luck into one along the coast in winter, though a more careful observer who sc...*2023-05-17
Common MurreUria aalgeFor a seemingly interminable time, North Carolina went without a record of this very common alcid. ...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Very scarce, but greatly increasing, winter visitor offshore and along the coast; now rare (to local...No records.No records.The increase in sightings in the past decade is gratifying for pelagic birders, but whether this sig...* to **2023-05-17
Red PhalaropePhalaropus fulicariusIn breeding plumage, both sexes of the Red Phalarope are quite stunning, with the female a rich rufo...NonbreederDefinitiveS2NG5Transient and winter resident, essentially offshore. Mostly uncommon in fall migration, but fairly ...Transient; the great majority of records in fall. Casual to very rare in fall, at reservoirs, with ...Casual. Pearson et al. (1959) list reports from "Smoky Mountain Park" in Dec and at Fontana (Grah...The only way to have a realistic chance of seeing a Red Phalarope is to take a winter or early sprin...**2023-05-17
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 ...**2023-05-17
Long-billed DowitcherLimnodromus scolopaceusFor much of the last century, the Long-billed Dowitcher was a very poorly known species, most likely...NonbreederDefinitiveS2NG5Transient and winter resident; mainly along the coast and at Mattamuskeet NWR and vicinity. Coastal...Transient. Accidental to casual in spring (three reports), very rare to locally rare (at Falls and ...Transient; casual or accidental. The only reports are one photographed at Osceola Lake (Henderso...You should be able to find the species in mid- to late fall at the impoundments at Pea and Bodie isl...***2023-05-17
Least SandpiperCalidris minutillaThe Least Sandpiper is the most widespread of the three small North American "peep" shorebirds in th...NonbreederDefinitiveS3NG5Transient, and winter resident along and near the coast and very locally farther inland. Generally c...Transient, and sparingly into mid-winter. Generally uncommon in spring and fairly common, at least ...Transient. Rare to locally uncommon spring and fall migrant, with few published data. Mostly mid-A...Leasts are easily found along the coast in migration. ****2023-05-17
Purple SandpiperCalidris maritimaHardly any bird has as restrictive a habitat in North Carolina than does the Purple Sandpiper, and n...NonbreederDefinitiveS1NG5Winter resident along the coast. Numerically very rare to rare, but in reality, uncommon at a handf...No records.No records.The best location in NC is the jetty at the south end of Wrightsville Beach, where up to 30 birds ar...***2023-05-17
Stilt SandpiperCalidris himantopusThough the Stilt Sandpiper is a species in the genus Calidris, it looks hardly anything like ...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Transient, mainly along the coast. Uncommon in spring, and often fairly common to common in fall, a...Transient. Casual spring migrant, and rare to locally uncommon fall migrant (more numerous when ext...Transient. Casual in spring, and very rare in fall, with all but two published records so far from ...In Aug or early Sep, one has a good chance to see them at the impoundments at Pea or Bodie islands; ...** to ***2023-05-17
Black-necked StiltHimantopus mexicanusThe Black-necked Stilt is one of the most unmistakable birds occurring in North Carolina, resembling...BreederDefinitiveSRS1BG5Summer resident and sparse migrant along the coast and in the Tidewater zone. A very local breeder (...Casual migrant or stray, mainly in late spring; 10 records. One was seen in Franklin on 5 Ju...Accidental, with two records. One was seen at Hooper Lane (Henderson) on 25 Sep 2004, presum...The best -- at least most accessible -- places to see this species are the impoundments at Pea Islan...***2023-05-17
Sandhill CraneAntigone canadensisThe Sandhill Crane is one of the largest birds, in terms of size (standing about 4 feet tall), and t...Accidental BreederDefinitiveSZG5Transient and winter visitor/resident, mainly along the coast and in tidewater areas; increasing. A...Transient and winter visitor. Very rare (formerly) to rare (now), increasing in recent years. Reco...Transient, mainly overhead; sparingly in winter. Rare to possibly uncommon migrant in the extreme s...Cranes are more likely to be seen in the state in Cherokee in late fall or early spring, wher...**2023-05-17
Allen's HummingbirdSelasphorus sasinThere are five state records for this species, which breeds only along the immediate Pacific coast o...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG5Two records (see above).Three records (see above).No records.1/2 *2023-05-17
Anna's HummingbirdCalypte annaThis would seem to be one of the more unlikely birds on the state list, but Anna's Hummingbirds, lik...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG5Two records (see above).One record (see above).No records.1/2 *2023-05-17
Ruby-throated HummingbirdArchilochus colubrisThis is the only hummingbird that nests in the eastern part of North America, and the Ruby-throated ...BreederDefinitiveS5B,S2NG5Breeding summer resident, and winter visitor/resident mostly along or near the coast. Fairly common...Breeding summer resident, and now a very rare winter visitor. Fairly common breeder across the enti...Breeding summer resident. Fairly common at lower and middle elevations, mainly below 4,500 feet. L...The species can be difficult to intentionally search for, away from hummingbird feeders, mainly beca...*** to ****2023-05-17
Chuck-will's-widowAntrostomus carolinensisThis strictly nocturnal species is a characteristic breeding bird of our drier forest edges and open...BreederDefinitiveWS5BG5Breeding summer resident, and occasional winter visitor; apparently slowly declining. Generally com...Breeding summer resident. Fairly common but somewhat declining in the extreme eastern and southern ...Probable breeding summer resident in very low elevation areas, in the southern half of the mountains...Hearing this species is seldom a problem. Simply, drive around a little bit after dusk, or before d...***2023-05-17
Western GrebeAechmophorus occidentalisWestern Grebes, and their close "cousin", the Clark's Grebe, are among the most elegant of waterbird...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Winter visitor, with about 20 records. Very rare along the northern coast, south to Cape Hatteras (b...Winter visitor. Casual, with apparently seven records: 20 Dec 1961, Lake Johnson (Wake); 11-...Accidental: one seen on Lake Julian (Buncombe) from 14-15 Dec 2002 (Chat 67:61).This species is too rare to offer tips in North Carolina. The only tip is that, once you find one, ...*2023-05-17
Red-breasted MerganserMergus serratorThe Red-breasted Merganser is one of the state's most common wintering waterfowl species, it being e...Accidental BreederDefinitiveS5NG5Winter 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...****2023-05-17
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 (2023) rare but increasing breeder; scarce winter visitor. Generally rare in...To best see this species, look at Phelps Lake in the winter, with a good scope. The wintering flock...** to ***2023-05-17
Surf ScoterMelanitta perspicillataThe Surf Scoter is the most common of the wintering scoters in North Carolina, though it is often ou...NonbreederDefinitiveS4NG5Winter resident. Locally common near the northern half of the coast and the Tidewater areas, south ...Transient and winter visitor. Rare on reservoirs and other large bodies of water; mainly mid-Oct to...Transient. Very rare to rare, with brief stop-over time; nearly all records from the southern mount...As with the Black Scoter, it is normally easy to find the species on the two Pamlico Sound ferries, ...*** to ****2023-05-17
Tundra SwanCygnus columbianusThe only common swan in eastern North America, the Tundra Swan (formerly named the Whistling Swan) h...NonbreederDefinitiveS5NG5Locally 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...****2023-05-17
Trumpeter SwanCygnus buccinatorThis relatively rare swan of the northwestern United States and western Canada formerly nested as fa...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG4Now a very rare (but increasing) winter visitor, but primarily just to the Pungo and Mattamuskeet re...Two accepted records -- an immature was seen and photographed at Jordan Lake (Chatham) on 19 ...One report -- one seen and photographed on the French Broad River near Alexander (Buncombe), ...Your best hope to see a Trumpeter Swan is to search through large flocks of Tundra Swans, such as in...*2023-05-17
Cackling GooseBranta hutchinsiiThe Cackling Goose is a rare to very locally uncommon but increasing winter resident (near the coast...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...**2023-05-17
Barnacle GooseBranta leucopsisThe Barnacle Goose is a casual or accidental visitor to coastal areas of the United States, as well ...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG4G5Accidental or casual winter visitor to coastal/tidewater areas, on fresh water; apparently more freq...Accidental. One seen at Gaddy's Pond (Anson), 28 Dec 1950 has not been reviewed by an NC BRC....No records.Always thoroughly check flocks of Canada Geese for this species.1/2*2023-05-17
Greater White-fronted GooseAnser albifronsThe Greater White-fronted Goose is a rare (but increasing) winter visitor across all portions of the...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Winter visitor, though not a winter resident (yet) like Ross's Goose and Cackling Goose. Most frequ...Winter visitor; very rare to now rare, somewhat increasing in recent years. Approximately 39 record...Winter visitor, notably 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 **2023-05-17
Ross's GooseAnser rossiiThe Ross's Goose is now a regular winter resident, in very small numbers, amid large flocks of Snow ...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 50 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 ...**2023-05-17
Wedge-tailed ShearwaterArdenna pacificaThis is a very common shearwater of the warmer Pacific and Indian oceans but is essentially absent f...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG5One record (see above).No records.No records.1/2*2023-05-16
White-crowned PigeonPatagioenas leucocephalaThis West Indies pigeon species ranges north only to the Florida Keys and adjacent mainland as a reg...NonbreederProvisionalSAG3One report (not yet voted on).No records.No records.1/2*2023-05-16
Lesser NighthawkChordeiles acutipennisThis bird of Southwestern deserts is somewhat of a surprise on the North Carolina Bird List. Though ...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG5One confirmed record, and one likely record (though not accepted).No records.No records.1/2 *2023-05-16
Black-throated Gray WarblerSetophaga nigrescensThe Western-breeding Black-throated Gray Warbler was one of the very few species that was admitted t...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG5Very rare, all apparently being seen in stands of Live Oaks, mainly in suburban/residential areas. ...Accidental. One was seen in Greensboro (Guilford) on 24 Feb 1992* (Chat 57:66). One was see...No records.Though you cannot intentionally search for your own sighting, be aware that this species has a procl...*2023-05-16
Vermilion FlycatcherPyrocephalus rubinusThe Vermilion Flycatcher's normal range extends from the southwestern United States far into South A...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Casual to very rare. One immature male was seen at Nags Head (Dare) on 1 Oct 1972 (Chat 45:4...No records.No records.1/2*2023-05-16
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. Four records: 3 at Jordan Lake, 6 Sep 1996 (after H...No records.This is seldom missed on pelagic trips from May into Oct. ****2023-05-16
Fork-tailed FlycatcherTyrannus savanaThe Fork-tailed Flycatcher's normal range is in Central and South America, but it is famous for vagr...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG5Four records (see above).One record (see above).No records.1/2*2023-05-16
Lark BuntingCalamospiza melanocorysThis is a conspicuous and unique species of the short-grass prairies, very rare as a stray to the Ea...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG5Formerly a casual migrant (through 1970); now practically accidental. There are six records, five f...Accidental. A singing male in breeding plumage at Dorothea Dix farm in Raleigh, 2-12 May 1978, is t...No records.1/2*2023-05-16
Neotropic CormorantNannopterum brasilianumThis species is found across most of Latin America, north into eastern Texas and Louisiana. There a...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG5One record (see above).One record (see above).No records.1/2*2023-05-16
Crested CaracaraCaracara plancusThe Crested Caracara is essentially a non-migratory "falcon" of dry grasslands, prairies, ranchlands...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG5Two accepted records, and two other non-accepted reports (see above).No records.No records.1/2*2023-05-16
White-tailed KiteElanus leucurusThe White-tailed Kite is another beautiful raptor, with a very graceful flight, hovering over fields...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Accidental visitor; four records, all accepted by the NC BRC. One seen near Wilmington, 3 Jan 1957*...No accepted records. There is one published report mentioned in Pearson et al. (1959).One record: an adult seen at the Shining Rock Wilderness, 23 Jul 1993* (Chat 59:26-27).1/2*2023-05-16
Thick-billed LongspurRhynchophanes mccowniiAccidental. This is a species of the short-grass prairies, nesting just east of Rocky Mountains in ...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG4One record (see above).No records.No records.1/2*2023-05-16
Mountain BluebirdSialia currucoidesThis is a widespread and generally common species of the higher elevations of the Western States and...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG5One record. A male was photographed at Wrightsville Beach (New Hanover) essentially daily fr...No records.One record (see above).1/2*2023-05-16
Yellow WarblerSetophaga petechiaThe Yellow Warbler has one of the most extensive breeding ranges of any warbler -- across nearly all...BreederDefinitiveS4BG5Transient, and sparse breeder; a few winter records. In summer, formerly uncommon, but now apparent...Summer resident (strongly declining), and transient. In summer, now rare to uncommon in the western...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...***2023-05-16
White WagtailMotacilla albaNorth Carolina has, remarkably, three records of White Wagtail, of each of two distinct subspecies: ...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG5Two records (see above).One record (see above).No records.1/2*2023-05-16
Blackpoll WarblerSetophaga striataThe Blackpoll Warbler, at a glance at its breeding range, would seem to have a similar migration pat...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Transient. In spring, uncommon to at times fairly common over most of the region, likely less numer...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....***2023-05-16
Varied ThrushIxoreus naeviusThis Far Western thrush was an embarrassing "miss" or "hole" on the North Carolina bird list for man...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG5No records. Casual; five records. An adult female was seen on three dates between 19 and 29 Dec 2005 near Hills...Accidental. An adult male was photographed in Fletcher (Henderson) on 1 Feb 2010* (Chat 74:6...1/2*2023-05-16
VeeryCatharus fuscescensThe Veery is one of five very similar-looking "small" thrushes, in the genus Catharus. It is...BreederDefinitiveS4BG5Transient. Generally uncommon and easily overlooked, over the western two-thirds of the region; les...Transient. Generally uncommon in spring and fall, but can be fairly common in the western half, at ...Summer resident and transient. In summer, fairly common to common and widespread at middle and high...The Veery should be easily found (at least heard singing) in most forests above about 4,000 feet, an...*** to ****2023-05-16
DickcisselSpiza americanaAlthough there are numerous birds that are highly erratic wintering species in North Carolina and el...BreederDefinitiveSRS2BG5Sporadic 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 - 2018, the species has been easily found in summer at North River Farms, but this is a pr...**2023-04-12
Indigo BuntingPasserina cyaneaThe Indigo Bunting is one of the most successful of Eastern songbirds. It has been expanding its br...BreederDefinitiveS5BG5Summer resident, and scarce straggler into winter. In summer, very common across the province, exce...Summer resident, and scarce straggler into winter. Very common in summer, throughout the region. M...Summer resident. In summer, very common throughout, up to about 4,500 feet, and uncommonly to 5,500...None needed.****2023-04-12
Lazuli BuntingPasserina amoenaThe Lazuli Bunting breeds in the western half of North America and winters mainly from Mexico southw...NonbreederDefinitiveSAG5Two accepted records (see above). One accepted record (see above); another from 2022 is to be reviewed.No confirmed records, but one under review.1/2*2023-04-12
Black-headed GrosbeakPheucticus melanocephalusThe Black-headed Grosbeak, the Western counterpart of the Rose-breasted Grosbeak, is a casual to ver...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Casual visitor. There are seven records: one in Wilmington, 8-16 Apr 1969 (Chat 33:4); one at Bodie...Casual visitor. There are six records: one in Greensboro, 6 Jan - 12 Apr 1964 (Chat 28:2); a male i...Casual/accidental, with just one record: a breeding-plumaged male was photographed at a feeder on 11...1/2*2023-04-12
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 95 records. Very rare to rare in winter along ...Scarce "transient" and winter visitor, with well over 30 records. Very rare visitor, mainly from ea...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.*2023-04-10
Scarlet TanagerPiranga olivaceaCertainly one of the most beautiful birds in North America, the Scarlet Tanager is a classic bird of...BreederDefinitiveS5BG5Summer resident, and transient. In summer, currently uncommon to locally fairly common in the north...Summer resident, with migratory movements. Currently, fairly common in summer over most of the regi...Summer resident, with migratory movements. Fairly common to common in summer, up to about 5,000 fee...The species should be heard and seen in a morning of birding in the mountains and most of the Piedmo...*** to ****2023-04-10
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*2023-04-10
Canada WarblerCardellina canadensisAs with most warblers, in 2011 the Canada Warbler was moved from one genus to another -- this time, ...BreederDefinitiveS4BG5Transient. In spring, rare along the western edge of the region, but farther eastward is very rare ...Transient. Rare to uncommon in both spring and fall across the region. Not obviously more numerous...Summer resident, with migratory movements. Fairly common to common in summer at the higher elevatio...Easy to find at higher elevations in summer. Though it occurs in dense shrubs and understory, it is ...****2023-04-10
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...****2023-04-10
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. Fairly common to common in the eastern portions, and fairly common in the central ...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...****2023-04-08
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...****2023-04-08
Pine WarblerSetophaga pinusThe Pine Warbler is certainly the best-named warbler species, as it is almost always found in pine t...BreederDefinitiveS5B,S4NG5Permanent resident, with migratory movements. Common to very common breeder across the region, bein...Permanent resident, with migratory movements. In summer, common to very common in the eastern and so...Summer resident, and sparse winter resident at lower elevations. In summer, fairly common in the ex...None needed.****2023-04-08
Palm WarblerSetophaga palmarumThe Palm Warbler might be associated with Saw Palmetto stands in Florida, but this is still a bad na...NonbreederDefinitiveS3NG5Winter resident, with strong migratory movements. In winter, fairly common along and near the coast...Transient, and scarce winter resident. Uncommon to fairly common in spring and fall, generally over...Transient, and very scarce in winter. In spring, generally uncommon, mainly at low to middle elevat...Generally easily found along the immediate coast in late Sep and most of Oct.****2023-04-08
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...****2023-04-08
Chestnut-sided WarblerSetophaga pensylvanicaThe Chestnut-sided Warbler breeds in southern Canada and the northeastern part of the United States,...BreederDefinitiveS5BG5Transient. Very rare in spring over most of the province, more likely to occur in the western secti...Transient. In spring, uncommon in the western half of the region, and rare to uncommon in the easte...Summer resident. Common to very common from about 3,000 feet to 5,500 feet; uncommon higher and low...Normally easily found in the mountains in May and Jun, particularly between 3,500 and 5,000 feet.****2023-04-08
Blackburnian WarblerSetophaga fuscaThe Blackburnian Warbler is one of the most beautiful of our songbirds, as the bright orange breast ...BreederDefinitiveS4BG5Transient. In spring, very rare over the region, and probably casual in most of the eastern portion...Transient. In spring, rare across the region, more numerous in the western portion, though still sc...Summer resident, with migratory movements. In summer, fairly common over the region as a whole, but...You should be able to find the species in the spruce-hardwood zone (4,500 to 5,500 feet) along the B...***2023-04-07
Bay-breasted WarblerSetophaga castaneaThe Bay-breasted Warbler has a similar breeding range to that of the Cape May Warbler and the Tennes...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Transient. In spring, very rare along the western edge, and very rare to rare near and along the co...Transient. In spring, rare to uncommon in the western half, and rare in the eastern half of the reg...Transient. In spring, rare to uncommon in the lower elevations, and rare at middle elevations. In ...You should be able to see the species in fall in late Sep or early Oct along the Blue Ridge Parkway ...***2023-04-07
Magnolia WarblerSetophaga magnoliaThe Magnolia Warbler nests across most of the boreal forest zone of Canada and the northeastern stat...BreederDefinitiveSRS2BG5Transient. 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...***2023-04-07
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 ...****2023-04-07
Cerulean WarblerSetophaga ceruleaThe Cerulean Warbler is one of the more strongly declining songbirds in the eastern part of the cont...BreederDefinitiveSCS2BG4Local summer resident, and sparse transient. In summer, uncommon, local, and declining, along the R...Transient; breeds along the Blue Ridge Escarpment, which forms the border between the Piedmont and M...Summer resident, and transient. In summer, mostly rare and local at lower elevations (below about 3...The species is best found by stopping at several overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway northeast of As...** to ***2023-04-07
Cape May WarblerSetophaga tigrinaThe Cape May Warbler has a breeding range similar to that of the Tennessee Warbler, being a classic ...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG5Transient, and winter straggler. In spring, generally rare along the western border, but very rare ...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...***2023-04-07
Kirtland's WarblerSetophaga kirtlandiiConsidering that North Carolina is about halfway between the species' wintering grounds in the Baham...NonbreederDefinitiveSZG3Remarkably, just a single convincing report -- one photographed at Duck (Dare), from 2-5 Oct ...Casual fall transient in the western portion of the province, but just one accepted record for the e...Very rare transient (with numbers increasing in recent years); now with 10 records (but only two of ...Some recent birds have stayed over for an extra day to three, for many observers to observe them. F...1/2*2023-04-07
American RedstartSetophaga ruticillaThe very active American Redstart was, until 2011, in a genus all to itself; however, all of the for...BreederDefinitiveS5BG5Summer 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...****2023-04-07