Missouri is located in the core of North America, with a fauna that reflects influences from every direction. Being east of the Mississippi River, our state will always be included in the “eastern” volume of any two-volume field guide; but, one can sense a tug toward the west when encountering a Swainson’s Hawk, a Greater Roadrunner, or a Collared Lizard in a cedar glade.
Missouri boasts a robust bird list of 438 species, including five that are extinct, three that once thrived here but have been extirpated, and 11 that are tentative. As is the case in every state, a significant number of our listed birds are accidental or casual visitors; this totals approximately 80 species, leaving approximately 340 regular birds seen annually somewhere in the state.
Are you able to recognize several of these birds? Continue reading to learn more.
Missouri birds of prey
Birds of Prey colloquially referred to as Raptors, are distinguished from other types of birds by their ability to hunt and feed on other animals.
There are 290 raptor species globally, 33 in North America, and 19 in Missouri. There are eight distinct Raptor classifications, which can be further subdivided into Diurnal (Day-flying) and Nocturnal (Night-flying) species. All are diurnal, with the exception of owls, which specialize in hunting in low light.
Take a look at the section below to learn about the birds found in Missouri.
Eagles in Missouri
Eagles (genus Aquila) are big birds with massive beak, powerful wings, and broad bodies. Generally, they are spotted soaring in quest of food. Eagles, which are far larger and less nimble than Hawks, frequently prefer to pursue fish, rabbits, and squirrels over tiny rodents. The Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle are both common eagles in Missouri.
Missouri has over 175 active eagle nests. During the winter, more than 2,000 bald eagles are typically observed.
Owls in Missouri
Owls (order Strigiformes) have huge heads and eyes, as well as broad wings and tails. They have good vision in low light, superb hearing, and soft feathers that allow for stealthy flight. The Great Horned Owl, Snowy Owl, Barn Owl, Eastern Screech Owl, and Burrowing Owl are all common owls in Missouri.
For millennia, owls have captivated people’s minds with their secretive nature and distinctive appearance. Owls are also mentioned in numerous cultures’ mythology and traditions.
Common backyard birds of Missouri
Missouri is an excellent location for bird watching. With almost 400 bird species, it resembles a birding hotspot, combining the best of neighboring states. Putting up bird feeders and watching what comes to visit is a lot of fun, but it’s much better if you know who they are and can identify birds in your backyard.
Now you may learn about the most popular backyard birds that visit feeders or hop across your grass in Missouri.
Woodpeckers in Missouri
Missouri woodpeckers are comprised of seven species that represent each of the five indigenous woodpecker genera. They are often distributed across the state. Indeed, birders in St. Louis can observe all seven species.
The popularity of woodpeckers is partly due to their preference for dwelling in and around residential areas. As a result, they make excellent photographic subjects. Share your photos and experiences about woodpeckers with the community.
Best Birdwatching Spots in Missouri
Are you looking for a low-cost birding excursion in Missouri? We definitely have something intriguing to share with you right now, as we want you to learn about the top free birding spots in this state.
Bring binoculars, a full tank of gas, and be prepared to pay for parking on occasion after learning about our top 5 recommendations.
- Big Oak Tree State Park
- Bush Conservation Area and Weldon Spring Conservation Area
- Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area
- Mingo Wildlife Refuge
- Riverlands Environmental Demonstration Area
Other Missouri birds
Missouri’s nearly every corner offers something distinctive to offer the serious birder. Here are some of the other birds found in the state.
If you have encountered a bird in Missouri that is not yet on our list or that you cannot identify yourself, we’ll be happy to identify it for you. Simply take a picture of it and upload your picture, a quick description and the U.S. state where it was found here on our bird identification page.