Birds at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Florida. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).
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Merrritt Island National Wildlife Refuge P.O. Box 2683 Titusville, FL 32781 http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Merritt_Island 321/861 0669 Visitor Center U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 1 800/344 WILD March 2019 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Bird List photo: James Lyon Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, located just east of Titusville, shares a common boundary with the John F. Kennedy Space Center. Its coastal location, tropic-like climate, and wide variety of habitat types contribute to Merritt Island’s diverse bird population. The Florida Ornithological Society Records Committee lists 521 species of birds statewide. To date, 359 species have been identified on the refuge. Of special interest are breeding populations of Bald Eagles, Brown Pelicans, Roseate Spoonbills, Reddish Egrets, and Mottled Ducks. Spectacular migrations of passerine birds, especially warblers, occur during spring and fall. In winter tens of thousands of waterfowl may be seen. Eight species of herons and egrets are commonly observed year-round. Tips on Birding A good field guide and binoculars provide the basic tools useful in the observation and identification of birds. While marshes and shallow impoundments are the most productive birding areas, in order to find the widest variety of bird species, you should also visit mangrove-rimmed shorelines, cabbage palm and hardwood hammocks, palmetto and pine uplands, oak scrub and the beach. The refuge has provided trails and roads into each of these habitat types in order to enhance bird watching opportunities. The cool weather months (October-April) are generally the best time of year for birding. The best times of the day are early morning and late afternoon. Using This List This checklist is arranged taxonomically by order (solid line) and family. Representatives from 18 orders and 60 families have been identified on the refuge. The word family is a classification term that places birds of similar appearance and habits into one group. Closely related families make up an order. All birds in the same order have some common characteristics. Learning to recognize families and orders can help in identifying new birds you may encounter at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. This list is in accordance with the “Checklist of Florida Birds” as updated by the Florida Ornithological Society’s Records Committee through December 31, 2015. Seasonal Occurrences SP - Spring - March, April, May SU - Summer - June, July, August FA - Fall - September, October, November WN - Winter - December, January, February You may see some species outside the seasons indicated on this checklist. This phenomenon is quite common for many birds. However, the checklist is designed to indicate the general trend of migration and seasonal abundance for each species and, therefore, does not account for unusual occurrences. Abundance Designation C – Common - These birds are present in large numbers, are widespread, and should be seen if you look in the correct habitat. U – Uncommon - These birds are present, but because of their low numbers, behavior, habitat, or distribution, they are not usually seen. However, an experienced bird watcher should be able to find them by looking in the right places at the right times. O – Occasional - These birds are present in low numbers and are not expected to be seen without a special effort to find them. At least a few are seen each year. R – Rare - These birds are not expected to be seen every year. They occur in low numbers, may also be secretive or hard to identify, and may be unreported for several years. DATE - A date indicates the most recent sighting of an accidental species, extremely Rare species, or a species that has not been seen on the Refuge recently due to changes in habitat conditions. Their occurrence here is considered so unusual as to not be expected. *-- Breeds on the Refuge. Status Listed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (E) – Federal endangered species (T) – Federal threatened species Listed by the Florida Wildlife Commission (FL-E) – FL endangered species (FL-T) – FL threatened species (FL-SSC) – FL species of special concern (FL-NNS) – FL non-native species SP SU FA WN Status Ducks, Geese, and Swans Black-bellied Whistling Duck R R R R Fulvous Whistling Duck R R R Greater White-fronted Goose 2005 Snow Goose O O Ross’s Goose 2009 Brant R R R Canada Goose R Mute Swan 2009 (FL-NNS) Tundra Swan 2010 Muscovy Duck 2007 (FL-NNS) Wood Duck * O O O Gadwall U U U Eurasian Wigeon R R R American Wigeon O C C American Black Duck R R R Mallard O O O Mottled Duck * C C C C Blue-winged Teal C O C C Cinnamon Teal 2019 Northern Shoveler C R C C White-cheeked Pintail 1996 (FL-NNS) Northern Pintail U C C Green-winged Teal U C C Canvasback O O U Redhead U U U Ring-necked Duck O C C Greater Scaup U U U Lesser Scaup C U C C Common Eider 2018 Harlequin Duck 1960 Surf Scoter O O O White-winged Scoter O O O Black Scoter U U U Long-tailed Duck R R Bufflehead O U C Common Goldeneye R R Hooded Merganser U C C Common Merganser 1995 Red-breasted Merganser U R U U Ruddy Duck O O C Upland Game Birds Northern Bobwhite* Wild Turkey* U C U C U C Loons Red-throated Loon R Pacific Loon 2008 Common Loon U O U C R O SP SU FA WN Grebes Pied-billed Grebe* C R C C Horned Grebe U U U Red-necked Grebe 1994 Eared Grebe 1978 Western Grebe 1979 Flamingos Greater Flamingo 1992 Shearwaters and Petrels Northern Fulmar Cory’s Shearwater U Great Shearwater O Sooty Shearwater Manx Shearwater Audubon’s Shearwater O 2008 O U R O O 2009 2004 O O Storm-Petrels Wilson’s Storm-Petrel Leach’s Storm-Petrel Band-rumped Storm-Petrel O O O O R O O R Status Tropicbirds White-tailed Tropicbird 1981 Storks Wood Stork C C C C (E)(FL-E) Frigatebirds Magnificent Frigatebird O O O R Boobies and Gannets Masked Booby Brown Booby Northern Gannet R R O O C R O C C Cormorants Double-crested Cormorant* C Great Cormorant C C 2001 C Darters Anhinga* C C C C Pelicans American White Pelican Brown Pelican* C C R C U C C C (FL-SSC) Herons, Bitterns, and Allies American Bittern Least Bittern* Great Blue Heron* O U U C C O U U R C C Great Egret* Snowy Egret* Little Blue Heron* Tricolored Heron* Reddish Egret* Cattle Egret* Green Heron* Black-crowned Night-Heron* Yellow-crowned Night-Heron* SP C C C C C C C SU FA WN C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C U U U U O O O O Ibises and Spoonbills White Ibis* C Glossy Ibis* C White-faced Ibis Roseate Spoonbill* C C C C C C C 2009 C C C New World Vultures Black Vulture* Turkey Vulture C C C C Status (FL-SSC) (FL-SSC) (FL-SSC) (FL-SSC) (FL-SSC) (FL-SSC) C C C C Hawks, Kites, Eagles, and Allies Osprey* C C C C Swallow-tailed Kite O O O White-tailed Kite 1992 Snail Kite 2004 (E)(FL-E) Mississippi Kite 2007 Bald Eagle* C O C C Northern Harrier U R C C Sharp-shinned Hawk O U U Cooper’s Hawk* U U U U Red-shouldered Hawk* C C C C Broad-winged Hawk R O R Short-tailed Hawk O O O Swainson’s Hawk R R Red-tailed Hawk* U U U U Caracaras and Falcons Crested Caracara 2017 American Kestrel U C C Merlin O U O Peregrine Falcon U U O Rails, Gallinules, and Coots Yellow Rail 2010 Black Rail* R R R R Clapper Rail* U U U U King Rail* U O O U Virginia Rail R R R Sora R U U Purple Gallinule 2007 T)(FL-T) Common Gallinule* American Coot SP C C SU FA WN C C C O C C Limpkins Limpkin R R R R (FL-SSC) Cranes Sandhill Crane* O O O O Lapwings and Plovers Black-bellied Plover American Golden-Plover Wilson’s Plover* Semipalmated Plover Piping Plover Killdeer* C O R O O C R R C C C C R R O O O C R (T)(FL-T) C Oystercatchers American Oystercatcher R R R R (FL-SSC) Stilts and Avocets Black-necked Stilt* American Avocet C C C R U C R C Sandpipers, Phalaropes, and Allies Spotted Sandpiper U U Solitary Sandpiper U O Greater Yellowlegs C U C Willet* C C C Lesser Yellowlegs C U C Upland Sandpiper R R Whimbrel O O Long-billed Curlew 2005 Black-tailed Godwit 1996 Hudsonian Godwit 1999 Bar-tailed Godwit 1995 Marbled Godwit U U Ruddy Turnstone C C C Red Knot U O Sanderling C C C Semipalmated Sandpiper C R C Western Sandpiper C O C Least Sandpiper C U C White-rumped Sandpiper O O Baird’s Sandpiper R R Pectoral Sandpiper U U Purple Sandpiper 2003 Dunlin C R C Curlew Sandpiper 1991 Stilt Sandpiper U R U Buff-breasted Sandpiper R Ruff R R U R C C C O U C U C C C R C O Status (FL-T) SP SU Short-billed Dowitcher C Long-billed Dowitcher U Wilson’s Snipe O American Woodcock Wilson’s Phalarope R Red-necked Phalarope R Red Phalarope Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers Black-legged Kittiwake Sabine’s Gull 2009 Bonaparte’s Gull O Black-headed Gull 2008 Laughing Gull* C C Franklin’s Gull 2003 Ring-billed Gull C R Herring Gull U R Lesser Black-backed Gull U Glaucous Gull 1991 Great Black-backed Gull U O Brown Noddy R Sooty Tern R R Bridled Tern R R Least Tern* C C Gull-billed Tern O O Caspian Tern C Black Tern O U Roseate Tern R Common Tern O U Forster’s Tern C O Royal Tern* C C Sandwich Tern O O Black Skimmer* C C FA WN C C C C U U R R R R R R R U U C C C U U C U U Status U U R R R O (FL-T) O O C C U R (T)(FL-T) U R C C C C O O C C (FL-SSC) Skuas and Jaegers South Polar Skua 2009 Pomarine Jaeger O U Parasitic Jaeger O U Long-tailed Jaeger R R O O Auks, Murres, Puffins, and Allies Dovekie 2007 Pigeons and Doves Rock Pigeon* Eurasian Collared-Dove* White-winged Dove Mourning Dove* Common Ground-Dove* C O R C C C O R C C C O R C C C (FL-NNS) O (FL-NNS) R (FL-NNS) C C SP SU FA WN Cuckoos and Anis Yellow-billed Cuckoo* U O U Black-billed Cuckoo R R Smooth-billed Ani 1991 Barn Owls Barn Owl R R R R Typical Owls Eastern Screech-Owl* C U C C Great Horned Owl* U U U C Burrowing Owl 1976 Barred Owl* U U U U Short-eared Owl R R Nightjars (Goatsuckers) Common Nighthawk* Chuck-will’s-widow* Eastern Whip-poor-will C C C C R U O R Swifts Chimney Swift U U U Hummingbirds Ruby-throated Hummingbird U U U R Kingfishers Belted Kingfisher C C C R Status (FL-SSC) Woodpeckers and Allies Red-headed Woodpecker R R Red-bellied Woodpecker* C C C C Yellow-bellied Sapsucker U U U Downy Woodpecker* C C C C Hairy Woodpecker R R R Red-cockaded Woodpecker 1976 (E)(FL-SSC) Northern Flicker* C C C C Pileated Woodpecker* U U U U Tyrant Flycatchers Olive-sided Flycatcher 2003 Eastern Wood-Pewee U Yellow-bellied Flycatcher 2004 Acadian Flycatcher O O Alder Flycatcher R Willow Flycatcher R Least Flycatcher R R Eastern Phoebe C C Ash-throated Flycatcher R R Great Crested Flycatcher * C C U Western Kingbird O Eastern Kingbird* U U U U C R R R SP Gray Kingbird* U Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Fork-tailed Flycatcher SU FA WN U O 2017 1985 Shrikes Loggerhead Shrike* C C Vireos White-eyed Vireo* C C Yellow-throated Vireo O Blue-headed Vireo U Warbling Vireo 2009 Philadelphia Vireo Red-eyed Vireo* U O Black-whiskered Vireo* R R C C C O U C R U O C R Jays and Crows Blue Jay* C Florida Scrub-Jay* C American Crow Fish Crow* C C C C C 1989 C C Larks Horned Lark 1994 Swallows and Martins Purple Martin* U U Tree Swallow C R Northern Rough-winged Swallow U Bank Swallow O Cliff Swallow O Barn Swallow C O Chickadees and Titmice Carolina Chickadee Tufted Titmouse* U R C R O O C C C (T)(FL-T) C C U 1976 U U U Creepers Brown Creeper R Wrens Carolina Wren* House Wren Sedge Wren Marsh Wren* C C U U C C U U C C Kinglets Golden-crowned Kinglet 2007 Ruby-crowned Kinglet U U U C C U U U Old World Warblers and Gnatcatchers Blue-gray Gnatcatcher* C U Status Thrushes Eastern Bluebird Veery Gray-cheeked Thrush Swainson’s Thrush Hermit Thrush Wood Thrush American Robin SP SU FA WN O O O O O R U Status O O O O O U U R C C Mimics (Mockingbirds, Thrashers, and Catbirds) Gray Catbird C C C Brown Thrasher * U U O O Bahama Mockingbird 2017 Northern Mockingbird* C C C C Starlings European Starling* C C C C Wagtails and Pipits American Pipit R R R Waxwings Cedar Waxwing U O U Wood-Warblers Ovenbird U Worm-eating Warbler U Louisiana Waterthrush O Northern Waterthrush U Golden-winged Warbler Blue-winged Warbler O Black-and-white Warbler U Prothonotary Warbler O Swainson’s Warbler R Tennessee Warbler U Orange-crowned Warbler U Nashville Warbler R Connecticut Warbler R Kentucky Warbler R Common Yellowthroat* C C Hooded Warbler O American Redstart U R Cape May Warbler U Cerulean Warbler R Northern Parula* C U Magnolia Warbler O Bay-breasted Warbler R Blackburnian Warbler O Yellow Warbler U Chestnut-sided Warbler O Blackpoll Warbler U U O O U O O U O R U U R R R C O C O R C O O O U O O R U U U C R R (FL-NNS) SP SU Black-throated Blue Warbler U Palm Warbler C Pine Warbler* O O Yellow-rumped Warbler C Yellow-throated Warbler U Prairie Warbler* U U Townsend’s Warbler 2002 Black-throated Green Warbler O Canada Warbler R Wilson’s Warbler Yellow-breasted Chat R Sparrows, Towhees, and Allies Eastern Towhee* C C Bachman’s Sparrow R R Chipping Sparrow O Clay-colored Sparrow Field Sparrow R Vesper Sparrow R Lark Sparrow R Savannah Sparrow C Grasshopper Sparrow O Henslow’s Sparrow Nelson’s Sparrow O Saltmarsh Sparrow O Seaside Sparrow Fox Sparrow Song Sparrow O Lincoln’s Sparrow Swamp Sparrow C White-throated Sparrow White-crowned Sparrow R Dark-eyed Junco 1977 Lapland Longspur 1988 Snow Bunting 1999 SP SU FA WN Brewer’s Blackbird R Common Grackle* C C C C Boat-tailed Grackle* C C C C Brown-headed Cowbird U U U U Orchard Oriole O R O Bullock’s Oriole 1988 Baltimore Oriole O O R O O R R R Finches and Allies House Finch R R Pine Siskin American Goldfinch O R R U R (FL-NNS) R C Old World Sparrows House Sparrow* U U (FL-NNS) C R O R R R R C O R O O R R O R C R O Cardinals, Grosbeaks, Buntings, and Allies Summer Tanager * O O Scarlet Tanager O Northern Cardinal* C C Rose-breasted Grosbeak O Blue Grosbeak O O Indigo Bunting U Painted Bunting* U O Dickcissel R Blackbirds, Orioles, Cowbirds, and Allies Bobolink U Red-winged Blackbird* C C Eastern Meadowlark* U U Western Meadowlark 1972 Rusty Blackbird R FA WN Status U C C O O C C U U U U C R O R R R C O R O O R R O R C R R Sighting Notes Date Time Weather No. of species Route or area O O C O O U U R C Observers U U R Remarks U C U C U R R U U Status