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Birds in Nevada

Birds in Nevada

You would be surprised at how many birds live in the desert. 

Living in Las Vegas I have seen birds that I would never imagine living in the hot, dry, and treeless area. Around Las Vegas, you will find lush green mountains and a huge lake that adds even more cool birds that live in and near Las Vegas.

I am working on photographing and finding photographs to add to our desert wildlife database.

Unless otherwise noted, all species listed below are considered to occur regularly in Nevada as permanent residents, summer or winter visitors, or migrants. These tags are used to annotate some species:

  • (R) Review list – birds that if seen require more comprehensive documentation than regularly seen species. These birds are considered irregular or rare in Nevada.
  • (I) Introduced – a species established in North America as a result of human action

Sandhill Cranes at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, Nevada

Auks, murres, and puffins

  • Order: Charadriiformes
  • Family: Alcidae

The family Alcidae includes auks, murres, and puffins. These are short-winged birds that live on the open sea and normally only come ashore for breeding. One species has been recorded in Nevada.

  • Ancient murrelet, Synthliboarmphus antiquus (R)


  • Order: Strigiformes
  • Family: Tytonidae

Barn-owls are medium to large owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons. One species has been recorded in Nevada.

  • Barn owl, Tyto alba

Bitterns, herons, and egrets

  • Order: Pelecaniformes
  • Family: Ardeidae

The family Ardeidae contains the herons, egrets, and bitterns. Herons and egrets are medium to large wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter-necked and more secretive. Members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted, unlike other long-necked birds such as storks, ibises, and spoonbills. Twelve species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • American bittern, Botaurus lentiginosus
  • Least bittern, Ixobrychus exilis
  • Great blue heron, Ardea herodias
  • Great egret, Ardea alba
  • Snowy egret, Egretta thula
  • Little blue heron, Egretta caerulea (R)
  • Tricolored heron, Egretta tricolor (R)
  • Reddish egret, Egretta rufescens (R)
  • Cattle egret, Bubulcus ibis
  • Green heron, Butorides virescens
  • Black-crowned night-heron, Nycticorax nycticorax
  • Yellow-crowned night-heron, Nyctanassa violacea (R)

Boobies and gannets

  • Order: Suliformes
  • Family: Sulidae

The sulids comprise the gannets and boobies. Both groups are medium-large coastal seabirds that plunge-dive for fish. Two species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Blue-footed booby, Sula nebouxii (R)
  • Brown booby, Sula leucogaster (R)

Caracaras and falcons

  • Order: Falconiformes
  • Family: Falconidae

Falconidae is a family of diurnal birds of prey, notably the falcons and caracaras. They differ from hawks, eagles, and kites in that they kill with their beaks instead of their talons. Six species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Crested caracara, Caracara cheriway (R)
  • American kestrel, Falco sparverius
  • Merlin, Falco columbarius
  • Gyrfalcon, Falco rusticolus (R)
  • Peregrine falcon, Falco peregrinus
  • Prairie falcon, Falco mexicanus

Cardinals and allies

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Cardinalidae

The cardinals are a family of robust, seed-eating birds with strong bills. They are typically associated with open woodland. The sexes usually have distinct plumages. Thirteen species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Hepatic tanager, Piranga flava (R)
  • Summer tanager, Piranga rubra
  • Scarlet tanager, Piranga olivacea
  • Western tanager, Piranga ludoviciana
  • Northern cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis (R)
  • Pyrrhuloxia, Cardinalis sinuatus (R)
  • Rose-breasted grosbeak, Pheucticus ludovicianus
  • Black-headed grosbeak, Pheucticus melanocephalus
  • Blue grosbeak, Passerina caerulea
  • Lazuli bunting, Passerina amoena
  • Indigo bunting, Passerina cyanea
  • Painted bunting, Passerina ciris
  • Dickcissel, Spiza americana

Cuckoos, roadrunners, and anis are known to be in Nevada

Great Roadrunner

  • Order: Cuculiformes   
  • Family: Cuculidae

The family Cuculidae includes cuckoos, roadrunners, and anis.

These birds are of variable size with slender bodies, long tails, and strong legs.

Three species have been recorded in Nevada.

Chickadees and titmice

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Paridae

The Paridae are mainly small stocky woodland species with short stout bills. Some have crests. They are adaptable birds, with a mixed diet including seeds and insects. Three species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Black-capped chickadee, Poecile atricapilla
  • Mountain chickadee, Poecile gambeli
  • Juniper titmouse, Baeolophus ridgwayi


  • Order: Suliformes
  • Family: Phalacrocoracidae

Cormorants are medium-to-large aquatic birds, usually with mainly dark plumage and areas of colored skin on the face. The bill is long, thin, and sharply hooked. Their feet are four-toed and webbed. Two species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Neotropic cormorant, Phalacrocorax brasilianus
  • Double-crested cormorant, Phalacrocorax auritus


Sandhill Cranes

  • Order: Gruiformes
  • Family: Gruidae

Cranes are large, long-legged, and long-necked birds. Unlike the similar-looking but unrelated herons, cranes fly with necks outstretched, not pulled back. Most have elaborate and noisy courting displays or “dances”. Two species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Sandhill crane, Antigone canadensis
  • Common crane, Grus grus (R)


  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Fringillidae

Finches are seed-eating passerine birds, that are small to moderately large and have a strong beak, usually conical and in some species very large. All have twelve tail feathers and nine primaries. These birds have a bouncing flight with alternating bouts of flapping and gliding on closed wings, and most sing well. Fifteen species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Brambling, Fringilla montifringilla (R)
  • Evening grosbeak, Coccothraustes vespertinus
  • Pine grosbeak, Pinicola enucleator
  • Gray-crowned rosy-finch, Leucosticte tephrocotis
  • Black rosy-finch, Leucosticte atrata
  • House finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
  • Purple finch, Haemorhous purpureus
  • Cassin’s finch, Haemorhous cassinii
  • Common redpoll, Acanthis flammea
  • Red crossbill, Loxia curvirostra
  • White-winged crossbill, Loxia leucoptera (R)
  • Pine siskin, Spinus pinus
  • Lesser goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
  • Lawrence’s goldfinch, Spinus lawrencei
  • American goldfinch, Spinus tristis


  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Polioptilidae

These dainty birds resemble Old World warblers in their structure and habits, moving restlessly through the foliage seeking insects. The gnatcatchers are mainly soft bluish gray in color and have the typical insectivore’s long sharp bill. Many species have distinctive black head patterns (especially males) and long, regularly cocked, black-and-white tails. Two species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Blue-gray gnatcatcher, Polioptila caerulea
  • Black-tailed gnatcatcher, Polioptila melanura

Ducks in Nevada

  • American wigeon, Mareca americana
  • Barrow’s goldeneye, Bucephala islandica
  • Black scoter, Melanitta americana
  • Black-bellied whistling-duck, Dendrocygna autumnalis (R)
  • Blue-winged teal, Spatula discors
  • Brant, Branta bernicla
  • Bufflehead, Bucephala albeola
  • Canvasback, Aythya valisineria
  • Cinnamon teal, Spatula cyanoptera
  • Common goldeneye, Bucephala clangula
  • Common merganser, Mergus merganser
  • Eurasian wigeon, Mareca penelope
  • Fulvous whistling-duck, Dendrocygna bicolor (R)
  • Gadwall, Mareca strepera
  • Greater scaup, Aythya marila
  • Green-winged teal, Anas crecca
  • Harlequin duck, Histrionicus histrionicus (R)
  • Hooded merganser, Lophodytes cucullatus
  • King eider, Somateria spectabilis (R)
  • Lesser scaup, Aythya affinis
  • Long-tailed duck, Clangula hyemalis
  • Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos
  • Northern pintail, Anas acuta
  • Northern shoveler, Spatula clypeata
  • Red-breasted merganser, Mergus serrator
  • Redhead, Aythya americana
  • Ring-necked duck, Aythya collaris
  • Ruddy duck, Oxyura jamaicensis
  • Surf scoter, Melanitta perspicillata
  • Trumpeter swan, Cygnus buccinator
  • Tundra swan, Cygnus columbianus
  • White-winged scoter, Melanitta deglandi
  • Wood duck, Aix sponsa


  • Order: Suliformes
  • Family: Fregatidae

Frigatebirds are large seabirds usually found over tropical oceans. They are large, black, or black-and-white, with long wings and deeply forked tails. The males have colored inflatable throat pouches. They do not swim or walk and cannot take off from a flat surface. Having the largest wingspan-to-body-weight ratio of any bird, they are essentially aerial, able to stay aloft for more than a week. One species has been recorded in Nevada.

  • Magnificent frigatebird, Fregata magnificens (R)

Geese in Nevada

Canadian Geese

  • Cackling goose, Branta hutchinsii
  • Canada goose, Branta canadensis
  • Greater white-fronted goose, Anser albifrons
  • Ross’s goose, Anser rossii
  • Snow goose, Anser caerulescens


  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Polioptilidae

These dainty birds resemble Old World warblers in their structure and habits, moving restlessly through the foliage seeking insects. The gnatcatchers are mainly soft bluish gray in color and have the typical insectivore’s long sharp bill. Many species have distinctive black head patterns (especially males) and long, regularly cocked, black-and-white tails. Two species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Blue-gray gnatcatcher, Polioptila caerulea
  • Black-tailed gnatcatcher, Polioptila melanura

Grebes in Nevada

  • Clark’s Grebe
  • Eared Grebe
  • Horned Grebe
  • Pied-billed Grebe
  • Western Grebe

Gulls, terns, and skimmers

  • Order: Charadriiformes
  • Family: Laridae

Laridae is a family of medium to large seabirds and includes gulls, terns, kittiwakes, and skimmers. They are typically gray or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet. Twenty-six species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Black-legged kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla
  • Red-legged kittiwake, Rissa brevirostris (R)
  • Sabine’s gull, Xema sabini
  • Bonaparte’s gull, Chroicocephalus philadelphia
  • Little gull, Hydrocoloeus minutus (R)
  • Laughing gull, Leucophaeus atricilla (R)
  • Franklin’s gull, Leucophaeus pipixcan
  • Heermann’s gull, Larus heermanni
  • Mew gull, Larus canus
  • Ring-billed gull, Larus delawarensis
  • Western gull, Larus occidentalis (R)
  • Yellow-footed gull, Larus livens (R)
  • California gull, Larus californicus
  • Herring gull, Larus argentatus
  • Iceland gull, Larus glaucoides
  • Lesser black-backed gull, Larus fuscus
  • Slaty-backed gull, Larus schistisagus (R)
  • Glaucous-winged gull, Larus glaucescens
  • Glaucous gull, Larus hyperboreus
  • Least tern, Sternula antillarum
  • Caspian tern, Hydroprogne caspia
  • Black tern, Chlidonias niger
  • Common tern, Sterna hirundo
  • Arctic tern, Sterna paradisaea
  • Forster’s tern, Sterna forsteri
  • Black skimmer, Rynchops niger (R)

Hawks, kites, and eagles

  • Order: Accipitriformes
  • Family: Accipitridae

Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey, which includes hawks, eagles, kites, harriers, and Old World vultures. These birds have very large powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons, and keen eyesight. Seventeen species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • White-tailed kite, Elanus leucurus
  • Golden eagle, Aquila chrysaetos
  • Northern harrier, Circus husonius
  • Sharp-shinned hawk, Accipiter striatus
  • Cooper’s hawk, Accipiter cooperii
  • Northern goshawk, Accipiter gentilis
  • Bald eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus
  • Mississippi kite, Ictinia mississippiensis (R)
  • Common black hawk, Buteogallus anthracinus
  • Harris’s hawk, Parabuteo unicinctus
  • Red-shouldered hawk, Buteo lineatus
  • Broad-winged hawk, Buteo platypterus
  • Swainson’s hawk, Buteo swainsoni
  • Zone-tailed hawk, Buteo albonotatus
  • Red-tailed hawk, Buteo jamaicensis
  • Rough-legged hawk, Buteo lagopus
  • Ferruginous hawk, Buteo regalis

Hummingbirds in Nevada

Costas Hummingbird

  • Order: Apodiformes
  • Family: Trochilidae

Hummingbirds are small birds capable of hovering in mid-air due to the rapid flapping of their wings. They are the only birds that can fly backward.

Nine species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Anna’s hummingbird, Calypte anna
  • Black-chinned Hummingbird, Archilochus alexandri
  • Broad-billed hummingbird, Cynanthus latirostris (R)
  • Broad-tailed hummingbird, Selasphorus platycercus
  • Calliope hummingbird, Selasphorus calliope
  • Costa’s hummingbird, Calypte costae
  • Rivoli’s hummingbird, Eugenes fulgens (R)
  • Ruby-throated hummingbird, Archilochus colubris (R)
  • Rufous hummingbird, Selasphorus rufus

Ibises and spoonbills

  • Order: Pelecaniformes
  • Family: Threskiornithidae

The family Threskiornithidae includes the ibises and spoonbills. They have long, broad wings. Their bodies tend to be elongated, the neck more so, with rather long legs. The bill is also long, decurved in the case of the ibises, straight and distinctively flattened in the spoonbills. Four species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • White ibis, Eudocimus albus (R)
  • Glossy ibis, Plegadis falcinellus (R)
  • White-faced ibis, Plegadis chihi
  • Roseate spoonbill, Platalea ajaja (R)


  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Icteridae

The icterids are a group of small to medium-sized, often colorful passerine birds restricted to the New World and include the grackles, New World blackbirds, and New World orioles. Most species have black as a predominant plumage color, often enlivened by yellow, orange, or red. Sixteen species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Yellow-headed blackbird, Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus
  • Bobolink, Dolichonyx oryzivorus
  • Western meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
  • Orchard oriole, Icterus spurius
  • Hooded oriole, Icterus cucullatus
  • Bullock’s oriole, Icterus bullockii
  • Baltimore oriole, Icterus galbula
  • Scott’s oriole, Icterus parisorum
  • Red-winged blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  • Tricolored blackbird, Agelaius tricolor
  • Bronzed cowbird, Molothrus aeneus (R)
  • Brown-headed cowbird, Molothrus ater
  • Rusty blackbird, Euphagus carolinus (R)
  • Brewer’s blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
  • Common grackle, Quiscalus quiscula
  • Great-tailed grackle, Quiscalus mexicanus


  • Order: Charadriiformes
  • Family: Stercorariidae

Skuas and jaegers are in general medium to large birds, typically with gray or brown plumage, often with white markings on the wings. They have longish bills with hooked tips and webbed feet with sharp claws. They look like large dark gulls, but have a fleshy cere above the upper mandible. They are strong, acrobatic fliers. Three species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Pomarine jaeger, Stercorarius pomarinus (R)
  • Parasitic jaeger, Stercorarius parasiticus
  • Long-tailed jaeger, Stercorarius longicaudus
  • Lapwings and plovers

Jays, crows, magpies, and ravens

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Corvidae

The family Corvidae includes crows, ravens, jays, choughs, magpies, treepies, nutcrackers, and ground jays. Corvids are above average in size among the Passeriformes, and some of the larger species show high levels of intelligence. Nine species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Pinyon jay, Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus
  • Steller’s jay, Cyanocitta stelleri
  • Blue jay, Cyanocitta cristata (R)
  • California scrub-jay, Aphelocoma californica
  • Woodhouse’s scrub-jay, Aphelocoma woodhouseii
  • Clark’s nutcracker, Nucifraga columbiana
  • Black-billed magpie, Pica hudsonia
  • American crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  • Common raven, Corvus corax


  • Order: Charadriiformes
  • Family: Charadriidae

The family Charadriidae includes the plovers, dotterels, and lapwings. They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short thick necks, and long, usually pointed, wings. They are found in the open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water. Seven species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Black-bellied plover, Pluvialis squatarola
  • American golden-plover, Pluvialis dominica
  • Pacific golden-plover, Pluvialis fulva (R)
  • Killdeer, Charadrius vociferus
  • Semipalmated plover, Charadrius semipalmatus
  • Snowy plover, Charadrius nivosus
  • Mountain plover, Charadrius montanus


  • Order: Coraciiformes
  • Family: Alcedinidae

Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails. One species has been recorded in Nevada.

  • Belted kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon


  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Regulidae

The kinglets are a small family of birds that resemble the titmice. They are very small insectivorous birds in the genus Regulus. The adults have colored crowns, giving rise to their names. Two species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Golden-crowned kinglet, Regulus satrapa
  • Ruby-crowned kinglet, Regulus calendula

Loons in Nevada

  • Common Loon
  • Yellow-billed Loon


  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Alaudidae

Larks are small terrestrial birds with often extravagant songs and display flights. Most larks are fairly dull in appearance. Their food is insects and seeds. One species has been recorded in Nevada.

  • Horned lark, Eremophila alpestris

Longspurs and snow buntings

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Calcariidae

The Calcariidae are a group of passerine birds that were traditionally grouped with the New World sparrows, but differ in a number of respects and are usually found in open grassy areas. Five species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Lapland longspur, Calcarius lapponicus
  • Chestnut-collared longspur, Calcarius ornatus
  • Smith’s longspur, Calcarius pictus (R)
  • McCown’s longspur, Rhynchophanes mccownii (R)
  • Snow bunting, Plectrophenax nivalis (R)

Long-tailed tits

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Aegithalidae

Long-tailed tits are a group of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They make woven bag nests in trees. Most eat a mixed diet which includes insects. One species has been recorded in Nevada.

  • Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus

Leaf warblers

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Phylloscopidae

Leaf warblers are a family of small insectivorous birds found mostly in Eurasia and ranging into Wallacea and Africa. The Arctic warbler breeds east into Alaska. The species are of various sizes, often green-plumaged above and yellow below, or more subdued with grayish-green to grayish-brown colors.

  • Arctic warbler/Kamchatka leaf warbler, Phylloscopus borealis/Phylloscopus examinandus (R)

Mockingbirds and thrashers

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Mimidae

The mimids are a family of passerine birds which includes thrashers, mockingbirds, tremblers, and the New World catbirds. These birds are notable for their vocalization, especially their remarkable ability to mimic a wide variety of birds and other sounds heard outdoors. The species tend towards dull grays and browns in their appearance. Eight species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Gray catbird, Dumetella carolinensis
  • Curve-billed thrasher, Toxostoma curvirostre
  • Brown thrasher, Toxostoma rufum
  • Bendire’s thrasher, Toxostoma bendirei
  • LeConte’s thrasher, Toxostoma lecontei
  • Crissal thrasher, Toxostoma crissale
  • Sage thrasher, Oreoscoptes montanus
  • Northern mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos

New World Quail

  • Order: Galliformes
  • Family: Odontophoridae

The New World quails are small, plump terrestrial birds only distantly related to the quails of the Old World, but named for their similar appearance and habits. Three species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Mountain quail, Callipepla pictus
  • California quail, Callipepla californica
  • Gambel’s quail, Callipepla gambelii

New World vultures

  • Order: Cathartiformes
  • Family: Cathartidae

The New World vultures are not closely related to Old World vultures, but superficially resemble them because of convergent evolution. Like the Old World vultures, they are scavengers, however, unlike Old World vultures, which find carcasses by sight, New World vultures have a good sense of smell with which they locate carcasses. One species has been recorded in Nevada.

  • Turkey vulture, Cathartes aura

Lesser Nighthawk

Nightjars and allies in Nevada

  • Order: Caprimulgiformes
  • Family: Caprimulgidae

Nightjars are medium-sized nocturnal birds that usually nest on the ground. They have long wings, short legs, and very short bills. Most have small feet, of little use for walking, and long pointed wings. Their soft plumage is cryptically colored to resemble bark or leaves. Five species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Lesser nighthawk, Chordeiles acutipennis
  • Common nighthawk, Chordeiles minor
  • Common poorwill, Phalaenoptilus nuttallii
  • Chuck-will’s-widow, Antrostomus carolinensis (R)
  • Mexican whip-poor-will, Antrostomus arizonae

Northern storm-petrels

  • Order: Procellariiformes
  • Family: Hydrobatidae

The storm-petrels are the smallest seabirds, relatives of the petrels, feeding on planktonic crustaceans and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. The flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like. One species has been recorded in Nevada.

Least storm-petrel, Hydrobates microsoma (R)

Long-tailed tits

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Aegithalidae

Long-tailed tits are a group of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They make woven bag nests in trees. Most eat a mixed diet which includes insects. One species has been recorded in Nevada.

  • Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus

New World sparrows

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Passerellidae

Until 2017, these species were considered part of the family Emberizidae. Most of the species are known as sparrows, but these birds are not closely related to the Old World sparrows which are in the family Passeridae. Many of these have distinctive head patterns. Thirty species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Cassin’s sparrow, Peucaea cassinii (R)
  • Grasshopper sparrow, Ammodramus savannarum
  • Black-throated sparrow, Amphispiza bilineata
  • Lark sparrow, Chondestes grammacus
  • Lark bunting, Calamospiza melanocorys
  • Chipping sparrow, Spizella passerina
  • Clay-colored sparrow, Spizella pallida
  • Black-chinned sparrow, Spiezella atrogularis
  • Field sparrow, Spizella pusilla (R)
  • Brewer’s sparrow, Spizella breweri
  • Fox sparrow, Passerella iliaca
  • American tree sparrow, Spizelloides arborea
  • Dark-eyed junco, Junco hyemalis
  • White-crowned sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
  • Golden-crowned sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
  • Harris’s sparrow, Zonotrichia querula
  • White-throated sparrow, Zonotrichia albicollis
  • Sagebrush sparrow, Artemisiospiza nevadensis
  • Bell’s sparrow, Artemisiospiza belli
  • Vesper sparrow, Pooecetes gramineus
  • LeConte’s sparrow, Ammospiza leconteii (R)
  • Baird’s sparrow, Centronyx bairdii (R)
  • Savannah sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis
  • Song sparrow, Melospiza melodia
  • Lincoln’s sparrow, Melospiza lincolnii
  • Swamp sparrow, Melospiza georgiana
  • Abert’s towhee, Melozone aberti
  • Rufous-crowned sparrow, Aimophila ruficeps
  • Green-tailed towhee, Pipilo chlorurus
  • Spotted towhee, Pipilo maculatus

Old World sparrows

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Passeridae

Old World sparrows are small passerine birds. In general, sparrows tend to be small plump brownish or grayish birds with short tails and short powerful beaks. Sparrows are seed eaters, but they also consume small insects. One species has been recorded in Nevada.

  • House sparrow, Passer domesticus (I)


  • Order: Accipitriformes
  • Family: Pandionidae

Pandionidae is a family of fish-eating birds of prey possessing a very large, powerful hooked beak for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons, and keen eyesight. The family is monotypic.

  • Osprey, Pandion haliaetus

Owls in Nevada

Burrowing Owls

  • Barn Owl
  • Burrowing Owl
  • Flammulated Owl
  • Great Horned Owl
  • Long-eared Owl
  • Short-eared Owl
  • Western Screech-Owl

Penduline tits

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Remizidae

The penduline tits are a family of small passerine birds related to the true tits. One species has been recorded in Nevada.

  • Verdin, Auriparus flaviceps


  • Order: Pelecaniformes
  • Family: Pelecanidae

Pelicans are very large water birds with a distinctive pouch under their beak. Like other birds in the order Pelecaniformes, they have four webbed toes. Two species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • American white pelican, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
  • Brown pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis

Pigeons in Nevada

  • Band-tailed Pigeon
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove
  • Inca Dove
  • Mourning Dove
  • Rock Pigeon
  • White-winged Dove 

Rails, gallinules, and coots

  • Order: Gruiformes
  • Family: Rallidae

Rallidae is a large family of small to medium-sized birds which include rails, crakes, coots, and gallinules. The most typical family members occupy dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, swamps, or rivers. In general, they are shy and secretive birds, making them difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs and long toes which are well adapted to soft uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and tend to be weak fliers. Seven species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Black rail, Laterallus jamaicensis (R)
  • Ridgway’s rail, Rallus obsoletus
  • Virginia rail, Rallus limicola
  • Sora, Porzana carolina
  • Purple gallinule, Porphyrio martinicus (R)
  • Common gallinule, Gallinula galeata
  • American coot, Fulica americana

Songbirds in Nevada

  • Blackbirds
  • Bluebirds
  • Buntings
  • Bushtits
  • Chickadees
  • Creepers
  • Crows
  • Dippers
  • Finches
  • Flycatchers
  • Gnatcatchers
  • Goldfinches
  • Grackles
  • Grosbeaks
  • Grosbeaks
  • House Sparrow
  • Jays
  • Juncos
  • Kinglets
  • Larks
  • Magpies
  • Mockingbirds
  • Nuthatchs
  • Orioles
  • Phainopepla
  • Pipits
  • Ravens
  • Robins
  • Shrikes
  • Siskins
  • Sparrows
  • Starlings
  • Swallows
  • Tanagers
  • Thrashers
  • Thrushes
  • Titmice
  • Towhees
  • Verdins
  • Vireos
  • Warblers
  • Waxwings
  • Wrens

Sandpipers and allies

  • Order: Charadriiformes
  • Family: Scolopacidae

Scolopacidae is a large diverse family of small to medium-sized shorebirds including the sandpipers, curlews, godwits, shanks, tattlers, woodcocks, snipes, dowitchers, and phalaropes. The majority of these species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Different lengths of legs and bills enable multiple species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food. Thirty-five species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Upland sandpiper, Bartramia longicauda (R)
  • Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus
  • Long-billed curlew, Numenius americanus
  • Hudsonian godwit, Limosa haemastica (R)
  • Marbled godwit, Limosa fedoa
  • Ruddy turnstone, Arenaria interpres
  • Black turnstone, Arenaria melanocephala (R)
  • Red knot, Calidris canutus
  • Ruff, Calidris pugnax (R)
  • Sharp-tailed sandpiper, Calidris acuminata (R)
  • Stilt sandpiper, Calidris himantopus
  • Curlew sandpiper, Calidris ferruginea (R)
  • Red-necked stint, Calidris ruficollis (R)
  • Sanderling, Calidris alba
  • Dunlin, Calidris alpina
  • Baird’s sandpiper, Calidris bairdii
  • Least sandpiper, Calidris minutilla
  • White-rumped sandpiper, Calidris fuscicollis (R)
  • Buff-breasted sandpiper, Calidris subruficollis (R)
  • Pectoral sandpiper, Calidris melanotos
  • Semipalmated sandpiper, Calidris pusilla
  • Western sandpiper, Calidris mauri
  • Short-billed dowitcher, Limnodromus griseus
  • Long-billed dowitcher, Limnodromus scolopaceus
  • American woodcock, Scolopax minor (R)
  • Wilson’s snipe, Gallinago delicata
  • Spotted sandpiper, Actitis macularius
  • Solitary sandpiper, Tringa solitaria
  • Lesser yellowlegs, Tringa flavipes
  • Willet, Tringa semipalmata
  • Spotted redshank, Tringa erythropus (R)
  • Greater yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca
  • Wilson’s phalarope, Phalaropus tricolor
  • Red-necked phalarope, Phalaropus lobatus
  • Red phalarope, Phalaropus fulicarius


  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Laniidae

Shrikes are passerine birds known for their habit of catching other birds and small animals and impaling the uneaten portions of their bodies on thorns. A shrike’s beak is hooked, like that of a typical bird of prey. Two species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Loggerhead shrike, Lanius ludovicianus
  • Northern shrike, Lanius borealis


  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Ptiliogonatidae

The silky-flycatchers are a small family of passerine birds which occur mainly in Central America, although the range of one species extends to central California. They are related to waxwings and like that group, have soft silky plumage, usually gray or pale-yellow. They have small crests. One species has been recorded in Nevada.

  • Phainopepla, Phainopepla nitens


  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Sturnidae

Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds. They are medium-sized passerines with strong feet. Their flight is strong and direct and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country, and they eat insects and fruit. Plumage is typically dark with a metallic sheen. One species has been recorded in Nevada.

  • European starling, Sturnus vulgaris (I)

Stilts and avocets

  • Order: Charadriiformes
  • Family: Recurvirostridae

Recurvirostridae is a family of large wading birds which includes the avocets and stilts. The avocets have long legs and long up-curved bills. The stilts have extremely long legs and long, thin, straight bills. Two species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Black-necked stilt, Himantopus mexicanus
  • American avocet, Recurvirostra americana

Swans in Nevada

  • Mute Swan
  • Tundra Swan


  • Order: Ciconiiformes
  • Family: Ciconiidae

Storks are large, heavy, long-legged, long-necked wading birds with long stout bills and wide wingspans. They lack the powder down that other wading birds such as herons, spoonbills, and ibises use to clean off fish slime. Storks lack a pharynx and are mute. One species has been recorded in Nevada.

  • Wood stork, Mycteria americana (R)

Swallows and martins

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Hirundinidae

The family Hirundinidae is adapted to aerial feeding. They have a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings, and a short bill with a wide gape. The feet are adapted to perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base. Seven species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Bank swallow, Riparia riparia
  • Tree swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  • Violet-green swallow, Tachycineta thalassina
  • Northern rough-winged swallow, Stelgidopteryx serripennis
  • Purple martin, Progne subis
  • Barn swallow, Hirundo rustica
  • Cliff swallow, Petrochelidon pyrrhonota

Swifts in Nevada

  • Order: Apodiformes
  • Family: Apodidae

The swifts are small birds that spend the majority of their lives flying. These birds have very short legs and never settle voluntarily on the ground, perching instead only on vertical surfaces. Many swifts have very long, swept-back wings that resemble a crescent or boomerang.

Three species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Black swift, Cypseloides niger (R)
  • Vaux’s swift, Chaetura vauxi
  • White-throated swift, Aeronautes saxatalis
  • Long-tailed tits


  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Turdidae

The thrushes are a group of passerine birds that occur mainly but not exclusively in the Old World. They are plump, soft plumaged, small to medium-sized insectivores or sometimes omnivores, often feeding on the ground. Many have attractive songs. Ten species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Western bluebird, Sialia mexicana
  • Mountain bluebird, Sialia currucoides
  • Townsend’s solitaire, Myadestes townsendi
  • Veery, Catharus fuscescens (R)
  • Swainson’s thrush, Catharus ustulatus
  • Hermit thrush, Catharus guttatus
  • Wood thrush, Hylocichla mustelina (R)
  • Rufous-backed robin, Turdus rufopalliatus (R)
  • American robin, Turdus migratorius
  • Varied thrush, Ixoreus naevius

Tyrant flycatchers

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Tyrannidae

Tyrant flycatchers are Passerine birds which occur throughout North and South America. They superficially resemble the Old World flycatchers, but are more robust and have stronger bills. They do not have the sophisticated vocal capabilities of the songbirds. Most, but not all, are rather plain. As the name implies, most are insectivorous. Twenty-nine species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Dusky-capped flycatcher, Myiarchus tuberculifer (R)
  • Ash-throated flycatcher, Myiarchus cinerascens
  • Great crested flycatcher, Myiarchus crinitus (R)
  • Brown-crested flycatcher, Myiarchus tyrannulus
  • Sulphur-bellied flycatcher, Myiodynastes luteiventris (R)
  • Tropical kingbird, Tyrannus melancholicus (R)
  • Couch’s kingbird, Tyrannus couchii (R)
  • Cassin’s kingbird, Tyrannus vociferans
  • Thick-billed kingbird, Tyrannus crassirostris (R)
  • Western kingbird, Tyrannus verticalis
  • Eastern kingbird, Tyrannus tyrannus
  • Scissor-tailed flycatcher, Tyrannus forficatus
  • Fork-tailed flycatcher, Tyrannus savana (R)
  • Olive-sided flycatcher, Contopus cooperi
  • Greater pewee, Contopus pertinax (R)
  • Western wood-pewee, Contopus sordidulus
  • Eastern wood-pewee, Contopus virens (R)
  • Yellow-bellied flycatcher, Empidonax flaviventris (R)
  • Willow flycatcher, Empidonax traillii
  • Least flycatcher, Empidonax minimus
  • Hammond’s flycatcher, Empidonax hammondii
  • Gray flycatcher, Empidonax wrightii
  • Dusky flycatcher, Empidonax oberholseri
  • Pacific-slope flycatcher, Empidonax difficilis
  • Cordilleran flycatcher, Empidonax occidentalis
  • Black phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  • Eastern phoebe, Sayornis phoebe
  • Say’s phoebe, Sayornis saya
  • Vermilion flycatcher, Pyrocephalus rubinus


  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Vireonidae

The vireos are a group of small to medium-sized passerine birds. They are typically greenish in color and resemble wood-warblers apart from their heavier bills. Eleven species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • White-eyed vireo, Vireo griseus
  • Bell’s vireo, Vireo bellii
  • Gray vireo, Vireo vicinior
  • Yellow-throated vireo, Vireo flavifrons
  • Cassin’s vireo, Vireo cassinii
  • Blue-headed vireo, Vireo solitarius (R)
  • Plumbeous vireo, Vireo plumbeus
  • Philadelphia vireo, Vireo philadelphicus (R)
  • Warbling vireo, Vireo gilvus
  • Red-eyed vireo, Vireo olivaceus
  • Yellow-green vireo, Vireo flavoviridis (R)

Wagtails and pipits

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Motacillidae

Motacillidae is a family of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They include the wagtails, longclaws, and pipits. They are slender ground-feeding insectivores of open country. Six species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Eastern yellow wagtail, Motacilla tschutschensis (R)
  • White wagtail, Motacilla alba (R)
  • Olive-backed pipit, Anthus hodgsoni (R)
  • Red-throated pipit, Anthus cervinus (R)
  • American pipit, Anthus rubescens
  • Sprague’s pipit, Anthus spragueii (R)


  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Bombycillidae

The waxwings are a group of passerine birds with soft silky plumage and unique red tips to some of the wing feathers. In the Bohemian and cedar waxwings, these tips look like sealing wax and give the group its name. These are arboreal birds of northern forests. They live on insects in summer and berries in winter. Two species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Bohemian waxwing, Bombycilla garrulus
  • Cedar waxwing, Bombycilla cedrorum

Woodpeckers in Nevada

  • Order: Piciformes   
  • Family: Picidae

Woodpeckers are small to medium-sized birds with chisel-like beaks, short legs, stiff tails, and long tongues used for capturing insects. Some species have feet with two toes pointing forward and two backward, while several species have only three toes. Many woodpeckers have the habit of tapping noisily on tree trunks with their beaks. Nineteen species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Gilded Flicker
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker
  • Lewis’s Woodpecker
  • Northern Flicker
  • Red-naped Sapsucker
  • Williamson’s Sapsucker
  • Lewis’s woodpecker, Melanerpes lewis
  • Red-headed woodpecker, Melanerpes erythrocephalus (R)
  • Acorn woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  • Gila woodpecker, Melanerpes uropygialis (R)
  • Red-bellied woodpecker, Melanerpes carolinus (R)
  • Williamson’s sapsucker, Sphyrapicus thyroideus
  • Yellow-bellied sapsucker, Sphyrapicus varius
  • Red-naped sapsucker, Sphyrapicus nuchalis
  • Red-breasted sapsucker, Sphyrapicus ruber
  • American three-toed woodpecker, Picoides dorsalis
  • Black-backed woodpecker, Picoides arcticus
  • Downy woodpecker, Dryobates pubescens
  • Nuttall’s woodpecker, Dryobates nuttallii (R)
  • Ladder-backed woodpecker, Dryobates scalaris
  • Hairy woodpecker, Dryobates villosus
  • White-headed woodpecker, Dryobates albolarvatus
  • Northern flicker, Colaptes auratus
  • Gilded flicker, Colaptes chrysoides
  • Pileated woodpecker, Dryocopus pileatus


  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Parulidae

The wood-warblers are a group of small often colorful passerine birds restricted to the New World. Most are arboreal, but some like the ovenbird and the two waterthrushes, are more terrestrial. Most members of this family are insectivores. Forty-three species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Ovenbird, Seiurus aurocapilla
  • Worm-eating warbler, Helmitheros vermivorum (R)
  • Louisiana waterthrush, Parkesia motacilla (R)
  • Northern waterthrush, Parkesia noveboracensis
  • Golden-winged warbler, Vermivora chrysoptera (R)
  • Blue-winged warbler, Vermivora cyanoptera (R)
  • Black-and-white warbler, Mniotilta varia
  • Prothonotary warbler, Protonotaria citrea
  • Tennessee warbler, Leiothlypis peregrina
  • Orange-crowned warbler, Leiothlypis celata
  • Lucy’s warbler, Leiothlypis luciae
  • Nashville warbler, Leiothlypis ruficapilla
  • Virginia’s warbler, Leiothlypis virginiae
  • Connecticut warbler, Oporornis agilis (R)
  • MacGillivray’s warbler, Geothlypis tolmiei
  • Mourning warbler, Geothlypis philadelphia (R)
  • Kentucky warbler, Geothlypis formosa
  • Common yellowthroat, Geothlypis trichas
  • Hooded warbler, Setophaga citrina
  • American redstart, Setophaga ruticilla
  • Cape May warbler, Setophaga tigrina (R)
  • Cerulean warbler, Setophaga cerulea (R)
  • Northern parula, Setophaga americana
  • Magnolia warbler, Setophaga magnolia
  • Bay-breasted warbler, Setophaga castanea (R)
  • Blackburnian warbler, Setophaga fusca
  • Yellow warbler, Setophaga petechia
  • Chestnut-sided warbler, Setophaga pensylvanica
  • Blackpoll warbler, Setophaga striata
  • Black-throated blue warbler, Setophaga caerulescens
  • Palm warbler, Setophaga palmarum
  • Yellow-rumped warbler, Setophaga coronata
  • Yellow-throated warbler, Setophaga dominica (R)
  • Prairie warbler, Setophaga discolor (R)
  • Grace’s warbler, Setophaga graciae
  • Black-throated gray warbler, Setophaga nigrescens
  • Townsend’s warbler, Setophaga townsendi
  • Hermit warbler, Setophaga occidentalis
  • Black-throated green warbler, Setophaga virens
  • Canada warbler, Cardellina canadensis (R)
  • Wilson’s warbler, Cardellina pusilla
  • Red-faced warbler, Cardellina rubrifrons (R)
  • Painted redstart, Myioborus pictus


  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Troglodytidae

Wrens are small and inconspicuous birds, except for their loud songs. They have short wings and thin down-turned bills. Several species often hold their tails upright. All are insectivorous. Nine species have been recorded in Nevada.

  • Rock wren, Salpinctes obsoletus
  • Canyon wren, Catherpes mexicanus
  • House wren, Troglodytes aedon
  • Pacific wren, Troglodytes pacificus
  • Winter wren, Troglodytes hiemalis (R)
  • Sedge wren, Cistothorus platensis (R)
  • Marsh wren, Cistothorus palustris
  • Bewick’s wren, Thryomanes bewickii
  • Cactus wren, Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus

Yellow-breasted chat

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Icteriidae

This species was historically placed in the wood-warblers (Parulidae) but nonetheless most authorities were unsure if it belonged there. It was placed in its own family in 2017.

  • Yellow-breasted chat, Icteria virens

Birds in Nevada

References and Resources