28 Species of Missouri Birds

Missouri has various birds, from common backyard species to rare migratory visitors. One of the most iconic Missouri birds is the Eastern bluebird, with its bright blue plumage and cheerful song. These cavity-nesting birds are commonly found in open fields and meadows, hunting for insects and small invertebrates.

Another bird that calls Missouri home is the Northern cardinal, known for its vibrant red feathers and distinctive crest. Cardinals can be found year-round throughout much of Missouri, often perched on tree branches or hopping along the ground in search of seeds and berries. Other common backyard birds in Missouri include American goldfinches, black-capped chickadees, tufted titmice, and Carolina wrens.

Red Birds in Missouri:

Missouri is renowned for its abundance of red birds, especially during the spring and summer. Among the most common red birds in the state are the scarlet tanager, northern cardinal, ruby-throated Hummingbird, and American goldfinch.

Red Crossbill:

 Missouri Birds

The Red Crossbill is a unique and fascinating bird species that can be found in Missouri. These birds are known for their distinctive beaks, which cross over each other at the tips. They use these specialized bills to extract seeds from conifer cones, their primary food source.

Although they have been spotted throughout Missouri, Red Crossbills are not commonly seen due to their nomadic nature. Their movements depend on the availability of food and breeding opportunities.

Birdwatchers in Missouri may want to watch for these elusive creatures during winter when they are more likely to visit bird feeders. Observing Red Crossbills in their natural habitat can give nature enthusiasts a rare and exciting experience.


Scientific NameLoxiaCurvirostra
Length5.5–6.5 inches
Weight1.2–1.4 ounces
Wingspan10–10.8 inches

Pine Grosbeak:

The Pine Grosbeak is one of Missouri’s most sought-after birds for bird enthusiasts. The species is native to Canada but can also be found in some parts of the United States, including Missouri. This beautiful bird has attracted many people due to its striking colors and unique features.

The Pine Grosbeak’s plumage combines pink and gray, making it stand out from other birds in Missouri. Its thick and powerful beak lets it crack open seeds and nuts easily. Some people have described its call as a soft “twee” sound that can be heard from a distance.

If you are lucky enough to spot this bird in Missouri, be sure to take note of its habitat preferences. Pine Grosbeaks prefer coniferous forests with plenty of spruce and fir trees.


Scientific NamePinicolaEnucleator
Length9–10 inches
Weight1.8–2.8 ounces
Wingspan12–13 inches

Northern Cardinal:

Red Missouri Birds

The Northern Cardinal is one of the most beloved birds in Missouri. With its vibrant red plumage and distinctive crest, it’s hard not to be captivated by this stunning bird. The state bird of Missouri, the cardinal, can be spotted throughout the state year-round, making it a favourite among birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike. You can attract cardinals to your backyard by providing seeds, fruits and other tricks like water sources and bird feeders.

Males are easily recognizable with bright red feathers, while females have a more subdued brownish-red appearance. Both sexes have black masks around their eyes and sharp bills for cracking open seeds and fruits. Cardinals are known for their beautiful songs, often heard throughout forests, parks, and suburban neighbourhoods across the state.

Interestingly enough, cardinals were not always residents of Missouri. Historically they were only found east of the Appalachian Mountains but began expanding their range westward.


Scientific NameCardinalisCardinalis
Length8.3–9.1 inches
Weight1.5–1.7 ounces
Wingspan9.8–12.2 inches

Pileated Woodpecker:

Missouri Birds

The Pileated Woodpecker is a large, striking bird found in the forests of Missouri. This bird is easily identifiable due to its distinctive red crest and black-and-white striped body. It’s one of the largest woodpeckers in North America and can measure up to 19 inches in length. These birds are typically solitary animals that prefer to live in mature deciduous or mixed forests.

Pileated Woodpeckers are important members of their ecosystem as they are crucial in maintaining forest health. They help control insect populations by feeding on ants, beetles, and other insects that can cause damage to trees. The birds also aid in creating nest cavities which provide homes for other species, such as owls, squirrels, and bats.


Scientific NameDryocopusPileatus
Length16–19 inches
Weight8.8–14.1 ounces
Wingspan26–30 inches

Red-Bellied Woodpecker:

Missouri Birds

The Red-Bellied Woodpecker is a common sight in Missouri, known for its distinctive red cap and belly. These birds are medium-sized, around 9 inches long, with a wingspan of 15 inches. They have black and white striped feathers on their back and a pale gray throat that blends into their white underbelly. The males also have a bright red patch on their heads.

These woodpeckers are found in deciduous forests across Missouri, making them easy to spot for avid birdwatchers. They use their strong beaks to drill into trees for food, such as insects, nuts, and seeds. Interestingly enough, these woodpeckers don’t just feed on trees; they also eat fruits such as grapes and berries.


Scientific NameMelanerpesCarolinus
Length9.4 inches
Weight2–3.2 ounces
Wingspan13–16.5 inches

Blue Birds in Missouri:

Bluebirds are cavity nesters, meaning they prefer to nest in hollowed-out trees or birdhouses. Attracting these lovely birds to your backyard is important to provide them with suitable nesting options.

Blue Jay:

Blue Jays are one of the most striking and recognizable birds in Missouri. With their vibrant blue feathers, black necklaces, and distinctive crest on their heads, they make quite an impression. Blue Jays are also known for their loud calls and intelligent behavior, making them one of the fascinating birds to observe.

Blue Jays in Missouri can be found in various habitats, including forests, parks, and suburban areas. They are omnivorous birds that feed on foods such as nuts, seeds, insects, and even small animals like mice or frogs. One interesting fact about Blue Jays is that they have a unique ability to mimic sounds made by other animals, including other bird species or even human speech.

There are plenty of opportunities if you’re interested in observing these beautiful birds up close in Missouri.


Scientific NameCyanocittaCristata
Length9–12 inches
Weight2.5–3.5 ounces
Wingspan13–17 inches

Blue Grosbeak:

The Blue Grosbeak is a beautiful bird species that can be found in the state of Missouri. These small birds measure about 6 inches in length and are known for their striking blue plumage. They have a robust, conical bill that makes it easy for them to crack open seeds and insects.

They prefer open, brushy habitats with tall shrubs and scattered trees. They can often be spotted perched on top of these shrubs or singing from higher branches. During the breeding season, males sing long, complex songs to establish their territory and attract females.

They can be challenging to spot despite their striking appearance due to their elusive nature. So, birdwatchers who take the time to explore Missouri’s grasslands and savannas may be rewarded with sightings of this stunning bird species.


Scientific NamePasserinaCaerulea
Length5.5–7.5 inches
Weight0.9–1.11 ounces
Wingspan10–11 inches

Common Grackle:

Missouri Birds

The Common Grackle is a familiar sight to many Missouri residents. This black bird with iridescent blue and purple feathers is known for its loud, harsh calls that can be heard throughout the day. Although they can be seen year-round in Missouri, their numbers increase during the spring and summer months when they breed.

Common Grackles are highly adaptable and can be found in various habitats, including parks, fields, and urban areas. They have a diverse diet that includes insects, seeds, fruits, and small animals like mice or frogs. This flexibility has allowed them to thrive in many different environments across North America.

Despite their common presence in Missouri, many people may not know much about these birds beyond their distinctive call and appearance. So, understanding more about the behaviors and habits of Common Grackles can provide insight into the natural world right outside our doorsteps.


Scientific NameQuiscalusQuiscula
Length11–13 inches
Weight2.6–5 ounces
Wingspan14–18 inches

Eastern Bluebird:

The Eastern Bluebird, also known as Sialiasialis, is a small migratory bird found throughout Missouri. These birds are known for their vibrant blue feathers and rusty-red breastplates. They prefer open grasslands, fields, and meadows with scattered trees or nest boxes.

Eastern Bluebirds usually mate in the early spring and build their nests in tree cavities or nest boxes. The female bluebird will lay several eggs that hatch within two weeks. The male and female birds take turns feeding their young until they fled from the nest at around 17-21 days old.

Due to habitat destruction, Eastern Bluebirds were once on the decline in Missouri but have returned thanks to conservation efforts such as providing nest boxes for them to breed in.


Scientific NameSialiaSialis
Length6.3–8.3 inches
Weight1–1.2 ounces
Wingspan10–12.6 inches

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher:

The Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher is a small, active bird found throughout Missouri. It’s a tiny bird with a long thin bill and tail that can often be seen flitting around in the treetops. They are known for their distinctive call, which sounds like a high-pitched “spee!” or “see!” These birds can be spotted throughout Missouri’s deciduous forests, wooded areas, parks, and gardens in spring and summer.

The Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher is a fascinating species as they move quickly through the trees, searching for insects to feed on. They are often seen perching on small branches or twigs, hovering momentarily before darting off again in search of food.


Scientific NamePolioptilaCaerulea
Length4–4.3 inches
Weight0.2–0.3 ounces
Wingspan6.3 inches

Green Birds in Missouri:

Green birds are a rare sight in Missouri, but they do exist. These birds can be found in various habitats throughout the state, including forests, wetlands, and grasslands. Some of the most common green birds native to Missouri include:

Anna’s Hummingbird:

Anna’s Hummingbird is a fascinating bird recently spotted in Missouri. This species of Hummingbird is typically found in the western parts of North America, so its presence in Missouri has caused quite a stir among birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike. The Anna’s Hummingbird, also known as Calypteanna, is one of the few hummingbirds that stay put throughout the year instead of migrating.

The male Anna’s Hummingbird boasts a brilliant iridescent pink head that glitters when it catches the light. Their greenbacks and gray bellies also recognize them. Although small, these birds are known for their vibrant colours and bold personalities. The females have similar coloring but less iridescence on their heads than males.


Scientific NameCalypte Anna
Length3.9–4.3 inches
Weight0.1–0.2 ounces
Wingspan4.7 inches

Calliope Hummingbird:

The Calliope Hummingbird is a tiny and fascinating species of Hummingbird that has been spotted in Missouri. These birds are native to the western part of North America but sometimes migrate to the eastern part of the continent during the summer months.

The Calliope Hummingbird is known for its beautiful and distinctive appearance, with males sporting a bright red throat patch called a gorget. Females have a more muted colouration, featuring gray-green feathers on their backs and white or buff underparts. They are incredibly agile flyers, capable of hovering in mid-air and darting around with incredible speed.

For bird enthusiasts living in Missouri or those visiting for nature-watching activities, spotting this rare hummingbird species can be an exciting experience.


Scientific NameSelasphorus Calliope
Length2.8–3.9 inches
Weight0.071–0.1 ounces
Wingspan4.3 inches

Green-Tailed Towhee:

The Green-tailed Towhee is a species of bird found in Missouri. This beautiful bird has a greenish-yellow tail and a reddish-brown body, making it stand out among other birds in the area. The Green-tailed Towhee is known for its unique call, which sounds like a loud “chewink” or “drink your tea.”

These birds prefer to live in shrubby areas with dense vegetation, such as overgrown fields or forest edges. They can be found throughout Missouri but are most commonly seen in the western part of the state. The Green-tailed Towhee is primarily a ground-dwelling bird that feeds on insects, seeds, and berries.

Despite its striking appearance and unique call, many people rarely see the Green-tailed Towhee.


Scientific NamePipiloChlorurus
Length7.25 inches
Weight0.8–1 ounce
Wingspan0.9–1.4 ounces

Green Heron:

The Green Heron is a small bird that can be found in Missouri. It is a unique heron species due to its small size, colorful plumage, and unusual hunting behavior. The Green Heron has a dark greenish-blue back and wings, a chestnut neck, and breast feathers. Its head is capped with black feathers.

The Green Heron’s hunting behavior is fascinating because it uses tools to catch prey. It will drop bait onto the water’s surface to lure fish closer, then use its long bill to snatch them up quickly. This technique is not commonly observed among other species of herons or birds.

The Green Heron is mainly found along bodies of water such as lakes, ponds, streams, and marshes in Missouri.


Scientific NameButoridesVirescens
Length16–18 inches
Weight8–8.5 ounces
Wingspan25–26.8 inches

Orange Missouri Birds:

If you’re a bird enthusiast in Missouri, chances are you’ve spotted an orange bird or two while out on a hike or nature walk. These brightly colored birds are not native to the state. Still, they have been introduced through various means, such as escapees from aviaries and intentional releases by owners who no longer wanted them as pets.

American Robin:

Missouri Birds

The American Robin is a common bird species found throughout Missouri. These birds are well-known for their bright orange-red breasts, which make them easy to identify. They are also known for their distinctive songs, often heard in the early morning.

They are typically found in open parks, lawns, and golf courses. They prefer areas with short grass and access to water sources like streams or ponds. During the breeding season, they build nests out of twigs and other materials in trees or shrubs.

While they are commonly seen throughout Missouri during the spring and summer, they can also be spotted during the fall and winter seasons when they migrate southward. Many robins spend the winter months as far south as Mexico!


Scientific NameTurdusMigratorius
Length9.1–11.0 inches
Weight2.5–3 ounces
Wingspan12–16 inches

Baltimore Oriole:

The Baltimore Oriole is a stunning bird native to the eastern United States. It’s a species commonly found in Maryland but has also been spotted in several other states, including Missouri. The presence of these Orioles in Missouri during their migration season is a delightful sight for bird enthusiasts.

During the spring and summer, Baltimore Orioles can be seen flitting about through trees and bushes, actively searching for insects to feed on. These birds are known for their bright orange plumage and black wings, making them easy to spot amidst the greenery of trees and shrubs. Their unique appearance makes them an attractive target for bird watchers all over North America.

Baltimore Orioles are migratory birds that spend winters in Central America before traveling northward towards their breeding grounds in the eastern US each spring.


Scientific NameIcterus Galbula
Length6.6–7.5 inches
Weight1–1.4 ounces
Wingspan9–11.8 inches

Fox Sparrow:

Fox Sparrow is one of the unique and delightful birds of this region. The hefty sparrow can be spotted in forested areas during winters when they migrate from their breeding grounds in Canada and Alaska.

Fox Sparrows are large, plump sparrows with rounded heads and long tails. They have a rusty-red coloration on their backs, wings, and tail feathers. Their underparts are streaked with gray-brown or buffy spots against white or light-gray backgrounds.

These sparrows have a melodious voice that echoes through the woods. They sing complex songs with several phrases that build up to a loud finale. The bird’s song has been described as “whistling up the scale,” making it an enjoyable experience for enthusiasts.


Scientific NamePasserellaIliaca
Length6–7.5 inches
Weight1.1–1.2 ounces
Wingspan10.4–11.5 inches

Varied Thrush:

The Varied Thrush is a beautiful bird typically found in the Pacific Northwest, but sightings of this unique bird have been reported in Missouri. This bird is known for its colorful plumage and hauntingly beautiful song. It will surely leave an impression on anyone lucky enough to spot one.

The Varied Thrush’s striking orange and black plumage make it easy to identify, especially against Missouri’s deciduous forests. Its distinct whistle-like call can also be heard echoing through the trees. Although sightings of this species are rare in Missouri, they are not unheard of and typically occur during the winter months when birds migrate southward from their breeding grounds further north.


Scientific NameIxoreusNaevius
Length7.5–10.3 inches
Weight2.4–3.5 ounces
Wingspan13.5–15 inches

Black-Headed Grosbeak:

Missouri is home to a variety of unique and fascinating bird species, one of which is the black-headed grosbeak. This striking bird is known for its vibrant orange and black plumage, making it easy to spot in wooded areas across the state. The black-headed grosbeak is also known for its distinctive song, which can be heard throughout Missouri’s forests during mating season.

The black-headed grosbeak can be spotted throughout Missouri, it is most commonly found along streams and rivers in wooded areas. This habitat provides ample opportunities for the bird to find food, mainly insects and seeds. Males use their distinctive songs to attract mates and establish territory during breeding.

Despite being a common sight in Missouri’s woodlands, the black-headed grosbeak faces several threats to its survival.


Scientific NamePheucticusMelanocephalus
Length7–7.5 inches
Weight1.1–1.7 ounces
Wingspan12.6 inches

Yellow Missouri Birds:

If you’re a bird lover in Missouri, you must have seen the stunning Yellow Birds native to the state. These bright and beautiful birds can be found in various regions of Missouri, from the cities to the rural areas. Their vibrant yellow feathers stand out from other species and are truly a sight.

American Goldfinch:

Missouri Birds

Missouri is home to diverse bird species, but the American Goldfinch stands out for its vibrant colors and cheerful song. This small passerine bird can be found throughout the state, from open fields and meadows to suburban backyards and city parks. Known for their bright yellow plumage during the breeding season, these birds are a delight to observe as they flit about in search of seeds.

During winter, American Goldfinches transform dramatically as their feathers molt into a duller olive-green color. However, this doesn’t diminish their charm or appeal to birdwatchers who enjoy seeing them all year round. They’re also known for their distinctive flight pattern – undulating up and down with each flap of their wings – which adds to their unique character.


Scientific NameSpinusTristis
Length4.3–5.5 inches
Weight0.39–0.71 ounces
Wingspan7.5–8.7 inches

Yellow-Breasted Chat:

Missouri Birds

The Yellow-Breasted Chat is a small but strikingly beautiful bird found in Missouri. This unique species is known for its bright yellow breast and distinctive song, consisting of various whistles and clucks. Despite their colorful appearance, these birds are notoriously difficult to spot due to their secretive nature.

One of the best places to see Yellow-Breasted Chats in Missouri is at Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge. Visitors can observe these elusive birds in their natural habitat as they flit through the trees and forage insects. The refuge also offers guided birding tours led by experts who can help visitors identify other species.

If you’re interested in seeing this rare and fascinating bird up close, bring binoculars or a camera with a good zoom lens on your next trip to Missouri.


Scientific NameIcteriaVirens
Length7–7.2 inches
Weight0.9–1.1 ounces
Wingspan9.8–10 inches

American Redstart:

The American Redstart is a small, colorful songbird found in Missouri during the breeding season. These birds are known for their striking black and orange plumage, as well as their distinctive vocalizations. They are often spotted flitting about in wooded areas or near bodies of water, feeding on insects and other small prey.

During the breeding season, male American Redstarts put on an impressive display to attract mates. They flutter their wings and flick their tails while singing high-pitched notes. Females are attracted to these displays and choose a mate based on his performance. Once paired up, the birds build a nest in a shrub or tree using twigs, grasses, and other materials.

While American Redstarts are fairly common throughout much of their range, they face some threats in Missouri.


Scientific NameSetophagaRuticilla
Length4.5–5.1 inches
Weight0.2–0.4 ounces
Wingspan6.4–7.5 inches

Hooded Warbler:

The Hooded Warbler is a small, striking bird breed in the eastern United States. It is easily recognizable by its bright yellow head and black hood, which makes it one of the most sought-after species for birdwatchers. In Missouri, these birds can be seen during their breeding season from late April to early July.

Despite being a common sight in Missouri during their breeding season, the Hooded Warbler’s population has declined recently. Habitat loss and fragmentation are two major factors contributing to this decline. The birds need dense shrubbery and low vegetation to breed successfully, but these habitats are becoming less available due to urbanization and agricultural practices.

Conservation efforts are underway to protect the habitat of Hooded Warblers in Missouri. Land managers are encouraged to implement management practices that promote the growth of shrubs and low vegetation in areas where these birds breed.


Scientific NameSetophagaCitrina
Length5–5.2 inches
Weight0.2–0.5 ounces
Wingspan6.9–7.1 inches

Other Missouri Birds:

House Sparrow:

The house sparrow, commonly known as the English sparrow, is a small bird that has made its way to Missouri. This non-native species first arrived in North America in 1850 and quickly spread across the continent. The house sparrow is now one of the most widespread birds in the world, inhabiting urban areas, farmland, and grasslands.

The male house sparrow can be easily identified by its grey crown, black bib, and chestnut-colored nape. The females are less striking with their buffy-brown feathers but still have distinctive facial markings. These birds are opportunistic feeders and will eat anything from seeds to insects and even garbage if it’s available. They are also social creatures that live in large flocks throughout the year.

Despite their abundance and adaptability, there has been a decline in house sparrow populations over the past few decades.


Scientific NamePasser Domesticus
Length6–6.7 inches
Weight0.9–1.1 ounces
Wingspan7.6–9.8 inches

Purple Finch:

The Purple Finch is a colorful songbird known for its melodious chirping and beautiful plumage. This bird can be found throughout the United States, including Missouri. The Purple Finch is one of the most common birds in this state during the spring and summer.

One of the defining features of the Purple Finch is its vibrant red plumage, which covers its head, chest, and back. The rest of its body is a soft brown color with streaks of white on its belly. Both male and female Purple Finches have these same markings, but males are generally more brightly colored than females.

If you want to spot a Purple Finch in Missouri, look no further than wooded areas with plenty of trees and shrubs. These birds prefer to build their nests in dense foliage to stay hidden from predators.


Scientific NameHaemorhousPurpureus
Length4.8–6.3 inches
Weight0.5–1.1 ounces
Wingspan8.8–10.2 inches

European Starling:

The European Starling, a bird species native to Europe and Asia, was introduced to North America in the late 1800s. Today, it is one of the most widespread bird species on the continent, with populations found throughout the United States and Canada. In Missouri, the European Starling is a common resident that can be seen year-round.

One of the reasons why European Starlings are so successful in Missouri is their adaptability. They can thrive in habitats ranging from urban areas to agricultural fields and forests. They are opportunistic feeders that consume various foods such as insects, fruit, seeds, and garbage. This flexibility allows them to use whatever resources are available in their environment.


Scientific NameSturnus Vulgaris
Length8–9 inches
Weight2–3.5 ounces
Wingspan12–16 inches

Rock Pigeon:

The rock pigeon, also known as the common pigeon, is a ubiquitous bird species in urban and suburban areas across Missouri. These birds have adapted well to human presence and thrive on the availability of food sources such as seeds, grains, and discarded food. They are generally gray with iridescent feathers on their necks and wings that shine in the sunlight.

Rock pigeons are social birds that often form large flocks or colonies. They build their nests in protected areas such as eaves, cliffs, or bridges. These nests are made of twigs and other materials that birds can find nearby. Rock pigeons mate for life, and both parents take turns incubating eggs.

Despite being considered pests by some people due to their droppings and building damage, rock pigeons play an important role in urban ecosystems as plant seed dispersers.


Scientific NameColumba Livia
Length11.9–14.2 inches
Weight9.4–13.4 ounces
Wingspan19.8–26.5 inches

Black-Capped Chickadee:

The Black-Capped Chickadee is a small bird species that can be found all across Missouri. These birds are known for their distinctive black cap, bib, and white cheeks. They are also very friendly and social birds, making them a favorite among birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts.

One of the most interesting things about these birds is their unique communication style. They have a variety of calls that they use to communicate with each other, including different warning calls for predators like hawks and owls. In addition to this, they also have specific calls that they use to greet each other or signal danger.

Despite being small, the Black-Capped Chickadee is a tough little bird. They can survive even in harsh winters by storing food during the warmer months and relying on their thick feathers for insulation.


Scientific NamePoecileAtricapillus
Length4.7–5.9 inches
Weight0.3–0.5 ounces
Wingspan6.3–8.3 inches


Missouri birds are some of the most diverse and interesting species in the United States. From its state bird, the Eastern Bluebird, to its rarest species, the Piping Plover, there is something for everyone to discover. Protecting these species and their habitats is essential for maintaining a healthy ecosystem and sustaining biodiversity. Birdwatchers of all levels can use this article as a starting point to learn more about local birds.

Related Questions

What is the most common bird in Missouri?

The most common bird in Missouri is the Northern Cardinal. This songbird species is easily identifiable by its bright red feathers and prominent crest. It is found throughout much of North America, including Missouri, where it is a year-round resident.