List of birds of Pennsylvania

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A brown, white and black speckled game bird standing on leaves
The Ruffed Grouse is the official state bird of Pennsylvania.[1]

A comprehensive listing of all the bird species seen naturally in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania is published by the Pennsylvania Ornithological Records Committee (PORC), part of the Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology.

There are currently 418 species on the list, which includes four species classified as 'extirpated' —species that are native to Pennsylvania but no longer have established populations there (they still do in other places). Species which have been recorded in three or fewer of the past ten years are classified as 'accidental' (A), and species which have been recorded in four to seven of the last ten years are classified as 'casual' (C). In addition, there are two species which are now extinct. There are also eight species on a 'provisional list', which have been sighted but have no physical evidence to back up these claims. When extirpated and extinct species are included, there are a total of 426 species.[2]

The birds are determined by PORC, which was established in 1988 under the auspices of the Pennsylvania Biological Survey, a nonprofit organization designed to “increase the knowledge of and foster the perpetuation of the natural biological diversity of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.” The Survey consists of scientists, representatives of state and federal agencies, major natural history museums and scientific institutions, and interested individuals.

Subcommittees of the Survey were appointed for various classes of flora and fauna. The panel for birds is the Ornithological Technical Committee, which in turn organized the Records Committee in November 1988 as a subcommittee of its own. In an article in Pennsylvania Birds soon after PORC was established, the journal’s co-editor at the time Franklin C. Haas wrote with satisfaction, “Pennsylvania will finally have a clearing house for ornithological records.”

The Records Committee held its first meeting in April 1989, attended by inaugural members Ed Kwater, Chairman; Barbara M. Haas, Secretary; Franklin C. Haas, Robert C. Leberman, Gerald D. McWilliams, Steven J. Santner, and Paul Schwalbe. Members have included professional ornithologists and experienced amateur observers during the committee’s history. The members are volunteers who spend many hours evaluating a hundred or more reports each year.

The Official List is revised every five years for publication in the journal Pennsylvania Birds. The first edition in 1990 (PB 4:51-53) consisted of 353 species. In the third edition published in 2000 (PB 14:105-109) the list grew to 389 species plus 7 species on a Provisional List. The most recent edition brings the current list to 426, 8 of which are on the provisional list. (Provisional species are accepted on the basis of sight records, but are not placed on the Official List because they have not yet been documented by physical evidence such as a specimen, photograph, video or audio recording.)

This list is presented in taxonomic order and follows The Check-list of North American Birds (7th ed., 1998), published by the American Ornithologists' Union, and generally recognized as the scientific authority on the taxonomy and nomenclature of North American birds. The table of contents is grouped into passerines (the largest order of birds) and non-passerines. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflect this taxonomy, as do the species counts found in each family accounts.

Table of contents

Non-passerines: Ducks, Geese, and SwansLoonsGrebesShearwaters and PetrelsStorm-PetrelsTropicbirdsBoobies and GannetsPelicansCormorantsDartersFrigatebirdsBitterns, Herons, and EgretsIbises and SpoonbillsStorksNew World VulturesHawks, Kites, and EaglesCaracaras and FalconsRails, Gallinules, and CootsCranesLapwings and PloversOystercatchersStilts and AvocetsSandpipers, Curlews, Stints, Godwits, Snipes, and PhalaropesGulls, Terns, and SkimmersAuks, Murres, and PuffinsPigeons and DovesCuckoos, Roadrunners, and AnisBarn owlsTypical owlsNightjarsSwiftsHummingbirdsKingfishersWoodpeckers, Sapsuckers, and Flickers

Passerines: Tyrant flycatchersShrikesVireosJays, Crows, Magpies, and RavensLarksSwallows and MartinsChickadees and TitmiceNuthatchesTreecreepersWrensKingletsGnatcatchersThrushesMockingbirds and ThrashersStarlingsWagtails and PipitsWaxwingsWood warblersAmerican sparrows, Towhees, and JuncosCardinals, Saltators, and GrosbeaksBlackbirds, Meadowlarks, Cowbirds, Grackles, and OriolesFinchesOld World sparrows

Extirpated and extinct        Provisional        See also        References

Ducks, geese and swans

Order: Anseriformes. Family: Anatidae

A gray, black and white goose in flight
Canada Goose
A reddish-brown duck in water
American Wigeon
Two ducks standing on rocks beside a body of water

New World quail

Order: Galliformes. Family: Odontophoridae

Pheasants, Turkeys, and Grouse

Order: Galliformes. Family: Phasianidae


Order: Gaviiformes. Family: Gaviidae

A black-headed bird with white spots swimming in water
Common Loon


Order: Podicipediformes. Family: Podicipedidae

Fulmars, petrels and shearwaters

Order: Procellariiformes. Family: Procellariidae

A black and white petrel flying over a body of water
Black-capped Petrel

Storm petrels

Leach's Storm Petrel

Order: Procellariiformes. Family: Hydrobatidae


Order: Phaethontiformes. Family: Phaethontidae

Boobies and gannets

Order: Suliformes. Family: Sulidae

Two white and yellow birds
Northern Gannet


Order: Pelecaniformes. Family: Pelecanidae


Order: Suliformes. Family: Phalacrocoracidae

A large black bird with its wings extended, standing near water
Double-crested Cormorant


Order: Suliformes. Family: Anhingidae


Order: Suliformes. Family: Fregatidae

Bitterns, herons, and egrets

Order: Pelecaniformes. Family: Ardeidae

A large, blue-gray bird wading through water with a fish in its beak
Great Blue Heron

Ibises and spoonbills

Order: Pelecaniformes. Family: Threskiornithidae


Order: Ciconiiformes. Family: Ciconiidae

A large white bird standing by a body of water
Wood Stork

New World vultures

Order: Accipitriformes. Family: Cathartidae


Order: Accipitriformes. Family: Pandionidae

Hawks, kites, and eagles

Order: Accipitriformes. Family: Accipitridae

A large hawk perching on a large branch of a tree. It has a brown back and a white speckled front and it is eating a rabbit
A Red-tailed Hawk perched in a tree eating a rabbit near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Caracaras and falcons

Order: Falconiformes. Family: Falconidae

Rails, gallinules, and coots

Order: Gruiformes. Family: Rallidae

A brown and blue-gray bird walking through a marsh


Order: Gruiformes. Family: Gruidae

Lapwings and plovers

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Charadriidae

A small brown and white bird standing on stones
Snowy Plover


Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Haematopodidae

Stilts and avocets

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Recurvirostridae

A black and white bird with long pink legs
Black-necked Stilt

Sandpipers, curlews, stints, godwits, snipes, and phalaropes

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Scolopacidae

A black and white bird with long yellow legs
Greater Yellowlegs
A light brown speckled bird with a long bill
Long-billed Curlew


Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Stercorariidae

Gulls, terns, and skimmers

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Laridae

A white bird in mid-flight
Black-headed Gull
A white and black bird in mid-flight, with its bill open and skimming the surface of water
Black Skimmer

Auks, murres, and puffins

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Alcidae

Pigeons and doves

Order: Columbiformes. Family: Columbidae

A blue-gray bird standing on fallen fruit
Spotted Dove

Cuckoos, roadrunners, and anis

Order: Cuculiformes. Family: Cuculidae

Barn owls

Order: Strigiformes. Family: Tytonidae

Typical owls

Order: Strigiformes. Family: Strigidae

A brown and white owl perching on a branch
Barred Owl


Order: Caprimulgiformes. Family: Caprimulgidae

A speckled brown and black bird on the ground
Common Nighthawk


Order: Apodiformes. Family: Apodidae


Order: Apodiformes. Family: Trochilidae

A small green hummingbird hovering with its bill in a flower
Ruby-throated Hummingbird


Order: Coraciiformes. Family: Cerylidae

Woodpeckers, sapsuckers, and flickers

Order: Piciformes. Family: Picidae

A white and black, red-headed bird eating from a feeder
Red-headed Woodpecker

Tyrant flycatchers

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Tyrannidae

A bird with a brown back perching on a twig
Eastern Phoebe


Order: Passeriformes. Family: Laniidae

A gray, black, and white bird perching on a thorny twig
Loggerhead Shrike


Order: Passeriformes. Family: Vireonidae

Jays, crows, magpies, and ravens

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Corvidae

A large, entirely black bird standing on sand
American Crow


Order: Passeriformes. Family: Alaudidae

Swallows and martins

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Hirundinidae

A bird with a blue back, brown face, white underparts, and a forked tail perching on a piece of wood
Barn Swallow

Chickadees and titmice

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Paridae


Order: Passeriformes. Family: Sittidae

A blue-gray and white bird hanging upside-down from a branch
White-breasted Nuthatch


Order: Passeriformes. Family: Certhiidae


Order: Passeriformes. Family: Troglodytidae

A small, brown and whitish bird perching on reeds and singing
Marsh Wren


Order: Passeriformes. Family: Regulidae

A green, gray, and yellow bird perching on a branch
Golden-crowned Kinglet


Order: Passeriformes. Family: Polioptilidae

Old World flycatchers

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Muscicapidae


Order: Passeriformes. Family: Turdidae

A red and black bird standing in grass
American Robin

Mockingbirds and thrashers

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Mimidae

A white and gray bird perching on a green, thorny branch
Northern Mockingbird


Order: Passeriformes. Family: Sturnidae

Wagtails and pipits

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Motacillidae


Order: Passeriformes. Family: Bombycillidae

A gray and reddish bird eating berries
Cedar Waxwing

Longspurs and snow buntings

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Calcariidae

Wood warblers

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Parulidae

A yellow bird perching on a twig
Yellow Warbler
A yellow bird with gray wings perching on a branch
Prothonotary Warbler

American sparrows, towhees, and juncos

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Emberizidae

A gray bird with reddish-brown wings and crown perching on a rotting log
Chipping Sparrow

Cardinals, grosbeaks and allies

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Cardinalidae

A red bird with a black face perching on a branch
Northern Cardinal

Blackbirds, meadowlarks, cowbirds, grackles, and orioles

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Icteridae

A black bird with a red and yellow wing patch perching on a stump
Red-winged Blackbird


Order: Passeriformes. Family: Fringillidae

A yellow bird with black and white wings and a black crown perching on a branch
American Goldfinch

Old World sparrows

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Passeridae

Extirpated and extinct birds

Four species are extirpated, and no longer have populations in Pennsylvania:

Two birds are now extinct:

Provisional list

The Provisional list includes seven species (and one genus) which have been sighted but do not have documentation by a specimen, photograph, or recording. If acceptable documentation in the form of specimen, photograph, or video/audio recording finally becomes available, the species is then moved to the Class I list.

See also



  1. ^ "Pennsylvania State Bird". State History Guide. SHG Resources. 2011. 
  2. ^ Pennsylvania Ornithological Records Committee (2011)

Works consulted

Further reading

External links