Known for lobsters, blueberries, and a rugged, scenic coast, Maine is also wonderful for birds! The birds of Maine include 470 species seen in this beautiful northeastern state.
Although some boreal species have declined in Maine’s 35,385 square miles of forest, winding rivers, and coastal habitats, most species are still common and easy to see. Maine is also a hotspot for vagrant birds from Europe.
Have you gone birding in Maine? If so, we bet you’ve seen a lot, but were you able to identify everything you saw?
This list of common backyard and wild birds in Maine will help!
On this page
- Most common birds of Maine
- American Goldfinch
- Song Sparrow
- Herring Gull
- Mourning Dove
- White-breasted Nuthatch
- American Robin
- Northern Cardinal
- Red-breasted Nuthatch
- Downy Woodpecker
- Dark-eyed Junco
- Hairy Woodpecker
- Double-crested Cormorant
- Canada Goose
- White-throated Sparrow
- Ring-billed Gull
- Common Loon
- Gray Catbird
- House Finch
- Red-winged Blackbird
- Eastern Phoebe
- Eastern Bluebird
- Common Eider
- Common Yellowthroat
- Chipping Sparrow
- European Starling
- Great Black-backed Gull
- American Black Duck
- Yellow-rumped Warbler
- House Sparrow
- Bald Eagle
- Common Grackle
- Cedar Waxwing
- Red-bellied Woodpecker
- Northern Flicker
- Frequently Asked Questions
Most common birds of Maine
What are the most common birds of Maine? The most common species in this northern state differ from most other places!
To create a reliable list, we reviewed data from eBird sightings to show the most commonly seen birds in Maine. We arranged them from most common to least common.
PS! Remember that the birds on the bottom of the list are common too!
To help recognize these birds, we included information about their behavior and field marks.
Scientific name: Spinus tristis
Length: 4.3 to 5.1 inches
Weight: 0.4 to 0.7 ounces
Wingspan: 7.5 to 8.7 inches
Adult male Eastern Goldfinches have black foreheads, black wings with white markings, white patches both above and below the tail, and are bright yellow overall in the spring and early summer. Adult female Eastern Goldfinches are paler yellow underneath and olive above. In the winter, both males and females are unstreaked brown, drab, and have blackish wings with two faint wing bars.
American Goldfinches inhabit overgrown areas like open floodplains and weedy fields, especially thistle, aster, and sunflower plants. They feed off of these plants and use trees and shrubs for nesting. It’s not uncommon to see these birds in backyards, parks, and suburbs as well.
Eastern Goldfinches primarily consume seeds; it’s rare to see them consume anything else. The main types of seeds they eat include thistle, sunflower, grass seeds, and asters. They are the most common bird in Maine.
- Male birds have black foreheads, black wings with white markings, white patches both above and below the tail, and are bright yellow overall in the spring and early summer.
- Male and Female American Goldfinch look similar. Females are paler yellow underneath and olive above. Both males and females look the same in the winter.
- These birds are smaller than Tufted Titmice.
- The Eastern Goldfinch is a small species of finch. They have short, notched tails, short, conical bills, long wings, and a small head.
Eastern Goldfinches are very acrobatic and active birds. You can commonly see them balancing on thistle seedheads, dandelions, and other plants to pick seeds. Eastern Goldfinches are known to visit bird feeders as long as you offer the right seeds. To encourage these finches to visit your yard, it’s highly recommended that you plant native composite plants like thistles and milkweed.
Scientific name: Melospiza melodia
Length: 4.7 to 6.7 inches
Weight: 0.4 to 1.9 ounces
Wingspan: 7.1 to 9.4 inches
Song: 2 to 6 phrases that usually start with well-spaced, abrupt notes and finishes with a trill or buzz.
Song Sparrows are streaky brown overall and have thick streaks on their flanks and white chest. When taking a closer look at these birds, we can see that their heads are an attractive mix of slaty gray and warm red-brown. It’s important to note that these shades, as well as the amount of streaking, can vary significantly across their range in North America.
Song Sparrows are found in a wide range of open habitats, including suburbs, tidal marshes, forest edges, arctic grasslands, lake edges, desert scrub, chaparral, and aspen parklands.
In the summer, Song Sparrows consume a lot of different insects and other invertebrates. Year-round they consume fruits and seeds. Some of the prey they consume include grasshoppers, weevils, caterpillars, craneflies, earthworms, and spiders.
- Song Sparrows are streaky brown overall and have thick streaks on their flanks and white chest.
- Their color and amount of streaking can vary significantly in Maine and across their range in North America.
- These birds are slightly larger than a Chipping Sparrow.
- These sparrows are fairly bulky. They have short, stout bills, somewhat rounded heads, broad wings, and long, rounded tails.
Song Sparrows are one the most familiar sparrows in North America. However, there are 24 recognized subspecies of Song Sparrows. Northern and coastal birds are streakier and darker, while desert and southern birds have duller plumages. These birds regularly visit bird feeders as long as cracked corn, sunflower seeds, or safflower is offered.
Scientific name: Larus argentatus
Length: 25 inches
Weight: 2.5 pounds
Wingspan: 58 inches
Song: “klew klecka klecka kleckla klecka klew klew klew klew”
The Herring Gull is a large, pale gray and white gull with pink feet, a pale eye, and a strong, yellowish beak with a small hooked tip.
Male and female adults have black wingtips with a few white spots, and, in winter, have grayish-brown streaking on their heads. Depending on their age, young birds are brownish or gray and brown with a black tail, have a pale patch on each wing, and an all dark bill or a pale beak with a dark tip.
This species is omnivorous and scavenges beaches, lakes, and rivers for fish, small animals, and other scraps of food. It can be seen alone but usually occurs in flocks.
The Herring Gull uses bits of grass and other slender objects to make a shallow cup nest on the ground. It nests in open places with sparse vegetation.
Herring Gulls occur on lakes, rivers, and coastal habitats in much of North America, including Maine.
- Large pale gray and white gull with pink legs, a strong yellowish beak, and pale eyes.
- Feeds on carrion, small animals, fish, and other food items.
- Makes a shallow cup nest of sticks and other items on the ground in open areas.
- Herring Gulls have loud and raucous calls, “klew klecka klecka kleckla klecka klew klew klew klew”.
The Herring Gull is a large pale gray and white gull with pink feet and a strong yellowish beak. Individuals and loose flocks frequent lakes, large rivers, garbage dumps, and coastal habitats. Although this species is named after one of its food sources, its diet also includes many other items, even garbage.
Scientific name: Zenaida macroura
Length: 12 inches
Weight: 4.2 ounces
Wingspan: 18 inches
Song: “hooOOA, hoo, hoo, hoo”
Mourning Doves are medium-sized, grayish-brown doves with long tails. They have small black spots on their wings and a small head with a slender, dark beak.
Males and females also have narrow gray eyerings, a black mark on the face, and pale iridescent gold on the sides of their necks. They look alike except for males having more gray on the head and neck, and more iridescence.
This dove has fairly long wings and swift, direct flight. When flying, it shows black and white in its tail.
The Mourning Dove occurs in woodlands, gardens, on farms, and in urban areas. This common feeder visitor eats seeds and grains. It also forages in open situations, picking food from the ground.
This pleasant dove species can visit a feeder on its own or forage in small flocks. It builds an unkempt stick nest in bushes and trees and is very common throughout the USA, southern Canada, and Mexico.
- Plain brown and gray dove with a long, pointed tail.
- Feeds on seeds at feeders and on the ground in open areas.
- Makes a small, messy nest of sticks in trees.
- Sings a sad and owl-like “hooOOA, hoo, hoo, hoo”.
The Mourning Dove is the common garden dove in most of its range. It often visits feeders and its cooing song is commonly mistaken for an owl. This species has a short lifespan with many adults only living for a couple of years or less.
Scientific name: Sitta carolinensis
Length: 5.1 to 5.5 inches
Weight: 0.6 to 1.1 ounces
Wingspan: 7.9 to 10.6 inches
White-breasted Nuthatches have frosty white underparts and faces as well as gray-blue backs. Additionally, under the tail and the lower belly are chestnut brown, and the cap and neck are either black or gray.
White-breasted Nuthatches inhabit mature woods and are most commonly found in coniferous and deciduous forests. You can also find them in open areas with large trees and at woodland edges.
Nuthatches primarily consume insects. Some of the prey they consume include tree hoppers, beetles, weevil larvae, ants, wood-boring beetle larvae, and caterpillars. They also eat nuts and seeds like sunflower seeds and acorns.
- White-breasted Nuthatches are smaller than a Tufted Titmouse.
- White-breasted Nuthatches have frosty white underparts and faces and gray-blue backs.
- These birds have large heads, almost no necks, narrow, straight bills, and very short tails.
- White-breasted Nuthatches can be easily identified by their habit of sneaking up and down tree trunks.
White-breasted Nuthatches are widespread, agile little birds. They visit bird feeders and will readily consume mealworms and meaty, large seeds. White-breasted Nuthatches are known as the “upside down” bird. This is because it’s not uncommon to see them creeping headfirst down the trunk of a tree in search of insects.
Scientific name: Turdus migratorius
Length: 10 inches
Weight: 2.7 ounces
Wingspan: 17 inches
Song: “cheery, cheery, cheery, cheery, cheer, cheer”
The American Robin is a familiar and common thrush that is dark gray above and brick red below. It also has an orange-yellow bill, a blackish head with white markings around the eyes and on the throat, and a white belly.
Both sexes of this thrush species are similar but males are darker above and more reddish on the underparts. Young American Robins have more white marks on their faces and spotting on orange underparts.
In flight, this common thrush in Maine also shows white corners in its outer tail feathers.
American Robins forage on the ground for worms, insects, snails, and other small creatures. In winter, these common birds flock together and perch in trees and bushes to eat berries and fruit.
The American Robin makes a cup nest in trees and lives in parks, woodlands, towns, and many other habitats. They reside in Alaska, most of Canada, the USA and in Mexico.
- Fair-sized songbird that is dark gray above, and brick red and white below.
- Forages for worms and bugs on lawns and other open grassy areas, also flocks together to feed on fruiting trees in the winter.
- Makes a cup nest in trees.
- The American Robin is quite vocal and makes a loud, sharp, “yenk!” call and quieter “check,check,check” calls. It also has a lovely cheerful song of caroled phrases, “cheery, cheery, cheery, cheery, cheer, cheer”.
The American Robin is a common, handsome thrush with dark gray upperparts and brick red and white underparts. It forages for worms and bugs on lawns and other open, grassy spots, and also eats berries. Populations of the American Robin have been estimated at 370,000,000; a number that gives this bird the distinction of being the most numerous landbird in North America.
Scientific name: Cardinalis cardinalis
Length: 8.75 inches
Weight: 1.6 ounces
Wingspan: 12 inches
Song: “pichew-pichew-pichew, chew,chew,chew,chew,chew”
Northern Cardinals are medium-sized songbirds with a perky crest and big orange-red beak. Males are bright red with a black throat and face, and have dusky red on their back, wings, and tail.
Female Northern Cardinals are grayish-brown and buff with some black on their face and throat. They also have red highlights in their crest, wings, and long, rounded tail.
This species has short, rounded wings and seems to bounce up and down as they move through the air. In flight, Northern Cardinals also make sharp chip notes.
The Northern Cardinal is a bird of second growth, gardens, and parks. It eats seeds, insects, and some fruit and is a regular visitor to bird feeders. They forage on and near the ground but males sing from a prominent perch.
This beautiful bird occurs in pairs and nests in bushes and low trees. It is common in the eastern and southwestern USA, southern Ontario, and in Mexico.
- Crested bird with a conical orange-red beak and a black face. Males are red, and females are grayish-brown and buff.
- Forages for seeds and insects on and near the ground.
- Makes a cup-shaped nest in bushes and low trees.
- Sings a clear, whistled song of repeated notes. They can sound like “cheer, cheer, chew, chew, chew, chew” or a quick “birdee,birdee,birdee,birdee,birdee“. They also make loud, sharp chip notes.
Northern Cardinals are one of the most beautiful common birds in most states, including Maine. It’s no wonder seven different states chose it to be their official bird. Another fun fact about this species is that female Northern Cardinals also sing. They sing while sitting on the nest and may do so to tell their mates to bring food or warn them about predators.
Scientific name: Sitta canadensis
Length: 4.5 inches
Weight: .35 ounces
Wingspan: 8.5 inches
Song: “yeank, yeank, yeank”
The Red-breasted Nuthatch is a small, warbler-sized bird with a dark gray, straight or slightly upturned beak, gray upperparts, and reddish-orange underparts. It also has a black cap, a white face with a narrow black mask, and black and white in its short tail.
Males and females are similar, except that females are paler and have a gray cap.
Red-breasted Nuthatches eat insects during the summer and conifer seeds in the winter. These small, animated birds forage by creeping down coniferous tree trunks and on branches. They use their bills to probe bark and pick out insects and seeds.
This species excavates a tree cavity and makes an open nest of bark and other vegetation.
The Red-breasted Nuthatch lives in coniferous and mixed forests in southern Alaska, Canada, and the western and northern USA. They also breed in the Appalachians and can be seen in most of the USA in winter.
- Small, short-tailed bird with a narrow white eyebrow, black mask, gray upperparts, and reddish-orange underparts.
- Creeps along tree trunks and branches to forage for insects and conifer seeds.
- Nests in tree cavities.
- The distinctive nasal call of the Red-breasted Nuthatch, “yeank, yeank, yeank”, is a good way to find this bird.
The Red-breasted Nuthatch is a small, short-tailed bird with black and white on its head, gray upperparts, and reddish-orange underparts. It usually occurs alone and lives in coniferous woods and trees. To protect its nest, this species puts sticky pine resin around the border of its nesting hole.
Scientific name: Dryobates pubescens
Length: 6.75 inches
Weight: .95 ounces
Wingspan: 12 inches
Song: “Pik! Ch,ch,ch,ch,ch,ch,ch!”
The Downy Woodpecker is a small black and white woodpecker with a short, black beak. They are patterned black and white above and have white backs and white underparts. Both sexes look alike except that males have a small, bright red patch on the top back part of their head.
Young birds look like adults but have a reddish patch on the top of their head. Downy Woodpeckers also have a few small black marks in their white outer tail feathers, and a small white tuft at the base of their beak.
This woodpecker eats insects, other small creatures, seeds, and small fruits. It pecks into live and dead wood and often forages on smaller branches and twigs. These friendly little woodpeckers are also common feeder birds.
They nest in tree cavities and live in gardens and a wide variety of woodlands. We see Downy Woodpeckers in much of Canada and the USA but not in arid habitats.
- Smallest woodpecker in North America. Mostly black and white with a short, black beak.
- Forages on trees, in bushes, and at feeders for insects, seeds, and suet.
- Nests in tree cavities.
- The Downy Woodpecker makes sharp “pik!” calls and also has a trilled call, “Ch,ch,ch,ch,ch,ch,ch!“.
Downy Woodpeckers are the smallest woodpecker species in North America and usually occur in pairs. They can also forage with other small birds and often visit feeders. This species takes advantage of its size to peck into the stems of weeds and other plants too small for larger woodpeckers to perch on.
Scientific name: Anas platyrhynchos
Length: 23 inches
Weight: 2.4 pounds
Wingspan: 35 inches
Song: “quack, quack”
The Mallard is a fairly large, familiar duck. The male has a metallic green head, yellow bill, narrow white ring around the neck, and chestnut breast. The rest of the bird is pale gray with pale brown, and black on its back and around his tail.
Female Mallards are mottled brown and buff with a dark crown and line through the eyes, and have a dark gray and orange beak.
In flight, both sexes show a green-blue wing patch bordered with white.
Mallards eat a variety of items, including insect larvae, snails, other small aquatic creatures, acorns, seeds, and grain. They forage by filtering and picking up food items in and near shallow water, and in farm fields.
This duck species makes a shallow nest with sticks and lined with down feathers. It builds its nest on the ground, hidden in grass or under a bush.
The Mallard lives in ponds, marshes, and many wetland habitats in Canada, USA (including Maine), and Eurasia.
- Large and familiar duck, male has dark green head, white ring around the neck, and a chestnut breast. Female is mottled buff and brown, and has a dark gray and orange beak.
- Feeds on insect larvae, grain, seeds, and other items picked up with its bill in and near shallow water.
- Makes a shallow stick nest hidden in grass or under a bush.
- The female Mallard makes the classic “quack, quack” duck sound. Males make similar but softer sounds and a whistling call.
The Mallard is a fairly large and familiar duck with a dark green head (the male), or is buff and brown with a dark gray and orange beak (the female). Thus duck species often lives near people and occurs on lakes, ponds, and other wetlands. No matter how different they look, most small domestic duck species are descended from wild Mallards.
Scientific name: Junco hyemalis
Length: 6.25 inches
Weight: .67 ounces
Wingspan: 9.25 inches
Dark-eyed Juncos are sparrow-like birds with pale conical bills and dark eyes. This small bird has variable plumage, with most being slate gray or gray and brown with white on their bellies, and white under their tails.
Other plumages include birds with dark masks and faint white wing bars, juncos with pale gray hoods and pinkish sides, and birds with blackish hoods and chestnut sides.
In flight, all Dark-eyed Juncos show extensive white in their longish tails.
This species feeds on seeds, insects, and some fruit and grain. Juncos forage on the ground in wooded areas, parks, and other habitats. They also feed on fallen seed beneath feeders.
They build cup nests on the ground under fallen logs, in roots, and other hidden spots. After breeding, juncos form flocks that forage together in similar wooded and semi-open habitats.
Dark-eyed Juncos are common birds in Canada, the USA, and parts of Mexico.
- Sparrow-like gray and brown bird with dark eyes, a pale beak, and white in the tail.
- Forages for seeds and insects on the ground, can feed on seeds at and beneath feeders.
- Builds a cup-shaped nest on the ground in tree roots, under logs, and other hidden places.
- This species often makes a sharp, high-pitched chip note, “pik!”. On breeding grounds, males sing a short, plain trill, “sipsipsipsipsipsipsip”.
Dark-eyed Juncos are sparrow-like, gray and brown birds with much white in the tail. Common wintering birds in many areas, they forage for seeds on the ground in wooded and park-like habitats. In many places, this common species is also known the “Snowbird” on account of only occurring in the winter months and having white on the belly and tail.
Scientific name: Dryobates villosus
Length: 9.25 inches
Weight: 2.3 ounces
Wingspan: 15 inches
Hairy Woodpeckers are medium-sized, black-and-white woodpeckers with long, straight beaks. They have a white patch on their back and a black and white tail with unmarked, white outer tail feathers.
Both sexes look very similar, but males have a small, bright red spot on the back of their head. Young birds have a dull red patch on top of their heads.
This woodpecker species feeds on insects, other small creatures, and a variety of seeds and fruit. They forage by pecking into bark and picking berries and other fruit from branches. In areas with big, mature trees, Hairy Woodpeckers are also regular visitors to bird feeders.
The Hairy Woodpecker nests in tree cavities. This species lives in parks and woodlands with mature trees in Alaska, much of Canada, and in most of the USA, including Maine.
They are absent from southern Florida and arid parts of the American Southwest.
- Medium-sized, black and white woodpecker with a long straight beak and unmarked, white outer tail feathers.
- Picks insects and fruit from bark of big trees, also eats seeds at feeders.
- Nests in tree cavities.
- Often calls and gives a sharp and explosive, “Peek!” and a longer rattle, “Qquechichichichichichicchichic!”.
Hairy Woodpeckers are medium-sized, black-and-white woodpeckers with long, straight beaks. They need woodlands and parks with big trees and dominate the smaller Downy Woodpecker at feeders. This species gets its name from fine, hair-like feathers on its back.
Scientific name: Nannopterum auritum
Length: 33 inches
Weight: 3.7 pounds
Wingspan: 52 inches
The Double-crested Cormorant is a big, glossy black bird with a long, thick neck. Males and females look alike and also have a medium-length beak with a sharp, hooked tip, an orange throat patch, and a bit of orange on the face.
Double-crested Cormorants have a short, wispy crest, green eyes, broad tail, and big webbed feet. They use their long wings to flap and glide with direct flight between feeding and roosting areas.
This highly aquatic species feeds on fish. It catches its food by diving, swimming beneath the water, and then snatching a fish with its beak. It eats the fish while perched above the water.
The Double-crested Cormorant breeds in colonies and makes a messy stick nest in a tree on an island or above the water. We see this bird in parts of central and southern Canada, in much of the USA, and parts of Mexico and the Caribbean.
- Big, nearly goose-sized black bird with a long, thick neck, and a medium-length narrow beak with a small, hooked tip. It also has a rectangular, orange throat patch.
- Forages by floating and then diving beneath the water. Swims underwater to catch fish with its beak.
- Breeds in colonies and constructs a messy stick nest in trees on islands, or over water.
- Double-crested Cormorants aren’t very vocal. They make some low, guttural, pig-like sounds at their breeding colonies, “groak”.
The Double-crested Cormorant is a large, black bird with a long, thick neck and an orange throat patch. It often occurs in flocks that frequent lakes, rivers, and other wetlands. When it comes to fish, this species is not a picky eater; it has been documented eating more than 250 species.
Scientific name: Branta canadensis
Length: 29.9 to 43.3 inches
Weight: 105.8 to 317.5 ounces
Wingspan: 50 to 66.9 inches
Song: Canada Geese don’t have a song, but they do produce a variety of calls, including loud honks, hisses, cackles, and barks.
Canada Geese have white cheeks, black heads, white chinstraps, black necks, brown backs, and tan breasts.
Canada Geese live in many different habitats near grain fields, grassy fields, and water. These waterbirds are particularly drawn to lawns because when they’re caring for their young, manicured lawns give them an unobstructed, broad view of any approaching predators, and they can digest grass.
In the spring and summer months, geese concentrate on consuming sedges and grasses, including eelgrass and skunk cabbage leaves. During the fall and winter months, they rely more on seeds and berries, including berries and agricultural grains.
They are one of the most common birds of Maine.
- Look for their white cheeks, white chinstraps, black heads, black necks, brown backs, and tan breasts.
- Male and Female Canadian Geese look identical. The best ways to differentiate the two is by looking at size and behavior.
- Canada Geese are larger than a Mallard.
- Canada Geese are large waterbirds. They have long necks, large bodies, wide, flat bills, and big webbed feet.
Thousands of Canada Geese migrate south and north every year. They’re easily recognizable with their long V-shaped formations. However, more and more of these birds are staying put in suburban and urban areas year-round, due to lawn maintenance.
Scientific name: Zonotrichia albicollis
Length: 6.75 inches
Weight: .91 ounces
Wingspan: 9 inches
Song: “Ohhh Canada Canada Canada”
The White-throated Sparrow is a chunky, gray and brown sparrow with a white throat, and black and white stripes on its head. It has dark streaks on its back, a gray rump, and a bit of yellow in front of its eyes.
Males and females look the same and have reddish-brown wings with two white wing bars. Young White-throated Sparrows and some adults are duller brown with tan stripes on their heads and a dingy white throat.
White-throated Sparrows forage for seeds and insects on the ground, and also eat fruits in short trees and bushes. They reveal hidden food items by using their feet to scratch and kick away leaves.
This sparrow breeds in northern forests and builds a cup nest with grass and twigs. They construct the nest at the edge of forest, on or close to the ground, in dense vegetation.
These sparrows usually occur in flocks and winter in the eastern and southwestern USA and parts of California.
- Large sparrow with a white throat and bold black and white or tan stripes on its head.
- Scratches leaves on the ground to find seeds and insects. They also eat berries.
- Makes a cup nest of grass, bark, and twigs, on the ground, under dense vegetation.
- Flocks of White-throated Sparrows often make sharp “tink” calls. They also sing a clear, whistled song, “Ohhh Canada Canada Canada” or, “Ohhh, Cana, Cana, Cana”.
White-throated Sparrows are hefty gray and brown sparrow species with white throats and black and white or tan stripes on their head. They breed in northern forests and flock together during the winter in various woodland habitats. The yellow pigment in the patches in front of their eyes comes from eating colorful berries during fall and winter.
Scientific name: Larus delawarensis
Length: 17.5 inches
Weight: 1.1 pound
Wingspan: 48 inches
The Ring-billed Gull is a medium-sized pale gray and white gull with a black ring around its yellowish beak. Males and females look the same and have yellowish legs and feet, pale eyes, and black wing tips with a few white spots.
These gulls have a direct, fairly quick flight with leisurely wing beats. Young birds have pink and black bills, a white tail with a black tip, and mottled black and gray wings.
Ring-billed Gulls are scavengers and opportunists that feed on carrion, fish, worms, small animals, grain, and other food items. They usually occur in flocks that roam lakes, rivers, urban areas, and other habitats in search of feeding opportunities.
These gulls also gather in farm fields to feed on grain and worms.
The Ring-billed Gull breeds in colonies, often on islands, and makes a shallow stick nest on the ground.
This gull species occurs not only in Maine but also in many parts of Canada and the USA south to Central America.
- Medium-sized pale gray and white gull with a black ring on its bill and yellow legs and feet. Juveniles have pink and black beaks.
- Forages for fish, carrion, and many other food items in wetlands and open habitats.
- Nests on the ground, in colonies.
- Ring-billed Gulls often call. In flight, they often make a high-pitched “kleea” sound. On the ground, displaying birds make a loud, laughing, “KLEE..KLEEE..kleeya,kleeya,kleeya”.
Ring-billed Gulls are pale gray and white, medium-sized gulls with a black ring around their beaks and yellow legs and feet. They are well adapted to living with people and occur around lakes, rivers, and other wetlands, parking lots, garbage dumps, and other places. This gull species is a bold bird that can snatch bits of food from unguarded picnic tables.
Scientific name: Gavia immer
Length: 32 inches
Weight: 9 pounds
Wingspan: 46 inches
Song: “wooouuWHUH! QWEEuh wee, QWEEuh wee, QWEEuh wee!”
The Common Loon is a big, highly aquatic bird with a heavy, straight, sharp beak. Both sexes look alike and, in summer, have a black head, black and white neck, and white markings on black upperparts.
In winter, they are mostly gray above, white below, and have a grayish beak. In flight, Common Loons hold their necks out straight, have a slightly humpbacked look, and their webbed feet trail behind them.
This species feeds on a wide variety of small fish and also takes crayfish during the breeding season. It catches fish by swimming underwater and catching prey with its sharp beak.
Common Loons use plant matter to make a big mound nest on an island or in marshes and bogs.
This species breeds in cold, northern lakes in Alaska, much of Canada, and some areas near the northern Great Lakes and the northeastern USA. They mostly winter in coastal waters.
- Big waterbird with a strong, straight, sharp beak. Black and white above and white below in summer, and gray above, pale below in winter.
- Dives and swims underwater to catch fish.
- Makes a mound nest on islands and in bogs.
- A vocal bird with a loud, wavering haunting call, especially on breeding grounds and often at night, ““wooouuWHUH! QWEEuh wee, QWEEuh wee, QWEEuh wee!”.
The Common Loon is a big, aquatic waterbird with black and white plumage in summer and gray and white plumage in winter. It floats and dives underwater to catch fish in lakes and coastal waters and can occur in flocks during migration and winter. To help it dive and stay below the surface, this species has solid bones and weighs more than many other birds.
Scientific name: Dumatella carolinensis
Length: 8.5 inches
Weight: 1.3 ounces
Wingspan: 11 inches
The Gray Catbird is a slender, gray songbird with a black cap, and chestnut under its tail. Both sexes look alike and have beady, black eyes on a gray face, a longish tail, and a smallish, black beak.
This reclusive bird feeds on insects and berries in thickets and second growth. It forages by moving through dense vegetation and picking food items from leaves and twigs.
Gray Catbirds make bulky, open cup-shaped nests constructed with grass, strips of vegetation, and hair. They build their nests in shrubs, bushes, and small trees.
The Gray Catbird is often heard before it is seen and loves to skulk in low thick vegetation. This migrant species spends summers in southern Canada, and in much of the eastern and northern USA. In fall, it migrates to coastal areas in the eastern and southern USA, and Florida south to northern South America.
- Small to medium-sized, slender gray bird with a black cap and chestnut under the tail.
- Feeds on insects and berries in low, dense vegetation.
- Builds a bulky cup nest in small trees and bushes.
- The Gray Catbird is quite vocal and often makes a cat-like mewing call, “rheah!”. It also has a melodious, complex song made of jumbled, chattering sounds and phrases.
Gray Catbirds are slender gray songbirds with a black cap and chestnut under the tail. Pairs forage for bugs and berries in dense second growth. Although they don’t mimic as many bird species as their mockingbird relatives, Gray Catbird songs include the sounds of some birds, frogs, and other noises.
Scientific name: Haemorhous mexicanus
Length: 6 inches
Weight: .88 ounces
Wingspan: 10 inches
House Finches are sparrow-sized birds with dark, rounded beaks and fairly long wings. Males are orange-red or rose-red on their head, throat and breast, and have some red on their rump. They also have brownish streaks on their back, flanks, and white belly.
Like the male, female House Finches have two white wing bars on long, gray-brown wings. However, they lack red and are mostly streaked, dull brown-gray birds.
House Finches feed on seeds, buds, fruit, and flowers. They often visit feeders in Maine but also forage on the ground, and in bushes and trees.
We see these pretty birds in deserts and arid zones, and in parks, farmland, urban areas, and other semi-open habitats.
The House Finch makes a soft cup nest built on a tree, building ledge or other spot with some overhanging cover. They often occur in small groups and live in southern Canada, most of the USA, Mexico, and Hawaii. Additionally, they are one of the most common birds of Maine.
- Reddish or plain gray-brown, streaked, sparrow-like bird.
- Eats seeds, flowers, buds, and fruit. Can visit feeders but also forages on the ground and in bushes and trees.
- Makes a soft cup nest in trees, on building ledges, and other places.
- The House Finch often makes a soft, “fidip” call. Males also sing a warbling song from prominent, high perches. It sounds like, “chip,chip,chiprididip,ZREEYachip”.
House Finches are sparrow-like, reddish or brownish, streaked birds. They live in arid zones as well as in parks and urban areas. All of the millions of House Finches that live east of the Rocky Mountains are descendants of birds released on Long Island in 1939.
Scientific name: Agelaius phoeniceus
Length: 8.75 inches
Weight: 1.8 ounces
Wingspan: 13 inches
The Red-winged Blackbird is a medium-sized blackbird species with a sharp, all-black bill. Males also have a scarlet patch with a pale yellow border on the shoulder of each wing.
Female Red-winged Blackbirds are dark, heavily streaked, brownish-gray birds with an orange-buff eyebrow and throat. She can also have a little bit of dingy red on her shoulder.
Red-winged Blackbirds often flock together and can form very large groups in the winter. They feed on seeds, grain, and insects found on lawns, in marshes, farm fields, and other open habitats.
This species builds a cup nest made of leaves and dead stems in a bush or other low vegetation in a marsh, park, or brushy field.
Red-winged Blackbirds are very common birds that live in all sorts of open habitats. We see them in parks, farming areas, and marshes in much of Canada, the USA, Mexico, and parts of the Central America.
- Males are medium-sized blackbirds with a bright red patch on their wings. Females are heavily streaked, have a sharp black beak, and buff on the head.
- Feeds on seeds, grain, and insects on the ground in many open habitats.
- Builds a cup nest in a bush or other low vegetation.
- Red-winged Blackbirds often call. Males sing a loud, “kan-keree!” and both sexes also make “check!” calls and a high-pitched whistle-like sound.
The Red-winged Blackbird is a common, social species easily seen in marshes and open habitats. In the winter, it can form huge flocks that feed in farm fields. This species can make a daily commute of 50 miles to and from roosting and feeding sites.
Scientific name: Sayornis phoebe
Length: 7 inches
Weight: .7 ounces
Wingspan: 10.5 inches
Song: “see-BEE! See BIDIT”
The Eastern Phoebe is a small to medium-sized, plain flycatcher that is dark, brownish gray above and white below. It also has gray on its breast and a long, blackish tail that constantly wags up and down.
This bird also has a blackish head and some pale edging on long, dark wings. Males and females look alike, but young birds have pale yellow bellies.
This flycatcher uses its slender beak to snap up insects. It catches them by flying from a perch and snatching them in flight, from foliage while hovering, and from the ground.
We usually see Eastern Phoebes on their own, sitting on low or medium-height perches. They make cup nests of mud, moss, and leaves on rocky outcrops, and under bridges and other structures.
This species breeds in woodlands and parks in Canada and the eastern USA, and winters in similar habitats the southeastern USA and Mexico.
- Plain, mid-sized flycatcher that is dark brownish-gray above and pale below with some gray on the breast.
- Perches low to mid-height in woodlands and flies out to catch insects. It also feeds on berries in winter.
- Makes a cup nest of mud and vegetation on structures and rocky outcrops.
- Sings a song that sounds like its name, “see-BEE! See BIDIT”.
The Eastern Phoebe is a featureless flycatcher with dark upperparts and pale underparts. It often wags its tail up and down and sallies from perches to catch insects. In 1804, this species became the first bird to be banded in North America when John James Audubon put a silvered thread on an Eastern Phoebe’s leg.
Scientific name: Sialia sialis
Length: 6.3 to 8.3 inches
Weight: 1.0 to 1.1 ounces
Wingspan: 9.8 to 12.6 inches
Male Eastern Bluebirds are brick-red or rusty on their breast and throat and are a deep, vivid blue above. How blue these birds look fully depends on the lighting at the time. Female Eastern Bluebirds are a subdued orange-brown on the breast, grayish above, and have bluish wings and tails.
Eastern Bluebirds inhabit open country around trees. However, these locations have sparse ground cover and little understory. These birds primarily consume insects on the ground; some of the prey they consume include beetles, caterpillars, crickets, spiders, and grasshoppers.
They are one of the most common birds of Maine.
- These birds are deep blue above and brick-red or rusty on their breast and throat.
- When Bluebirds are perched, the tips of their wings reach the base of their tail.
- Eastern Bluebirds are the size of a large sparrow but have a more upright posture.
- They have short necks, rounded heads, and short, thin bills.
Eastern Bluebirds are common birds that can be found in all parts of North America. They’re usually year-round residents of the southern portions of the country. They’re commonly seen in nesting boxes and old woodpecker holes up to 50 feet off the ground. You can attract these birds to your yard by offering a smaller birdhouse because they prefer to nest in snug, tight spaces.
Scientific name: Somateria mollissima
Length: 24 inches
Weight: 4.7 pounds
Wingspan: 38 inches
Song: “uhrOOWUH! Rew”
The Common Eider is a big and hefty sea duck with a long, sloped, yellowish or greenish beak. Breeding males are mostly black below and white above with a pale breast and black cap.
They also have pea-green coloration on the back of their head. In winter, they are blackish with varying amounts of white on their breast and back.
Female Common Eiders have a gray beak and are reddish or grayish-brown with fine black barring.
Common Eiders forage for mollusks and other small sea creatures by diving in shallow coastal waters and picking them from the seabed. In migration and winter, these large ducks often occur in flocks.
This species nests on the ground, in dense, shrubby vegetation near water. It makes a shallow cup nest of grass and lines in with down feathers.
The Common Eider lives in coastal habitats from the Arctic to southern Alaska and Massachusetts. It winters south to North Carolina.
- Large and hefty sea duck with long, sloped forehead and greenish or yellowish beak. Males are black and white with a small black cap, females are reddish or gray-brown with fine dark barring.
- Dives in shallow coastal waters for mollusks and other small sea creatures.
- Makes a shallow cup nest on the ground, in low dense vegetation near water.
- In the breeding season, males sing a low, cooing song, “uhrOOWUH! Rew””. Both sexes also make various croaking and clucking calls.
The Common Eider is a large duck with a long, sloping forehead, and is black and white or reddish-brown or gray-brown with fine dark barring. They dive for food in coastal waters and often occur in flocks. People have been harvesting Eider’s down feathers to keep them warm for centuries.
Scientific name: Geothlypis trichas
Length: 5 inches
Weight: .35 ounces
Wingspan: 7.5 inches
The Common Yellowthroat is a small, olive-brown warbler with a yellow throat and undertail. Males have a black mask with a pale border on part of it.
Females are more plain and lack the black mask. Instead, they have a hint of a pale eyering. Both sexes have pale brown flanks, rounded wings, and a rounded tail.
Common Yellowthroats feed on insects and spiders that they find in low, wet, dense vegetation. They forage by picking food items from leaves and stems.
The Common Yellowthroat makes a loose and bulky, well-hidden cup nest out of grass and other plant matter. The female builds the nest on or close to the ground in dense grassy or marshy vegetation.
This warbler species frequents low, wet tangles, the grassy edges of creeks and rivers, and other marshy vegetation. It is a summer resident over a large part of Canada and the USA. This species also winters in California and the southeastern USA.
- Small warbler with a yellow throat and undertail. Males have black masks, females are plain olive-brown and have a hint of an eyering.
- Forages for insects in low, wet, dense vegetation.
- Makes a loose, bulky, well-hidden cup nest on or near the ground.
- Males sing a friendly, warbled, “witchey..witchety..witchety!”. Both sexes also make a short, “jerrt!” call.
The Common Yellowthroat is a small warbler with a yellow throat and black mask, or a yellowish throat and plain olive-brown upperparts. It lives in low, dense, wet vegetation in the summer and migrates south for the winter. In some places, this warbler is known as “The Yellow Bandit”.
Scientific name: Spizella passerina
Length: 4.7 to 5.9 inches
Weight: 0.4 to 0.6 ounces
Wingspan: 8.3 inches
Song: “Zeeeee” or “see-see-see-see”
In the summer, Chipping Sparrows look crisp and clean. They have pale faces, frosty underparts, black lines through the eye, and bright rusty crowns. In the winter, Chipping Sparrows are duller. They have darkly streaked upper parts and are buffy brown overall. The black lines through the eyes are still visible, and the cap is a paler reddish brown.
Chipping Sparrows inhabit woodlands, parks, grassy forests, essentially any areas that have trees. They tend to gravitate toward evergreens when they’re available. However, they’ll also use eucalyptus, aspen, oak, birch, and pecan trees.
These sparrows primarily consume seeds of a wide variety of herbs and grasses. During their breeding season, they’ll hunt for insects that are rich in protein. Additionally, Chipping Sparrows will occasionally consume small fruits like cherries.
- In the summer, Chipping Sparrows have pale faces, frosty underparts, black lines through the eye, and bright rusty crowns. In the winter, Chipping Sparrows have darkly streaked upper parts and are buffy brown overall.
- These birds are smaller than a Song Sparrow.
- Chipping Sparrows have relatively long tails and medium-sized bills.
- Chipping Sparrows can be found around trees, and they favor evergreen trees.
Chipping Sparrows are common in Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Central America (being one of the most common birds in Maine. Their bright rufous cap makes adults relatively easy to identify and provides a splash of color. You can attract these birds to bird feeders by offering white millet and mealworms. You’re best bet, though, is to sprinkle the food on the ground, directly below the feeders.
Scientific name: Sturnus vulgaris
Length: 8.5 inches
Weight: 2.9 ounces
Wingspan: 16 inches
European Starlings are plump, short-tailed birds with long sharp beaks and longish, pointed wings. In summer, they have yellow beaks, glossy black plumage with purple and green highlights, and some small white spots.
Males and females are similar, but males have less spotting and glossier plumage. In winter, they have black beaks, white spots, and more reddish colors in their wings.
Young starlings are shaped like adults but are grayish birds with a dark beak and a pale throat.
This species feeds on a variety of insects, fruit, and seeds. They can dominate bird feeders and are common species in urban areas, parks, farmlands, and other open habitats.
This European Starling builds a soft cup nest in a tree cavity, nest box, or suitable cavity in other structures.
European Starlings flock with each other and blackbird species, especially during the winter. They live across a large part of Canada and the USA. European Starlings are one of the most common birds of Maine.
- Rotund, short-tailed bird with a long, sharp beak, and pointed wings. Glossy black with some spotting in the summer and blackish with heavy white spotting and streaking in the winter.
- Feeds on seeds, fruit, and insects. Visits feeders and forages on the ground in flocks.
- Builds a soft cup nest in nest boxes and other cavities.
- The European Starling makes a wide variety of mechanical and whistled sounds. They also mimic other birds and sounds in their environment. They sing long, jumbled mechanical-sounding songs, “tiktiktitZHREEree..tiktiktik..ZHREE”.
European Starlings are rounded, blackish birds with long, sharp beaks and short tails. They live in towns, cities, parks, on farms, and in other open habitats. This species forms large flocks called, “murmurations” that move in coordinated patterns.
Great Black-backed Gull
Scientific name: Larus marinus
Length: 30 inches
Weight: 3.6 pounds
Wingspan: 65 inches
Song: “graaah gra gra grua grua grua”
The Great Black-backed Gull is a large gull with long, broad black wings and a black back. Both sexes look alike, have pale legs, and a strong, deep yellow beak with a red spot.
In winter, adults have some streaks on their heads. Young birds are white with dark gray and brownish markings and have a black tip on their tail. They also have a dark beak, or a light beak with black near the tip.
This species has a varied diet that includes fish, small sea creatures, birds, mammals up to the size of a rabbit, and carrion.
This gull makes a shallow scrape nest with grass and other bits of plants. It nests on the ground in salt marshes, on beaches, rocky spots, and other open situations.
The Great Black-backed Gull lives in coastal habitats of northeastern North America and in parts of the Great Lakes. It winters on the east coast south to Florida.
- Huge gull with black wings and back. Young birds have mostly white heads and dark grayish and brown upperparts with white markings.
- Feeds on carrion, small animals, fish, and carrion.
- Makes a shallow scrape nest on the ground, in salt marshes and other open, coastal habitats.
- Makes a loud, hoarse call, ““graaah gra gra grua grua grua”.
The Great Black-backed Gull is a huge gull much larger than a Red-tailed Hawk. It has dark wings and back, pale legs, and a strong beak. This species is quite predatory and routinely preys on puffins, terns, and even catches Herring Gulls.
American Black Duck
Scientific name: Anas rubripes
Length: 23 inches
Weight: 2.6 pounds
Wingspan: 35 inches
Song: “quack quack wuack wuack wuack”
The American Black Duck is a fairly large duck with a dark brown body and contrasting pale, finely streaked, grayish-tan neck and head. Males and females look very similar and have a dark cap, dark line through each eye, and orange legs.
In flight, their wings are white underneath and show a dark violet patch. Male American Black Ducks have a greenish-yellow beak, and females have darker, more grayish beaks.
This species dabbles on the surface and underneath shallow water for a wide variety of food. It eats small insects, mollusks, crustaceans, seeds, tubers, aquatic plants, and other items.
The American Black Duck nests near water in a variety of places and can also use old nests of herons and other large birds. It usually makes a scrape on the ground in dense vegetation and lines it with grass and leaves.
This duck breeds in wetland habitats in northeastern North America and winters south to Mississippi and Florida. They are one of the most common birds of Maine.
- Large, dark duck with a paler head and neck, and a greenish or dingy yellowish beak.
- Dabbles in shallow water for insects, small aquatic creatures, tubers, and roots.
- Makes a shallow scrape nest on the ground and lines it with vegetation.
- This species makes grunting calls and the female makes a classic, duck vocalization, “quack quack wuack wuack wuack”.
The American Black Duck is a large, dark duck with a paler head and neck, and a yellow-green beak. These ducks live in a variety of wetland habitats and rarely form large flocks. American Black Ducks often hybridize with the closely related Mallard but female hybrids don’t survive long enough to breed.
Scientific name: Setophaga coronata
Length: 5.5 inches
Weight: .42 ounces
Wingspan: 9.25 inches
The Yellow-rumped Warbler is a small, blue-gray songbird with a yellow rump, crown, and yellow patches on each side of its breast. It also has two white wing bars, dark marks on the back, and white underparts with blackish markings on its breast and sides.
In summer, this species has a blackish face and white markings above and below the eyes. Females are like males but duller. In winter, both sexes of Yellow-rumped Warblers are duller and have more brownish plumage.
The western subspecies have a yellow throat and more white in the wings.
This species feeds on insects and small berries. It picks food from vegetation and briefly flies into the air to catch bugs in flight.
Yellow-rumped Warbler builds small cup nests in conifers in Canada and the northeastern and western USA. They spend the winter in semi-open habitats from the southern USA to Central America.
- Small songbird with two pale wing bars and yellow patches on the rump, each side of its breast, and crown.
- Feeds on insects and small berries.
- Builds cup nests in conifers in northern and montane forests.
- The Yellow-rumped Warbler makes a sharp call note, “chup!”, and sings a brief and easy-going warbling song, “si,sit,sit,sit,sit,sue,sue,sue”.
Yellow-rumped Warblers are small, blue-gray or brownish songbirds with two pale wing bars, and yellow patches on the crown, sides of the breast, and rump. In winter, they occur in small flocks that feed on insects and berries in parks and other semi-open habitats. The eastern subspecies is known as the “Myrtle Warbler” and the yellow-throated western subspecies is called, “Audubon’s Warbler”.
Scientific name: Passer domesticus
Length: 6.25 inches
Weight: .98 ounces
Wingspan: 9.5 inches
House Sparrows are small, plump gray and brown birds with conical, finch-like beaks. Males have a gray and rufous head with pale cheeks, and black near their eyes and on their throat.
The rest of their underparts are gray, and they have brown, streaked backs with rufous highlights. They also have a white mark on the shoulder of each wing and a grayish rump and tail.
Females are plainer brown and buff, have paler beaks, and buff eyebrows.
House Sparrows feed on seeds, grain, and insects. They are regular visitors to bird feeders and often dominate other smaller species. They also forage on the ground in farmlands, parks, urban areas, and other open situations.
The House Sparrow nests in cavities. When searching for suitable nesting sites, they can kill and remove the eggs and young of smaller species like Eastern Bluebirds.
House Sparrows usually live near people and occur in most of North America, including Maine.
- Brown and gray sparrow with a bold pattern on its head.
- Feeds on seeds, grain, and insects at feeders and on the ground in urban areas and farmlands.
- Nests in tree cavities, including nest boxes.
- This species is vocal and often makes short chirping calls. Its song is a friendly series of chirping sounds, “see,chirrup,see,chirrup,see,chirrup”.
In many places, the House Sparrow is the common urban sparrow. It occurs in pairs and small groups that forage on sidewalks, in parking lots, farm fields, and other familiar places. This species is one of the very few birds that has evolved to live with people and digest the same grains that we eat.
Scientific name: Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Length: 31 inches
Weight: 9.5 pounds
Wingspan: 80 inches
Song: “pip pipipipip!”
Young birds are dark brown with mottled white and have a mostly dark beak.
In flight, Bald Eagles soar on broad, long wings held flat like a board. They also have deep and slow wing beats.
The Bald Eagle snatches fish from the surface of lakes, rivers, and other shallow wetlands. It also feeds on carrion and occasionally catches small mammals and birds as big as a Canada Goose.
This big raptor builds a big, bulky stick nest high in a tree in or near wetlands. They often use the same nest year after year.
Bald Eagles occur in a variety of wetland habitats in Alaska, Canada, most of the USA (including Maine), and in some parts of northern Mexico.
- Although adult Bald Eagles are unmistakable, young birds can be confused with the Golden Eagle. They are best recognized by their mottled plumage, huge beak, and flat, soaring wings.
- Preys on fish, small mammals, ducks and geese, and also eats carrion.
- Builds a big, bulky nest out of sticks in wetland habitats.
- Bald Eagles make brief, whistled piping calls, “pip pipipipip!”.
The Bald Eagle is a huge raptor with a white head and tail, young birds are dark brown with white mottling. This bird of prey catches fish and aquatic animals and feeds on carrion in many wetland habitats. Persecution and DDT poisoning eliminated Bald Eagles from most of the lower 48 states in the first half of the 20th century. Since then, thanks to legal protection and reintroduction programs, this majestic bird has come back and thrives in most parts of its range.
Scientific name: Quiscalus quiscula
Length: 12.5 inches
Weight: 4 ounces
Wingspan: 17 inches
The Common Grackle is a jay-sized, glossy black bird with pale eyes and a long, wedge-shaped tail. Depending on lighting, this bird shows metallic purple, blue, green, and bronze highlights.
Males and females look very similar but females have shorter tails and less iridescence. Both sexes also have stout, black beaks, and strong, black legs and feet.
In flight, Common Grackles move up and down as they move through the air. They usually flock together and often forage in farm fields, on lawns, and in other open habitats. These omnivores feed on a variety of items including insects, seeds, grain, small animals, garbage, and the eggs and nestlings of other birds.
Common Grackles build bulky stick nests, usually in conifers in woodlands, parks, near water, and urban areas.
They can form big flocks in the winter and live in a variety of semi-open and open habitats in eastern Canada and the eastern USA.
- Fairly large, black bird with glossy purple, greenish, bronze, or dark blue highlights. It also has pale eyes and a long, wedge-shaped tail.
- Forages for insects, seeds, and other food on the ground in a variety of open habitats.
- Constructs a bulky cup nest in a conifer.
- Common Grackles are vocal birds. They frequently give raspy, metallic calls, “Sherink!”, and “kek” calls.
The Common Grackle is a common, glossy black bird with pale eyes. It usually occurs in flocks in open and park-like habitats. This species occasionally nests in odd places, including occupied nests of Great Blue Herons and Ospreys!
Scientific name: Bombycilla cedrorum
Length: 7.25 inches
Weight: 1.1 ounces
Wingspan: 12 inches
The Cedar Waxwing is a thrush-sized, crested bird with a black mask, black throat, and sleek, pale brown, gray, and yellow plumage. Both sexes look similar and have bright yellow on the tip of their tail, and a pale yellow belly.
Young birds are grayish-brown with some thick streaks on white underparts. Adult Cedar Waxwings also have a few small red dots on their wings, and have a white undertail.
This species feeds on insects and small fruits. In summer, waxwings often sally into the air to catch bugs in flight. However, they mostly feed on berries and forage for them in large flocks, especially in the winter.
The Cedar Waxwing constructs a bulky, open cup nest out of moss, flowers, bark, other bits of plants, and other materials. It builds its nest in an isolated tree or bush.
Cedar Waxwings breed in a large area of Canada and occur in the northern half of the USA, making it one of the most common birds of Maine.
- Sleek, pale brown and gray crested bird with a black mask, black throat, and a bright yellow tip on its tail.
- Catches insects in flight and visits fruiting and trees and bushes to feed on berries.
- Uses bark and other materials to make an open cup nest in an isolated tree or bush.
- Cedar Waxwings are very vocal and often make a soft, whispering call, “sree…zree!”.
The Cedar Waxwing is a thrush-sized, pale brown and gray bird with a crest, black throat, and black mask. They usually occur in groups that flock to fruiting trees. This frugivorous species can become intoxicated after eating too many fermented berries!
Scientific name: Melanerpes carolinus
Length: 9.25 inches
Weight: 2.2 ounces
Wingspan: 16 inches
Red-bellied Woodpeckers are medium-sized with black and white barring on their back and wings. They have a long beak and pale gray underparts with a small red patch on the belly.
Males have red on the head from the bill to the back of the neck (the nape). Females have an orange-red spot above their bill and red on the back of their head. Both sexes have a mostly white rump and central tail feathers.
This woodpecker species has long wings and “undulating” flight, where it moves up and down as it flies. In flight, Red-bellied Woodpeckers show a small white patch in their wings.
Red-bellied Woodpeckers live in wooded habitats. Their diet consists of nuts, seeds, insects, fruit, and they can attack nestlings of other species. They also visit bird feeders.
This striking woodpecker occurs in pairs and nests in tree cavities high above the ground. It is common in the eastern USA and parts of southern Ontario.
- Grayish woodpecker with black and white barring above, and red on the top of the head and back of the neck.
- Forages for seeds, nuts, insects and other food on trunks and branches.
- Nests in a tree cavity, high overhead.
- Makes a loud exclamation, “Qwerr!“. It also makes other, briefer and quieter “chug” calls.
Red-bellied Woodpeckers are common and adaptable birds. As long as big trees are present, we see them in urban areas as well as wilder places. They also visit feeders and have a very long tongue. When extended, it sticks out 2 inches past the tip of its bill!
Scientific name: Colaptes auratus
Length: 12.5 inches
Weight: 4.6 ounces
Wingspan: 20 inches
Northern Flickers are fairly large, tan and gray woodpeckers with barring on their backs. They have a black mark on their breast, black spotting below, and a dark, stout beak.
Males in the east have a tawny throat and face with a black mustache and small red spot on the back of their heads. Males in the west have mostly gray heads with a red mustache.
Female Northern Flickers look like males but lack the mustache mark.
In bounding flight, they have white rumps and flash color on their underwings. This is bright yellow in eastern birds and reddish in flickers west of the Rocky Mountains.
This woodpecker eats many ants and other insects that it catches on the ground. It forages by flying to the ground, locating anthills, and lapping them up with its long tongue.
Northern Flickers nest in tree cavities and live in wooded and open habitats in Canada, the USA, and Mexico.
- Tan and gray woodpecker with black barring above, black marks below, and a bright, white rump.
- Forages for ants and other insects on the ground.
- Nests in tree cavities.
- A vocal woodpecker, the Northern Flicker often gives loud, “flicka,flicka,flicka” calls, and another loud, single note that sounds like, “Keer!” They also have a long, laughing vocalization of repeated notes, “kick,kick,kik,kik,kik.kik.kik.kik.kik.kik.kik.kik!”.
Northern Flickers are fairly big, tan woodpeckers with gray highlights, a white rump, and black markings. They mostly forage for ants on the ground in open and wooded areas. The red-shafted Northern Flickers in the west used to be considered a separate species from the yellow-shafted flickers of the east. At present, they are considered to be one species because they frequently hybridize with each other.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many bird species are native to Maine?
In total, 470 bird species are native to Maine. There are 470 birds on the official Maine bird list.
What is the most common bird in Maine?
The most common bird in Maine is the American Goldfinch. According to eBird data, this species has been seen more often than any other bird in Maine.
What is the largest bird in Maine?
The largest bird in Maine is the American White Pelican. This rare migrant to Maine is 62 inches long and has a wingspan of nine feet. Another huge bird in Maine is the Trumpeter Swan. This big bird is 60 inches long, has an 80-inch wingspan, and weighs 23 pounds.
What is the smallest bird in Maine?
The smallest bird in Maine is the Calliope Hummingbird. This tiny hummingbird is 3.25 inches.
What is the fastest bird in Maine?
The fastest bird in Maine is the Peregrine Falcon. The Peregrine is the fastest bird in the world and can reach speeds of 200 miles per hour!