featured species | 2021

Learn more about the 11 species featured for World Migratory Bird Day 2021. Click each species’ name to learn more about it.

Belted Kingfisher / Megaceryle alcyon

Voice: kekity-kek-kek-kek-tk-ticky-kek 

A stocky, slate-blue colored, large-headed bird with a shaggy crest, thick bill and white collar and underparts. Common along streams and shorelines across North America where they often perch on riverside branches and telephone wires. They need clear water for feeding on fish and crustaceans (though they also eat amphibians, insects, reptiles, young birds and small mammals) and vertical banks for nesting.



Green-winged Teal / Anas crecca

Voice: males preep-preep, quack!

A small, compact bird and the smallest dabbling duck in North America. When breeding, the male can be identified by its cinnamon-colored head and green crescent and in both sexes, a green wing patch. Found in river deltas, forest wetlands, and mixed prairie habitat across northern North America in warmer months where they eat aquatic invertebrates and seeds.

Royal Tern /Thalasseus maximus

Voice: clear shrills, sound like kree or tsirr!

The Royal Tern has an orange-red bill, pale grey upperparts, and white underparts. Its legs are


They show black caps during the breeding season, but in the winter the cap becomes
patchy. The royal tern lives on the coast and is only found near saltwater.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird / Archilochus colubris
Voice: cric-cric.

Eastern North America’s only breeding hummingbird, the ruby-throated has long wings and bill.
The male has a bright red gorget (throat) and a black mask and an emerald back. The female is
mostly white below with buffy flanks (sides). Found in deciduous forests and across Canadian

prairies in their northern breeding range and in dry forests, citrus groves, and hedges in their
southern wintering range.

Streaked Flycatcher / Myiodynastes maculatus solitarius

Voice: sqiii-zip!

This species represents migrations in South America. It has a strong, black bill, a concealed yellow crown patch, white supercilium (the stripe that runs from the base of the bird’s beak to above its eye), and dusky eye mask, as well as dark brown streaks on the back, and wide chestnut edges on the tail are characteristics to look for. Eats a range of food from insects to lizards to berries. Perches on a high lookout and then sally out to catch insects in mid-flight.

Sandhill Crane / Antigone canadensis

Voice: gar-oo-oo!

A tall, gray-bodied bird with a crimson cap, long neck, and a feathered bustle around its back end, these birds group together in the thousands and can fill the skies. These omnivores eat seeds, cultivated grains as well as small animals, both vertebrates and invertebrates. In summer they can be found in bogs and marshes in northern North America and the southeastern part of the United States. The sandhill crane typically feeds in small secluded bodies of water such as estuaries, mangroves, and lagoons.

Turkey Vulture / Cathartes aura

Voice: Usually silent.

This soaring vulture rides thermals in the sky and uses its sense of smell to find fresh carrion.
Identified in flight by its V-shaped wings and its soaring wobbly circles as well as the gaps in the primary feathers. Vultures are scavengers and they clean up carcasses. Look for turkey vultures over open areas, including farms and rangeland. At night they roost on cliffs where, outside of the breeding season, they might be found in groups of hundreds of individual birds.

Upland Sandpiper / Bartramia longicauda
Voice: quip-ip-ip-ip.

This long-legged bird of the grasslands has a thin neck, small head, and straight, thin bill. Adults

and young are speckled brown and black above and white below with dark streaks on the breast

and sides. They live in grassy prairies, open meadows, and fields where they eat mostly insects

and grass seeds, which they pick from the vegetation and ground as they walk.

Wood Thrush / Hylocichla mustelina

Voice: pit-pit-pit / tuck-tuck.

This plump songster is reddish-brown above, with a white, freckled belly, short tail, and upright

posture. A male wood thrush can sing a duet with himself, singing two notes simultaneously. A

shy bird, found in deciduous and mixed forests in the eastern U.S. where there are large trees and

abundant leaf litter where they forage for invertebrates and feed on fruits from shrubs.

Yellow Warbler / Setophaga petechia
Voice: sweet-sweet-sweet-I’m-so-sweet.

A brilliantly bright yellow warbler with a small rounded head, beady black eyes. Males have chestnut streaking on their breasts. Eats mostly insects. 

Look for Yellow Warblers near the tops of tall shrubs and small trees. They forage restlessly, with quick hops along small branches and twigs to glean caterpillars and other insects.

Males sing their sweet, whistled songs from high perches.