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Bird Checklists of the United States

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

Princeton, Oregon


A great diversity of habitats, from barren playas to lushly vegetated meadows, attracts a variety of bird species to Malheur. The Blitzen Valley, the most accessible portion of the refuge, is made up of meadows dotted with man-made ponds and surrounded by sage uplands and basalt rimrocks. Nearly every species on the refuge can be seen between headquarters and Frenchglen.

The lawn and woodlot at headquarters is the hotspot for the spring migration of songbirds (usually peaks in mid-May). The metal tower at P-Ranch is famous for its summer turkey vulture concentrations.

Early morning and late evening are the best times to observe all wildlife. Abundance of species varies by the seasons, as can be seen in the listing which follows.

Malheur was originally set aside to protect a nesting colony of egrets, herons, cormorants and ibis in 1908. Colonies are still present on Malheur Lake, but are not accessible to the public to protect the young birds.


Season Symbols

Sp - Spring - March to May
S - Summer - June to August
F - Fall - September to November
W - Winter - December to February

Abundance Symbols

a - abundant species
c - common-certain to be seen in suitable habitat
u - uncommon-present but not certain to be seen
o - occasionally seen
r - rare-known to be present, but not every year
* - birds known to nest locally
# - endangered species


LOONS Sp S F W ___ Common Loon o - o -
GREBES Sp S F W ___ Pied-billed Grebe* c c c o ___ Horned Grebe* u u r o ___ Eared Grebe* c c c r ___ Western Grebe* c c c - ___ Clark's Grebe* u u u -
PELICANS AND CORMORANTS Sp S F W ___ American White Pelican* c c c r ___ Double-crested Cormorant* c c c o
BITTERNS, HERONS AND EGRETS Sp S F W ___ American Bittern* u u u o ___ Least Bittern* r r - - ___ Great Blue Heron* c c c u ___ Great Egret* c c c r ___ Snowy Egret* u u u o ___ Cattle Egret* o o o - ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron* u u u r
IBIS Sp S F W ___ White-faced Ibis* c c c r
WATERFOWL Sp S F W ___ Tundra Swan c r c u ___ Trumpeter Swan* u u u u ___ Greater White-Fronted Goose u - u r ___ Snow Goose c r u r ___ Ross' Goose c - u - ___ Canada Goose* a a a a ___ Wood Duck r u o r ___ Green-winged Teal* c u c u ___ Mallard* c c a c ___ Northern Pintail* a u c u ___ Blue-winged Teal* c u o r ___ Cinnamon Teal* c a u r ___ Northern Shoveler* c c c o ___ Gadwall* a c a u ___ Eurasian Wigeon r - r r ___ American Wigeon* c u c u ___ Canvasback* u u u o ___ Redhead* c c c o ___ Ring-necked Duck* u o u o ___ Greater Scaup r - r - ___ Lesser Scaup* c u c o ___ Surf Scoter - - r - ___ White-winged Scoter r - o - ___ Common Goldeneye u r u c ___ Barrow's Goldeneye r - o o ___ Bufflehead c r c u ___ Hooded Merganser o - o o ___ Common Merganser* u u u u ___ Ruddy Duck* c c c o
VULTURES Sp S F W ___ Turkey Vulture* c c c r
OSPREY, EAGLES AND HAWKS Sp S F W ___ Osprey o r r - ___ Bald Eagle# u - o u ___ Northern Harrier* a a a c ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk u - u o ___ Cooper's Hawk o r u o ___ Northern Goshawk o - o o ___ Red-shouldered Hawk - - r - ___ Swainson's Hawk* u o u - ___ Red-tailed Hawk* c u c u ___ Ferruginous Hawk* o r o o ___ Rough-legged Hawk c - c c ___ Golden Eagle* c c c c
FALCONS Sp S F W ___ American Kestrel* u u u o ___ Merlin r - r - ___ Peregrine Falcon# r r r r ___ Prairie Falcon* u u u o
GALLINACEOUS BIRDS Sp S F W ___ Gray Partridge* r r r r ___ Chukar* u u u u ___ Ring-necked Pheasant* c c c c ___ Sage Grouse* r o o r ___ California Quail* c c c c ___ Mountain Quail* r r r r
RAILS Sp S F W ___ Virginia Rail* u u u r ___ Sora* c c c r ___ American Coot* a a a u
CRANES Sp S F W ___ Sandhill Crane* c c a r
PLOVERS Sp S F W ___ Black-bellied Plover o - o - ___ American Golden Plover (Lesser Gol-Pl.) r - r - ___ Snowy Plover* u u u - ___ Semipalmated Plover* u r u - ___ Killdeer* c c c o
STILTS AND AVOCETS Sp S F W ___ Black-necked Stilt* u u o - ___ American Avocet* c c c -
SHOREBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Greater Yellowlegs u o u r ___ Lesser Yellowlegs o r u - ___ Solitary Sandpiper o - o - ___ Willet* c c u - ___ Spotted Sandpiper* u u u - ___ Long-billed Curlew* c c u - ___ Whimbrel r - - - ___ Marbled Godwit u o o - ___ Ruddy Turnstone r - r - ___ Sanderling o - o - ___ Western Sandpiper c u c - ___ Least Sandpiper c u c r ___ Baird's Sandpiper o o o - ___ Pectoral Sandpiper r - u - ___ Dunlin u u u - ___ Stilt Sandpiper - - r - ___ Long-billed Dowitcher c c c -
SNIPE Sp S F W ___ Common Snipe* c c c o
PHALAROPES Sp S F W ___ Wilson's Phalarope* c c u - ___ Red-necked Phalarope u o u -
JAEGERS Sp S F W ___ Parasitic Jaeger - - r -
GULLS AND TERNS Sp S F W ___ Franklin's Gull* c c u - ___ Bonaparte's Gull o r o - ___ Ring-billed Gull* c c c r ___ California Gull* c c c r ___ Herring Gull r - - r ___ Caspian Tern* u u u - ___ Common Tern r - r - ___ Forster's Tern* c c u - ___ Black Tern c c u -
DOVES Sp S F W ___ Rock Dove* - o - - ___ Band-tailed Pigeon o o r - ___ Mourning Dove* u u u r
CUCKOOS Sp S F W ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo r r - -
OWLS Sp S F W ___ Barn Owl* o o o o ___ Flammulated Owl r - r - ___ Western Screech-Owl* r r r r ___ Great Horned Owl* c c c c ___ Burrowing Owl* u u u r ___ Long-eared Owl* u u u u ___ Short-eared Owl* c c c u ___ Northern Saw-whet Owl o - o o
GOATSUCKERS Sp S F W ___ Common Nighthawk* u c c - ___ Common Poorwill* u u u -
SWIFTS Sp S F W ___ Vaux's Swift r - r - ___ White-throated Swift r - r -
HUMMINGBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Black-chinned Hummingbird o - r - ___ Calliope Hummingbird o - r - ___ Rufous Hummingbird u c u -
KINGFISHERS Sp S F W ___ Belted Kingfisher* u u u u
WOODPECKERS Sp S F W ___ Lewis' Woodpecker u - u - ___ Red-naped Sapsucker u - u - ___ Red-breasted Sapsucker r - r - ___ Williamson's Sapsucker r - r - ___ Downy Woodpecker o - o o ___ Hairy Woodpecker o - o o ___ Northern Flicker* c c c c
FLYCATCHERS Sp S F W ___ Olive-sided Flycatcher o - o - ___ Western Wood-Pewee* c o u - ___ Willow Flycatcher* u c u - ___ Least Flycatcher r - - - ___ Hammond's Flycatcher r - r - ___ Dusky Flycatcher c r c - ___ Gray Flycatcher* u u u r ___ Pacific-slope Flycatcher r r r - ___ Cordilleran Flycatcher o r o - ___ Say's Phoebe* c c r - ___ Ash-throated Flycatcher o o o - ___ Western Kingbird* c c c - ___ Eastern Kingbird* u c u -
LARKS Sp S F W ___ Horned Lark* c u c c
SWALLOWS Sp S F W ___ Tree Swallow* a u a - ___ Violet-green Swallow* c o c - ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow* u u u - ___ Bank Swallow* u u u - ___ Cliff Swallow* a a a - ___ Barn Swallow* c c c -
JAYS, MAGPIES AND CROWS Sp S F W ___ Clark's Nutcracker r r r r ___ Black-billed Magpie* c c c c ___ American Crow* u u u o ___ Common Raven* c c c c
CHICKADEES Sp S F W ___ Black-capped Chickadee o - o o ___ Mountain Chickadee o - o o
BUSHTITS Sp S F W ___ Bushtit* o o o o
NUTHATCHES Sp S F W ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch u o u - ___ White-breasted Nuthatch o - o - ___ Pygmy Nuthatch - r r -
CREEPERS Sp S F W ___ Brown Creeper o - o -
WRENS Sp S F W ___ Rock Wren* c c c u ___ Canyon Wren* u u u u ___ Bewick's Wren* r r r r ___ House Wren* u o u - ___ Winter Wren u - u r ___ Marsh Wren* a a a o
DIPPERS Sp S F W ___ American Dipper* o - - o
KINGLETS, BLUEBIRDS AND THRUSHES Sp S F W ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet o - u o ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet c - c o ___ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher* r r - - ___ Western Bluebird o r o r ___ Mountain Bluebird* c r c u ___ Townsend's Solitaire u - u u ___ Veery r - r - ___ Swainson's Thrush o r r - ___ Hermit Thrush u r u - ___ American Robin* c c c u ___ Varied Thrush u - u r
MOCKINGBIRDS AND THRASHERS Sp S F W ___ Gray Catbird* r r - - ___ Northern Mockingbird o o r r ___ Sage Thrasher* c c c r ___ Brown Thrasher r - r r
PIPITS Sp S F W ___ American Pipit u - u o
WAXWINGS Sp S F W ___ Bohemian Waxwing o - r o ___ Cedar Waxwing o o u o
SHRIKES Sp S F W ___ Northern Shrike u - u u ___ Loggerhead Shrike* c c c u
STARLINGS Sp S F W ___ European Starling* a c a u
VIREOS Sp S F W ___ Solitary Vireo u r u - ___ Warbling Vireo* u o u - ___ Red-eyed Vireo r r r -
WARBLERS Sp S F W ___ Tennessee Warbler r - r - ___ Orange-crowned Warbler u r u - ___ Nashville Warbler u o u - ___ Northern Parula r r - - ___ Yellow Warbler* c c c - ___ Chestnut-sided Warbler r - r - ___ Magnolia Warbler r - r - ___ Cape May Warbler r - r - ___ Black-throated Blue Warbler r - r - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler c r c r ___ Black-throated Gray Warbler o r o - ___ Townsend's Warbler u r u - ___ Bay-breasted Warbler r - r - ___ Blackpoll Warbler r - o - ___ Black-and-white Warbler o - r - ___ American Redstart r - o - ___ Ovenbird o - r - ___ Northern Waterthrush r - r - ___ MacGillivray's Warbler u o u - ___ Common Yellowthroat* c c c - ___ Wilson's Warbler c r c - ___ Yellow-breasted Chat* u u u -
TANAGERS Sp S F W ___ Western Tanager c o c -
GROSBEAKS AND BUNTINGS Sp S F W ___ Rose-breasted Grosbeak r r r - ___ Black-headed Grosbeak* u o u - ___ Lazuli Bunting* u r o -
TOWHEES AND SPARROWS Sp S F W ___ Green-tailed Towhee o r o - ___ Rufous-sided Towhee u - u r ___ American Tree Sparrow o - u u ___ Chipping Sparrow* c u u - ___ Brewer's Sparrow* c c c - ___ Vesper Sparrow u o u r ___ Lark Sparrow* c u u - ___ Black-throated Sparrow* r r r - ___ Sage Sparrow* c u c - ___ Savannah Sparrow* c c c - ___ Fox Sparrow u r u r ___ Song Sparrow* c c c c ___ Lincoln's Sparrow u r u r ___ White-throated Sparrow r - r r ___ Golden-crowned Sparrow o - o - ___ White-crowned Sparrow c r c o ___ Harris' Sparrow r - r r ___ Dark-eyed Junco c - c u ___ Snow Bunting - - - r
BLACKBIRDS, MEADOWLARKS AND ORIOLES Sp S F W ___ Bobolink* u u u - ___ Red-winged Blackbird* a a a u ___ Western Meadowlark* c c c o ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird* a a a r ___ Brewer's Blackbird* a a a u ___ Great-tailed Grackle* r r r - ___ Brown-headed Cowbird* c c u - ___ Northern Oriole* u u u -
FINCHES Sp S F W ___ Purple Grosbeak r - r r ___ Purple Finch r - r - ___ Cassin's Finch o - o r ___ House Finch* u u u r ___ Red Crossbill - r r - ___ Common Redpoll - - - r ___ Pine Siskin u r u r ___ Lesser Goldfinch* o o o - ___ American Goldfinch* u u u o ___ Evening Grosbeak u r o o
WEAVER FINCHES Sp S F W ___ House Sparrow* u u u u
The following birds have been seen less than five times on the refuge and are considered accidental:

Pacific Loon                                Purple Martin
Red-necked Grebe                            Gray Jay
Tricolored Heron                            Steller's Jay
Green Heron                                 Pinyon Jay
Mute swan                                   Blue Jay
Emperor Goose                               Phainopepla
Green-winged Teal (European)                Hutton's Vireo
American Black Duck                         Golden-winged Warbler
Oldsquaw                                    Hermit Warbler
Red-breasted Merganser                      Blackburnian Warbler
White-tailed Kite                           Yellow-throated Warbler
Broad-winged Hawk                           Palm Warbler
Black Rail                                  Prothonotary Warbler
Common Moorhen                              Worm-eating Warbler
Upland Sandpiper                            Hooded Warbler
Red Knot                                    Kentucky Warbler
Red Phalarope                               Mourning Warbler
Long-tailed Jaeger                          Canada Warbler
Glaucous-winged Gull                        Summer Tanager
Sabine's Gull                               Scarlet Tanager
Snowy Owl                                   Indigo Bunting
Northern Pygmy Owl                          Painted Bunting
Black Swift                                 Lark Bunting
Broad-tailed Hummingbird                    Grasshopper Sparrow
Red-headed Woodpecker                       Lapland Longspur
White-headed Woodpecker                     Common Grackle
Eastern Wood-Pewee                          Rosy Finch
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher                   Black-throated Green Warbler

For further information contact:
                 Refuge Manager
                 Malheur National Wildlife Refuge
                 HC 72, Box 245
                 Princeton, Oregon 97721    
                 Telephone: 503/493-2612

This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1995.  Birds of Malheur National Wildlife 
     Refuge, Oregon.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1995.  Birds of Malheur National Wildlife 
     Refuge, Oregon.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Unpaginated.
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govmalheur.htm 
     (Version 26MAY98).

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