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Bird Checklists of the United States

Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge

Rupert, Idaho


The Refuge

Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge, comprising 21,721 acres, is in south-central Idaho, 12 miles northeast of Rupert. Minidoka extends upstream for 25 miles along the Snake River from Minidoka Dam and includes all of Lake Walcott.

The relatively stable water levels of Lake Walcott are conductive to the growth of aquatic plants which provide waterfowl food throughout most of the year. Ample cover for many kinds of wildlife is found on this area, with stands of hardstem bulrush, cattail, willow, and sagebrush predominating. Grasses on uplands support ground nesting birds. Waterfowl populations are highest during spring and fall migrations, but a significant nesting population is found here also. An important function of the refuge is to provide a safe molting area for waterfowl in the summer. Concentrations of up to 100,000 waterfowl may be seen in the fall. After the reservoir freezes in mid-December, 50,000 to 60,000 waterfowl often may be observed concentrated in a single group.

Vehicle travel on the refuge is limited by rocky, sandy terrain. A trail route paralleling the shoreline is accessible from refuge headquarters. The best way to observe waterfowl in summer is by boat; in fall, it is from vantage points on the access roads.

Checklist Notes

The following list includes 201 species of birds recorded on the refuge since 1950. Five species considered to be accidentals are shown at the end of the list. Common names are used in accordance with the American Ornithologists' Union "Check-list of North American Birds", 6th edition (1983).


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

Abundance Symbols
a - abundant: a common species which is very numerous
c - common: certain to be seen in suitable habitat
u - uncommon: present but not certain to be seen
o - occasional: seen only a few times during a season
r - rare: seen at intervals of several years
* - birds known to nest on the refuge
# - endangered species


LOONS Sp S F W ___ Common Loon u r u -
GREBES Sp S F W ___ Pied-billed Grebe* u c u o ___ Horned Grebe u o u - ___ Eared Grebe* c c a u ___ Western Grebe* c a c c
PELICANS AND CORMORANTS Sp S F W ___ American White Pelican c c u - ___ Double-crested Cormorant* c a c o
BITTERNS, HERONS AND EGRETS Sp S F W ___ American Bittern* o o o - ___ Great Blue Heron* c a c u ___ Great Egret - r - - ___ Snowy Egret* c c u - ___ Cattle Egret r r - - ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron* c c u -
IBISES Sp S F W ___ White-faced Ibis* u u u -
WATERFOWL Sp S F W ___ Tundra Swan c r c u ___ Trumpeter Swan - - r - ___ Greater White-Fronted Goose o - o - ___ Snow Goose u - u o ___ Canada Goose* c c a c ___ Wood Duck o - o - ___ Green-winged Teal* c u c u ___ Mallard* a c a c ___ Northern Pintail* a c a u ___ Blue-winged Teal* o u u - ___ Cinnamon Teal* o u u - ___ Northern Shoveler* u o c o ___ Gadwall* c a c u ___ Eurasian Wigeon r - - - ___ American Wigeon* c c a u ___ Canvasback* c u a - ___ Redhead* c a a - ___ Ring-necked Duck* c u c - ___ Greater Scaup o - o - ___ Lesser Scaup* c c a - ___ White-winged Scoter - - - r ___ Common Goldeneye* c o c c ___ Barrow's Goldeneye o u - - ___ Bufflehead* c c c u ___ Hooded Merganser u - o u ___ Common Merganser* c c c c ___ Red-breasted Merganser u o u u ___ Ruddy Duck* c c a o
VULTURES Sp S F W ___ Turkey Vulture* u c u -
OSPREY, EAGLES AND HAWKS Sp S F W ___ Osprey o o o - ___ Bald Eagle# c o u c ___ Northern Harrier* c c c u ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk u u u o ___ Cooper's Hawk u r u o ___ Swainson's Hawk* u c c - ___ Red-tailed Hawk* u o u o ___ Ferruginous Hawk o o - - ___ Rough-legged Hawk o - u c ___ Golden Eagle* c u u c
FALCONS Sp S F W ___ American Kestrel* u c c o ___ Peregrine Falcon# r r o r ___ Prairie Falcon - o o -
GALLINACEOUS BIRDS Sp S F W ___ Gray Partridge* u c c u ___ Ring-necked Pheasant* c c c c ___ Sage Grouse o o o o
RAILS Sp S F W ___ Virginia Rail* r - - - ___ Sora* o u o - ___ American Coot* c c a o
CRANES Sp S F W ___ Sandhill Crane r - r -
PLOVERS Sp S F W ___ Black-bellied Plover o o - - ___ Snowy Plover r - - - ___ Killdeer* c c a o
STILTS AND AVOCETS Sp S F W ___ Black-necked Stilt o u r - ___ American Avocet* u c o -
SHOREBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Greater Yellowlegs u c u - ___ Lesser Yellowlegs o o - - ___ Willet* c c u - ___ Spotted Sandpiper* u o r - ___ Long-billed Curlew* u c o - ___ Marbled Godwit u u o - ___ Red Knot r - - - ___ Western Sandpiper o o o - ___ Least Sandpiper o u u - ___ Baird's Sandpiper - r - - ___ Pectoral Sandpiper o o - - ___ Long-billed Dowitcher u u o -
SNIPE Sp S F W ___ Common Snipe* u c u o
PHALAROPES Sp S F W ___ Wilson's Phalarope u c u - ___ Red-necked Phalarope o o r -
GULLS AND TERNS Sp S F W ___ Bonaparte's Gull r - r - ___ Ring-billed Gull c c c u ___ California Gull* c c c u ___ Caspian Tern u u o - ___ Common Tern o o o - ___ Forster's Tern* c c o - ___ Black Tern o c u -
DOVES Sp S F W ___ Rock Dove o o - - ___ Mourning Dove* u c c -
OWLS Sp S F W ___ Barn Owl* r r - - ___ Great Horned Owl* u u u u ___ Burrowing Owl* o u u - ___ Long-eared Owl o - a o ___ Short-eared Owl u u u u ___ Northern Saw-whet Owl - r - -
GOATSUCKERS Sp S F W ___ Common Nighthawk* c c o -
HUMMINGBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Rufous Hummingbird o o - -
KINGFISHERS Sp S F W ___ Belted Kingfisher* o u u o
WOODPECKERS Sp S F W ___ Lewis' Woodpecker* o - o - ___ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker u - o - ___ Downy Woodpecker u - o u ___ Hairy Woodpecker r - - - ___ Northern Flicker* c c c c
FLYCATCHERS Sp S F W ___ Western Wood-Pewee u u - - ___ Willow Flycatcher o u - - ___ Western Flycatcher o o - - ___ Say's Phoebe o - - - ___ Ash-throated Flycatcher o o - - ___ Western Kingbird* c c - - ___ Eastern Kingbird* c c - -
LARKS Sp S F W ___ Horned Lark* c c c c
SWALLOWS Sp S F W ___ Purple Martin r - - - ___ Tree Swallow u u u - ___ Violet-green Swallow* u c o - ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow* u u o - ___ Bank Swallow* c a c ___ Cliff Swallow* c a u - ___ Barn Swallow* c a c -
JAYS, MAGPIES AND CROWS Sp S F W ___ Steller's Jay o - - - ___ Black-billed Magpie* a a a c ___ American Crow* o o o o ___ Common Raven o o o o
CHICKADEES Sp S F W ___ Black-capped Chickadee* r - r - ___ Mountain Chickadee o - o o
NUTHATCHES Sp S F W ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch o r o o ___ White-breasted Nuthatch o r - o
CREEPERS Sp S F W ___ Brown Creeper o - o u
WRENS Sp S F W ___ Rock Wren* o u o - ___ Canyon Wren o o - - ___ House Wren* o o - - ___ Marsh Wren* u c c o
KINGLETS, BLUEBIRDS AND THRUSHES Sp S F W ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet o - o o ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet u - u o ___ Western Bluebird o o o r ___ Mountain Bluebird o - o - ___ Townsend's Solitaire - - - o ___ Veery o - - - ___ Swainson's Thrush o - o - ___ Hermit Thrush o - - - ___ American Robin* c c u o ___ Varied Thrush o - - o
MOCKINGBIRDS AND THRASHERS Sp S F W ___ Gray Catbird - r - - ___ Northern Mockingbird r - - - ___ Sage Thrasher* o u u r
PIPITS Sp S F W ___ American Pipit o - o -
WAXWINGS Sp S F W ___ Bohemian Waxwing r - - o ___ Cedar Waxwing u o o -
SHRIKES Sp S F W ___ Northern Shrike o - o u ___ Loggerhead Shrike u o u o
STARLINGS Sp S F W ___ European Starling* c c a u
VIREOS Sp S F W ___ Warbling Vireo o o o - ___ Red-eyed Vireo o r - -
WARBLERS Sp S F W ___ Orange-crowned Warbler o - - - ___ Nashville Warbler r - - - ___ Yellow Warbler* u u - - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler c o u - ___ Townsend's Warbler - - o - ___ Black-and-white Warbler r - r - ___ American Redstart r - r - ___ MacGillivray's Warbler o r o - ___ Common Yellowthroat* u u u - ___ Wilson's Warbler* u u o - ___ Yellow-breasted Chat o o - -
TANAGERS Sp S F W ___ Western Tanager c u o -
GROSBEAKS AND BUNTINGS Sp S F W ___ Black-headed Grosbeak o o - - ___ Lazuli Bunting u o - -
TOWHEES AND SPARROWS Sp S F W ___ Spotted Towhee* r - r - ___ American Tree Sparrow - - - o ___ Chipping Sparrow o o o - ___ Brewer's Sparrow u u o - ___ Vesper Sparrow u o o - ___ Lark Sparrow* u o o - ___ Sage Sparrow o o - - ___ Lark Bunting o o - - ___ Savannah Sparrow o o o - ___ Fox Sparrow - - r - ___ Song Sparrow* c c c c ___ White-crowned Sparrow c u u u ___ Harris' Sparrow - - - r ___ Dark-eyed Junco* c - u c ___ Snow Bunting - - - o ___ Bobolink o - - -
BLACKBIRDS, MEADOWLARKS AND ORIOLES Sp S F W ___ Red-winged Blackbird* c c c o ___ Western Meadowlark* c c c u ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird* c c u - ___ Brewer's Blackbird* c c u o ___ Brown-headed Cowbird u u - - ___ Northern Oriole* c c o -
FINCHES Sp S F W ___ Purple Finch o - - - ___ Cassin's Finch o - - - ___ House Finch* u o u o ___ Common Redpoll o - o u ___ Pine Siskin o - o o ___ Lesser Goldfinch r r - - ___ American Goldfinch* c u u o ___ Evening Grosbeak o o - o
WEAVER FINCHES Sp S F W ___ House Sparrow* c c c c

Accidentals - The following species have been seen on the refuge only once or two times:

Yellow-billed Cuckoo                     Wood Thrush
Olive-sided Flycatcher                   Northern Waterthrush
Brown Thrasher

For more information contact:
                        Refuge Manager
                        Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge
                        Route 4, Box 290
                        Rupert, ID 83350
                        Phone: (208)436-3589

This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1985.  Birds of Minidoka National Wildlife 
     Refuge, Idaho.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1985.  Birds of Minidoka National Wildlife 
     Refuge, Idaho.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govmini.htm 
     (Version 26MAY98).

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