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Bird Checklists of the United States

Optima National Wildlife Refuge

small state map showing location

Office in Butler, Oklahoma


Optima National Wildlife Refuge is located on part of the Optima Reservoir Project near the center of the Oklahoma Panhandle, about 15 miles east of Guymon. With a few rocky bluffs sloping down through sand sagebrush and blending into woodlands along Coldwater Creek, the refuge hosts a variety of birds on its 4,333 acres. A significant rise of the Optima Reservoir level floods part of the refuge and can result in lare waterfowl flocks during migration. Songbirds including scissor-tailed flycatchers, easter and western kingbirds, orchard and northern orioles, and red-headed woodpeckers are all conspicuous on the refuge during spring and summer. Common raptors include Mississippi Kites, red-tailed hawks, and American kestrels, and birders regularly see prairie falcons, ferruginous hawks, and golden eagles. Species are listed in accordance with the sixth edition (1983) A.O.U. Check-list.

Normal Seasonal Distribution

s - Spring - March-May
S - Summer - June-August
F - Fall - September-November
W - Winter - December-February
* - Known to nest in area

Frequency of Observations

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 2 to 5 years


LOONS s S F W ___ Common Loon r - r o
GREBES s S F W ___ Pied-billed Grebe* c o c o ___ Horned Grebe o - r r ___ Eared Grebe o - o r ___ Western Grebe r - r r
PELICANS s S F W ___ American White Pelican o - o -
CORMORANTS s S F W ___ Double-crested Cormorant c - c o
BITTERNS, HERONS s S F W ___ American Bittern o o o - ___ Great Blue Heron* c c c o ___ Great Egret r - r - ___ Little Blue Heron o o o - ___ Green-backed Heron o o o - ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron* o o o - ___ Yellow-crowned Night-Heron r r r -
IBISES s S F W ___ White-faced Ibis o - o -
SWANS, GEESE AND DUCKS s S F W ___ Greater White-fronted Goose o - o - ___ Snow Goose o - o - ___ Ross' Goose r - r - ___ Canada Goose c - c c ___ Green-winged Teal c - c o ___ Mallard* o c o o ___ Northern Pintail* o o o o ___ Blue-winged Teal* c o c - ___ Cinnamon Teal o r o - ___ Northern Shoveler* c r c o ___ Gadwall o - o o ___ American Wigeon c - c o ___ Canvasback o - r r ___ Redhead* c r c - ___ Ring-necked Duck c r c r ___ Lesser Scaup c - c - ___ Common Goldeneye o - o r ___ Bufflehead o - o - ___ Hooded Merganser o - o r ___ Common Merganser c - c o ___ Red-breasted Merganser r - r r ___ Ruddy Duck* c r c r
AMERICAN VULTURES s S F W ___ Turkey Vulture* c c c o
KITES, EAGLES AND HAWKS s S F W ___ Osprey o - o - ___ Mississippi Kite* c c c - ___ Bald Eagle o - o o ___ Northern Harrier* c o c c ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk o - o r ___ Cooper's Hawk o - o r ___ Swainson's Hawk* c o c r ___ Red-tailed Hawk* c c c o ___ Ferruginous Hawk o r o o ___ Rough-legged Hawk r - r o ___ Golden Eagle* o o o o
FALCONS s S F W ___ American Kestrel* c o c c ___ Merlin o - o o ___ Prairie Falcon* o o o o
PHEASANTS, GROUSE, TURKEYS AND QUAIL s S F W ___ Ring-necked Pheasant* c c c c ___ Lesser Prairie-Chicken* r r r r ___ Wild Turkey* c c c c ___ Northern Bobwhite* c c c c ___ Scaled Quail* c c c c
RAILS, GALLINULES, AND COOTS s S F W ___ King Rail* r r r - ___ Virginia Rail o - o - ___ Sora o - o - ___ Common Moorhen r r r - ___ American Coot* c o c o
CRANES s S F W ___ Sandhill Crane c - c -
PLOVERS s S F W ___ Black-bellied Plover o - o - ___ Lesser Golden-Plover o - o - ___ Snowy Plover* o c o - ___ Semipalmated Plover o - o - ___ Killdeer* c o o o ___ Mountain Plover o r o -
STILTS AND AVOCETS s S F W ___ Black-necked Stilt o - o - ___ American Avocet* o c o -
SANDPIPERS AND PHALAROPES s S F W ___ Greater Yellowlegs o - o - ___ Lesser Yellowlegs c r c - ___ Solitary Sandpiper o r o - ___ Willet c r o - ___ Spotted Sandpiper* c o c - ___ Upland Sandpiper* o o o - ___ Whimbrel r - r - ___ Long-billed Curlew* o r o - ___ Sanderling o - o - ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper o o o - ___ Western Sandpiper o r o - ___ Least Sandpiper r r r - ___ White-rumped Sandpiper r - r - ___ Baird's Sandpiper r - r - ___ Pectoral Sandpiper r - r - ___ Stilt Sandpiper r - r - ___ Long-billed Dowitcher u r u - ___ Common Snipe r - r o ___ Wilson's Phalarope c r c - ___ Red-necked Phalarope r - o -
GULLS AND TERNS s S F W ___ Franklin's Gull o o u - ___ Ring-billed Gull o - o o ___ Forster's Tern o - o - ___ Least Tern* c c - - ___ Black Tern o r o -
DOVES s S F W ___ Rock Dove* c c c c ___ Mourning Dove* a a a -
CUCKOOS AND ROADRUNNERS s S F W ___ Black-billed Cuckoo r r - - ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo* o c c - ___ Greater Roadrunner* o o o o
BARN-OWLS s S F W ___ Common Barn Owl* r r r r
TYPICAL OWLS s S F W ___ Western Screech-Owl* o o o o ___ Great Horned Owl* c c c c ___ Burrowing Owl* o o o r ___ Long-eared Owl r - r r ___ Short-eared Owl o - o o
GOATSUCKERS s S F W ___ Common Nighthawk* c c c - ___ Common Poorwill o o o -
SWIFTS s S F W ___ Chimney Swift* c c c -
HUMMINGBIRDS s S F W ___ Ruby-throated Hummingbird r r r - ___ Black-chinned Hummingbird* o o o - ___ Rufous Hummingbird r r o -
KINGFISHERS s S F W ___ Belted Kingfisher* c c o r
WOODPECKERS s S F W ___ Red-headed Woodpecker* c c c - ___ Red-bellied Woodpecker* r r r r ___ Ladder-backed Woodpecker* u u u u ___ Downy Woodpecker* o o o r ___ Hairy Woodpecker* o o o r ___ Northern Flicker* c c c c
TYRANT FLYCATCHERS s S F W ___ Olive-sided Flycatcher o - o - ___ Western Wood-Pewee* o o o - ___ Willow Flycatcher* r r - - ___ Hammond's Flycatcher - - r - ___ Dusky Flycatcher - r - r ___ Eastern Flycatcher* o o o - ___ Say's Phoebe* o o o - ___ Vermilion Flycatcher* r r r - ___ Ash-throated Flycatcher* r r r - ___ Great-crested Flycatcher* o o o - ___ Cassin's Kingbird* o o o - ___ Western Kingbird* c a c - ___ Eastern Kingbird* c a c - ___ Scissor-tailed Flycatcher c c c -
LARKS s S F W ___ Horned Lark* c c c c
SWALLOWS s S F W ___ Purple Martin* r r - - ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow* o o o - ___ Bank Swallow r - r - ___ Cliff Swallow c c c - ___ Barn Swallow* c c c -
JAYS AND CROWS s S F W ___ Steller's Jay r - r r ___ Blue Jay* o o o r ___ Scrub Jay r r r r ___ Pinyon Jay - - - r ___ Black-billed Magpie* c c c o ___ American Crow* o o o o ___ Chihuahuan Raven* c c c o
CHICKADEES s S F W ___ Carolina Chickadee r r r r
BUSHTITS ___ Bushtits* o o o o
NUTHATCHES s S F W ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch o - o o ___ White-breasted Nuthatch r r r r
CREEPERS s S F W ___ Brown Creeper o - o o
WRENS s S F W ___ Rock Wren* r r r r ___ Canyon Wren* r r r r ___ Bewick's Wren* o o o o ___ House Wren* o r o - ___ Sedge Wren o - o - ___ Marsh Wren o - o -
KINGLETS & GNATCATCHERS s S F W ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet o - o o ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet o - o - ___ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher* o r o -
THRUSHES s S F W ___ Eastern Bluebird* r r r r ___ Mountain Bluebird o r o o ___ Townsend's Solitaire r r r r ___ Gray-cheeked Thrush r - - - ___ Swainson's Thrush o - o - ___ Hermit Thrush r - r r ___ American Robin* c o c o
THRASHERS AND MOCKINGBIRDS s S F W ___ Gray Catbird* o o o - ___ Northern Mockingbird* c c c r ___ Brown Thrasher* o o o r ___ Curve-billed Thrasher* r r r r
PIPITS s S F W ___ Sprague's Pipit r - r -
WAXWINGS s S F W ___ Bohemian Waxwing r - r r ___ Cedar Waxwing* o r o o
SHRIKES s S F W ___ Northern Shrike - - - r ___ Loggerhead Shrike* c c c c
STARLINGS s S F W ___ European Starling* c c c c
VIREOS s S F W ___ Bell's Vireo* r r r - ___ Solitary Vireo o - o - ___ Warbling Vireo* o o r - ___ Red-eyed Vireo o - o -
WOOD-WARBLERS s S F W ___ Tennessee Warbler r - r - ___ Orange-crowned Warbler r - r - ___ Yellow Warbler* o o o - ___ Chesnut-sided Warbler r - r - ___ Black-throated Blue Warbler r - r - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler c - c o ___ Black-throated Gray Warbler r - r - ___ Black-throated Green Warbler o - o - ___ Black-and-White Warbler o - o - ___ American Redstart o - o - ___ Ovenbird o - o - ___ Northern Waterthrush o - o - ___ Mourning Warbler o - o - ___ MacGillivray's Warbler o - o - ___ Common Yellowthroat* c o c - ___ Hooded Warbler r - r - ___ Yellow-breasted Chat* r r r -
TANAGERS s S F W ___ Western Tanager r - r -
CARDINALS AND GROSBEAKS s S F W ___ Northern Cardinal* o o o o ___ Rose-breasted Grosbeak r - r - ___ Black-headed Grosbeak u - u - ___ Blue Grosbeak* o o o - ___ Lazuli Bunting* o o o - ___ Dickcissel* o o o -
SPARROWS s S F W ___ Green-tailed Towhee* o r o - ___ Rufous-sided Towhee o - o o ___ Cassin's Sparrow* o o o - ___ Rufous-crowned Sparrow* o o o o ___ American Tree Sparrow o - o o ___ Clay-colored Sparrow o - o - ___ Brewer's Sparrow o - r - ___ Field Sparrow o o o o ___ Vesper Sparrow o r o - ___ Lark Sparrow* c c c - ___ Savannah Sparrow o - o r ___ Grasshopper Sparrow* c c c - ___ Song Sparrow o - o o ___ Lincoln's Sparrow o - o r ___ White-throated Sparrow r - r r ___ White-crowned Sparrow c - c o ___ Harris' Sparrow r - r r ___ Dark-eyed Junco c - c c ___ McCown's Longspur o - o o ___ Lapland Longspur c - c c ___ Chestnut-collared Longspur o - o o
BLACKBIRDS AND ORIOLES s S F W ___ Bobolink r - r - ___ Red-winged Blackbird* a a a c ___ Eastern Meadowlark* o o o o ___ Western Meadowlark* a a a a ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird* o r o - ___ Rusty Blackbird o - o o ___ Brewer's Blackbird o - o c ___ Great-tailed Grackle o r o - ___ Common Grackle* c c c c ___ Brown-headed Cowbird* c c c o ___ Orchard Oriole* o o o - ___ Northern Oriole* c c c -
FINCHES s S F W ___ Cassin's Finch r - - r ___ House Finch* c c c c ___ Red Crossbill r - r r ___ Pine Siskin c r c c ___ Lesser Goldfinch r r r r ___ American Goldfinch o r o o ___ Evening Grosbeak r - r r
OLD WORLD SPARROWS s S F W ___ House Sparrow* c c c c

FIELD NOTES Date: ________________________________ Species: ______________________________ Time: _________________________________________________________________________ Observers: ____________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ Weather: ______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ Remarks: ______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________

For additional information contact:
                 Refuge Manager
                 Optima National Wildlife Refuge
                 Route 1, Box 68
                 Butler, Oklahoma 73625
                 Telephone: 405/664-2205
This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1986.  Birds of the Optima National Wildlife 
     Refuge, Oklahoma.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1986.  Birds of the Optima National Wildlife 
     Refuge, Oklahoma.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.  
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govoptima.htm 
     (Version 22MAY98).

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