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Bird Checklists of the United States

Minnesota's Prairie Pothole Region

Fergus Falls, Minnesota


In 1962, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service initiated its Small Wetlands Program to protect critical waterfowl/wildlife habitat. Since that time, some 210 parcels of land in Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail and Wilkin Counties, totaling more than 40,000 acres, have been preserved. These areas are known as Waterfowl Production Areas (WPA's) and range in size from 40 to nearly 2,000 acres.

The Fergus Falls Wetland Management District lies within the prairie/hardwood transition zone that displays a rich diversity of upland and wetland habitat types. WPAs in this region offer excellent birding opportunities with such varied ecosystems.

The following list of 273 species has been developed from past and existing records and first-hand knowledge of local and visiting bird enthusiasts. The field list is arranged taxonomically, by Order (in parentheses) and Family (solid lines), in accordance with the American Ornithological Union (AOU) "Checklist of North American Birds." Your comments and sightings are always welcome. Good birding!


S - March - May
s - June - August
F - September - November
W - December - February

a - abundant: common species that is very numerous
c - common: almost 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 2-5 years
* - nests within the area


LOONS (Order Gaviiformes) S s F W ___ Pacific Loon u u u - ___ Common Loon* c c c -
GREBES (Order Podicipediformes) S s F W ___ Red-necked Grebe* u c c - ___ Horned Grebe u c c - ___ Eared Grebe u u u - ___ Western Grebe* u u u - ___ Pied-billed Grebe* c c c r
PELICANS (Order Pelecaniformes) S s F W ___ American White Pelican c c c -
CORMORANTS (Order Pelecaniformes) S s F W ___ Double-crested Cormorant* c c c -
HERONS (Order Ciconiiformes) S s F W ___ Great Blue Heron* c c c r ___ Green-backed Heron* c c u - ___ Cattle Egret u u u - ___ Great Egret* c c c - ___ Snowy Egret u u - - ___ Little Blue Heron - r - - ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron* c c c - ___ Least Bittern* c c c - ___ American Bittern* c c c -
WATERFOWL (Order Anseriformes) S s F W ___ Tundra Swan c - c - ___ Trumpeter Swan u u u u ___ Canada Goose* a a a c ___ White-fronted Goose r - r - ___ Snow Goose c - c - ___ Mallard* a c a u ___ American Black Duck u - u - ___ Gadwall* c u c - ___ Northern Pintail* c u c - ___ Green-winged Teal* u u c - ___ Blue-winged Teal* c a a - ___ American Wigeon* c u c - ___ Northern Shoveler* c c c - ___ Wood Duck* a c a - ___ Redhead* c c c - ___ Ring-necked Duck* c u c - ___ Canvasback* c c c - ___ Greater Scaup u - u - ___ Lesser Scaup* a c a - ___ Common Goldeneye* c a c - ___ Bufflehead c - c - ___ Oldsquaw r - r - ___ White-winged Scoter - - r - ___ Ruddy Duck* c c c - ___ Hooded Merganser* u r u - ___ Common Merganser c - c - ___ Red-breasted Merganser u - u -
VULTURES (Order Falconiformes) S s F W ___ Turkey Vulture a c c -
HAWKS (Order Falconiformes) S s F W ___ Northern Goshawk - u r u ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk* c r c r ___ Cooper's Hawk* c r c r ___ Red-tailed Hawk* c c c - ___ Red-shouldered Hawk u u u - ___ Broad-winged Hawk c c c - ___ Ferruginous Hawk r r r x ___ Swainson's Hawk u - u - ___ Rough-legged Hawk u - u r ___ Golden Eagle r - r r ___ Bald Eagle* c c c x ___ Northern Harrier c c c r ___ Osprey* u u u -
FALCONS (Order Falconiformes) S s F W ___ Peregrine Falcon r r r - ___ Merlin u u u - ___ Prairie Falcon r r - - ___ American Kestrel* a a a -
GROUSE (Order Galliformes) S s F W ___ Ruffed Grouse* c c c c ___ Greater Prairie-Chicken* u u u u ___ Ring-necked Pheasant* c c c c ___ Gray Partridge* c c c c
CRANES (Order Gruiformes) S s F W ___ Sandhill Crane c u c -
RAILS (Order Gruiformes) S s F W ___ Virginia Rail* c c c - ___ Sora* c c c - ___ King Rail r r r - ___ Yellow Rail* r r r - ___ Common Moorhen r r - - ___ American Coot* a c a r
PLOVERS (Order Charadriiformes) S s F W ___ American Avocet* c r - - ___ Semipalmated Plover c - u - ___ Piping Plover u - u - ___ Killdeer* a a a - ___ American Golden Plover c - c - ___ Black-bellied Plover c - c -
SANDPIPERS (Order Charadriiformes) S s F W ___ Ruddy Turnstone c - c - ___ Red Knot r r r - ___ American Woodcock* c c c - ___ Common Snipe* c c c - ___ Upland Sandpiper* u u u - ___ Spotted Sandpiper* c c c - ___ Solitary Sandpiper c c c - ___ Willet u - - - ___ Whimbrel r r r - ___ Greater Yellowlegs* c c c - ___ Lesser Yellowlegs* a c a - ___ Pectoral Sandpiper c u c - ___ White-rumped Sandpiper c - c - ___ Baird's Sandpiper c - u - ___ Least Sandpiper a - a - ___ Dunlin c - c - ___ Short-billed Dowitcher c - c - ___ Long-billed Dowitcher u - u - ___ Stilt Sandpiper c - c - ___ Buff-breasted Sandpiper u - u - ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper a a a - ___ Western Sandpiper u - u - ___ Marbled Godwit* c c - - ___ Hudsonian Godwit u - r - ___ Sanderling u - u - ___ Wilson's Phalarope* c u a -
GULLS, TERNS (Order Charadriiformes) S s F W ___ Herring Gull c u c - ___ Ring-billed Gull a a a r ___ Franklin's Gull a a a - ___ Glaucous Gull r - r - ___ Forster's Tern* c c c - ___ Common Tern* u u u - ___ Caspian Tern u u u - ___ Black Tern* a a a -
DOVES (Order Columbiformes) S s F W ___ Rock Dove* a a a a ___ Mourning Dove* a a a r
CUCKOOS (Order Cuculiformes) S s F W ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo* u u u - ___ Black-billed Cuckoo* c c c -
OWLS (Order Strigiformes) S s F W ___ Eastern Screech-Owl* c c c c ___ Great Horned Owl* c c c c ___ Snowy Owl u - u u ___ Barred Owl* c c c u ___ Long-eared Owl* c c c u ___ Short-eared Owl* u c u u ___ Northern Saw-whet Owl u u u u
GOATSUCKERS (Order Caprimulgiformes) S s F W ___ Whip-poor-will u u r - ___ Common Nighthawk* c c c -
SWIFTS (Order Apodiformes) S s F W ___ Chimney Swift* c c c -
HUMMINGBIRDS (Order Apodiformes) S s F W ___ Ruby-throated Hummingbird* c c u -
KINGFISHERS (Order Coraciiformes) S s F W ___ Belted Kingfisher* c c c u
WOODPECKERS (Order Piciformes) S s F W ___ Northern Flicker* c c c r ___ Pileated Woodpecker* u u u u ___ Red-bellied Woodpecker* u u a a ___ Red-headed Woodpecker* c c c - ___ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker* c c c - ___ Hairy Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Downy Woodpecker* c c c c
FLYCATCHERS (Order Passeriformes) S s F W ___ Eastern Kingbird* c c c - ___ Western Kingbird* c c c - ___ Great Crested Flycatcher* c c c - ___ Eastern Phoebe* c c c - ___ Yellow-bellied Flycatcher u r u - ___ Willow Flycatcher c c c - ___ Alder Flycatcher* c c c - ___ Olive-sided Flycatcher r - - - ___ Least Flycatcher* c c c - ___ Eastern Wood-Pewee* c c c -
LARKS (Order Passeriformes) S s F W ___ Horned Lark* a c a c
SWALLOWS (Order Passeriformes) S s F W ___ Tree Swallow* c c c - ___ Bank Swallow* c c c - ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow* c c c - ___ Barn Swallow* c c c - ___ Cliff Swallow* c c c - ___ Purple Martin* c c c -
JAYS, CROWS (Order Passeriformes) S s F W ___ Blue Jay* c c c c ___ Gray Jay - - - r ___ Black-billed Magpie u - u u ___ American Crow* c c c u ___ Common Raven - - - r
CHICKADEES (Order Passeriformes) S s F W ___ Black-capped Chickadee* c c c c ___ Boreal Chickadee c c c c
NUTHATCHES (Order Passeriformes) S s F W ___ White-breasted Nuthatch* c c c c ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch - u u u
CREEPERS (Order Passeriformes) S s F W ___ Brown Creeper u - u u
WRENS (Order Passeriformes) S s F W ___ House Wren* c c c - ___ Winter Wren u - u - ___ Marsh Wren* c c c - ___ Sedge Wren* c c c -
THRASHERS (Order Passeriformes) S s F W ___ Gray Catbird* c c c - ___ Brown Thrasher* c c c -
THRUSHES (Order Passeriformes) S s F W ___ American Robin* a a a r ___ Hermit Thrush c - c - ___ Swainson's Thrush c - c - ___ Wood Thrush* u u u - ___ Gray-cheeked Thrush c - u - ___ Veery* c c u - ___ Eastern Bluebird* c c c - ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet c - c r ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet c - c -
PIPITS (Order Passeriformes) S s F W ___ American Pipit c - c -
WAXWINGS (Order Passeriformes) S s F W ___ Bohemian Waxwing - - u u ___ Cedar Waxwing* c c c c
SHRIKES (Order Passeriformes) S s F W ___ Northern Shrike r - u u ___ Loggerhead Shrike u u u -
STARLINGS (Order Passeriformes) S s F W ___ European Starling* a a a a
VIREOS (Order Passeriformes) S s F W ___ Yellow-throated Vireo* c c u - ___ Solitary Vireo c c u - ___ Red-eyed Vireo* c c u - ___ Philadelphia Vireo u - u - ___ Warbling Vireo* c c c -
WARBLERS TO SPARROWS (Order Passeriformes) S s F W ___ Black-and-White Warbler c - c - ___ Tennessee Warbler c - c - ___ Orange-crowned Warbler c - c - ___ Nashville Warbler c - c - ___ Yellow Warbler* c c c - ___ Magnolia Warbler c - c - ___ Cape May Warbler u - - - ___ Black-throated Blue Warbler r - - - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler a c c - ___ Black-throated Green Warbler c - c - ___ Blackburnian Warbler c - c - ___ Chestnut-sided Warbler c - c - ___ Bay-breasted Warbler c - c - ___ Golden-winged Warbler u u u - ___ Blackpoll Warbler c - c - ___ Pine Warbler u - u - ___ Palm Warbler c - c - ___ Ovenbird* c - c - ___ Northern Waterthrush u - u - ___ Connecticut Warbler r - r - ___ Mourning Warbler c - u - ___ Common Yellowthroat* c c c - ___ Wilson's Warbler c - c - ___ Canada Warbler c - c - ___ American Redstart* c c c - ___ Bobolink* c a c - ___ Western Meadowlark* a a a r ___ Eastern Meadowlark u u r - ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird* a a a - ___ Red-winged Blackbird* a a a - ___ Orchard Oriole c c c - ___ Northern Oriole* c c c - ___ Rusty Blackbird c u c r ___ Brewer's Blackbird* c u c - ___ Common Grackle* a a a r ___ Brown-headed Cowbird* c c c - ___ Scarlet Tanager* u c c - ___ Northern Cardinal* u u u u ___ Rose-breasted Grosbeak* c c c - ___ Indigo Bunting* c c c - ___ Dickcissel* - c - - ___ Rufous-sided Towhee u r u - ___ Savannah Sparrow* c c c - ___ Grasshopper Sparrow* c c c - ___ Le Conte's Sparrow* u u u - ___ Sharp-tailed Sparrow* r r r - ___ Vesper Sparrow* c c c - ___ Lark Sparrow r r r - ___ Dark-eyed Junco a - a u ___ American Tree Sparrow a - a c ___ Chipping Sparrow* a a a - ___ Clay-colored Sparrow* c c c - ___ Field Sparrow* c c a - ___ Lark Bunting r - r - ___ Harris' Sparrow c - c - ___ White-crowned Sparrow c - c - ___ White-throated Sparrow c - c - ___ Fox Sparrow c - c - ___ Lincoln's Sparrow c - u - ___ Swamp Sparrow* c c c - ___ Song Sparrow* c - c r ___ Lapland Longspur c - a r ___ Smith's Longspur u - u - ___ Chestnut-collared Longspur* r - r - ___ Snow Bunting u - c c
FINCHES (Order Passeriformes) S s F W ___ Evening Grosbeak - - u u ___ Purple Finch u r c c ___ House Finch* u u u u ___ Pine Grosbeak - - r c ___ Hoary Redpoll u - u u ___ Common Redpoll c - c c ___ Pine Siskin c r c c ___ American Goldfinch* c a c c ___ Red Crossbill - - r r ___ White-winged Crossbill - - u u
WEAVER FINCHES (Order Passeriformes) S s F W ___ House Sparrow* a a a a
ACCIDENTAL SPECIES Red-throated Loon Cinnamon Teal Surf Scoter Black Scoter Gryfalcon Barn Owl Great Gray Owl Black-backed Woodpecker Townsend's Solitaire

For further information contact:

                 Fergus Falls Wetland Management Office
                 Route 1, Box 76
                 Fergus Falls, Minnesota 56537
                 Telephone: 218/739-2291


This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1991.  Birds of Minnesota's Prairie Pothole 
     Region.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1991.  Birds of Minnesota's Prairie Pothole 
     Region.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.  Jamestown, ND: 
     Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govfergusmn.htm 
     (Version 22MAY98).

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