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Bird Checklists of the United States

Minnesota Waterfowl Protection Areas

small state map showing location

Minnesota Wetland Management
District Offices


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began the Small Wetlands Program in 1962. Since that time, some 125,000 acres of wildlife habitat have been preserved. These areas are known as Waterfowl Production Areas (WPA's). They are scattered throughout western Minnesota in a 28 county area. The average size is 200 acres for approximately 700 WPA's, but areas range in size from 30 to 2,000 acres.

WPA's represent a rich collection of wetlands, prairie, forest and other upland habitat combinations. Most areas are open throughout the year for bird watching and other nature-oriented recreation.

The following list of 266 bird species has been developed based on existing records for western Minnesota, and upon the knowledge of local and visiting ornithologists. This field list is arranged by order (in parentheses) and family (solid lines) according to the latest American Ornithological Union (AOU) "Checklist of North American Birds". Good birding!


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

a - abundant: present in large numbers
c - common: likely to be seen
u - uncommon: not always seen
r - rare: present only in some years
x - accidental: seen at intervals of 2 to 5 years
* - nests locally


LOONS (Order Gaviiformes) Sp S F W ___ Common Loon* c u c -
GREBES (Order Podicipediformes) Sp S F W ___ Red-necked Grebe* u u u - ___ Horned Grebe u c c - ___ Eared Grebe u r r - ___ Western Grebe* u u u - ___ Pied-billed Grebe* c c c r
PELICANS (Order Pelecaniformes) Sp S F W ___ American White Pelican u - u -
CORMORANTS (Order Pelecaniformes) Sp S F W ___ Double-crested Cormorant* c c c -
HERONS (Order Ciconiiformes) Sp S F W ___ Great Blue Heron* c c c r ___ Green Heron* c c c ___ Cattle Egret r r - - ___ Great Egret* c c u - ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron* c c c - ___ Least Bittern* c c c - ___ American Bittern c c c -
WATERFOWL (Order Anseriformes) Sp S F W ___ Whistling Swan c - c - ___ Canada Goose* c c a c ___ White-Fronted Goose r - r - ___ Snow Goose c - c - ___ Mallard* a c a u ___ American Black Duck r - u - ___ Gadwall* u 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* c c c - ___ 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 - 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) Sp S F W ___ Turkey Vulture r - - -
HAWKS (Order Falconiformes) Sp S F W ___ Northern Goshawk - - r u ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk c r c r ___ Cooper's Hawk c r c r ___ Red-tailed Hawk* c c c - ___ Broad-winged Hawk c c c - ___ Swainson's Hawk u - u - ___ Rough-legged Hawk u - u r ___ Golden Eagle r - r r ___ Bald Eagle u - u r ___ Northern Harrier* c c c r ___ Osprey r r r -
FALCONS (Order Falconiformes) Sp S F W ___ Merlin u u u - ___ American Kestrel c c c u
TURKEY, QUAIL (Order Galliformes) Sp 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) Sp S F W ___ Sandhill Crane u - c -
RAILS (Order Gruiformes) Sp S F W ___ Virginia Rail* c c c - ___ Sora* c c c - ___ Yellow Rail* r r r - ___ American Coot* a c a r
PLOVERS (Order Charadriiformes) Sp S F W ___ Semipalmated Plover u - u - ___ Piping Plover u - u - ___ Killdeer* a a a - ___ American Golden Plover c - r - ___ Black-bellied Plover c - c -
SANDPIPERS (Order Charadriiformes) Sp S F W ___ Ruddy Turnstone u - u - ___ 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 - - - ___ Greater Yellowlegs* c c c - ___ Lesser Yellowlegs* a r a - ___ Pectoral Sandpiper c - c - ___ White-rumped Sandpiper u - u - ___ Baird's Sandpiper c - u - ___ Least Sandpiper c - c - ___ Dunlin u - u - ___ Short-billed Dowitcher u - u - ___ Long-billed Dowitcher u - u - ___ Stilt Sandpiper u - u - ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper c - a - ___ Western Sandpiper u - u - ___ Marbled Godwit* c c u - ___ Hudsonian Godwit u - r - ___ Sanderling u - u - ___ Wilson's Phalarope* c - u -
GULLS, TERNS (Order Charadriiformes) Sp S F W ___ Herring Gull u u u - ___ Ring-billed Gull a a a r ___ Franklin's Gull a a a - ___ Bonaparte's Gull c - c - ___ Forster's Tern* c c c - ___ Common Tern* c c c - ___ Caspian Tern u u u - ___ Black Tern* a a a -
DOVES (Order Columbiformes) Sp S F W ___ Rock Dove* a a a a ___ Mourning Dove* a a a r
CUCKOOS (Order Cuculiformes) Sp S F W ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo* u u u - ___ Black-billed Cuckoo* u u u -
OWLS (Order Strigiformes) Sp S F W ___ Eastern Screech-Owl* u u u u ___ Great Horned Owl* c c c c ___ Snowy Owl u - u u ___ Barred Owl* u u u u ___ Long-eared Owl* c c c u ___ Short-eared Owl* u u u u ___ Saw-whet Owl* r r r r
GOATSUCKERS (Order Caprimulgiformes) Sp S F W ___ Whip-poor-will r r r - ___ Common Nighthawk* c c c -
SWIFTS (Order Apodiformes) Sp S F W ___ Chimney Swift* c c c -
HUMMINGBIRD (Order Apodiformes) Sp S F W ___ Ruby-throated Hummingbird* c c u -
KINGFISHERS (Order Coraciiformes) Sp S F W ___ Belted Kingfisher* c c c u
WOODPECKERS (Order Piciformes) Sp S F W ___ Northern Flicker* c c c r ___ Pileated Woodpecker* u u u u ___ Red-bellied Woodpecker r r r r ___ Red-headed Woodpecker* u u u - ___ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker* c c c - ___ Hairy Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Downy Woodpecker* c c c c
FLYCATCHERS (Order Passeriformes) Sp 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 r r r - ___ Alder Flycatcher* c c c - ___ Least Flycatcher* c c c - ___ Eastern Wood-Pewee* c c c -
LARKS (Order Passeriformes) Sp S F W ___ Horned Lark* a c a c
SWALLOWS (Order Passeriformes) Sp 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* u u u - ___ Purple Martin* c c c -
JAYS, CROWS (Order Passeriformes) Sp S F W ___ Blue Jay* c c c c ___ Black-billed Magpie r - u u ___ American Crow* c c c u
CHICKADEES, TITMICE (Order Passeriformes) Sp S F W ___ Black-capped Chickadee* c c c c ___ Boreal Chickadee - - r r
NUTHATCHES (Order Passeriformes) Sp S F W ___ White-breasted Nuthatch* c c c c ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch - - u u
CREEPERS (Order Passeriformes) Sp S F W ___ Brown Creeper u - u u
WRENS (Order Passeriformes) Sp S F W ___ House Wren* c c c - ___ Winter Wren u - u - ___ Marsh Wren c c c - ___ Sedge Wren u u u -
THRASHERS (Order Passeriformes) Sp S F W ___ Gray Catbird* c c c - ___ Brown Thrasher* c c c -
THRUSHES, KINGLETS (Order Passeriformes) Sp S F W ___ American Robin* a a a r ___ Hermit Thrush c - c - ___ Swainson's Thrush c - c - ___ Gray-cheecked Thrush u - u - ___ Veery u - u - ___ Eastern Bluebird* c c c - ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet c - c r ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet c - c -
PIPITS (Order Passeriformes) Sp S F W ___ Water Pipit c - c -
WAXWINGS (Order Passeriformes) Sp S F W ___ Bohemian Waxwing - - u u ___ Cedar Waxwing* c c c c
SHRIKES (Order Passeriformes) Sp S F W ___ Northern Shrike r - u u ___ Loggerhead Shrike u u u -
STARLINGS (Order Passeriformes) Sp S F W ___ European Starling* a a a a
VIREOS (Order Passeriformes) Sp 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 (Order Passeriformes) Sp S F W ___ Black-and-white Warbler c - c - ___ Tennessee Warbler c - c - ___ Orange-crowned Warbler u - u - ___ Nashville Warbler c - c - ___ Yellow Warbler* c c c - ___ Magnolia Warbler c - c - ___ Cape May Warbler r - - - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler a c c - ___ Black-throated Green Warbler r - - - ___ Blackburnian Warbler u - u - ___ Chestnut-sided Warbler c - c - ___ Bay-breasted Warbler 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 -
WEAVER FINCH (Order Passeriformes) Sp S F W ___ House Sparrow* a a a a
BLACKBIRDS, ORIOLES (Order Passeriformes) Sp S F W ___ Bobolink* c c u - ___ Western Meadowlark* a a a r ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird* c c c - ___ Red-winged Blackbird* a c a - ___ Orchard Oriole r r - - ___ Northern Oriole* c c c - ___ Rusty Blackbird c u c r ___ Brewer's Blackbird* u c u - ___ Common Grackle* a a a r ___ Brown-headed Cowbird* c c c -
TANAGERS (Order Passeriformes) Sp S F W ___ Scarlet Tanager u r r -
CARDINALS TO SPARROWS (Order Passeriformes) Sp S F W ___ Northern Cardinal r r r r ___ Rose-breasted Grosbeak* c c c - ___ Indigo Bunting* c c c - ___ Dickcissel - u - - ___ Evening Grosbeak - - u u ___ Purple Finch u r u u ___ Pine Grosbeak - - r r ___ Hoary Redpoll - - u u ___ Common Redpoll c - c c ___ Pine Siskin u r u u ___ American Goldfinch* c c c u ___ Red Crossbill - - r r ___ White-winged Crossbill - - u u ___ Rufous-sided Towhee u r u - ___ Savannah Sparrow* c c c - ___ Grasshopper Sparrow* u u u - ___ Le Conte's Sparrow* u u u - ___ Nelson's 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 c - c c ___ Chipping Sparrow* c c c - ___ Clay-colored Sparrow* c c c - ___ Field Sparrow* r r r - ___ Harris' Sparrow c - c - ___ White-crowned Sparrow u - u - ___ White-throated Sparrow c - c - ___ Fox Sparrow c - c - ___ Lincoln's Sparrow u - u - ___ Swamp Sparrow* c c c - ___ Song Sparrow* c c c r ___ Lapland Longspur c - c r ___ Smith's Longspur r r r - ___ Chestnut-collared Longspur r - r - ___ Snow Bunting u - c c
CASUAL SPECIES - The following are birds which have been seen irregularly in the WPA's:
                                                Sp      S       F       W 

___ Little Blue Heron                           -       r       -       -
___ Cattle Egret                                -       x       -       -
___ Snowy Egret                                 -       x       -       -
___ Cinnamon Teal                               x       -       x       -
___ Surf Scoter                                 -       -       x       -
___ Black Scoter                                -       -       x       -
___ Red-shouldered Hawk                         x       x       -       -
___ Ferruginous Hawk                            r       r       r       x
___ Gyrfalcon                                   -       -       x       x
___ King Rail                                   x       x       x       -
___ Common Gallinule                            r       r       -       -
___ Buff-breasted Sandpiper                     r       -       r       -
___ American Avocet                             r       -       r       -
___ Glaucous Gull                               r       -       r       -
___ Barn Owl*                                   -       x       -       -
___ Great Gray Owl                              -       -       -       x
___ Black-backed Woodpecker                     -       -       x       x
___ Olive-sided Flycatcher                      r       -       -       -
___ Vermillion Flycatcher                       -       -       x       -
___ Gray Jay                                    -       -       -       r
___ Townsend's Solitaire                        -       -       -       x
___ Golden-winged Warbler                       r       -       -       -
___ Eastern Meadowlark                          r       -       -       -
___ Lark Bunting                                r       -       r       -

For additional information contact:
                      Minnesota Wetland Complex Office
                      Route 1, Box 76
                      Fergus Falls, MN 56537
                      Phone: (218)739-2291

This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1982.  Birds of waterfowl protection 
     areas, Minnesota.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1982.  Birds of waterfowl protection 
     areas, Minnesota.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govmnwpa.htm 
     (Version 30DEC2002).

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