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Bird Checklists of the United States

Upper Mississippi River
National Wildlife and Fish Refuge

Winona, Minnesota
Savanna, Illinois
McGregor, Iowa
La Crosse, Wisconsin

Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge stretches southward for 261 miles along the Mississippi River from just above Wabasha, Minnesota, nearly to Rock Island, Illinois. This mid-continental river country offers fabulous opportunities for birding among extensive marsh lands, wooded bottom lands, open water, sand prairie, and wooded bluffs.

The river environment serves as a migration corridor not only for waterfowl, but for numerous other birds such as raptors, shorebirds and songbirds.

In the spring and summer, the refuge provides important nesting habitat for many species. Even in the coldest months, the area serves as a wintering ground for more northern bird populations, in addition to year-round residents.

Refuge personnel and visiting ornithologists have contributed to this list of 292 species of birds. This bird list is in accordance with the Sixth American Ornithologists' Union Checklist of North American birds as amended.


Season, abundance and nesting status for each bird's suitable habitat are coded as follows:
* - nests on the refuge

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

a - abundant: common species that 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 season
r - rare: seen at intervals of 2 to 5 years


LOONS Sp S F W ___ Common Loon u - u -
GREBES Sp S F W ___ Pied-billed Grebe* c c c - ___ Horned Grebe u - u - ___ Red-necked Grebe r - r -
PELICANS, CORMORANTS Sp S F W ___ American White Pelican o - o - ___ Double-crested Cormorant* c c c -
BITTERNS, HERONS Sp S F W ___ American Bittern* u u u - ___ Least Bittern* u u u - ___ Great Blue Heron* a a a r ___ Great Egret* a a a - ___ Snowy Egret r r - - ___ Little Blue Heron - o - - ___ Green Heron* c c c - ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron* c c c - ___ Yellow-crowned Night-Heron* u u u -
SWANS, GEESE, DUCKS Sp S F W ___ Tundra Swan (Whistling Swan) a - a u ___ Greater White-fronted Goose r - r - ___ Snow Goose c - c - ___ Canada Goose* a c a c ___ Wood Duck* a a a r ___ Green-winged Teal c r c r ___ American Black Duck* c u c r ___ Mallard* a a a c ___ Northern Pintail c r c r ___ Blue-winged Teal* a c a - ___ Northern Shoveler c u c - ___ Gadwall c u c - ___ American Wigeon a u a - ___ Canvasback a r a u ___ Redhead u - u - ___ Ring-necked Duck a r a - ___ Greater Scaup u - u - ___ Lesser Scaup a r a u ___ Oldsquaw r - o r ___ Black Scoter - - r r ___ White-winged Scoter r - u r ___ Common Goldeneye c - c u ___ Bufflehead c - c r ___ Hooded Merganser* c u c r ___ Common Merganser c - c u ___ Red-breasted Merganser u - u r
VULTURES, HAWKS, FALCONS Sp S F W ___ Turkey Vulture c c c r ___ Osprey* u u u r ___ Bald Eagle* c u c c ___ Northern Harrier (Marsh Hawk)* u u u c ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk c u c o ___ Cooper's Hawk u u u o ___ Northern Goshawk - - - o ___ Red-shouldered Hawk* u u u r ___ Broad-winged Hawk* c u a - ___ Swainson's Hawk - - r - ___ Red-tailed Hawk* c c c c ___ Rough-legged Hawk - - u u ___ Golden Eagle r - r r ___ American Kestrel* c c c u ___ Merlin o - u - ___ Peregrine Falcon o o o -
GALLINACEOUS BIRDS Sp S F W ___ Gray Partridge* u u u u ___ Ring-necked Pheasant* u u u u ___ Ruffed Grouse* c c c c ___ Wild Turkey u u u u ___ Northern Bobwhite* u u u u
RAILS, CRANES Sp S F W ___ King Rail* u u - - ___ Virginia Rail* u u u - ___ Sora* c c c - ___ Common Moorhen* u u u - ___ American Coot* a c a o ___ Sandhill Crane u u u -
SHOREBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Black-bellied Plover u - u - ___ American Golden-Plover (Lesser Gol-Pl.) u - u - ___ Semipalmated Plover u u u - ___ Killdeer* c c c r ___ American Avocet r r - - ___ Greater Yellowlegs u u u - ___ Lesser Yellowlegs c c c - ___ Solitary Sandpiper u u u - ___ Willet r r r - ___ Spotted Sandpiper* c c c - ___ Upland Sandpiper* u u - - ___ Hudsonian Godwit r - - - ___ Marbled Godwit r - - - ___ Ruddy Turnstone r r - - ___ Sanderling u u u - ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper c c c - ___ Least Sandpiper c c c - ___ White-rumped Sandpiper u u u - ___ Baird's Sandpiper u u u - ___ Pectoral Sandpiper c c c - ___ Dunlin u u u - ___ Stilt Sandpiper u u u - ___ Short-billed Dowitcher u u u - ___ Long-billed Dowitcher u - - u ___ Common Snipe c u c o ___ American Woodcock* u u u - ___ Wilson's Phalarope u u u - ___ Red-necked Phalarope r - r -
GULLS, TERNS Sp S F W ___ Franklin's Gull u - u - ___ Bonaparte's Gull u - u - ___ Ring-billed Gull c c c u ___ Herring Gull c c c u ___ Caspian Tern u u u - ___ Common Tern u u u - ___ Forster's Tern* u o u - ___ Black Tern* c c u -
DOVES Sp S F W ___ Rock Dove* c c c c ___ Mourning Dove* c c c u
CUCKOOS Sp S F W ___ Black-billed Cuckoo* c c u - ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo* c c u -
OWLS Sp S F W ___ Eastern Screech-Owl* u u u u ___ Great Horned Owl* c c c c ___ Snowy Owl r - o o ___ Barred Owl* c c c c ___ Long-eared Owl* u u u u ___ Short-eared Owl u - u u ___ Northern Saw-whet Owl* o o o o
GOATSUCKERS Sp S F W ___ Common Nighthawk* c a u - ___ Whip-poor-will* c c c -
SWIFTS, HUMMINGBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Chimney Swift* c a u - ___ Ruby-throated Hummingbird* u c u -
KINGFISHERS Sp S F W ___ Belted Kingfisher* c c u o
WOODPECKERS Sp S F W ___ Red-headed Woodpecker* c c c u ___ Red-bellied Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker* c u c r ___ Downy Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Hairy Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Northern Flicker (Common Flicker)* c c c u ___ Pileated Woodpecker* u u u u
FLYCATCHERS Sp S F W ___ Olive-sided Flycatcher u u u - ___ Eastern Wood-Pewee* c c c - ___ Yellow-bellied Flycatcher u u u - ___ Alder Flycatcher u - - u ___ Willow Flycatcher* c c u - ___ Least Flycatcher* a a c - ___ Eastern Phoebe* c c c - ___ Great Crested Flycatcher* c c u - ___ Eastern Kingbird* c c u -
LARKS Sp S F W ___ Horned Lark* c c c u
SWALLOWS Sp S F W ___ Purple Martin* a a u - ___ Tree Swallow* a a c - ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow* c c u - ___ Bank Swallow* c c u - ___ Cliff Swallow* u u u - ___ Barn Swallow* a a c -
JAYS, CROWS Sp S F W ___ Blue Jay* c c c c ___ American Crow* c c c c
CHICKADEES Sp S F W ___ Black-capped Chickadee* c c c c ___ Tufted Titmouse* c c c c
NUTHATCHES Sp S F W ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch o - o o ___ White-breasted Nuthatch* c c c c
CREEPERS Sp S F W ___ Brown Creeper c o c u
WRENS Sp S F W ___ Carolina Wren o o o - ___ Bewick's Wren o - - o ___ House Wren* a a c - ___ Winter Wren u - u r ___ Sedge Wren* u u u - ___ Marsh Wren* c c c -
KINGLETS Sp S F W ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet u - u u ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet c - c - ___ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher* u u - -
THRUSHES Sp S F W ___ Eastern Bluebird* c c c r ___ Veery c - c - ___ Gray-cheeked Thrush u - u - ___ Swainson's Thrush c - c - ___ Hermit Thrush u - u - ___ Wood Thrush* c c u - ___ American Robin* a a a o
THRASHERS Sp S F W ___ Gray Catbird* c c c - ___ Northern Mockingbird r r - - ___ Brown Thrasher* c c c -
PIPITS Sp S F W ___ American Pipit (Water Pipit) u - u -
WAXWINGS Sp S F W ___ Bohemian Waxwing - - - r ___ Cedar Waxwing* c c c u
SHRIKES Sp S F W ___ Northern Shrike r - o o ___ Loggerhead Shrike* u u u -
STARLINGS Sp S F W ___ European Starling* a a a c
VIREOS Sp S F W ___ White-eyed Vireo r r - - ___ Bell's Vireo* u u - - ___ Solitary Vireo u u - - ___ Yellow-throated Vireo* u u - - ___ Warbling Vireo a a a - ___ Philadelphia Vireo u - u - ___ Red-eyed Vireo* c c a -
WOOD WARBLERS Sp S F W ___ Blue-winged Warbler* u u - - ___ Golden-winged Warbler u u u - ___ Tennessee Warbler c - c - ___ Orange-crowned Warbler u - u - ___ Nashville Warbler c - c - ___ Northern Parula u - u - ___ Yellow Warbler* a a o - ___ Chestnut-sided Warbler u - u - ___ Magnolia Warbler u - u - ___ Cape May Warbler u - u - ___ Black-throated Blue Warbler r - r - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler a - a - ___ Black-throated Green Warbler u - u - ___ Blackburnian Warbler u - u - ___ Pine Warbler o - o - ___ Palm Warbler c - c - ___ Bay-breasted Warbler u - u - ___ Blackpoll Warbler u - u - ___ Cerulean Warbler* u u - - ___ Black-and-white Warbler c - c - ___ American Redstart* a a c - ___ Prothonotary Warbler* c c - - ___ Ovenbird* u u u - ___ Northern Waterthrush u - u - ___ Louisiana Waterthrush* o o o - ___ Kentucky Warbler* r r - - ___ Connecticut Warbler r - r - ___ Mourning Warbler o - o - ___ Common Yellowthroat* a a c - ___ Hooded Warbler r r - - ___ Wilson's Warbler u - u - ___ Canada Warbler u - u - ___ Yellow-breasted Chat* r r - -
TANAGERS Sp S F W ___ Scarlet Tanager* u u u -
GROSBEAKS, BUNTINGS Sp S F W ___ Northern Cardinal* c c c c ___ Rose-breasted Grosbeak* c c c - ___ Indigo Bunting* c c c - ___ Dickcissel* c c - -
TOWHEES, SPARROWS Sp S F W ___ Rufous-sided Towhee* u u u - ___ American Tree Sparrow c - a a ___ Chipping Sparrow* a a a - ___ Clay-colored Sparrow u - u - ___ Field Sparrow* c c c r ___ Vesper Sparrow* c c c - ___ Lark Sparrow* u u - - ___ Savannah Sparrow* c c c - ___ Grasshopper Sparrow* u u u - ___ Henslow's Sparrow* u u r - ___ Le Conte's Sparrow r r r - ___ Fox Sparrow u - u - ___ Song Sparrow* a a a o ___ Lincoln's Sparrow u - u - ___ Swamp Sparrow* c c c r ___ White-throated Sparrow c - c r ___ White-crowned Sparrow u - u r ___ Harris' Sparrow o - o - ___ Dark-eyed Junco a - a a ___ Lapland Longspur r - r r ___ Snow Bunting - - u u
MEADOWLARKS, BLACKBIRDS, ORIOLES Sp S F W ___ Bobolink* u u u - ___ Red-winged Blackbird* a a a u ___ Eastern Meadowlark* c c c o ___ Western Meadowlark* c c c o ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird* c c c - ___ Rusty Blackbird c - c o ___ Brewer's Blackbird* u u u r ___ Common Grackle* a a a u ___ Brown-headed Cowbird* a a u r ___ Orchard Oriole* u u - - ___ Baltimore Oriole* c c - -
FINCHES Sp S F W ___ Pine Grosbeak - - r r ___ Purple Finch c - c u ___ House Finch u u u - ___ Red Crossbill r r - r ___ White-winged Crossbill r - - r ___ Common Redpoll u - - u ___ Hoary Redpoll - - - r ___ Pine Siskin u - u u ___ American Goldfinch* a a a c ___ Evening Grosbeak o - o u
OLD WORLD SPARROWS Sp S F W ___ House Sparrow* a a a a
The following 26 species are of rare or accidental occurrence, with only 1 or 2 recorded observations:
Arctic Loon                                Glaucous Gull
Red-throated Loon                          Black-legged Kittiwake
Eared Grebe                                Roseate Tern
Western Grebe                              Least Tern
Mute Swan                                  Northern Hawk-Owl
Glossy Ibis                                Western Kingbird
White-faced Ibis                           Common Raven
Eurasian Wigeon                            Gray Jay
Cinnamon Teal                              Boreal Chickadee
Black Vulture                              Worm-eating Warbler
Long-billed Curlew                         Western Tanager
Red Knot                                   Black-headed Grosbeak
Parasitic Jaeger                           Trumpeter Swan
These 6 species formerly occurred on the refuge:
Passenger Pigeon (Extinct)                 Greater Prairie-Chicken
Carolina Parakeet (Extinct)                Sharp-tailed Grouse
Swallow-tailed Kite                        Whooping Crane

We would like to thank the following for their help in printing this brochure: Great River Wildlife Center - LaCrosse, WI; and Hiawatha Valley Audubon Society - Winona, MN.

We take pride in the Upper Mississippi River. Find ways in which you or your group can help us to insure a bright future for the magnificent resources of this region. Additional information may be obtained by contacting:

                 Refuge Manager
                 Upper Mississippi River NWFR
                 51 East Fourth Street
                 Winona, Minnesota 55987
                 Telephone: 507/452-4232
or by contacting Refuge District Managers located in Winona, MN; LaCrosse, WI; McGregor, IA; and Savanna, IL.

This resource is based on the following source:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1987.  Birds of the Upper Mississippi River 
     National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  
     Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1987.  Birds of the Upper Mississippi River 
     National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  
     Unpaginated.  Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.  
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govupperms.htm 
     (Version 1991).

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