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Bird Checklists of the United States

Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Manila, Arkansas


Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge, located in northeast Arkansas, was established in 1915, and is the third oldest inland refuge. Today the refuge consists of 11,038 acres and contains approximately 2,000 acres of open lake, 5,500 acres of swamplands, 2,500 acres of seasonally flooded timber, and 438 acres of farmlands and levees.

Refuge headquarters is located on State Highway 18, 2 miles east of Manila and 15 miles west of Blytheville, Arkansas. Vehicle access on the refuge is along Ditch 81 levee road, which extends northward from the headquarters area to the north end water control structures near the Arkansas and Missouri border. This route also leads to the Timms' Point Observation Area and boat launching access to Big Lake's main opening. Another good vehicle route for bird viewing is along the gravel road separating the refuge from the state owned wildlife management area.

This folder lists 227 species observed by refuge personnel and visiting ornithologists since 1915. A special thanks goes to the Northeast Arkansas Audubon Society. It's persistence since 1975 in conducting several field trips each spring in search of the Bachman's Warbler added considerably to the revised list. Another eight species are considered very rare or accidental and are listed separately on the last page.


The symbols for seasonal abundance of each species are coded as follows:

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

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
* - nests on refuge


LOONS AND GREBES Sp S F W ___ Common Loon r - r r ___ Pied-billed Grebe c r c o ___ Horned Grebe r - r r
PELICANS, CORMORANTS AND ANHINGA Sp S F W ___ American White Pelican r - r - ___ Double-crested Cormorant c - c c ___ Anhinga r - r -
BITTERNS AND HERONS Sp S F W ___ American Bittern u - u - ___ Least Bittern* r - r - ___ Great Blue Heron* c c c c ___ Great Egret* o o o - ___ Snowy Egret* r r r - ___ Little Blue Heron* o u c - ___ Cattle Egret* c c c - ___ Green Heron o - o - ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron* u u u - ___ Yellow-crowned Night-Heron* r r r -
GEESE Sp S F W ___ Greater White-Fronted Goose - - r u ___ Snow Goose u - u u ___ Canada Goose u - u c
DUCKS Sp S F W ___ Wood Duck* c c c c ___ Green-winged Teal c - c c ___ American Black Duck o - o o ___ Mallard* a c a a ___ Northern Pintail c - c u ___ Blue-winged Teal c r c r ___ Northern Shoveler c - c u ___ Gadwall c - c c ___ American Wigeon c - c u ___ Canvasback u - u u ___ Redhead o - o o ___ Ring-necked Duck c - c c ___ Greater Scaup r - r - ___ Lesser Scaup c - c c ___ Common Goldeneye o - o u ___ Bufflehead o - o u ___ Hooded Merganser* c c c c ___ Common Merganser r - r r ___ Red-breasted Merganser o - o o ___ Ruddy Duck c - c c
VULTURES, OSPREY, KITES, EAGLES AND HAWKS Sp S F W ___ Turkey Vulture r r r r ___ Osprey* o o o o ___ Mississippi Kite u u - - ___ Bald Eagle o - o o ___ Northern Harrier u - c u ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk r - r r ___ Cooper's Hawk* r r r r ___ Red-shouldered Hawk* u u u u ___ Broad-winged Hawk u - u - ___ Red-tailed Hawk* c o c c ___ American Kestrel c r c c
TURKEY, QUAIL, RAILS, GALLINULES AND COOT Sp S F W ___ Wild Turkey* c c c c ___ Northern Bobwhite* c c c c ___ King Rail* u u u - ___ Virginia Rail r - r - ___ Sora* u r u - ___ Purple Gallinule r r - - ___ Common Moorhen r r - - ___ American Coot c r c u
PLOVERS AND SHOREBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Black-bellied Plover o - o - ___ American Golden Plover o - o - ___ Semipalmated Plover r - r - ___ Killdeer* c c c c ___ Greater Yellowlegs o - o - ___ Lesser Yellowlegs o - o - ___ Solitary Sandpiper u - u - ___ Spotted Sandpiper u u u - ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper o - o - ___ Least Sandpiper u - u - ___ White-rumped Sanpiper r - r - ___ Baird's Sandpiper r - r - ___ Common Snipe c - c u ___ American Woodcock u r u u
GULLS AND TERNS Sp S F W ___ Franklin's Gull r - r - ___ Ring-billed Gull u - u u ___ Herring Gull u - c u ___ Caspian Tern o r o - ___ Common Tern r - r - ___ Forster's Tern o - o - ___ Least Tern o - o - ___ Black Tern o r o -
DOVES AND CUCKOOS Sp S F W ___ Rock Dove* c c c c ___ Mourning Dove* c c c c ___ Black-billed Cuckoo r - r - ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo* c c c -
OWLS Sp S F W ___ Barn Owl* r r r r ___ Eastern Screech-Owl* c c c c ___ Great Horned Owl* u u u u ___ Barred Owl* c c c c
GOATSUCKERS TO KINGFISHERS Sp S F W ___ Common Nighthawk* u u o - ___ Chuck-will's-widow* c c - - ___ Whip-poor-will r r - - ___ Chimney Swift* c c r - ___ Ruby-throated Hummingbird* c c c - ___ Belted Kingfisher* c c c c
WOODPECKERS Sp S F W ___ Red-headed Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Red-bellied Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker c - c c ___ Downy Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Hairy Woodpecker* u u u u ___ Pileated Woodpecker* c c c c
FLYCATCHERS Sp S F W ___ Olive-sided Flycatcher o - o - ___ Eastern Wood-Pewee c c c - ___ Yellow-bellied Flycatcher r - - - ___ Acadian Flycatcher* u u - - ___ Alder Flycatcher o - o - ___ Willow Flycatcher o - o - ___ Least Flycatcher o - o - ___ Eastern Phoebe* o - o - ___ Great Crested Flycatcher* c c o - ___ Eastern Kingbird* c c o - ___ Scissor-tailed Flycatcher r - - -
LARKS AND SWALLOWS Sp S F W ___ Horned Lark* c c c c ___ Purple Martin* c c c - ___ Tree Swallow* c u u - ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow* u u u - ___ Bank Swallow* o o o - ___ Cliff Swallow* r - r - ___ Barn Swallow* c c c -
JAYS, CROWS, CHICKADEES AND NUTHATCHES Sp S F W ___ Blue Jay* c c c c ___ American Crow* c c c c ___ Fish Crow u u r r ___ Carolina Chickadee* c c c c ___ Tufted Titmouse* c c c c ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch - - r r ___ White-breasted Nuthatch* u u u u
CREEPERS AND WRENS Sp S F W ___ Brown Creeper u - u u ___ Carolina Wren* c c c c ___ Bewick's Wren* r r r r ___ House Wren* u - u r ___ Winter Wren o - o o
KINGLETS, GNATCATCHERS, AND THRUSHES Sp S F W ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet u - u u ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet c - c c ___ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher* c c c - ___ Eastern Bluebird* c c c c ___ Veery o - o - ___ Gray-cheecked Thrush c - o - ___ Swainson's Thrush c - o - ___ Hermit Thrush u - u o ___ Wood Thrush* c c u - ___ American Robin* c c c c
MIMICS, PIPITS, WAXWINGS, SHRIKE AND STARLING Sp S F W ___ Gray Catbird* c c c - ___ Northern Mockingbird* c c c u ___ Brown Thrasher* c c c c ___ American Pipit r - u u ___ Cedar Waxwing c - c c ___ Loggerhead Shrike* c c c c ___ European Starling* c c c c
VIREOS Sp S F W ___ White-eyed Vireo* c c c c ___ Bell's Vireo o - - - ___ Solitary Vireo o - - - ___ Yellow-throated Vireo u - u - ___ Warbling Vireo o - r - ___ Philadelphia Vireo o - u u ___ Red-eyed Vireo* c c c -
WOOD WARBLERS Sp S F W ___ Blue-winged Warbler r - r - ___ Golden-winged Warbler r - r - ___ Tennessee Warbler c - c - ___ Orange-crowned Warbler o - o - ___ Nashville Warbler c - c - ___ Northern Parula o - o - ___ Yellow Warbler o - u - ___ Chestnut-sided Warbler o - o - ___ Magnolia Warbler u - u - ___ Cape May Warbler r - - - ___ Black-throated Blue Warbler - - r - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler c c c c ___ Black-throated Green Warbler c - c - ___ Blackburnian Warbler u - u - ___ Yellow-throated Warbler c - u - ___ Pine Warbler o o o o ___ Prairie Warbler o - - - ___ Palm Warbler o - u - ___ Bay-breasted Warbler u - u - ___ Blackpoll Warbler o - u - ___ Cerulean Warbler r - r - ___ Black-and-white Warbler u u u - ___ American Redstart* o u u - ___ Prothonotary Warbler* c c c - ___ Worm-eating Warbler o - r - ___ Swainson's Warbler r - r - ___ Ovenbird o - r - ___ Northern Waterthrush u - u r ___ Louisiana Waterthrush o o o - ___ Kentucky Warbler o o o - ___ Connecticut Warbler r - - - ___ Mourning Warbler r - r - ___ Common Yellowthroat* c c c - ___ Hooded Warbler* r r r - ___ Wilson's Warbler r - - - ___ Canada Warbler o - r - ___ Yellow-breasted Chat* c c c -
TANAGERS, CARDINALS, GROSBEAKS AND BUNTINGS Sp S F W ___ Summer Tanager* c c u - ___ Scarlet Tanager o - - - ___ Northern Cardinal* c c c c ___ Rose-breasted Grosbeak c - u - ___ Blue Grosbeak r r - - ___ Indigo Bunting* c c c - ___ Dickcissel c c c -
SPARROWS Sp S F W ___ Rufous-sided Towhee* c c c c ___ American Tree Sparrow r - r r ___ Chipping Sparrow* u u - - ___ Field Sparrow* c c c c ___ Vesper Sparrow r - r - ___ Lark Sparrow r r - - ___ Savannah Sparrow u - u u ___ Henslow's Sparrow r - - - ___ Le Conte's Sparrow r - r - ___ Fox Sparrow u - u u ___ Song Sparrow c - c c ___ Lincoln's Sparrow o - o o ___ Swamp Sparrow c - c c ___ White-throated Sparrow c - c c ___ White-crowned Sparrow u - u u ___ Dark-eyed Junco c - c c
BLACKBIRDS, MEADOWLARK AND ORIOLES Sp S F W ___ Bobolink c - - - ___ Red-winged Blackbird* c c c c ___ Eastern Meadowlark* c c c c ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird r - r - ___ Rusty Blackbird - - u u ___ Common Grackle* c c c c ___ Brown-headed Cowbird* c c c c ___ Orchard Oriole* c c c - ___ Northern Oriole* c c c -
FINCHES Sp S F W ___ Purple Finch - - o c ___ Pine Siskin - - - o ___ American Goldfinch* o u o o ___ House Sparrow* c c c c
These additional species are very rare or accidental on the refuge:
Brown Pelican                           Peregrine Falcon
Wood Ibis                               Marsh Wren
Tundra Swan                             Western Tanager
White-winged Scoter                     Common Ground-Dove

To report unusual sightings or for further information, contact:
                        Refuge Manager
                        Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge
                        P.O. Box 67
                        Manila, Arkansas 72442           
                        Telephone: 501/564-2429

This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1986.  Birds of Big Lake National Wildlife 
     Refuge, Arkansas.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1986.  Birds of Big Lake National Wildlife 
     Refuge, Arkansas.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govbiglake.htm 
     (Version 22MAY98).

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