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Bird Checklists of the United States

Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge

Awendaw, South Carolina


The Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1932, includes about 34,000 acres of woodland, marsh and water within Charleston County, South Carolina. An additional 30,000 acres of open water are closed to migratory waterfowl hunting by Presidential Proclamation. Bull's Island, one of the refuge's three largest islands, is the only one that is wooded, being covered with a beautiful forest of live oaks, magnolias, pines and palmettos. This 5,000-acre island was added to the refuge in 1936 and has several shallow fresh and brackish water ponds. By furnishing habitat for a great variety and number of birds throughout the year, the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge has become recognized as one of the most important wildlife areas on the Atlantic coast.

The bird populations on the Cape Romain Refuge vary greatly in number and species according to the season. Although the refuge fulfills its primary purpose of benefiting waterfowl and shorebirds during migrations and through the winter season, the variety of summer resident species contributes to the year-round attractiveness of this area. The best opportunities for observing a large variety and number of birds are during the fall, winter and spring months.

This checklist includes 277 species of birds, which have been recorded on the refuge, principally on Bull's Island and is based on observations by refuge personnel and visiting ornithologists. If you should find an unlisted species, please let us know at Refuge Headquarters. We appreciate your help in updating our records. Another 58 species considered extremely rare or out of their normal range have been added on the last page.


Seasonal appearance

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

Seasonal abundance

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
* - nest on the refuge, or did so in recent years.


LOONS Sp S F W ___ Common Loon o r c c ___ Red-throated Loon r - r u
GREBES Sp S F W ___ Pied-billed Grebe* c c a c
PELICANS AND ALLIES Sp S F W ___ Double-crested Cormorant a c a a ___ Anhinga u u o r ___ Brown Pelican* a a c c
HERONS, EGRETS AND ALLIES Sp S F W ___ American Bittern u u u o ___ Least Bittern* u c u r ___ Great Blue Heron* c c c c ___ Great Egret* c c c c ___ Snowy Egret* c c c c ___ Little Blue Heron c c c u ___ Tricolored Heron* c c c c ___ Cattle Egret o o r r ___ Green Heron* c c u u ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron* c c c c ___ Yellow-crowned Night-Heron* u c o u
IBISES AND STORKS Sp S F W ___ White Ibis* c c c o ___ Glossy Ibis* u u o r ___ Wood Stork c c c u
WATERFOWL Sp S F W ___ Tundra Swan r - c c ___ Fulvous Whistling-Duck - - - r ___ Snow Goose - - r r ___ Brant - - - r ___ Canada Goose r - o o ___ Wood Duck* c c c c ___ Green-winged Teal c - c c ___ American Black Duck c - c c ___ Mallard c - c c ___ Northern Pintail c - c c ___ Blue-winged Teal* c u c c ___ Northern Shoveler c - c c ___ Gadwall c - c c ___ American Wigeon c - a a ___ Eurasian Wigeon - - - r ___ Canvasback c - c a ___ Redhead o - u c ___ Ring-necked Duck c - c c ___ Greater Scaup a - c a ___ Oldsquaw - - r r ___ Harlequin Duck - - r r ___ Black Scoter u - c a ___ Surf Scoter o - u u ___ White-winged Scoter u - - u ___ Common Goldeneye - - u u ___ Bufflehead c - c a ___ Hooded Merganser c - c c ___ Common Merganser - - r r ___ Ruddy Duck* o r c c ___ Red-breasted Merganser* c r c c
VULTURES, HAWKS AND ALLIES Sp S F W ___ Black Vulture* c c c c ___ Turkey Vulture* c c c c ___ Osprey* c c c r ___ American Swallow-tailed Kite o u r - ___ Mississippi Kite u u r - ___ Bald Eagle u o u u ___ Northern Harrier c - c c ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk* c o c c ___ Cooper's Hawk* o o o o ___ Red-shouldered Hawk* u u u u ___ Broad-winged Hawk - r - - ___ Red-tailed Hawk* u u c c ___ Golden Eagle r - r r ___ American Kestrel u r u u ___ Merlin r - r r ___ Peregrine Falcon r - o o
GALLINACEOUS BIRDS Sp S F W ___ Wild Turkey* c c c c ___ Northern Bobwhite* u u u u
RAILS, GALLINULES AND COOTS Sp S F W ___ King Rail* o o o o ___ Clapper Rail* a a a a ___ Yellow Rail - - - r ___ Sora o - u u ___ Purple Gallinule r r r r ___ Common Moorhen* c c c c ___ American Coot* c u a a ___ Virginia Rail o - o u ___ Black Rail* - r - -
SHOREBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Black-bellied Plover a o c c ___ American Golden Plover r - r - ___ Wilson's Plover* c c o r ___ Semipalmated Plover c c c c ___ Piping Plover o - o o ___ Killdeer* o r c c ___ Black-necked Stilt o o - - ___ American Avocet r - - r ___ Greater Yellowlegs o r c c ___ Lesser Yellowlegs o - o u ___ Solitary Sandpiper o o o r ___ Willet* a a c c ___ Spotted Sandpiper o r c r ___ Upland Sandpiper r - r - ___ Whimbrel o - o r ___ Long-billed Curlew r - o o ___ Marbled Godwit u - u u ___ Ruddy Turnstone c c c c ___ Red Knot c - u c ___ Sanderling a c a a ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper u o o r ___ Western Sandpiper c u c c ___ Least Sandpiper c u u c ___ White-rumped Sandpiper o - o - ___ Pectoral Sandpiper u o u r ___ Dunlin a o c a ___ Stilt Sandpiper - r - r ___ Dowitcher a c a a ___ Common Snipe u - c c ___ American Woodcock* o r o o ___ Wilson's Phalarope u - u - ___ Red-necked Phalarope r - r r ___ American Oystercatcher* c c a a ___ Laughing Gull* a a c o ___ Bonaparte's Gull u - - u ___ Ring-billed Gull c o c a ___ Great Black-backed Gull r - r o ___ Parasitic Jaeger r - - r ___ Herring Gull c c c a ___ Caspian Tern* o u u c ___ Sooty Tern* r r r - ___ Black Skimmer* a a u o ___ Common Tern o u u c ___ Forster's Tern c o u c ___ Least Tern* c c o r ___ Royal Tern* a a c u ___ Sandwich Tern* c c o r ___ Black Tern - c c -
DOVES Sp S F W ___ Mourning Dove* c c c c ___ Rock Dove o o o o ___ Common Ground-Dove* o o o o
CUCKOOS Sp S F W ___ Black-billed Cuckoo o - r - ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo* c c u -
OWLS Sp S F W ___ Barn Owl* u u u u ___ Eastern Screech-Owl* c c c c ___ Great Horned Owl* c c c c ___ Barred Owl* u u u u ___ Long-eared Owl - - - r ___ Short-eared Owl r - r u
NIGHTJARS Sp S F W ___ Common Nighthawk* c c u - ___ Chuck-will's-widow* c c o - ___ Whip-poor-will o - o o
SWIFTS, HUMMINGBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Chimney Swift* c c a - ___ Ruby-throated Hummingbird* c c c -
KINGFISHERS Sp S F W ___ Belted Kingfisher* c c c c
WOODPECKERS Sp S F W ___ Red-headed Woodpecker* u u o o ___ Red-bellied Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker o - o u ___ Downy Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Hairy Woodpecker* u u u u ___ Northern Flicker* c c c a ___ Pileated Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Red-cockaded Woodpecker r r r r
FLYCATCHERS Sp S F W ___ Eastern Wood-Pewee* u c u - ___ Acadian Flycatcher c u - - ___ Eastern Phoebe u - c c ___ Great Crested Flycatcher* c c u - ___ Eastern Kingbird* c c u - ___ Gray Kingbird - o o -
MARTINS AND SWALLOWS Sp S F W ___ Purple Martin* c c c r ___ Tree Swallow c o c c ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow* c c o - ___ Barn Swallow* a a c r ___ Cliff Swallow* u u u - ___ Bank Swallow u - c -
JAYS AND CROWS Sp S F W ___ Blue Jay* c c c c ___ Fish Crow* c c c c ___ American Crow* c c c c
CHICKADEES AND TITMICE Sp S F W ___ Carolina Chickadee* c c c c ___ Tufted Titmouse* c c c c
NUTHATCHES Sp S F W ___ Brown-headed Nuthatch* c u u u ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch r - - r ___ White-breasted Nuthatch* u o o u
CREEPERS Sp S F W ___ Brown Creeper u - o u
WRENS Sp S F W ___ Carolina Wren* c c c c ___ House Wren - - u u ___ Winter Wren - - o o ___ Sedge Wren - - u u ___ Marsh Wren* c c c c
KINGLETS AND GNATCATCHERS Sp S F W ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet o - c c ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet o - a a ___ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher* c c u u
THRUSHES Sp S F W ___ Eastern Bluebird* u u u u ___ Veery o - o - ___ Gray-cheecked Thrush u - - - ___ Swainson's Thrush o - - - ___ Wood Thrush* u u o - ___ Hermit Thrush o - c c ___ American Robin u - c u
THRASHERS Sp S F W ___ Gray Catbird* o o c c ___ Northern Mockingbird* c c c c ___ Brown Thrasher* c c c c
PIPITS Sp S F W ___ American Pipit* o - u u
WAXWINGS Sp S F W ___ Cedar Waxwing* c - c c
SHRIKES Sp S F W ___ Loggerhead Shrike* c c o c
STARLINGS Sp S F W ___ European Starling* u o u u
VIREOS Sp S F W ___ White-eyed Vireo* o u o o ___ Yellow-throated Vireo* o o o - ___ Red-eyed Vireo* c a u - ___ Solitary Vireo o - o o
WARBLERS Sp S F W ___ Blue-winged Warbler r - r - ___ Golden-winged Warbler - - r - ___ Tennessee Warbler r - r - ___ Orange-crowned Warbler o - o o ___ Nashville Warbler r - r - ___ Northern Parula* c c u - ___ Yellow Warbler c - u - ___ Chestnut-sided Warbler o - o - ___ Magnolia Warbler r - r - ___ Cape May Warbler r - u - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler o - a a ___ Black-throated Blue Warbler u - u - ___ Black-throated Green Warbler o o o - ___ Blackburnian Warbler r - r - ___ Yellow-throated Warbler* c c c c ___ Pine Warbler* c c c u ___ Prairie Warbler* u u u o ___ Palm Warbler o - c u ___ Bay-breasted Warbler r r - - ___ Blackpoll Warbler o - o - ___ Black-and-white Warbler o - u u ___ American Redstart u o c - ___ Prothonotary Warbler u u o - ___ Worm-eating Warbler o - o - ___ Swainson's Warbler o - o - ___ Ovenbird c - c - ___ Northern Waterthrush o - o - ___ Louisiana Waterthrush o - o - ___ Kentucky Warbler* - u o o ___ Common Yellowthroat* c c c c ___ Yellow-breasted Chat* u o o - ___ Hooded Warbler* c u o - ___ Canada Warbler r - r - ___ Wilson's Warbler r - r -
TANAGERS Sp S F W ___ Summer Tanager* c c c - ___ Scarlet Tanager r - u -
NEW WORLD FINCHES Sp S F W ___ Northern Cardinal* c c c c ___ Rose-breasted Grosbeak r - r - ___ Blue Grosbeak c u u - ___ Indigo Bunting* c o o - ___ Painted Bunting* c c u -
SPARROWS Sp S F W ___ Rufous-sided Towhee* c c c c ___ Bachman's Sparrow o r r o ___ Chipping Sparrow* o o c u ___ Field Sparrow* o o o u ___ Vesper Sparrow o - u u ___ Savannah Sparrow o - a a ___ Grasshopper Sparrow - - - r ___ Henslow's Sparrow - - - r ___ Sharp-tailed Sparrow o - c c ___ Song Sparrow u - c c ___ Fox Sparrow - - u u ___ Lincoln's Sparrow - - - r ___ White-crowned Sparrow - - - r ___ Seaside Sparrow* u u c c ___ Swamp Sparrow c - a a ___ White-throated Sparrow c - c a ___ Dark-eyed Junco - - a a
BLACKBIRDS, GRACKLES, COWBIRDS AND ORIOLES Sp S F W ___ Red-winged Blackbird* c c a a ___ Lapland Longspur - - - r ___ Bobolink - c - u ___ Eastern Meadowlark* o o c c ___ Rusty Blackbird o - o o ___ Common Grackle* c c c c ___ Brewer's Blackbird r - r - ___ Boat-tailed Grackle* a a a a ___ Brown-headed Cowbird* u u u u ___ Orchard Oriole* c o o - ___ Northern Oriole o - o o
OLD WORLD FINCHES Sp S F W ___ Purple Finch o - - o ___ American Goldfinch u - o u ___ Evening Grosbeak - - - u ___ Pine Siskin o - - o
INTRODUCED NON-NATIVE SPECIES Sp S F W ___ House Sparrow* u u u u
The following 58 species are considered extremely rare or out of their normal range and in many instances substantiated by only one or two observations. Many of these records are found in Sprunt and Chamberlain, 1949, South Carolina Bird Life with a supplement by Burton, 1979, and "The Chat," the Journal of the Carolina Bird Club.
Eared Grebe                           Razorbill            
Western Grebe                         Dovekie              
American White Pelican                White-winged Dove
Cory's Shearwater                     Snowy Owl
Greater Shearwater                    Burrowing Owl
Sooty Shearwater                      Saw-whet Owl
Little Shearwater                     Western Kingbird
Audubon's Shearwater                  Fork-tailed Flycatcher
Great Cormorant                       Scissor-tailed Flycatcher            
Magnificent Frigatebird               Say's Phoebe
Roseate Spoonbill                     Willow Flycatcher
American Flamingo                     Least Flycatcher
Mute Swan                             Vermilion Flycatcher
Common Eider                          Sprague's Pipit
King Eider                            Horned Lark
White-tailed Kite                     Bachman's Warbler
Swainson's Hawk                       Cerulean Warbler   
Sandhill Crane                        Kirtland's Warbler
Eskimo Curlew                         Yellow-headed Blackbird
Red Phalarope                         Western Tanager    
Baird's Sandpiper                     Black-headed Grosbeak          
Pomarine Jaeger                       Dickcissel
Long-tailed Jaeger                    House Finch
Glaucous Gull                         Common Redpoll
Iceland Gull                          Le Conte's Sparrow
Black-headed Gull                     Lark Sparrow         
Roseate Tern                          Clay-colored Sparrow
Bridled Tern                          Harris' Sparrow
Brown Noddy Tern                      Snow Bunting

For further information contact:
                        Refuge Manager
                        Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge
                        5801 Highway 17 North
                        Awendaw, South Carolina 29429
                        Telephone: 803/928-3368

This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1996.  Birds of Cape Romain National Wildlife 
     Refuge.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1996.  Birds of Cape Romain National Wildlife 
     Refuge.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.  Jamestown, ND: 
     Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govcaperoma.htm 
     (Version 22MAY98).

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