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Bird Checklists of the United States

Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge

small state map showing location

Swan Quarter, North Carolina


Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1964, is located in Carteret County, North Carolina, on the end of a peninsula marking the southern end of Pamlico Sound. The refuge lies about 5 miles northeast of Atlantic and about 40 miles northeast of Beaufort, North Carolina. It serves as an important resting and feeding area for migrant and wintering waterfowl in the chain of waterfowl refuges along the Atlantic Flyway from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

The refuge consists of approximately 12,526 acres including 10,000 acres of irregularly flooded salt marsh and 2,041 acres of woodlands.'The salt marsh vegetation is dominated by black needlerush, saltgrass, and saltmeadow cordgrass. The woodland vegetation is comprised of longleaf and pond pine, as well as shrubs which include waxmyrtle, gallberry, red bay, yaupon, and fetterbush.

Over 270 species of birds can be observed each year on the refuge. When waterfowl reach their peak numbers during December and January, about 10,000 redheads, 6,000 lesser scaup, and 400 black ducks, as well as smaller numbers of other waterfowl can be observed on the Cedar Island Refuge. The refuge is the northernmost limit of the range of the endangered brown pelican and they can occasionally be observed. The secretive black rail is a permanent resident of the salt marsh and can be heard calling on calm spring nights. Other permanent residents of note include the green heron, little blue heron, cattle egret, clapper and Virginia rails, marsh hawk, laughing gull, belted kingfisher, and long-billed marsh wren. Many shorebirds and warblers pass through the refuge on their spring and fall migrations.

The refuge staff would appreciate hearing about any rare or unusual sightings that you may experience.

Cedar Island Refuge is administered by the Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.

Enjoy your visit!


Symbols indicative of seasonal abundance of each species are used as follows:

Sp - March to May
S - June to August
F - September to November
W - December to 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 a season
r - rare: seen at intervals of 2 to 5 years
* - nests on the refuge


LOONS, PELICANS, HERONS AND EGRETS, BITTERNS, SWANS, GEESE AND DUCKS Sp S F W ___ Common Loon c u c c ___ Red-throated Loon - - - r ___ Horned Grebe - - - u ___ Red-necked Grebe - - - r ___ Pied-billed Grebe u - c c ___ Audubon's Shearwater - r - - ___ Sooty Shearwater - r - - ___ Wilson's Petrel - r - - ___ White Pelican - r - - ___ Brown Pelican* o o o o ___ Gannet - - o u ___ Double-crested Cormorant o u o o ___ Great Blue Heron* c c c c ___ Green Heron* c c c r ___ Little Blue Heron* c c c r ___ Cattle Egret* c c c c ___ Common Egret* c c c c ___ Snowy Egret* o u u o ___ Louisiana Heron* - u u - ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron* u u u u ___ Yellow-crowned Night-Heron - r - - ___ American Bittern c u c c ___ Least Bittern* c c c - ___ Wood Stork - o - - ___ Glossy Ibis o o - - ___ White Ibis - r - - ___ Whistling Swan o - c a ___ Canada Goose u - c a ___ Brant o - u c ___ Snow Goose - - o u ___ Mallard u u c a ___ Black Duck* c u c a ___ Gadwall u r c c ___ Pintail c - a a ___ Green-winged Teal c - a a ___ Blue-winged Teal c - c c ___ European Wigeon - - r - ___ American Wigeon* u - c c ___ Northern Shoveler o - o u ___ Wood Duck* u u c c ___ Redhead u - c a ___ Ring-necked Duck o - o u ___ Canvasback c - c a ___ Greater Scaup - - - a ___ Lesser Scaup c - c a ___ Common Goldeneye u - u c ___ Bufflehead u - u c ___ Oldsquaw - - - u ___ White-winged Scoter - - - r ___ Surf Scoter - - r u ___ Common Scoter - - r u ___ Ruddy Duck - - u c ___ Hooded Merganser u - u c ___ Common Merganser u - u c ___ Red-breasted Merganser c r u a
VULTURES AND HAWKS, RAILS AND GALLINULE, PLOVER AND SANDPIPER, WOODCOCK, SNIPE Sp S F W ___ Turkey Vulture* c c c c ___ Black Vulture* u u u u ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk* c - c c ___ Cooper's Hawk* o o o o ___ Red-tailed Hawk* u u u c ___ Red-shouldered Hawk* u u u u ___ Broad-winged Hawk - - o - ___ Rough-legged Hawk - - - r ___ Golden Eagle - - r r ___ Bald Eagle r r r r ___ Marsh Hawk or Harrier* c c c c ___ Osprey* c c u r ___ Peregrine Falcon - - - r ___ Pigeon Hawk or Merlin - - - u ___ Sparrow Hawk or Kestrel* c u u c ___ Bobwhite* u u u u ___ King Rail* o u u o ___ Clapper Rail* c c c c ___ Virginia Rail* u u c c ___ Sora - u u u ___ Yellow Rail - - - o ___ Black Rail* c c c c ___ Purple Gallinule - u u - ___ Common Gallinule* u u u u ___ American Coot c o c a ___ American Oystercatcher* c c c c ___ Semipalmated Plover u o u - ___ Piping Plover u o u - ___ Wilson's Plover u o u - ___ American Golden Plover r - r - ___ Black-bellied Plover u o u u ___ Killdeer* u u u c ___ Ruddy Turnstone r - r - ___ American Woodcock* o o u c ___ Common Snipe - - u c ___ Whimbrel o - o - ___ Upland Plover r - r - ___ Spotted Sandpiper c - c - ___ Solitary Sandpiper c - c - ___ Willet* c c c - ___ Greater Yellowlegs c c c o ___ Lesser Yellowlegs c c c o ___ Knot o r o - ___ Purple Sandpiper - - - r ___ Pectoral Sandpiper r - r - ___ White-rumped Sandpiper r - r - ___ Least Sandpiper u - u - ___ Stilt Sandpiper r - r - ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper u u u - ___ Western Sandpiper r - r - ___ Buff-breasted Sandpiper r - r -
DOWITCHER AND PHALAROPES, GULLS AND TERNS, DOVES AND CUCKOOS, OWLS, GOATSUCKERS, WOODPECKERS Sp S F W ___ Dunlin - - - o ___ Short-billed Dowitcher o - o o ___ Long-billed Dowitcher r - r - ___ Marbled Godwit r - r - ___ Sanderling u u u u ___ American Avocet - - r - ___ Red Phalarope r - r - ___ Northern Phalarope r - r - ___ Red-necked Phalarope - - r - ___ Great Black-backed Gull - - u c ___ Herring Gull u o u c ___ Ring-billed Gull u u u c ___ Laughing Gull* c a c r ___ Bonaparte's Gull - - - o ___ Gull-billed Tern* r o - - ___ Forster's Tern o o r - ___ Common Tern* o c - - ___ Least Tern* u c u - ___ Royal Tern* u c u - ___ Sandwich Tern - r - - ___ Caspian Tern* o o o - ___ Black Tern - u o - ___ Black Skimmer* c c c - ___ Dovekie - - - r ___ Mourning Dove* c c c c ___ Ground Dove* r r r r ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo u c - - ___ Black-billed Cuckoo r - r - ___ Barn Owl* u u u c ___ Screech-Owl* c c c c ___ Great Horned Owl* c c c c ___ Barred Owl* c c c c ___ Short-eared Owl - - - r ___ Chuck-will's-widow* c c c - ___ Whip-poor-will* u u u - ___ Common Nighthawk* u c u - ___ Chimney Swift* c c c - ___ Ruby-throated Hummingbird* c c c - ___ Belted Kingfisher* c c c c ___ Common Flicker* c u c c ___ Pileated Woodpecker* o o o o ___ Red-bellied Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Red-headed Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - - - c ___ Hairy Woodpecker* u u u u ___ Downy Woodpecker* u u u c
FLYCATCHERS, SWALLOWS, NUTHATCHES, CROWS, WRENS, THRUSHES, KINGLETS, STARLING AND SHRIKE Sp S F W ___ Eastern Kingbird* c c u - ___ Great-crested Flycatcher* c c - - ___ Eastern Phoebe* u r u c ___ Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - - r - ___ Acadian Flycatcher* u c u - ___ Trail's Flycatcher r - r - ___ Eastern Wood Pewee* u c u - ___ Horned Lark - - - r ___ Tree Swallow u - u c ___ Bank Swallow r - r - ___ Rough-winged Swallow - c - - ___ Barn Swallow r u r - ___ Cliff Swallow r - r - ___ Purple Martin* c a - - ___ Blue Jay r r r r ___ Common Crow* a a a a ___ Fish Crow* c c c c ___ Carolina Chickadee* u u c c ___ Tufted Titmouse* u u u u ___ White-breasted Nuthatch - - - u ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch - - r r ___ Brown-headed Nuthatch* c c c c ___ Brown Creeper - - - o ___ House Wren u u u o ___ Winter Wren - - - o ___ Carolina Wren* u u c c ___ Long-billed Marsh Wren* a a a a ___ Short-billed Marsh Wren - - - o ___ Mockingbird* c c c c ___ Catbird* c c c u ___ Brown Thrasher* u c u o ___ American Robin u - c a ___ Wood Thrush* u u u - ___ Hermit Thrush u - u c ___ Swainson's Thrush o - o - ___ Gray-cheeked Thrush r - r - ___ Veery u - u - ___ Eastern Bluebird - - - o ___ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher* o o o r ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet - - - u ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet u - u c ___ Water Pipit - - - u ___ Cedar Waxwing - - - c ___ Loggerhead Shrike - - - o ___ Starling* c c c c
VIREOS, WARBLERS, BLACKBIRDS AND GRACKLES, CARDINAL, COWBIRD Sp S F W ___ White-eyed Vireo* c c c - ___ Yellow-throated Vireo r - - - ___ Solitary Vireo - - o u ___ Red-eyed Vireo* c c c - ___ Philadelphia Vireo r - r - ___ Black-and-White Warbler - - u r ___ Prothonotary Warbler* c c - - ___ Swainson's Warbler r - - - ___ Worm-eating Warbler r - - - ___ Tennessee Warbler - - r - ___ Orange-crowned Warbler - - o r ___ Nashville Warbler r - r - ___ Northern Parula* c c c - ___ Yellow Warbler o o - - ___ Magnolia Warbler r - r - ___ Cape May Warbler r - r - ___ Black-throated Blue Warbler o - o - ___ Myrtle Warbler a - u a ___ Black-throated Gray Warbler r - r - ___ Black-throated Green Warbler o - o - ___ Cerulean Warbler r - r - ___ Yellow-throated Warbler* c c u - ___ Blackpoll Warbler o - o - ___ Pine Warbler* u u u u ___ Prairie Warbler* c c - - ___ Palm Warbler - - o r ___ Ovenbird r - r - ___ Northern Waterthrush o - o - ___ Louisiana Waterthrush - o - - ___ Yellowthroat* c c c c ___ Yellow-breasted Chat* o - o r ___ Mourning Warbler - - r - ___ Kentucky Warbler - o - - ___ Connecticut Warbler r - r - ___ Hooded Warbler* u u - - ___ Canada Warbler r - r - ___ American Redstart u - u - ___ House Sparrow* c c c c ___ Bobolink c - c - ___ Eastern Meadowlark* c c c c ___ Red-winged Blackbird* a a a a ___ Rusty Blackbird - - - o ___ Brewer's Blackbird - - - r ___ Orchard Oriole u u - - ___ Common Grackle* c c c a ___ Boat-tailed Grackle c c c c ___ Brown-headed Blackbird* c u c c ___ Summer Tanager - o - - ___ Cardinal* c c c c
GROSBEAKS, BUNTINGS AND JUNCOS, FINCH AND SISKIN, SPARROWS Sp S F W ___ Rose-breasted Grosbeak r - r - ___ Evening Grosbeak - - - r ___ Blue Grosbeak - o - - ___ Indigo Bunting* o u o - ___ Painted Bunting* u c u - ___ Dickcissel - r - - ___ Purple Finch - - - u ___ Pine Siskin - - - o ___ American Goldfinch - - - u ___ Rufous-sided Towhee* c c c c ___ Savannah Sparrow u - u c ___ Grasshopper Sparrow - - - o ___ Henslow's Sparrow - - - r ___ Sharp-tailed Sparrow - - - c ___ Seaside Sparrow* c u c c ___ Vesper Sparrow - - - u ___ Bachman's Sparrow* r o r - ___ Darked-eyed Junco - - r u ___ Chipping Sparrow - o - - ___ Field Sparrow* c c c c ___ White-crowned Sparrow - - u u ___ White-throated Sparrow u - u c ___ Fox Sparrow - - - o ___ Swamp Sparrow u - u c ___ Song Sparrow u - u c ___ Snow Bunting - - - r
As the Nation's principal conservation agency, the Department of the Interior has responsibility for most of our nationally owned public lands and natural resources. This includes fostering the wisest use of our land and water resources, protecting our fish and wildlife, preserving the environmental and cultural values of our national parks and historical places, and providing for the enjoyment of life through outdoor recreation. The Department assesses our energy and mineral resources and works to assure that their development is in the best interests of all our people. The Department also has a major responsibility for American Indian reservation communities and for people who live in island territories under U.S. administration.

For further information, contact:

                     United States Department of Interior
                     Fish and Wildlife Service
                     Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge
                     Route 1, Box N-2
                     Swan Quarter, North Carolina 27885

This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1989.  Birds of Cedar Island National Wildlife 
     Refuge.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1989.  Birds of Cedar Island National Wildlife 
     Refuge.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.  Jamestown, ND: 
     Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govcedar.htm 
     (Version 22MAY98).

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