USGS - science for a changing world

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

  Home About NPWRC Our Science Staff Employment Contacts Common Questions About the Site

Bird Checklists of the United States

Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge

Knotts Island, North Carolina


Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge is located in the extreme northeast corner of North Carolina, with 842 of its 7,800 acres lying in adjacent Virginia. It was established in 1960 as a wintering ground for migratory waterfowl, particularly greater snow geese. Thousands of ducks, geese, and swans flock to Mackay Island marshes and water areas for the winter. They are just a few of the many groups of birds which visit the refuge during the year.

The Knotts Island Causeway (State Rt. 615) which crosses the refuge, offers some good look-out points for viewing most of the species of waterfowl and marsh birds that occur in the Back Bay/Currituck Sound Area.

During the spring and summer the woodlands contain a variety of nesting songbirds. Most common are the cardinal, brown thrasher, Carolina wren, prothonotary warbler, prairie warbler, and mockingbird. Many species in the following list are only spring or fall migrants and may be missed easily on any one visit.

Refuge headquarters is reached by driving south on Virginia State Highway 615 toward the community of Knotts Island, North Carolina.

How to use your checklist

The bird checklist was designed to be informative and simple to use. The birds under major headings are arranged in alphabetical order.

This checklist includes 182 species of birds 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 will appreciate your help in updating our records.


Symbols which appear in this checklist represent the following:

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
* - nesting has occurred on the refuge


LOONS AND GREBES Sp S F W ___ Common Loon - - o o ___ Horned Grebe o - - - ___ Pied-billed Grebe o o c c ___ Red-necked Grebe - - - r ___ Red-throated Loon - - r r
PELICANS AND CORMORANTS Sp S F W ___ Double-crested Cormorant o o c c
BITTERNS, EGRETS AND HERONS Sp S F W ___ American Bittern* u u u u ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron - o o o ___ Cattle Egret c c o - ___ Great Blue Heron c c c c ___ Great Egret c c c c ___ Green Heron* c u u r ___ Least Bittern* u u u u ___ Little Blue Heron u u o - ___ Snowy Egret u u o o ___ Tricolored Heron - o o o ___ Yellow-crowned Night-Heron - r r r
IBISES AND STORKS Sp S F W ___ Glossy Ibis u u o o ___ White Ibis - - - -
DUCKS, GEESE AND SWANS Sp S F W ___ American Black Duck* c o c c ___ American Wigeon u - c c ___ Blue-winged Teal c - c c ___ Bufflehead - - o u ___ Canada Goose* o o u u ___ Canvasback o - o o ___ Common Goldeneye - - r r ___ Common Merganser - - u u ___ Eurasian Wigeon - - r r ___ Gadwall - - a a ___ Greater Scaup - - r r ___ Green-winged Teal c - c c ___ Hooded Merganser* r r u u ___ Lesser Scaup o - u u ___ Mallard* c u c c ___ Northern Pintail o - c c ___ Northern Shoveler u - u u ___ Redhead - - u u ___ Red-breasted Merganser - - u u ___ Ring-necked Duck - - u u ___ Ruddy Duck - - c c ___ Snow Goose c r c a ___ Whistling Swan r r c c ___ Wood Duck* c c c u
VULTURES Sp S F W ___ Black Vulture r r o o ___ Turkey Vulture c c a a
OSPREYS, KITES, EAGLES, HAWKS AND FALCONS Sp S F W ___ American Kestrel c - c c ___ Bald Eagle o - o o ___ Broad-winged Hawk - u u - ___ Cooper's Hawk o - u u ___ Golden Eagle - - r r ___ Northern Harrier c - c c ___ Merlin - - o o ___ Osprey* c c c - ___ Peregrine Falcon - - o o ___ Red-shouldered Hawk o o o o ___ Red-tailed Hawk* u u u u ___ Rough-legged Hawk - - r - ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk - u u u
GALLINACEOUS BIRDS Sp S F W ___ Northern Bobwhite* c c c c
RAILS, CRANES, GALLINULES AND COOTS Sp S F W ___ American Coot* c r c c ___ Common Moorhen* c c c u ___ King Rail* c c c c ___ Purple Gallinule r r - - ___ Sora* o o o o ___ Virginia Rail* u u u u
SHOREBIRDS Sp S F W ___ American Woodcock o r o r ___ Killdeer u u u o ___ Common Snipe u - u u ___ Greater Yellowlegs o - o - ___ Least Sandpiper o - o o ___ Lesser Yellowlegs o - o r ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper u - u o ___ Solitary Sandpiper r - - - ___ Spotted Sandpiper u o u o
JAEGERS, GULLS AND TERNS Sp S F W ___ Black Tern - u - - ___ Bonaparte's Gull - - o o ___ Caspian Tern o o o - ___ Common Tern u c u - ___ Forster's Tern - r o o ___ Great Black-backed Gull u - u u ___ Herring Gull u u u u ___ Laughing Gull u u c c ___ Least Tern - o o - ___ Ring-billed Gull u - u u ___ Royal Tern r r - - ___ Sandwich Tern - - r -
PIGEONS AND DOVES Sp S F W ___ Mourning Dove* c c c c ___ Rock Dove o o o o
CUCKOOS Sp S F W ___ Black-billed Cuckoo - r r - ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo* c c c -
OWLS Sp S F W ___ Barn Owl r r r r ___ Barred Owl - - r r ___ Eastern Screech-Owl c c c c ___ Great Horned Owl* u u u u ___ Short-eared Owl* r r r r ___ Snowy Owl - - r r
GOATSUCKERS Sp S F W ___ Chuck-will's-widow* u u - - ___ Common Nighthawk r r - -
SWIFTS, HUMMINGBIRDS AND KINGFISHERS Sp S F W ___ Belted Kingfisher* c c c c ___ Chimney Swift o - - - ___ Ruby-throated Hummingbird* u u - -
WOODPECKERS Sp S F W ___ Downy Woodpecker u u u u ___ Hairy Woodpecker u r r r ___ Northern Flicker* c c a c ___ Pileated Woodpecker* u u u u ___ Red-bellied Woodpecker u u u o ___ Red-cockaded Woodpecker* r r - - ___ Red-headed Woodpecker r r r r ___ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker o o o o
FLYCATCHERS Sp S F W ___ Eastern Kingbird* u c u - ___ Eastern Phoebe - - c - ___ Eastern Wood-Pewee* c o - - ___ Great Crested Flycatcher* c u - -
MARTINS AND SWALLOWS Sp S F W ___ Barn Swallow c c c - ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow r r r - ___ Purple Martin* u c - - ___ Tree Swallow c c a o
JAYS AND CROWS Sp S F W ___ American Crow* c c c c ___ Blue Jay* u u c u ___ Fish Crow u u u -
CHICKADEES AND TITMICE Sp S F W ___ Carolina Chickadee* c c c c ___ Tufted Titmouse* u c c -
NUTHATCHES AND CREEPERS Sp S F W ___ Brown Creeper o - - o ___ White-breasted Nuthatch - u u -
WRENS Sp S F W ___ Carolina Wren* c c c c ___ House Wren* u u o - ___ Marsh Wren* u u u u
KINGLETS AND GNATCATCHERS Sp S F W ___ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher r r - - ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet o o o -
THRUSHES, ROBINS AND BLUEBIRDS Sp S F W ___ American Robin* o u u o ___ Eastern Bluebird o o o - ___ Hermit Thrush - - - u
THRASHERS, MOCKINGBIRDS AND CATBIRD Sp S F W ___ Brown Thrasher* c c c c ___ Gray Catbird* u u u u ___ Northern Mockingbird* c c c c
WAXWINGS, SHRIKES AND STARLINGS Sp S F W ___ Cedar Waxwing o - o o ___ European Starling* c c c u
VIREOS Sp S F W ___ Red-eyed Vireo* o o - - ___ White-eyed Vireo* u c - -
WARBLER Sp S F W ___ American Redstart - - u - ___ Black-and-white Warbler - - r - ___ Blackpoll Warbler o - - - ___ Black-throated Green Warbler o - - - ___ Common Yellowthroat* c c c - ___ Hooded Warbler o - - - ___ Magnolia Warbler o - - - ___ Northern Parula r - - - ___ Ovenbird o - - - ___ Palm Warbler - - c - ___ Pine Warbler r - - - ___ Prairie Warbler* c c - - ___ Prothonotary Warbler* c c o - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler o - a a ___ Yellow-throated Warbler o r - - ___ Yellow Warbler o - - -
CARDINALS, GROSBEAKS AND BUNTING Sp S F W ___ Blue Grosbeak u u - - ___ Indigo Bunting u u - - ___ Northern Cardinal* c c c c ___ Rose-breasted Grosbeak o - o o
SPARROWS Sp S F W ___ Chipping Sparrow o - c - ___ Dark-eyed Junco u - u u ___ Field Sparrow c - - c ___ Fox Sparrow - - - u ___ Rufous-sided Towhee* c - - c ___ Savannah Sparrow* c c c c ___ Sharp-tailed Sparrow - r - - ___ Song Sparrow* c - c c ___ Swamp Sparrow - - c c ___ White-crowned Sparrow - - o - ___ White-throated Sparrow c - c c
BLACKBIRDS, MEADOWLARKS, ORIOLES AND COWBIRD Sp S F W ___ Baltimore Oriole o - - - ___ Boat-tailed Grackle c c c c ___ Bobolink o - - - ___ Brown-headed Cowbird* c c c c ___ Common Grackle* c c c c ___ Eastern Meadowlark* c c c c ___ Orchard Oriole* u u - - ___ Red-winged Blackbird* c c c c
FINCHES Sp S F W ___ American Goldfinch u u - - ___ Purple Finch o - o o
WEAVER FINCHES Sp S F W ___ House Sparrow* u u u r
For further information, contact:
                    Refuge Manager
                    Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge
                    P.O. Box 39
                    Knotts Island, North Carolina 27950
                    Telephone: 919/429-3100

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 sound use of our land and water resources; protecting our fish, wildlife, and biological diversity; 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 ensure that their development is in the best interests of all our people by encouraging stewardship and citizen participation in their care. The Department also has a major responsibility for American Indian reservation communities and for people who live in island Territories under U.S. administration.
This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1989.  Birds of Mackay Island National 
     Wildlife Refuge, Virginia/North Carolina.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
     Service.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1989.  Birds of Mackay Island National 
     Wildlife Refuge, Virginia/North Carolina.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
     Service.  Unpaginated.  Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife 
     Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govmackay.htm 
     (Version 22MAY98).

Return to Bird Checklists of North Carolina
Return to Bird Checklists of the United States

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo USA.gov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
URL: http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/birds/chekbird/r4/mackay.htm
Page Contact Information: Webmaster
Page Last Modified: Friday, 01-Feb-2013 18:53:06 EST
Sioux Falls, SD [sdww54]