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

Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge

McBee, South Carolina


The Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1939, is administered by the Fish and Wildlife Service of the United States Department of the Interior. The 46,000 acres within its boundaries are part of a wide band of sandhills along the Coastal Plain and the Piedmont Plateau. In prehistoric times, these sandhills were part of the shores of an ancient ocean that covered the present Coastal Plain.

Today, longleaf pine-scrub oak uplands, creek bottom hardwoods, freshwater ponds and lakes, croplands, and small food plots scattered throughout the refuge all combine to support a varied and abundant wildlife community.

Migrating ducks and geese begin to arrive in late September and remain through early April. Wood ducks and a small flock of Canada geese are resident on the refuge and nest here in spring and summer. Many species of water birds, predacious and song birds are found on the refuge throughout the year. Carolina Sandhills has one of the largest remaining populations of red-cockaded woodpeckers, an endangered species which builds its nesting cavity in a living pine tree suffering from red heart disease.

Ethics for birdwatching

Take care not to disturb nesting birds, exposing eggs and young to extreme temperatures and predation.

Disturb wintering wildlife as little as possible, particularly during critical feeding and resting periods. They need all of their energy reserves to withstand the stresses of harsh weather and migration.

Do not litter. Many birds die when they become entangled in fishing lines, 6-pack rings and other trash, or when they mistake garbage for food.

How to use your checklist

The bird checklist was designed to be informative and simple to use. The list is arranged in the order established by the American Ornithological Union.

This resource lists 190 species that have been recorded by refuge personnel and visiting ornithologists since the refuge was established. Another 18 species of accidental or extremely rare occurrence have been added at the end. If you should find an unlisted species or an unusual sighting, 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
x - accidental: out of normal species range
* - nests on the refuge


LOONS Sp S F W ___ Common Loon - - - r
GREBES Sp S F W ___ Pied-billed Grebe c o c c ___ Horned Grebe o - - o
PELICANS AND ALLIES Sp S F W ___ Double-crested Cormorant - - - r
HERONS, EGRETS AND ALLIES Sp S F W ___ American Bittern - - - u ___ Least Bittern - r - - ___ Great Blue Heron c c c c ___ Great Egret r o o r ___ Snowy Egret r r r r ___ Little Blue Heron o o o o ___ Cattle Egret o u r r ___ Green Heron* c c u - ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron - o - -
IBISES, SPOONBILL AND STORK Sp S F W ___ White Ibis - o - -
WATERFOWL Sp S F W ___ Greater White-Fronted Goose - - r r ___ Snow Goose - - r r ___ Canada Goose* c u c c ___ Wood Duck* c c c c ___ Green-winged Teal o - u u ___ American Black Duck o - c c ___ Mallard u o c c ___ Northern Pintail - - u u ___ Blue-winged Teal o - u u ___ Northern Shoveler - - r r ___ Gadwall - - o o ___ American Wigeon u - c c ___ Canvasback - - r r ___ Redhead r - r r ___ Ring-necked Duck o - u u ___ Lesser Scaup - - o o ___ Common Goldeneye - - - r ___ Bufflehead - - - r ___ Hooded Merganser o o u u ___ Ruddy Duck - - r r
VULTURES, HAWKS AND ALLIES Sp S F W ___ Black Vulture* c c c c ___ Turkey Vulture* c c c c ___ Osprey o - r r ___ Bald Eagle r r r r ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk u - c c ___ Cooper's Hawk u u u u ___ Red-shouldered Hawk* u u u u ___ Broad-winged Hawk - o - - ___ Red-tailed Hawk* c c c c ___ Golden Eagle - - r r ___ American Kestrel* c c c c ___ Northern Harrier u - u u
GALLINACEOUS BIRDS Sp S F W ___ Wild Turkey* u u u u ___ Common Bobwhite* a a a a
RAILS, GALLINULES, COOTS AND CRANES Sp S F W ___ King Rail r r r r ___ Virginia Rail - - - r ___ American Coot o - u u
SHOREBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Killdeer* c c c c ___ Greater Yellowlegs o o r - ___ Lesser Yellowlegs o - r - ___ Solitary Sandpiper o o r - ___ Spotted Sandpiper u u o o ___ Upland Sandpiper r - r - ___ Least Sandpiper r r r - ___ Pectoral Sandpiper r - r - ___ Common Snipe o r u u ___ American Woodcock* o o o o ___ Ring-billed Gull r - r r ___ Herring Gull r - r r
PIGEONS, DOVES Sp S F W ___ Mourning Dove* a a a a ___ Common Ground-Dove* r r r r
CUCKOOS Sp S F W ___ Black-billed Cuckoo o - o - ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo* c c - -
OWLS Sp S F W ___ Barn Owl* u u u u ___ Eastern Screech-Owl* c c c c ___ Great Horned Owl* u u u u ___ Barred Owl* u u u u ___ Long-eared Owl - - - r ___ Short-eared Owl - - - r
NIGHTJARS Sp S F W ___ Common Nighthawk* c c c - ___ Chuck-will's-widow* c c u - ___ Whip-poor-will* u r o o
SWIFTS, HUMMINGBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Chimney Swift* c c c - ___ 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* c c c c ___ Red-bellied Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker* u - c c ___ Downy Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Hairy Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Red-cockaded Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Northern Flicker* c c c c ___ Pileated Woodpecker* u u u o
FLYCATCHERS Sp S F W ___ Eastern Wood-Pewee* c c c - ___ Acadian Flycatcher* c c c - ___ Eastern Phoebe c c c c ___ Great Crested Flycatcher* c c - - ___ Eastern Kingbird* c c - -
MARTINS AND SWALLOWS Sp S F W ___ Purple Martin* c c c - ___ Tree Swallow c - c c ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow* c c c - ___ Barn Swallow* o u o -
JAYS AND CROWS Sp S F W ___ Blue Jay* c c c c ___ American Crow* c c c c ___ Fish 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 ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch o - r o ___ White-breasted Nuthatch* o o o o ___ Brown-headed Nuthatch* a a a a
CREEPERS Sp S F W ___ Brown Creeper - - - c
WRENS Sp S F W ___ Carolina Wren* c c c c ___ House Wren o - - o ___ Winter Wren o - - o ___ Sedge Wren - - - r ___ Marsh Wren r - - r
KINGLETS AND GNATCATCHERS Sp S F W ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet - - - o ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet c - c c ___ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher* c c u -
BLUEBIRDS, THRUSHES AND ROBIN Sp S F W ___ Eastern Bluebird* c c c c ___ Veery r - r - ___ Gray-cheecked Thrush r - r - ___ Swainson's Thrush r - r - ___ Hermit Thrush u - c c ___ Wood Thrush* c c c - ___ American Robin* c u c c
THRASHERS Sp S F W ___ Gray Catbird* c c c - ___ Northern Mockingbird* a a a a ___ Brown Thrasher* c c c c
PIPITS Sp S F W ___ Water Pipit - - - o
WAXWINGS Sp S F W ___ Cedar Waxwing o - o u
STARLINGS Sp S F W ___ European Starling* c c c c
SHRIKES Sp S F W ___ Loggerhead Shrike* c c c c
VIREOS Sp S F W ___ White-eyed Vireo* c c c - ___ Solitary Vireo - - - o ___ Yellow-throated Vireo* o o o - ___ Red-eyed Vireo* u c o -
WARBLERS Sp S F W ___ Blue-winged Warbler r - r - ___ Golden-winged Warbler r - r - ___ Tennessee Warbler r - r - ___ Orange-crowned Warbler r - r - ___ Northern Parula* c c c - ___ Yellow Warbler o o o - ___ Magnolia Warbler r - r - ___ Cape May Warbler o - o - ___ Black-throated Blue Warbler o - o - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler a - a a ___ Black-throated Green Warbler o - o - ___ Blackburnian Warbler r - r - ___ Yellow-throated Warbler* c c c - ___ Pine Warbler* c c c o ___ Prairie Warbler* c c c - ___ Palm Warbler c c - u ___ Blackpoll Warbler r - r - ___ Black-and-white Warbler - - r - ___ American Redstart o o o - ___ Prothonotary Warbler* o o o - ___ Swainson's Warbler o o o - ___ Ovenbird u o o - ___ Northern Waterthrush o - o - ___ Louisiana Waterthrush o o o - ___ Kentucky Warbler o o o - ___ Common Yellowthroat* c c c - ___ Hooded Warbler* c c c - ___ Canada Warbler r - r - ___ Yellow-breasted Chat* c c c -
TANAGERS Sp S F W ___ Summer Tanager* c c c - ___ Scarlet Tanager c - c -
NEW WORLD FINCHES Sp S F W ___ Northern Cardinal* c c c c ___ Evening Grosbeak - - - r ___ Blue Grosbeak* u u u - ___ Indigo Bunting* c c c - ___ Purple Finch - - r r ___ Pine Siskin - - - r ___ American Goldfinch c r c c
SPARROWS Sp S F W ___ Rufous-sided Towhee* c c c c ___ Bachman's Sparrow* u u u - ___ Chipping Sparrow* c c c c ___ Field Sparrow* c c c c ___ Vesper Sparrow c - c c ___ Savannah Sparrow c - c c ___ Fox Sparrow - - - c ___ Song Sparrow c - c c ___ Swamp Sparrow u - - u ___ White-throated Sparrow c - c c ___ White-crowned Sparrow - - - u ___ Dark-eyed Junco u - c c
BLACKBIRDS, GRACKLES, COWBIRDS AND ORIOLES Sp S F W ___ Bobolink o - o - ___ Red-winged Blackbird* c c c c ___ Eastern Meadowlark* c c c c ___ Rusty Blackbird - - u u ___ Common Grackle* c c u c ___ Brown-headed Cowbird c c u u ___ Orchard Oriole* c c c - ___ Northern Oriole r - r -
WEAVER FINCHES Sp S F W ___ House Sparrow* c c c c
These additional 18 species of birds have been seen on the refuge only once or twice and are listed as accidental visitors.

Whistling Swan                          Merlin
Barnacle Goose                          Sora
Oldsquaw                                Common Gallinule
Common Merganser                        American Golden Plover
Red-breasted Merganser                  Semipalmated Sandpiper
Louisiana Heron                         Black Tern
Rough-legged Hawk                       Bonaparte's Gull
Peregrine Falcon                        Horned Lark
Short-billed Dowitcher                  Rose-breasted Grosbeak

For further information contact:

                         Refuge Manager
                         Carolina Sandhills NWR
                         Route 2, Box 330
                         McBee, South Carolina 29101       
                         Telephone: 803/335-8401
This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1991.  Birds of Carolina Sandhills National 
     Wildlife Refuge.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuge.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1991.  Birds of Carolina Sandhills National 
     Wildlife Refuge.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuge.  Unpaginated.
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govsandhill.htm 
     (Version 22MAY98).

Return to Bird Checklists of South 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/sandhill.htm
Page Contact Information: Webmaster
Page Last Modified: Friday, 01-Feb-2013 18:54:05 EST
Sioux Falls, SD [sdww55]