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Bird Checklists of the United States

Savannah Coastal Refuges

small state map showing location

Office in Savannah, Georgia


There are seven national wildlife refuges (NWR) administered from the Savannah Coastal Refuges (SCR) office in Savannah, Georgia. The chain of coastal refuges comprising the SCR complex extends from Pinckney Island NWR, near Hilton Head, South Carolina, to Wolf Island NWR, near Darien, Georgia. Between these lie Savannah (the largest unit in the complex), Wassaw, Tybee, Harris Neck, and Blackbeard Island refuges. Together they span a 100 mile stretch of coastline and total over 54,019 acres.

The diversity of habitat within this acreage enhances the value of these coastal refuges, located strategically along the Atlantic Flyway, to a great variety of migratory birds. Within the complex there are freshwater and saltwater marshes, tidal rivers and creeks, bottomland hardwoods, maritime forests, barrier island beaches, and more.

The list of birds recorded on the seven coastal refuges includes 309 species, of which 25 are accidentals (species sighted less than six times over the last twenty years, and outside of their normal range). The following legend indicates the refuge on which each species is found, as well as the relative abundance and seasonal occurrence of each. Birds known to nest are designated with an asterisk (*) preceding the refuge abbreviation. Birds classified as threatened or endangered are indicated with an (#). This list incorporates the common names for birds recommended by the Sixth (1983) Edition of the A.O.U. Checklist and the 39th Supplement (1993). Species are also listed in the sequence set by the A.O.U.


* - species known to nest on the refuge
# - threatened or endangered species

Refuges

B - Blackbeard Island
H - Harris Neck
P - Pinckney Island
S - Savannah
T - Tybee Island
W - Wassaw Island
Wo - Wolf Island
Complex - all refuges

Relative Abundance

C - Common, seen in good numbers in appropriate habitat and season
FC - Fairly common, seen in moderate numbers in appropriate habitat and season
U - Uncommon, seen in small numbers and/or not seen every time in appropriate habitat and season
R - Rare, seen in small numbers, between five and ten records over the past twenty years

Seasonal Occurrence

PR - Permanent resident, present year-round
SR - Summer resident, breeds
SV - Summer visitor, present in summer, but does not breed
WV - Winter visitor, present in winter
M - Migrant, transient during spring/fall migration


LOONS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Red-throated Loon B H P S T W Wo FC WV ___ Common Loon Complex C WV
GREBES REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Pied-billed Grebe Complex C PR ___ Horned Grebe Complex C WV ___ Red-necked Grebe Complex R WV ___ Eared Grebe B H T W R WV
GANNETS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Northern Gannet B P T W Wo FC WV
PELICANS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Brown Pelican Complex FC PR
CORMORANTS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Double-crested Cormorant Complex FC PR
ANHINGAS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Anhinga B* H* P* S* T W Wo C PR
HERONS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ American Bittern Complex U WV ___ Least Bittern B* H* P* S* W* Wo FC SR ___ Great Blue Heron B* H* P* S* T W* Wo C PR ___ Great Egret B* H* P* S* T W* Wo C PR ___ Snowy Egret B* H* P* S* T W* Wo C PR ___ Little Blue Heron B* H* P* S* T W* Wo C PR ___ Tricolored Heron B* H* P* S* T W* Wo C PR ___ Cattle Egret B H* P S* T W Wo C PR ___ Green Heron B* H* P* S* T W* Wo C SR ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron B* H* P* S* T W* Wo C PR ___ Yellow-crowned Night-Heron B* H* P* S* T W* Wo FC PR
IBISES REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ White Ibis B* H* P* S* W Wo C PR ___ Glossy Ibis Complex FC PR
STORKS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Wood Stork# B* H* P S W Wo FC SR
SWANS, GEESE, DUCKS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Fulvous Whistling-Duck H S R WV ___ Tundra Swan S U WV ___ Greater White-fronted Goose H S U WV ___ Snow Goose B H S T U WV ___ Brant H S R WV ___ Canada Goose B H* P S W FC WV ___ Wood Duck B* H* P* S* T W* Wo C PR ___ Green-winged Teal Complex C WV ___ American Black Duck B H P S* T W Wo C PR ___ Mottled Duck B H P S* T W Wo U PR ___ Mallard Complex C WV ___ Northern Pintail Complex C WV ___ Blue-winged Teal Complex C WV ___ Cinnamon Teal Complex R WV ___ Northern Shoveler Complex C WV ___ Gadwall Complex C WV ___ Eurasian Wigeon S R WV ___ American Wigeon Complex C WV ___ Canvasback Complex FC WV ___ Redhead Complex U WV ___ Ring-necked Duck Complex C WV ___ Greater Scaup Complex U WV ___ Lesser Scaup Complex C WV ___ Oldsquaw B P T W Wo U WV ___ Black Scoter B P T W Wo C WV ___ Surf Scoter B P T W Wo C WV ___ White-winged Scoter B P T W Wo U WV ___ Common Goldeneye S U WV ___ Bufflehead Complex C WV ___ Hooded Merganser B H P S* T W Wo C WV/PR ___ Common Merganser Complex U WV ___ Red-breasted Merganser Complex C WV ___ Ruddy Duck Complex C WV
VULTURES REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Black Vulture B* H P S* T W* Wo C PR ___ Turkey Vulture B* H P S* T W* Wo C PR
KITES, HAWKS, EAGLES REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Osprey B* H* P* S* T W* Wo C PR ___ American Swallow-tailed Kite B H P S* W U SR ___ Mississippi Kite B H P S* T W Wo U SR ___ Bald Eagle B H P S* T W Wo U WV/M ___ Northern Harrier Complex C WV ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk Complex* FC PR ___ Cooper's Hawk B* H* P* S* T W* Wo FC PR ___ Red-shouldered Hawk B H* P* S* T W Wo FC PR ___ Broad-winged Hawk P S W U SV/M ___ Red-tailed Hawk B* H* P* S* T* W* Wo C PR ___ Golden Eagle P S R WV
FALCONS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ American Kestrel Complex C WV ___ Merlin Complex U WV ___ Peregrine Falcon# Complex U WV
QUAIL, ALLIES REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Wild Turkey H P S U PR ___ Northern Bobwhite H* P* S* C PR
RAILS, ALLIES REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Yellow Rail S R WV ___ Black Rail B S W R SR ___ Clapper Rail B* H* P* T* W C PR ___ King Rail B* S* FC PR ___ Virginia Rail B H P S W FC WV ___ Sora B H S FC WV ___ Purple Gallinule B* H* S* FC SR ___ Common Moorhen B* H* P S* C PR ___ American Coot B H P S W C PR
PLOVERS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Black-bellied Plover Complex C WV ___ American Golden-Plover H T R M ___ Wilson's Plover B* H P S T W* Wo C SR ___ Semipalmated Plover Complex C PR ___ Piping Plover# B H P T W Wo FC WV ___ Killdeer B H P* S* T* W* Wo* C PR
OYSTERCATCHERS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ American Oystercatcher B* H P* T* W* Wo* FC PR
STILTS, AVOCETS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Black-necked Stilt H P S* W U SR ___ American Avocet B H P S W U M
SANDPIPERS, ALLIES REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Greater Yellowlegs Complex C WV ___ Lesser Yellowlegs Complex C WV ___ Solitary Sandpiper Complex FC M ___ Willet B* H* P* S T* W* Wo* C PR ___ Spotted Sandpiper Complex C M ___ Upland Sandpiper P S T W Wo R M ___ Whimbrel B H P T W Wo U M ___ Long-billed Curlew H R WV ___ Marbled Godwit B P FC WV ___ Ruddy Turnstone B H P T W Wo C PR ___ Red Knot B H P T W Wo FC WV ___ Sanderling B H P T W Wo FC WV/M ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper Complex R M ___ Western Sandpiper B H P S W C PR ___ Least Sandpiper B H P S W Wo C PR ___ White-rumped Sandpiper P S W U M ___ Pectoral Sandpiper B H P S T W Wo FC M ___ Purple Sandpiper T FC WV ___ Dunlin B H P S T W Wo C WV ___ Stilt Sandpiper P S U M ___ Buff-breasted Sandpiper S R M ___ Short-billed Dowitcher Complex C M ___ Long-billed Bowitcher B P S W Wo U M ___ Common Snipe Complex C WV ___ American Woodcock B H P S W FC WV ___ Wilson's Phalarope P S U M
GULLS, TERNS, SKIMMERS, ALLIES REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Parasitic Jaeger B P W R WV ___ Laughing Gull Complex C PR ___ Bonaparte's Gull Complex C WV ___ Ring-billed Gull Complex C PR ___ Herring Gull Complex C PR ___ Great Black-backed Gull B P S T W Wo U WV ___ Gull-billed Tern B H P* S T W Wo FC SR ___ Caspian Tern Complex U SR ___ Royal Tern B H P S T W Wo C PR ___ Sandwich Tern Complex FC SR ___ Common Tern Complex U M ___ Forster s Tern Complex C PR ___ Least Tern Complex* C SR ___ Sooty Tern B P T W Wo R SV ___ Black Tern Complex FC M ___ Black Skimmer Complex C PR
PIGEONS, DOVES REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Rock Dove B H P S T W C PR ___ Mourning Dove B* H* P* S* T W* C PR ___ Common Ground-Dove B* H* P* S* T W* U PR
CUCKOOS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Black-billed Cuckoo S W U M ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo B* H* P* S* T W* C SR
OWLS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Barn Owl B* H P S* W U PR ___ Eastern Screech-Owl B* H* P* S* W* C PR ___ Great Horned Owl B* H* P* S* T W* FC PR ___ Barred Owl B* H* P* S* W* C PR ___ Long-eared Owl P S R WV ___ Short-eared Owl P S U WV
NIGHTJARS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Common Nighthawk B* H* P* S* T W* Wo C SR ___ Chuck-will's-widow B* H* P* S* W* Wo C PR ___ Whip-poor-will B H P S W FC M
SWIFTS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Chimney Swift B* H P* S* T W C SR
HUMMINGBIRDS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Rudy-throated Hummingbird B* H* P* S* T W* Wo C SR
KINGFISHERS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Belted Kingfisher B H P* S* W* Wo C PR
WOODPECKERS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Red-headed Woodpecker B* H* P S W FC PR ___ Red-bellied Woodpecker B* H* P* S* W* C PR ___ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker B H P S W FC WV ___ Downy Woodpecker B* H* P* S* W* C PR ___ Hairy Woodpecker B* H P* S* W FC PR ___ Red-cockaded Woodpecker# S U PR ___ Northern Flicker B* H* P* S* W* C PR ___ Pileated Woodpecker B* H* P* S* T W* C PR
FLYCATCHERS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Eastern Wood-Pewee B* H* P* S* W* C SR ___ Acadian Flycatcher B* P* S* W* C SR ___ Eastern Phoebe B H P S W C WV ___ Great Crested Flycatcher B H* P* S* W* FC SR ___ Eastern Kingbird B H* P* S* W* C SR ___ Gray Kingbird P W U SV
SWALLOWS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Purple Martin B* H P* S* W C SR ___ Tree Swallow B H P S W Wo C PR/M ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow B H P S W C SR ___ Bank Swallow P S U M ___ Barn Swallow B H P S* W C PR
JAYS, CROWS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Blue Jay B H P* S* W* C PR ___ American Crow B* H* P* S* T W* Wo C PR ___ Fish Crow Complex* C PR
CHICADEES, TITMICE REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Carolina Chickadee B* H* P* S* W* C PR ___ Tufted Titmouse B H* P* S* W C PR
NUTHATCHES REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch H P S W U WV ___ White-breasted Nuthatch H P S W FC WV/SR ___ Brown-headed Nuthatch B H P* S* W C PR
CREEPERS, WRENS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Brown Creeper B H P S W U WV ___ Carolina Wren H* P* S* W* C PR ___ House Wren B H P S W C WV ___ Winter Wren B H P S W U WV ___ Sedge Wren B H P S W Wo C WV ___ Marsh Wren Complex* C PR
KINGLETS, GNATCATCHERS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet B H P S W FC WV ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet B H P S W C WV ___ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher B* H* P* S* W* C PR
BLUEBIRDS, THRUSHES REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Eastern Bluebird B* H* P* S* W C PR ___ Veery P S W FC M ___ Gray-cheeked Thrush H P S W FC M ___ Swainson's Thrush H P S W FC M ___ Hermit Thrush B H P S W C WV ___ Wood Thrush H* P* S* W* C SR ___ American Robin B H P S W C WV
MIMIC THRUSHES REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Gray Catbird B H* P* S* W FC PR ___ Northern Mockingbird B* H* P* S* T* W* C PR ___ Brown Thrasher Complex C PR
PIPITS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ American Pipit B H P S U WV
WAXWINGS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Cedar Waxwing B H P S W C WV
SHRIKES REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Loggerhead Shrike B* H* P* S* W C PR
STARLINGS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ European Starling H* P* S* W C PR
VIREOS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ White-eyed Vireo B* H* P* S* W* FC PR ___ Solitary Vireo B H P S W FC WV ___ Yellow-throated Vireo B* H* P* S* W* FC SR ___ Warbling Vireo W U M ___ Philadelphia Vireo P S W U M ___ Red-eyed Vireo B H* P* S* W* C SR
EMBERIZIDS REFUGES ABUND. SEASON ___ Blue-winged Warbler P S R M ___ Golden-winged Warbler P S R M ___ Tennessee Warbler P S R M ___ Orange-crowned Warbler B H P S FC WV ___ Nashville Warbler P W R M ___ Northern Parula B* H* P* S* W* C SR ___ Yellow Warbler B H P S W C M ___ Chestnut-sided Warbler B P S W R M ___ Magnolia Warbler B H P S W U M ___ Cape May Warbler B H P S W FC M ___ Black-throated Blue Warbler B H P S W C M ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler Complex C WV ___ Black-throated Green Warbler B P W U M ___ Blackburnian Warbler B P S W R M ___ Yellow-throated Warbler B* H* P* S* W* C PR ___ Pine Warbler B* H* P* S* W* C PR ___ Prairie Warbler B H P S W C SR ___ Palm Warbler B H P S W C WV ___ Bay-brested Warbler P S R M ___ Blackpoll Warbler B H P S W C M ___ Black-and-white Warbler B H P S W U PR ___ American Redstart B H P S W C M ___ Prothonotary Warbler B H P S* W FC SR ___ Worm-eating Warbler B H P S W U M ___ Swainson's Warbler P S U SR ___ Ovenbird B H P S W C M ___ Northern Waterthrush B H P S W C M ___ Louisiana Waterthrush H P S W U M ___ Kentucky Warbler P S FC SR ___ Connecticut Warbler P W R M ___ Common Yellowthroat B* H* P* S* W* C PR ___ Hooded Warbler B H P S* W C SR ___ Wilson's Warbler P S R M ___ Canada Warbler P W R M ___ Yellow-breasted Chat P* S* C PR ___ Summer Tanager B* H* P* S* W* C SR ___ Scarlet Tanager P S W U M ___ Northern Cardinal B* H* P* S* W* C SR ___ Rose-breasted Grosbeak P S W R M ___ Blue Grosbeak P S W R M ___ Indigo Bunting B H P S* W C SR ___ Painted Bunting B* H* P* S* W* Wo C SR ___ Rufous-sided Towhee B* H* P* S* W* C WV ___ Bachman's Sparrow H S U PR ___ Chipping Sparrow B H P S W C WV ___ Field Sparrow B H P S W C WV ___ Vesper Sparrow B H P S W C WV ___ Savannah Sparrow Complex C WV ___ Grasshopper Sparrow H U WV ___ Henslow's Sparrow P S U WV ___ Sharp-tailed Sparrow B H P T W Wo U WV ___ Seaside Sparrow B* H* P* W* Wo* C PR ___ Fox Sparrow B H P S W FC WV ___ Song Sparrow B H P S W C WV ___ Lincoln's Sparrow H R WV ___ Swamp Sparrow B H P S W C WV ___ White-throated Sparrow B H P S W C WV ___ White-crowned Sparrow S R WV ___ Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) B H P S W C WV ___ Lapland Longspur H R WV ___ Bobolink B H P S W C M ___ Red-winged Blackbird B* H* P* S* T* W* C PR ___ Eastern Meadowlark B* H* P* S* W* C PR ___ Western Meadowlark H S U WV ___ Rusty Blackbird H P S W C WV ___ Brewer's Blackbird P S R WV ___ Boat-tailed Grackle B* H* P* S* T W* Wo C PR ___ Common Grackle B* H* P* S* W* FC PR ___ Brown-headed Cowbird B* H P S W* C PR ___ Orchard Oriole B* H* P* S* W* C SR ___ Baltimore Oriole B P S W FC WV ___ Purple Finch B H P S W C WV ___ Pine Siskin H P S FC WV ___ American Goldfinch B H P S W C WV ___ Evening Grosbeak P S U WV ___ House Sparrow H* P* S* C PR

ACCIDENTALS - These additional 25 species are considered accidental. very rarely seen on the refuge with only one or two sightings:
Wilson's Storm-Petrel                B     P        W
American White Pelican               B     P  S  T  W  Wo
Great Cormorant                      B              W  Wo
Magnificent Frigatebird              B              W  Wo
Reddish Egret                                 S
Roseate Spoonbill                    B  H     S     W
Mute Swan                                     S
Rough-legged Hawk                          P
Limpkin                                       S
Sandhill Crane                          H     S
Red-necked Phalarope                          S
Red Phalarope                                 S     W
Ruff                                          S
Groove-billed Ani                             S
Snowy Owl                                     S
Olive-sided Flycatcher                        S
Vermillion Flycatcher                   H
Western Kingbird                        H     S
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher            B  H
Common Raven                                  S
Sprague's Pipit                         H     S
Clay-colored Sparrow                 B        S
Lark Sparrow                         B
Snow Bunting                                     T
Yellow-headed Blackbird                       S

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.

Acknowledgments

This revised list was developed with assistance form several professional ornithologists and numerous birdwatchers familiar with coastal Georgia/South Carolina birdlife. Dr. Dennis Forsythe, Department of Biology, The Citadel, served as editor of this publication, and provided the relative abundance/seasonal occurrence format utilized to classify listed species. The late Dr. Oliver Austin, Herman Coolidge, and Dr. William Hardy reviewed listings and classifications incorporated into the first edition of the checklist (1987). Their expertise was invaluable in consolidating over twenty years of sighting records for the seven refuges comprising the Savannah Coastal Refuges.

To report unusual sightings, or for further information, contact:

                       Savannah Coastal Refuges
                       Parkway Business Center - Suite 10
                       1000 Business Center Drive
                       Savannah, Georgia 31405
                       Telephone: 912/652-4415

This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  No date.  Birds of the Savannah Coastal 
     Refuges.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  No date.  Birds of the Savannah Coastal 
     Refuges.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govsavannah.htm 
     (Version 22MAY98).

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