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Bird Checklists of the United States

White River National Wildlife Refuge

De Witt, Arkansas


White River National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1935, contains one of the largest tracts of bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the Mississippi River Valley. Located in the floodplain of the lower White River, just a few miles above its confluence with the Mississippi River, the 112,399-acre refuge is from three to ten miles wide and extends along the White River for approximately 65 miles. Flooding from the White and Mississippi Rivers may occur at any time but is most prevalent during late winter and early spring.

A wide array of wildlife including black bear, wild turkey, and white-tailed deer find homes in the refuge forestlands. Thousands of ducks and geese winter on the area and wood ducks occur yearround. Large numbers of bald eagles are present during the winter months, and in 1982 the first successful nesting by bald eagles in Arkansas in approximately 30 years occurred on the refuge.

The refuge is open to the general public from March 1 through October 31 of each year. Special permission is required to enter during the remaining months. A number of primitive campgrounds are available for public use. Because of the problem with flooding, visitors are encouraged to contact the refuge manager immediately prior to visiting to determine flood conditions.

This brochure lists 231 species of birds recorded on the refuge since 1936. The names used are those recommended by the American Ornithologists' Union (A.O.U.) in accordance with the Sixth (1983) A.O.U. Checklist. Visitors are requested to report any observations which would add to this list or which would provide better information on seasonal abundance and nesting occurrence.


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

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

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
* - nests locally


LOONS Sp S F W ___ Common Loon o - - o
GREBES Sp S F W ___ Pied-billed Grebe* u u u u
PELICANS Sp S F W ___ American White Pelican o - o -
CORMORANTS Sp S F W ___ Double-crested Cormorant u - u o
ANHINGA Sp S F W ___ Anhinga u u u -
HERONS, BITTERNS, IBISES, STORKS Sp S F W ___ American Bittern u - u - ___ Least Bittern* o o o r ___ Great Blue Heron u u u u ___ Great Egret u u u - ___ Snowy Egret r r r - ___ Little Blue Heron c c c - ___ Tricolored Heron - - r - ___ Cattle Egret c u c - ___ Green Heron* u u u - ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron o r o - ___ Yellow-crowned Night-Heron* u u u - ___ White Ibis - r r - ___ Wood Stork - - r -
DUCKS, GEESE, SWANS Sp S F W ___ Tundra Swan - - - r ___ Greater White-Fronted Goose - - r u ___ Snow Goose c - c u ___ Canada Goose c - c c ___ Wood Duck* c c c c ___ Green-winged Teal c - c u ___ American Black Duck o - u u ___ Mallard a o a a ___ Northern Pintail o - u u ___ Blue-winged Teal c - c r ___ Northern Shoveler u - u u ___ Gadwall u - c c ___ American Wigeon c - c c ___ Canvasback o - u u ___ Redhead u - o u ___ Ring-necked Duck u - c c ___ Lesser Scaup o - u u ___ Common Goldeneye o - - o ___ Bufflehead o - o o ___ Hooded Merganser* u u u u ___ Common Merganser r - - - ___ Red-breasted Merganser r - r - ___ Ruddy Duck u - u u
VULTURES Sp S F W ___ Black Vulture u u u u ___ Turkey Vulture u u u u
EAGLES, OSPREY Sp S F W ___ Osprey u o u r ___ Mississippi Kite* o u u - ___ Bald Eagle* u o o u ___ Northern Harrier u - c c ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk u - u o ___ Cooper's Hawk o - o o ___ Red-shouldered Hawk* u u u u ___ Broad-winged Hawk* u u - - ___ Swainson's Hawk r - r - ___ Red-tailed Hawk* c u c c ___ Rough-legged Hawk - - - r ___ Golden Eagle o - o o
FALCONS Sp S F W ___ American Kestrel* c o o c ___ Peregrine Falcon - - - r
TURKEY, QUAIL Sp S F W ___ Wild Turkey* c c c c ___ Northern Bobwhite* u u u u
RAILS, GALLINULES, COOTS, SORA Sp S F W ___ King Rail* o o o o ___ Virginia Rail o - o o ___ Sora o - o - ___ Purple Gallinule* o o o - ___ Common Moorhen* u u u - ___ American Coot u o u o
SHOREBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Black-bellied Plover u - u - ___ American Golden Plover o - - - ___ Semipalmated Plover u - u - ___ Killdeer* c c c c ___ Greater Yellowlegs u u u - ___ Lesser Yellowlegs u u u - ___ Solitary Sandpiper u u u - ___ Spotted Sandpiper u u u - ___ Upland Sandpiper u - o - ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper u u u - ___ Western Sandpiper u o u r ___ Least Sandpiper c u c r ___ Pectoral Sandpiper c u c r ___ Stilt Sandpiper r r r - ___ Short-billed Dowitcher o o o - ___ Long-billed Dowitcher o o o - ___ Common Snipe c - - c ___ American Woodcock* o o o u ___ Wilson's Phalarope - r r -
GULLS, TERNS Sp S F W ___ Ring-billed Gull o - u u ___ Herring Gull o - o o ___ Caspian Tern r r r - ___ Least Tern r r - - ___ Black Tern o u o -
DOVES Sp S F W ___ Rock Dove o o o o ___ Mourning Dove* a c a c
CUCKOOS Sp S F W ___ Black-billed Cuckoo r - - - ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo* c c o -
OWLS Sp S F W ___ Barn Owl r r r r ___ Eastern Screech-Owl* o o u u ___ Great Horned Owl* u u u u ___ Barred Owl* c c c c ___ Short-eared Owl o - - o
GOATSUCKERS, SWIFTS, HUMMINGBIRDS, KINGFISHERS Sp S F W ___ Common Nighthawk* u u u - ___ Chuck-will's-widow* u u - - ___ Whip-poor-will o - o - ___ Chimney Swift* c c c - ___ Ruby-throated Hummingbird* c c c - ___ Belted Kingfisher* u u u u
WOODPECKERS Sp S F W ___ Red-headed Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Red-bellied Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker u - u c ___ Downy Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Hairy Woodpecker* u u u u ___ Northern Flicker* c c c c ___ Pileated Woodpecker* c c c c
FLYCATCHERS Sp S F W ___ Eastern Wood-Pewee* c c c - ___ Acadian Flycatcher* c c - - ___ Eastern Phoebe u - o u ___ Great Crested Flycatcher* c c - - ___ Eastern Kingbird* c u c -
LARK, SWALLOWS, JAY, CROWS Sp S F W ___ Horned Lark* c u c a ___ Purple Martin* u u o - ___ Tree Swallow a - c - ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow* c c c - ___ Bank Swallow r - r - ___ Cliff Swallow o o r - ___ Barn Swallow* c c c - ___ Blue Jay* c c c c ___ American Crow o r o o ___ Fish Crow* u u u o
CHICKADEES, TITMICE, NUTHATCHES, CREEPER Sp S F W ___ Carolina Chickadee* c c c c ___ Tufted Titmouse* c c c c ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch - - - r ___ White-breasted Nuthatch* u u u u ___ Brown Creeper o - o u
WRENS Sp S F W ___ Carolina Wren* c c c c ___ Bewick's Wren u r u u ___ House Wren u - u o ___ Winter Wren u - u u ___ Sedge Wren o - o r ___ Marsh Wren o - o r
GNATCATCHERS AND KINGLETS Sp S F W ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet c - u c ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet c - c c ___ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher* c c - -
THRUSHES, MOCKINGBIRD, THRASHER Sp S F W ___ Eastern Bluebird* u u u u ___ Gray-cheecked Thrush o - o - ___ Swainson's Thrush u - o - ___ Hermit Thrush c - o c ___ Wood Thrush* c c c - ___ American Robin* c u u a ___ Gray Catbird* o o o r ___ Northern Mockingbird* u u c c ___ Brown Thrasher* c u c c
PIPITS, WAXWINGS, SHRIKE, STARLING Sp S F W ___ American Pipit o - r o ___ Sprague's Pipit r - - r ___ Cedar Waxwing c - o c ___ Loggerhead Shrike* u u u c ___ European Starling* a c a a
VIREOS, WARBLERS Sp S F W ___ White-eyed Vireo* c c u - ___ Bell's Vireo r r - - ___ Solitary Vireo u - u r ___ Yellow-throated Vireo* c c o - ___ Warbling Vireo o r o - ___ Philadelphia Vireo o - o - ___ Red-eyed Vireo* c c u - ___ Blue-winged Warbler o - o - ___ Golden-winged Warbler r - - - ___ Tennessee Warbler c - - - ___ Orange-crowned Warbler r - - r ___ Nashville Warbler c - u - ___ Northern Parula* c c c - ___ Yellow Warbler o - o - ___ Chestnut-sided Warbler u - r - ___ Magnolia Warbler c - u - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler c - c a ___ Black-throated Green Warbler o - o - ___ Blackburnian Warbler o - o - ___ Yellow-throated Warbler* u u - - ___ Prairie Warbler o - - - ___ Palm Warbler r - r - ___ Bay-breasted Warbler u - - - ___ Blackpoll Warbler r - - - ___ Cerulean Warbler* u u u - ___ Black-and-white Warbler u o - - ___ American Redstart* u o u - ___ Prothonotary Warbler* c c - - ___ Worm-eating Warbler u - u - ___ Swainson's Warbler* u u - - ___ Ovenbird c - - - ___ Northern Waterthrush u - o - ___ Louisiana Waterthrush* c u u - ___ Kentucky Warbler* c c u - ___ Common Yellowthroat* u u u - ___ Hooded Warbler* c c u - ___ Wilson's Warbler r - - - ___ Canada Warbler r - - - ___ Yellow-breasted Chat* c c c -
TANAGERS, GROSBEAKS, BUNTINGS, SPARROWS Sp S F W ___ Summer Tanager* c c c - ___ Scarlet Tanager o r o - ___ Northern Cardinal* c c c c ___ Rose-breasted Grosbeak u - u - ___ Blue Grosbeak* u o o - ___ Indigo Bunting* c c c - ___ Painted Bunting r - - - ___ Dickcissel* a c c - ___ Rufous-sided Towhee* u u u u ___ Chipping Sparrow o o o r ___ Field Sparrow* c c c c ___ Vesper Sparrow u - u u ___ Lark Sparrow r r r - ___ Savannah Sparrow u - u c ___ Le Conte's Sparrow r - r r ___ Sharp-tailed Sparrow r - - - ___ Fox Sparrow o - o u ___ Song Sparrow c - c c ___ Lincoln's Sparrow o - - o ___ Swamp Sparrow c - c c ___ White-throated Sparrow a - a a ___ White-crowned Sparrow c - - c ___ Harris' Sparrow - - - r ___ Dark-eyed Junco a - c a ___ Lapland Longspur r - - r
BOBOLINK, MEADOWLARK, BLACKBIRDS, ORIOLES Sp S F W ___ Bobolink u - u - ___ Red-winged Blackbird* a a a a ___ Eastern Meadowlark* u u u u ___ Rusty Blackbird o - - o ___ Brewer's Blackbird o - - o ___ Common Grackle* c c a a ___ Brown-headed Cowbird* c c c a ___ Orchard Oriole* c c c - ___ Northern Oriole* u u u -
FINCHES, HOUSE SPARROW Sp S F W ___ Purple Finch u - - u ___ Pine Siskin o - - o ___ American Goldfinch c r c c ___ House Sparrow* u u c c
These additional species are of such accidental or rare occurrence on the White River National Wildlife Refuge that they have seldom been recorded more than one or two times.
Brown Pelican                           Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Cinnamon Teal                           Pine Warbler             
Greater Scaup                           Bachman's Sparrow        
Merlin                                  American Tree Sparrow    
Yellow Rail                             Western Meadowlark       
Black Rail                              Boat-tailed Grackle      
Common Ground-Dove

To report observations or to obtain further information, contact:

                      Refuge Manager
                      White River National Wildlife Refuge
                      P.O. Box 308
                      De Witt, Arkansas 72042
                      Telephone: 501/946-1468

This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1985.  Birds of White River National Wildlife 
     Refuge, Arkansas.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1985.  Birds of White River National Wildlife 
     Refuge, Arkansas.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govwhitrivr.htm 
     (Version 22MAY98).

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