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Bird Checklists of the United States

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

small state map showing location

Chincoteague, Virginia

The topography of Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge consists of wide, sandy beach backed by a series of low dunes which fall away to extensive salt marshes bordering Chincoteague Bay. Some parts of the refuge, particulaly the southern end, also contain extensive areas of pine and oak interspersed with ponds and potholes. Over 2600 acres of shallow freshwater moist soil management units were developed to make the refuge more attractive to waterfowl.

Thousands of brant, geese, and ducks winter on the refuge. Shorebirds are an outstanding feature during spring and fall migrations. Large numbers of herons and egrets can usually be found in the moist soil management units from mid-spring to late fall.

Most of the Maryland portion of Assateague Island is managed by the National Park Service whose policies emphasize maintaining natural habitats. Birds found on the Virginia portion of the island may also be observed in Maryland. Because of the freshwater units, however, the Virginia portion tends to attract larger numbers of birds.

This brochure lists 324 birds that hav been identified on the refuge, and is in accordance with the Sixth American Ornithologists' Union checklist.

Most birds are migratory, therefore, their seasonal occurrence is coded as follows:

s - spring - March - May
S - summer - June - August
F - fall - September - November
W - winter - December - February
* - Birds known to nest on or near the refuge
Italics indicate threatened/endangered species

Relative Abundance
Relative abundance indicated how frequently you might see a bird in its favored habitat.

a - abundant - a species which is very numerous
c - common - likely to be seen or heard in suitable habitat
u - uncommon - present, but not certain to be seen
o - occaisional - seen only a few times during a season
r - rare - may be present but not every year

LOONS - GREBES s S F W ___ Red-throated Loon u - u u ___ Common Loon c r c c ___ Pied-billed Grebe c u c c ___ Horned Grebe c - c c ___ Red-necked Grebe r - r r ___ Eared Grebe - - r -
SHEARWATERS - STORM-PETRELS s S F W ___ Cory's Shearwater r r u - ___ Greater Shearwater r r u - ___ Sooty Shearwater r r u - ___ Wilson's Storm-Petrel r r u -
GANNET - PELICANS - CORMORANTS s S F W ___ Northern Gannet r - - - ___ American White Pelican o o o o ___ Brown Pelican u c u - ___ Great Cormorant r - r r ___ Double-crested Cormorant a c a c
BITTERNS - HERONS - IBISES s S F W ___ American Bittern o o o o ___*Least Bittern u c u - ___ Great Blue Heron c u c c ___ Great Egret c a c u ___ Snowy Egret c a a o ___ Little Blue Heron c c c o ___ Tricolored Heron u c c r ___ Cattle Egret u u c - ___*Green Heron u u u - ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron u c u u ___ Yellow-crowned Night-Heron o u o - ___ White Ibis r r r - ___ Glossy Ibis c a c r
SWANS - GEESE - DUCKS s S F W ___ Tundra Swan c - c c ___*Mute Swan c c c c ___ Greater White-Fronted Goose - - - r ___ Greater Snow Goose c r a a ___ Brant c r c c ___*Canada Goose c c c c ___*Wood Duck u u u r ___ Green-winged Teal c r c c ___*American Black Duck c c c c ___*Mallard c c c c ___ Northern Pintail c r c c ___*Blue-winged Teal c u c r ___ Northern Shoveler c o c c ___*Gadwall c c c c ___ Eurasian Wigeon - - r r ___ American Wigeon c r c c ___ Canvasback r - r r ___ Redhead r - r r ___ Ring-necked Duck r - u u ___ Greater Scaup u - u u ___ Lesser Scaup u - u u ___ Common Eider - - r r ___ Oldsquaw u - u u ___ Black Scoter u - u u ___ Surf Scoter u - u u ___ White-winged Scoter u - u u ___ Common Goldeneye u - u u ___ Bufflehead c r c c ___ Hooded Merganser u - u u ___ Common Merganser - - u u ___ Red-breasted Merganser c r c c ___ Ruddy Duck u o u u
VULTURES - HAWKS - FALCONS s S F W ___ Black Vulture o u u o ___ Turkey Vulture u u u u ___*Osprey c c c - ___*Bald Eagle u o u u ___*Northern Harrier u o u u ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk u - c u ___ Cooper's Hawk u - u u ___ Red-shouldered Hawk o - o o ___*Red-tailed Hawk u o u u ___ Rough-legged Hawk - - - r ___ American Kestrel o r u o ___ Merlin o - u o ___*Peregrine Falcon u u u u
GROUSE - QUAIL - TURKEY s S F W ___ *Northern Bobwhite a a a a
RAILS - CRANES s S F W ___ Yellow Rail - - r - ___ Black Rail r r r - ___ *Clapper Rail c c c u ___ King Rail u u u u ___ *Virginia Rail u u u u ___ Sora o - o - ___ Purple Gallinule - r r - ___ Common Moorhen r o o - ___ American Coot u r u u
PLOVERS - SANDPIPERS s S F W ___ Black-bellied Plover c c c u ___ American Golden Plover r o u - ___*Wilson's Plover u u - - ___ Semipalmated Plover a a c - ___*Piping Plover u u u - ___*Killdeer u c u o ___*American Oystercatcher c c c c ___ Black-necked Stilt r r r - ___ American Avocet o o u r ___ Greater Yellowlegs u c c u ___ Lesser Yellowlegs u c c o ___ Solitary Sandpiper o o o - ___*Willet c c u r ___ Spotted Sandpiper u u u r ___ Upland Sandpiper - r r - ___ Whimbrel c c u r ___ Hudsonian Godwit - u o - ___ Marbled Godwit r u o - ___ Ruddy Turnstone a c c u ___ Red Knot c c u r ___ Sanderling a a c c ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper a a c - ___ Western Sandpiper r c c o ___ Least Sandpiper a c c o ___ White-rumped Sandpiper c u u - ___ Baird's Sandpiper r r o - ___ Pectoral Sandpiper r c c r ___ Dunlin a o a a ___ Curlew Sandpiper r r r - ___ Stilt Sandpiper o c c - ___ Buff-breasted Sandpiper - o u - ___ Ruff r r r - ___ Short-billed Dowitcher a a c c ___ Long-billed Dowitcher u r u o ___ Common Snipe u r u u ___*American Woodcock u u u o ___ Wilson's Phalarope r r r - ___ Red-necked Phalarope o r r -
JAEGERS - GULLS - TERNS - AUKS s S F W ___*Laughing Gull a a a r ___ Black-headed Gull r - r - ___ Bonaparte's Gull u - o u ___ Ring-billed Gull a c a a ___ Herring Gull c c a a ___ Lesser Black-backed Gull - - o - ___ Great Black-backed Gull c c c c ___ Gull-billed Tern u u o - ___ Caspian Tern o u c - ___ Royal Tern c c c r ___ Sandwich Tern r o o - ___ Roseate Tern - r - - ___*Common Tern c c c o ___ Arctic Tern r - - - ___*Forster's Tern c c c r ___*Least Tern c c - - ___ Black Tern r o o - ___*Black Skimmer u c c r
DOVES - CUCKOOS - OWLS - SWIFTS - HUMMINGBIRD s S F W ___ Rock Dove u u u u ___*Mourning Dove c c c c ___*Black-billed Cuckoo o r o - ___*Yellow-billed Cuckoo c c c r ___*Barn Owl o o o o ___*Eastern Screech-Owl c c c c ___*Great Horned Owl c c c c ___ Snowy Owl - - - r ___ Long-eared Owl - - - r ___ Short-eared Owl - - o o ___ Common Nighthawk u c u - ___*Chuck-will's-widow c c - - ___*Chimney Swift c c c - ___*Ruby-throated Hummingbird u u u - ___ Belted Kingfisher u o c u
WOODPECKERS - FLYCATCHERS s S F W ___*Red-headed Woodpecker o o o - ___ Red-bellied Woodpecker o o u u ___ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker o - o - ___*Downy Woodpecker u u u u ___ Hairy Woodpecker o - o o ___*Northern Flicker c c a c ___*Pileated Woodpecker r r r r ___ Olive-sided Flycatcher r - - - ___*Eastern Wood-Pewee c c c - ___ Yellow-bellied Flycatcher o - - - ___*Acadian Flycatcher u u - - ___ Willow Flycatcher u r - - ___ Least Flycatcher r - r - ___*Eastern Phoebe u u c o ___*Great Crested Flycatcher c c c - ___ Western Kingbird - - r - ___*Eastern Kingbird a a c -
LARKS - SWALLOWS - JAYS - CROWS s S F W ___*Horned Lark c u c c ___ Purple Martin c c - - ___*Tree Swallow a c a o ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow r r - - ___ Bank Swallow u o r - ___*Barn Swallow a a a - ___*Blue Jay o o o o ___*American Crow c c c c ___*Fish Crow c c u u
TITMICE - NUTHATCHES - WRENS s S F W ___*Carolina Chickadee c c c c ___ Tufted Titmouse - - r - ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch o r o o ___ White-breasted Nuthatch - - r r ___*Brown-headed Nuthatch u u u u ___ Brown Creeper - r u u ___*Carolina Wren c c c c ___*House Wren c c c r ___ Winter Wren u - c u ___ Sedge Wren o - u u ___ Marsh Wren u u u -
KINGLETS - THRUSHES - THRASHERS s S F W ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet c r c c ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet c r c c ___*Blue-gray Gnatcatcher u u u - ___*Eastern Bluebird r r r r ___ Veery r - u - ___ Bicknell's Thrush o - c - ___ Swainson's Thrush - - c - ___ Hermit Thrush u - c c ___ Wood Thrush u - u - ___*American Robin c c a u ___*Gray Catbird c c c u ___*Northern Mockingbird u u u o ___*Brown Thrasher c c c u
WAXWINGS - SHRIKES - STARLING s S F W ___ American Pipit o - o o ___ Cedar Waxwing u u c u ___*European Starling c c a a
VIREOS - WOOD WARBLERS s S F W ___*White-eyed Vireo c c c - ___ Solitary Vireo r - r - ___ Yellow-throated Vireo r - - - ___ Warbling Vireo r - - - ___ Philadelphia Vireo r - - - ___*Red-eyed Vireo c c c - ___ Blue-winged Warbler r - r - ___ Golden-winged Warbler r - r - ___ Tennessee Warbler - - r - ___ Orange-crowned Warbler - - r r ___ Nashville Warbler - - r - ___*Northern Parula o r o - ___*Yellow Warbler c c r - ___ Chestnut-sided Warbler r - r - ___ Magnolia Warbler u - c - ___ Cape May Warbler - - c - ___ Black-throated Blue Warbler o - c - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler a r a a ___ Black-throated Green Warbler r r r - ___ Blackburnian Warbler r r r - ___ Yellow-throated Warbler u u - - ___*Pine Warbler a a a o ___*Prairie Warbler c c - - ___ Palm Warbler o - a o ___ Bay-breasted Warbler r - r - ___ Blackpoll Warbler u - u - ___ Cerulean Warbler r - r - ___ Black-and-white Warbler u u c - ___ American Redstart u - a - ___ Prothonotary Warbler r r - - ___ Worm-eating Warbler r - r - ___ Swainson's Warbler r - r - ___*Ovenbird u c c - ___ Northern Waterthrush u c c - ___ Louisiana Waterthrush r - r - ___ Kentucky Warbler r r - - ___ Connecticut Warbler r - r - ___*Common Yellowthroat a a a u ___ Hooded Warbler r - - - ___ Wilson's Warbler - - o - ___ Canada Warbler r r r - ___*Yellow-breasted Chat u u o r
TANAGERS - SPARROWS s S F W ___*Summer Tanager o o r - ___ Scarlet Tanager o r u - ___*Northern Cardinal c c c c ___ Rose-breasted Grosbeak u - u - ___*Blue Grosbeak u o o - ___*Indigo Bunting u u u - ___ Dickcissel - r r - ___*Eastern Towhee c c c c ___ American Tree Sparrow - - - o ___*Chipping Sparrow c o c - ___ Clay-colored Sparrow - - r - ___*Field Sparrow c c c o ___ Vesper Sparrow - - o u ___ Lark Sparrow - r r - ___ Savannah Sparrow c u c c ___ Grasshopper Sparrow - r r - ___ Henslow's Sparrow r - r - ___*Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow o c u u ___ Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow - - - r ___*Seaside Sparrow c c c o ___ Fox Sparrow u - u u ___*Song Sparrow c c c c ___ Lincoln's Sparrow r - r - ___ Swamp Sparrow c r c c ___ White-throated Sparrow c - c c ___ White-crowned Sparrow r o o o ___ Dark-eyed Junco u - c u ___ Lapland Longspur - - - o ___ Snow Bunting o - u u
BLACKBIRDS - FINCHES s S F W ___ Bobolink o - u u ___*Red-winged Blackbird a a a a ___*Eastern Meadowlark c c c c ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird r - r - ___ Rusty Blackbird - - o o ___*Boat-tailed Grackle c c c c ___*Common Grackle c c c c ___*Brown-headed Cowbird c c c u ___*Orchard Oriole o o o - ___ Baltimore Oriole o o c - ___ Purple Finch r - o - ___*House Finch u o u - ___ Red Crossbill r - - r ___ Common Redpoll r - - r ___ Pine Siskin o - o o ___*American Goldfinch c c c c ___ Evening Grosbeak r - - r

These additional 30 species have been seen only once or twice on the refuge:

White-faced Ibis                                Elegant Tern                                
Ross' Goose                                     Dovekie
Fulvous Whistling Duck                          Atlantic Puffin
Broad-winged Duck                               Common Ground Dove
Swainson's Hawk                                 Ash-throated Flycatcher
Golden Eagle                                    Gray Kingbird
Mountain Plover                                 Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper                          Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Purple Sandpiper                                Cliff Swallow
Pomarine Jaeger                                 Northern Wheatear
Parasitic Jaeger                                Northern Shrike
Long-tailed Jaeger                              Black-headed Grosbeak
Little Gull                                     Le Conte's Sparrow
Iceland Gull                                    Chestnut-collared Longspur
Glaucous Gull                                   House Sparrow

For further information or to report unusual sightings, please contact:
                 Refuge Manager
                 Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
                 P.O. Box 62
                 Chincoteague, Virginia 23336
                 Telephone: 804/336-6122

Chincoteague is one of more than 500 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The National Wildlife Refuge System is a network of lands and waters managed specifically for the protection of wildlife and wildlife habitat and represents the most comprehensive wildlife resource management program in the world. Units of the system stretch across the United States from northern Alaska to the Florida Keys, and include small islands in the Caribbean and South Pacific. The character of the refuges is as diverse as the nation itself.

The Service also manages National Fish Hatcheries, and provides Federal leadership in habitat protection, fish and wildlife research, technical assistance and the conservation and protection of migratory birds, certain marine mammals and threatened and endangered species.

This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1997.  Birds of Chincoteague National Wildlife 
     Refuge, Virginia.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1997.  Birds of Chincoteague National Wildlife 
     Refuge, Virginia.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     (Version 22MAY98).

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