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Bird Checklists of the United States

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

small state map showing location

Medora, North Dakota


Theodore Roosevelt admired and respected the knowledge of John James Audubon. As a result, he became quite an avid bird watcher and spent much time studying natural history. He wrote, "All I can say is that almost as soon as I began to read at all, I began to read about the natural history of beasts and birds...."

When Roosevelt arrived in the North Dakota Badlands in 1883 for a hunting trip, not only was he struck by the beauty of the area but, as a naturalist, he also found the variety of birdlife exhilarating.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a 70,446 acre park in three units. A variety of habitats make up the park, including native prairie, north- and south-facing slopes, hardwood and juniper draws, sagebrush flats, and undisturbed Little Missouri River bottomland forest.

The occurrence and status of bird species has been changing since the beginning of time. Visiting birders are asked to inform park personnel if a bird of which they have knowledge is new to the list, nesting has been confirmed, or if its status should be changed.

This list includes 186 species which have been observed in Theodore Roosevelt National Park plus 22 species that have not yet been observed but are suspected of occurring since they have been seen in the immediate area. This list includes 69 species that are known to have nested in the park, 39 species that are probable breeders, and 16 species whose nesting status is uncertain.


S - March-May
S - June-July
F - August-November
W - December-February

c - common: abundant in suitable habitats; habitat is widespread
f - fairly common in most suitable habitats: habitat type is strongly represented
u - uncommon: present but not certain to be seen on each trip
r - rare: local occurrence within park, low numbers in area
o - occasional: seen only a few times a season and not every year
ac - accidental: a species out of normal range; very few records; not expected to occur again or occurs very infrequently
s - suspected: not yet observed WITHIN the park or in that season, but has been seen in the area and MAY be present
e - extirpated: no longer occurs in the park but did historically
x - species that are known to have nested in the park. Active nests with eggs or young, adults and dependent young, etc.
y - species suspected to have nested from observation of pair in suitable habitat, singing male, etc.
z - nesting status uncertain


LOONS AND GREBES S S F W ___ Pied-billed Grebe o - s -
PELICANS AND CORMORANTS S S F W ___ American White Pelican u u u - ___ Double-crested Cormorant s - ac -
HERONS AND IBISES S S F W ___ Great Blue Heron (x) f f f - ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron - o - -
WATERFOWL S S F W ___ Tundra Swan (whistling swan) s - s - ___ Snow Goose u - s - ___ Greater White-fronted Goose s - s - ___ Canada Goose (x) f o f o ___ Wood Duck o o s - ___ Green-winged Teal (y) u r s - ___ Mallard (x) f r o s ___ Northern Pintail (z) u r s - ___ Blue-winged Teal (x) f r s - ___ Cinnamon Teal (z) s s s - ___ Northern Shoveler u s s - ___ Gadwall (y) r o s - ___ American Wigeon (y) r o s - ___ Canvasback o s s - ___ Redhead s - s - ___ Ring-necked Duck s - s - ___ Lesser Scaup o s s - ___ Common Goldeneye o - s s ___ Bufflehead s - s - ___ Common Merganser o - s - ___ Ruddy Duck s - s -
VULTURES AND HAWKS S S F W ___ Turkey Vulture (y) u u u - ___ Osprey - - ac - ___ Bald Eagle r s r o ___ Northern Harrier (Marsh Hawk) (x) c f c o ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk (x) u u u o ___ Cooper's Hawk (x) u u u o ___ Northern Goshawk o o s r ___ Swainson's Hawk (y) u u u - ___ Red-tailed Hawk (x) c f c r ___ Ferruginous Hawk (z) r r r - ___ Rough-legged Hawk r - u r ___ Golden Eagle (x) f f f f ___ American Kestrel (x) c f c o ___ Merlin (x) r o r o ___ Peregrine Falcon (z) o o o o ___ Prairie Falcon (x) u u u o
GALLINACEOUS BIRDS S S F W ___ Gray Partridge (y) - - o o ___ Ring-necked Pheasant (x) f f f f ___ Sage Grouse (x) s o s s ___ Greater Prairie-Chicken (z) e e e e ___ Sharp-tailed Grouse (x) f f f f ___ Wild Turkey (x) f f u u
CRANES AND RAILS S S F W ___ Sora (z) o s s - ___ American Coot o - s - ___ Sandhill Crane f - c - ___ Whooping Crane o - o -
PLOVERS AND TURNSTONES S S F W ___ Killdeer (x) f f u - ___ Mountain Plover (y) e e e -
SNIPES, SANDPIPERS, AND STILTS S S F W ___ American Avocet o o s - ___ Greater Yellowlegs s - o - ___ Lesser Yellowlegs s - o - ___ Solitary Sandpiper o - s - ___ Willet o - s - ___ Spotted Sandpiper (y) u u u - ___ Upland Sandpiper (x) u u u - ___ Eskimo Curlew e - e - ___ Long-billed Curlew (z) s o - - ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper s s s - ___ Least Sandpiper - o - - ___ Pectoral Sandpiper s - s - ___ Common Snipe s - s - ___ Wilson's Phalarope s - s -
GULLS AND TERNS S S F W ___ Franklin's Gull o s s - ___ Ring-billed Gull o o s - ___ California Gull s s s - ___ Common Tern s s s - ___ Forster's Tern s s s - ___ Black Tern s s s -
PIGEONS AND CUCKOOS S S F W ___ Rock Dove (y) o o o o ___ Mourning Dove (x) c c c - ___ Passenger Pigeon (z) extinct ___ Black-billed Cuckoo (y) u u s - ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo (y) s o s -
OWLS AND GOATSUCKERS S S F W ___ Barn Owl (y) - o - - ___ Eastern Screech-Owl (y) r r r r ___ Great Horned Owl (x) f f f f ___ Snowy Owl - - s o ___ Burrowing Owl (x) u u u - ___ Great Gray Owl - ac - - ___ Long-eared Owl (y) r r s - ___ Short-eared Owl (z) s o s o ___ Northern Saw-whet Owl (x) - o o o ___ Common Nighthawk (y) f f c - ___ Common Poorwill (y) r u r -
HUMMINGBIRDS AND KINGFISHERS S S F W ___ Ruby-throated Hummingbird o o o - ___ Belted Kingfisher (y) u u u o
WOODPECKERS S S F W ___ Red-headed Woodpecker (x) u u u - ___ Downy Woodpecker (x) f f f f ___ Hairy Woodpecker (x) f f f f ___ Northern Flicker (x) c c c o
FLYCATCHERS S S F W ___ Western Wood-Pewee (x) s o s - ___ Willow Flycatcher (x) s o s - ___ Least Flycatcher (x) u u u - ___ Say's Phoebe (x) u u u - ___ Great Crested Flycatcher o o s - ___ Western Kingbird (x) f f f - ___ Eastern Kingbird (x) c c c - ___ Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - ac - -
LARKS AND SWALLOWS S S F W ___ Horned Lark (y) f f f u ___ Tree Swallow (x) u u u - ___ Violet-green Swallow (x) s r o - ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow (x) f f f - ___ Bank Swallow (x) f f f - ___ Cliff Swallow (x) f f f - ___ Barn Swallow (x) c c c -
JAYS, MAGPIES AND CROWS S S F W ___ Blue Jay (x) u u u o ___ Clark's Nutcracker s - o o ___ Black-billed Magpie (x) f c c f ___ American Crow (x) c f c o ___ Common Raven (z) - e o s
CHICKADEES, NUTHATCHES AND CREEPERS S S F W ___ Black-capped Chickadee (x) c c c c ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch (z) s o s o ___ White-breasted Nuthatch (x) u f u u ___ Brown Creeper s - s o
WRENS AND KINGLETS S S F W ___ Rock Wren (x) c c f - ___ House Wren (x) c c f - ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet s - o - ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet s - o -
THRUSHES AND THRASHERS S S F W ___ Eastern Bluebird (x) u o u - ___ Mountain Bluebird (x) f f f - ___ Townsend's Solitaire s - o r ___ Veery (y) o o s - ___ Gray-cheeked Thrush s - - - ___ Swainson's Thrush o o s - ___ American Robin (x) c c c u ___ Gray Catbird (y) u u s - ___ Brown Thrasher (x) f f u - ___ Mockingbird - ac - -
PIPITS AND WAXWINGS S S F W ___ Sprague's Pipit (y) u u u - ___ Bohemian Waxwing u - u c ___ Cedar Waxwing (x) u f u u
SHRIKES AND STARLINGS S S F W ___ Northern Shrike - - o u ___ Loggerhead Shrike (y) u f u o ___ European Starling (x) u r o r
VIREOS AND WOOD WARBLERS S S F W ___ Solitary Vireo s - s - ___ Yellow-throated Vireo - - ac - ___ Warbling Vireo (y) u f u - ___ Red-eyed Vireo (x) f c f - ___ Tennessee Warbler o - s - ___ Orange-crowned Warbler o - o - ___ Northern Parula ac - - - ___ Yellow Warbler (x) c c c - ___ Black-throated Blue Warbler - ac - - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler f - s - ___ Blackpoll Warbler u o s - ___ Black-and-white Warbler (y) f f f - ___ American Redstart (x) c c c - ___ Ovenbird (x) f f f - ___ Northern Waterthrush s - s - ___ Mourning Warbler o - s - ___ Common Yellowthroat (x) c c c - ___ Wilson's Warbler s - o - ___ Yellow-breasted chat (x) f f f -
TANAGERS, GROSBEAKS AND BUNTINGS S S F W ___ Western Tanager (z) o o - - ___ Rose-breasted Grosbeak (z) o o s - ___ Black-headed Grosbeak (x) f f s - ___ Lazuli Bunting (x) c c f - ___ Indigo Bunting (y) s o s -
TOWHEES, SPARROWS, JUNCOS AND LONGSPURS S S F W ___ Rufous-sided Towhee (x) c c c - ___ American Tree Sparrow f - f r ___ Chipping Sparrow (x) c c c - ___ Clay-colored Sparrow (y) c c c - ___ Brewer's Sparrow (z) s s s - ___ Field Sparrow (x) c c c - ___ Vesper Bparrow (x) c c c - ___ Lark Sparrow (y) f f f - ___ Lark Bunting (y) u r u - ___ Savannah Sparrow (y) s r s - ___ Baird's Sparrow (y) s r s - ___ Grasshopper Sparrow (y) f f u - ___ Fox Sparrow s - s - ___ Song Sparrow (x) u u u - ___ Lincoln's Sparrow s - s - ___ White-throated Sparrow r - o ac ___ White-crowned Sparrow u - u - ___ Harris' Sparrow u - u o ___ Dark-eyed Junco c - c o ___ McCown's Longspur (z) s s s - ___ Lapland Longspur s - s o ___ Smith's Longspur - - o - ___ Chestnut-collared Longspur (y) u u u - ___ Snow Bunting s - o o
MEADOWLARKS, BLACKBIRDS AND ORIOLES S S F W ___ Bobolink (y) s r s - ___ Red-winged Blackbird (y) u u u o ___ Western Meadowlark (x) c c c o ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird (z) s o o - ___ Rusty Blackbird s - s o ___ Brewer's Blackbird (y) u r u o ___ Common Grackle (y) f f f - ___ Brown-headed Cowbird (x) f f u - ___ Orchard Oriole (y) r u u - ___ Northern Oriole (x) f f s -
GROSBEAKS, FINCHES AND REDPOLLS S S F W ___ Rosy Finch - - - o ___ Pine Grosbeak - - - o ___ Purple Finch o - s o ___ Red Crossbill o o s o ___ Common Redpoll s - - f ___ Hoary Redpoll s - - o ___ Pine Siskin (x) o o - o ___ American Goldfinch (y) f f f o ___ Evening Grosbeak o - s o
WEAVER FINCHES S S F W ___ House Sparrow (y) u u u u

For additional information contact:
                 Superintendent
                 Theodore Roosevelt National Park
                 Medora, North Dakota 58645
                 Telephone: 701/623-4466
This resource is based on the following source:
National Park Service.  1992.  Birds of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North 
     Dakota.  Theodore Roosevelt Nature & History Association.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
National Park Service.  1992.  Birds of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North 
     Dakota.  Theodore Roosevelt Nature & History Association.  Unpaginated.  
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govteddyroo.htm  
     (Version 22MAY98).

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