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Koyukuk National Wildlife Refuge

Galena, Alaska

The Koyukuk National Wildlife Refuge, located 270 miles west of Fairbanks and just north of the Yukon River, is one of sixteen national wildlife refuges in Alaska managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Within the 4.5 million acre refuge is the expansive forested floodplain of the Koyukuk River which meanders more than 400 miles across the refuge from northeast to southwest to join the Yukon River.

The northern unit of the Innoko Refuge, known locally as the Kaiyuh Flats, is also managed along with the Koyukuk Refuge from the headquarters in Galena, Alaska. Rising to 2000 feet, the gently rolling Kaiyuh Hills form the east and south boundaries and the Yukon River marks the north and west boundaries of this 750,800 acre refuge unit. The Innoko unit can be characterized as a wide lowland interlaced by sloughs, creeks, and lakes.

The wetlands of these refuges are important breeding grounds for many species of waterfowl. Annual refuge duck production averages 125,000. American Wigeon and Lesser Scaup are the most common species. White-fronted and Canada Geese nest on the refuge, as do both Tundra and Trumpeter Swans.

Spring migration begins with the arrival of Rough-legged Hawks, Golden Eagles and Snow Buntings by late March. Most waterfowl arrive in late April and early May. The majority of passerines arrive in May.

Variety in the bird community on the refuge relates directly to its diversity of habitats. Major habitat types include: white and black spruce forest; forests of birch, poplar, aspen; mixed forests; shrub thickets; alpine shrublands; tundra; sphagnum bogs; ponds; lakes; streams and rivers. The forces of fire, erosion/accretion, and flooding alter these habitats to create varying stages of succession to further increase habitat diversity.

The following bird list contains 140 bird species sighted on the Koyukuk National Wildlife Refuge and the Northern Unit of the Innoko National Wildlife Refuge. This list was developed after more than a decade of field observations by biologists and birdwatchers. Any additional recorded observations or information on the breeding status of new species are welcomed.


x - Breeding within or near refuge boundaries

m - Migrant: Not breeding within or near refuge boundaries
r - Rare: Rare occurence, not often seen

LOONS GAVIIFORMES B N ___ Pacific Loon Gavia pacifica x - ___ Red-throated Loon G. stellata x - ___ Common Loon G. immer x -
GREBES PODICIFEDIFORMES B N ___ Horned Grebe Podiceps auritus x - ___ Red-necked Grebe P. grisegena x -
STORM PETRELS PROCELLARIIFORMES B N ___ Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel Oceanodroma furcata - r
WATEPFOWL ANSERIFORMES B N ___ Tundra Swan Cygnus columbianus x - ___ Trumpeter Swan C. buccinator x - ___ Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons x - ___ Snow Goose Chen caerulescens - m ___ Brant Branta bernicla - m ___ Canada Goose B. canadensis x - ___ Green-winged Teal Anas crecca x - ___ Mallard A. platyrhynchos x - ___ Northern Pintail A. acuta x - ___ Blue-winged Teal A. discors no records ___ Northern Shoveler A. clypeata x - ___ Gadwall A. strepera no records ___ American Wigeon A. americana x - ___ Canvasback Aythya valisineria x - ___ Redhead A. americana x - ___ Ring-necked Duck A. collaris x - ___ Greater Scaup A. marila x - ___ Lesser Scaup A. affinis x - ___ Steller's Eider Polysticta stelleri - r ___ Harlequin Duck Histrionicus histrionicus x - ___ Oldsquaw Clangula hyemalis x - ___ Black Scoter Melanitta nigra x - ___ Surf Scoter M. perspicillata x - ___ White-winged Scoter M. fusca x - ___ Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula x - ___ Barrow's Goldeneye B. islandica x - ___ Bufflehead B. albeola x - ___ Common Merganser Mergus merganser no records ___ Red-breasted Merganser M. serrator x -
EAGLES, HAWKS AND FALCONS FALCONIFORMES B N ___ Osprey Pandion haliaetus x - ___ Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus x - ___ Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus x - ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipter striatus x - ___ Northern Goshawk A. gentilis x - ___ Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis x - ___ Rough-legged Hawk B. lagopus - m ___ Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos x - ___ American Kestrel Falco sparverius x - ___ Merlin F. columbarius x - ___ Peregrine Falcon F. peregrinus x - ___ Gyrfalcon F. rusticolus - m
GALLINACEOUS BIRDS GALLIFORMES B N ___ Spruce Grouse Dendragapus canadensis x - ___ Willow Ptarmigan Lagopus lagopus x - ___ Rock Ptarmigan L. mutus x - ___ Ruffed Grouse Bonasa umbellus x - ___ Sharp-tailed Grouse Tympanuchus phasianellus - r
CRANES GRUIFORMES B N ___ Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis x -
SHOREBIRDS, GULLS CHARADRIIFORMES B N ___ Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola - m ___ American Golden Plover P. dominica x - ___ Semipalmated Plover Charadaus semipalmatus x - ___ Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca x - ___ Lesser Yellowlegs T. flavipes x - ___ Solitary Sandpiper T. solitaria x - ___ Wandering Tattler Heteroscelus incanus - m ___ Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia x - ___ Upland Sandpiper Bartramia longicauda - m ___ Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus x - ___ Hudsonian Godwit Limosa haemastica x - ___ Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres - m ___ Black Turnstone A. melanocephala - r ___ Surfbird Aphriza virgata no records ___ Sanderling Calidris alba no records ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper C. pusilla - m ___ Western Sandpiper C. mauri - r ___ Least Sandpiper C. minutilla x - ___ Baird's Sandpiper C. bairdii - m ___ Pectoral Sandpiper C. melanotos - m ___ Buff-breasted Sandpiper Tryngites subruficollis - m ___ Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus - m ___ Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago x - ___ Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus x - ___ Pomarine Jaeger Stercorarius pomarinus - r ___ Parasitic Jaeger S. parasiticus - m ___ Long-tailed Jaeger S. longicaudus x - ___ Bonaparte's Gull Larus philadelphia x - ___ Mew Gull L. canus x - ___ Herring Gull L. argentatus x - ___ Glaucous Gull L. hyperboreus x - ___ Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla - r ___ Ross's Gull Rhodostethia rosea - r ___ Sabine's Gull Xema sabini - m ___ Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea x -
OWLS STRIGIFORMES B N ___ Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus x - ___ Snowy Owl Nyctea scandiaca - m ___ Northern Hawk-Owl Surnia ulula x - ___ Great Gray Owl Strix nebulosa x - ___ Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus x - ___ Boreal Owl Aegolius funereus x -
KINGFISHERS CORACIIFORMES B N ___ Belted Kingfisher Ceryle alcyon x -
WOODPECKERS PICIFORMES B N ___ Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens x - ___ Hairy Woodpecker P. villosus x - ___ Three-toed Woodpecker P. tridactylus x - ___ Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus x -
PASSERINE BIRDS PASSERIFORMES B N ___ Olive-sided Flycatcher Contopus borealis x - ___ Western Wood-Pewee C. sordidulus no records ___ Alder Flycatcher Empidonox alnorum x - ___ Hammond's Flycatcher E. hammondii x - ___ Say's Phoebe Savornis saya - m ___ Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris x - ___ Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor x - ___ Violet-green Swallow T. thalassina x - ___ Bank Swallow Riparia riparia x - ___ Cliff Swallow Hirundo pyrrhonota x - ___ Barn Swallow H. rustica - r ___ Gray Jay Perisoreus canadensis x - ___ Common Raven Corvus corax x - ___ Black-capped Chickadee Parus atricapillus x - ___ Siberian Tit P. cinctus no records ___ Boreal Chickadee P. hudsonicus x - ___ American Dipper Cinclus mexicanus no records ___ Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis no records ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula x - ___ Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe - m ___ Mountain Bluebird Sialia currucoides - r ___ Townsend's Solitaire Myadestes townsendi no records ___ Gray-cheeked Thrush Catharus minimus x - ___ Swainson's Thrush C. ustulatus x - ___ American Robin Turdus migratorius x - ___ Varied Thrush Ixoreus naevius x - ___ Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava no records ___ American Pipit Anthus rubescens x - ___ Bohemian Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus no records ___ Northern Shrike Lanius excubitor x - ___ Orange-crowned Warbler Vermivora celata x - ___ Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia x - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler D. coronata x - ___ Blackpoll Warbler D. striata x - ___ Northern Waterthrush Seiurus noveboracensis x - ___ Wilson's Warbler Wilsonia pusilla x - ___ American Tree Sparrow Spizella arborea x - ___ Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis x - ___ Fox Sparrow Passerella iliaca x - ___ Lincoln's Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii x - ___ Golden-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia atricapilla x - ___ White-crowned Sparrow Z. leucophrys x - ___ Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis x - ___ Lapland Longspur Calcarius lapponicus - m ___ Snow Bunting Plectrophenax nivalis no records ___ Pine Grosbeak Pinicola enucleator x - ___ White-winged Crossbill Loxia leucoptera x - ___ Common Redpoll Carduelis flammea x - ___ Hoary Redpoll C. hornemanni x -

Please address any questions or comments to:
                        Complex Manager
                        Koyukuk/Nowitna NWR Complex
                        P.O. Box 287
                        Galena, Alaska 99741
                        Telephone: 907/656-1231

This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  No date.  Birds of Koyukuk and Northern Unit 
     of the Innoko National Wildlife Refuges, Alaska.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
     Service.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  No date.  Birds of Koyukuk and Northern Unit 
     of the Innoko National Wildlife Refuges, Alaska.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
     Service.  Unpaginated.  Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife 
     Research Center Online. 
     (Version 22MAY98).

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