Birds

  • Acadian flycatcher (Photo by Bill Hubick)
    Acadian flycatcher

    The Acadian flycatcher is a small songbird. It is part of the flycatcher family and can be easily identified by its "peet-sa" song.

  • Atlantic puffin (Photo by Tim Frye/iNaturalist)
    Atlantic puffin

    Designated the official bird of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1992, the Atlantic puffin is one of three species of puffin and the only one that lives along the Atlantic Ocean.

  • Bald eagle (Photo by Bill Hubick)
    Bald eagle

    Majestic in its flight, the bald eagle is an icon of strength and courage, and a beloved symbol in North American culture.

  • Bank swallow (Photo by Joanne Redwood/iNaturalist)
    Bank swallow

    Bank swallows, the smallest swallow in North America, are aerial insectivores. They feed on flying insects and measure approximately 12 to 14 centimetres in length.

  • Barn owl (Photo by Dr. Thomas G. Barnes/University of Kentucky)
    Barn owl

    The characteristic pale, heart-shaped face of the barn owl easily distinguishes it from other owls. These medium-sized owls have a wingspan of 100-125 centimetres (39-49 inches) and weigh less than one kilogram (two pounds).

  • Bicknell's thrush (Photo by Serge Beaudette)
    Bicknell's thrush

    The Bicknell's thrush is the only bird that breeds exclusively in northeastern North America, with up to four males tending to a single nest. This bird prefers cool, wet and windy forests. Its large eyes have been adapted to help it see in dark, dense habitats.

  • Bobolink (Photo by Bill Hubick)
    Bobolink

    An unmistakable bird on the grasslands, the male bobolink’s plumage resembles a tuxedo worn backwards. The male’s call is a bubbly, tinkling song with sharp notes sung both from perches and during aerial displays.

  • Brown-headed cowbird (Photo by Stephen Davis)
    Brown-headed cowbird

    The brown-headed cowbird is a blackbird found in nearly all of Canada, near livestock, birdfeeders and forest edges.

  • Burrowing owls (Photo by Don Dabbs)
    Burrowing owl

    The burrowing owl is easily recognized by its long legs, short tail and small size, and can often be found standing on fence posts or on the ground foraging for mice, grasshoppers and other insects.

  • Canada goose (Photo by Helen Jones)
    Canada goose

    Quite possibly the most familiar bird species to Canadians, Canada geese roam around parks, lakes and wetlands in the spring and summer. But there are many things that you might not know about this iconic bird.

  • Cerulean warbler (Photo by Bill Hubick)
    Cerulean warbler

    The cerulean warbler is an evasive bird, often heard but rarely seen because it lives in the tops of the tallest trees, flitting from branch to branch as it forages for food.

  • Chestnut-collared longspur (Photo by Christian Artuso, iNaturalist, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
    Chestnut-collared longspur

    The chestnut-collared longspur is a medium-sized songbird with a stout bill. The longspur refers to the long claw on its hind toe.

  • Clark's nutcracker (Photo by Paul Turbitt)
    Clark's nutcracker

    Through the summer months, Clark's nutcrackers supplement their diet with insects and berries but, come early fall, they start to collect and store their favourite food: the seeds of limber and whitebark pine.

  • Loon (Photo by Karol Dabbs)
    Common loon

    Did you know that the loon is the official bird of the province of Ontario? Considered a symbol of wilderness and solitude, the common loon is known for its haunting voice.

  • Common tern (Photo by Bill Hubick)
    Common tern

    A tern is like a small gull, only much more elegant and streamlined. Terns swoop and dive into water to feed on small fish.

  • Eastern loggerhead shrike (Photo by Dave Menke, courtesy of USFWS)
    Eastern loggerhead shrike

    The loggerhead shrike, one of the fastest-declining bird species in North America, is a unique songbird. Don’t be fooled by its delicate appearance, though; the loggerhead shrike hunts like a bird of prey.

  • Eastern whip-poor-will (Photo by popb25, iNaturalist, CC-BY-NC 4.0)
    Eastern whip-poor-will

    Like most nightjars, eastern whip-poor-will is a nocturnal and well-camouflaged species. It is rarely seen, and often only identified by its distinctive, three-syllabled “WHIP-poor-WEEL” call during the spring and summer.

  • Golden eagle (Photo by NCC)
    Golden eagle

    The golden eagle is one of the biggest and fastest birds of prey in North America, weighing 2.5 to seven kilograms and diving at speeds of over 240 kilometres per hour. It is also the world’s most common official national animal. It is an emblem in Albania, Germany, Austria, Mexico and Kazakhstan.

  • Golden-winged warbler (Photo by Christian Artuso)
    Golden-winged warbler

    Measuring only 11 centimetres long, this tiny bird travels all the way from its wintering grounds in Central and South America to spend the warmer months in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

  • Great blue heron on shore (Photo by Karol Dabbs)
    Great blue heron

    The great blue heron is the largest heron found in Canada. This colonial-nesting waterbirds is characterized by its long neck, long legs and short tail, and a greyish-blue upper body with black and white markings on its crown and under parts.

  • Great horned owl (Photo by Bill Hubick)
    Great horned owl

    The great horned owl, the most common owl in the Americas, can be distinguished from other owl species by the lengthy, feathered tufts on its head, called “plumicorns.” It also has a speckled, grey-brown body, reddish-brown face and white patches on its throat.

  • Sage-grouse (Photo by Gordon Court)
    Greater sage-grouse

    The greater sage-grouse performs a courtship ritual that at first glance resembles a dance. As the males strut, they inflate and deflate their throat sacs with a popping sound, throwing their heads back, spreading their wings and fanning out their tails.

  • Haida Gwaii saw-whet owl, BC (Photo by Brendan Lally)
    Haida Gwaii saw-whet owl

    There are two subspecies of the northern saw-whet owl: the common northern saw-whet owl, found throughout North America, and the threatened Haida Gwaii saw-whet owl, found only on the Queen Charlotte Islands, off the northwest coast of British Columbia.

  • Ivory gull (Photo by Will Sweet/Wikimedia Commons)
    Ivory gull

    The ivory gull can be identified by its striking pure-white colour and small size, with a body shape similar to a pigeon.

  • Lewis's woodpecker (Photo by iStock)
    Lewis's woodpecker

    A masterful aerial forager, Lewis’s woodpecker finds food in sky-high fashion, not what you would expect from a typical woodpecker, which excavates wood-boring insects from trees. Instead, this species has adapted for fly-catching — perching on tree tops and watching eagle-eyed for the right moment to swoop in with laser-precision to catch its prey.

  • McCown's longspur (Photo by Alan MacKeigan)
    McCown's longspur

    An uncommon sight but a truly rewarding one if you are lucky to catch a glimpse, the McCown’s longspur puts on an aerial courtship display that rivals the best of human acrobats. Like a parachuter keen to impress, displaying males fly up while singing a warbling song and “float” gently back to the ground with spread wings and fanned tail, still in song.

  • Mountain bluebird (Photo by Allison Haskell)
    Mountain bluebird

    Mountain bluebirds are small members of the thrush family and feature long wings and tails. Males are a striking cerulean to turquoise blue on top with pale blue breasts and white undersides.

  • Olive-sided flycatcher (Photo by R. Hocken)
    Olive-sided flycatcher

    The olive-sided flycatcher is best known for its song, which is a loud, three-note whistle that sounds like “quick, three beers.” They are often seen perched on top of tall coniferous trees or dead snags, where they patiently wait for flying insects (their prey) to fly by.

  • Peregrine falcon (Photo by Jean-François Plouffe)
    Peregrine falcon

    Gaze skyward on a clear day and you might notice a crow-sized, hawk-like silhouette on the edge of a high-rise or cliff. You might be looking at a peregrine falcon.

  • Piping plover (Photo by Ian Sadler)
    Piping plover

    The piping plover is an endangered shorebird that relies on sand and pebble beaches and saline wetlands.

  • Prothonotary warbler (Photo by Bill Hubick)
    Prothonotary warbler

    A dazzling flash of gold darts about in the understory of swampy woodlands. The “zweet zweet” calls can be heard echoing through the trees. The prothonotary warbler is named for its bright plumage, which resembles the yellow robes worn by prothonotaries of the Roman Catholic church.

  • Red-tailed hawk (Photo by Bill Hubick)
    Red-tailed hawk

    This fearsome bird of prey is the most prevalent North American hawk. You have probably heard its hair-raising, hoarse screech before, as filmmakers often use a recording of its call when hawks or eagles of any species appear in a movie.

  • Semipalmated sandpiper (Photo by Denis Doucet)
    Semipalmated sandpiper

    The semipalmated sandpiper is a small shorebird with a short neck, long, black legs and a thin blunt-tipped bill. It is named for the partial webbing between its toes (“palmated” means “webbed”).

  • Short-eared owl (Photo by Gregory Johnston)
    Short-eared owl

    Almost anywhere around the world, you may come across a short-eared owl. This medium-sized bird has one of the largest distributions of any bird species. It is found on all continents except Antarctica and Australia.

  • Snowy owl (Photo by Chris Moncrieff)
    Snowy owl

    One of Canada’s most recognizable owls due to its snowy-white plumage, the aptly named snowy owl is an enduring symbol of Canada’s North.

  • Sprague's pipit, Shoe Lake West, SK (Photo by Stephen Davis)
    Sprague's pipit

    The Sprague’s pipit, a type of songbird, is known for having the longest known flight display of any other bird species. Males often display for about half an hour while airborne, and one was even recorded displaying for three hours.

  • Tree swallow (Photo by Hugh Vandervoort)
    Tree swallow

    The tree swallow is an eye-catching bird with a shimmering blue back and pure white front. Its flight feathers are black and they have a narrow, black eye mask.

  • Trumpeter swan family (Photo by Karol Dabbs)
    Trumpeter swan

    The statuesque trumpeter swan stands between 60 to 72 inches tall and has a distinguishing bugling, low-pitched voice, hence its name.

  • Turkey vulture (Photo by Bill Hubick)
    Turkey vulture

    Adult turkey vultures are very large birds with long, broad wings, mostly dark brown feathers and sharply hooked white bills.

  • Female western bluebird (Photo by Bill Pennell)
    Western bluebird

    The western bluebird is a small thrush, easily recognized by its bright blue and rust plumage, with males much brighter than the grayish-brown females.

  • Western bluebird (Photo by Tim Zurowski)
    Western bluebird (coastal population)

    Known as the harbinger of spring, the western bluebird’s subtle song can be heard as the weather warms and wildflowers start blooming in western Canada.

  • Western screech owl (Photo by Josh Shaw)
    Western screech-owl

    Western screech-owls have relatively large, yellow eyes and what look like pointy ears on the top of their heads.

  • Whooping crane (Photo from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services/Flickr)
    Whooping crane

    Whooping cranes are birds of large stature — their long neck, slender body and long legs put them at about 1.5 metres tall, and, in flight, their wingspan can measure more than 2.1 metres.

  • Adult wood thrush at her nest (Photo by Sue Hayes)
    Wood thrush

    The wood thrush is a medium-sized songbird, whose beautiful "eee-o-lay" call rings out through the deciduous forests of southeastern Canada.

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