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Top 15 Types Of Birds In Oklahoma (with Photos)

Oklahoma, often referred to as the 'Sooner State,' is not only known for its vast plains and rugged landscapes but also for its diverse bird population. From the majestic Bald Eagle soaring high above the lakes to the vibrant feathers of the Painted Bunting, Oklahoma provides a haven for a myriad of bird species.

As we navigate through the intriguing world of avian life in this region, we will uncover the fascinating characteristics, unique behaviors, and captivating stories behind these feathered creatures.

So, join me on this journey as we unravel the secrets of the types of birds that call Oklahoma home.

American Goldfinch

bright yellow bird with black

The American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) is a common bird species found in Oklahoma, known for its vibrant yellow plumage and distinctively cheerful song.

This small passerine bird typically measures around 11 to 14 centimeters in length and weighs approximately 12 to 18 grams.

The American Goldfinch has a wide distribution across North America, including Oklahoma, where it can be found in a variety of habitats such as open fields, meadows, and grasslands. It is often seen near water sources, as it requires a constant supply of fresh water for survival.

In terms of diet, the American Goldfinch primarily feeds on seeds, particularly those of thistles and sunflowers. Its specialized bill allows it to efficiently extract the seeds from the plant heads.

Additionally, during the breeding season, the American Goldfinch also includes insects in its diet to provide essential protein for its young.

Bald Eagle

national bird of america

A majestic symbol of strength and freedom, the Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a prominent bird species found in Oklahoma, known for its impressive wingspan and distinctive white head. These birds inhabit various habitats including forests, wetlands, and areas near large bodies of water, such as lakes and rivers. The bald eagle's preferred nesting sites are tall trees near water bodies, providing them with easy access to food sources like fish.

Bald eagles have faced numerous challenges in the past, including habitat loss and degradation, hunting, and the use of pesticides like DDT. However, extensive conservation efforts have been put in place to protect and restore their populations. These efforts include the preservation and restoration of natural habitats, the regulation of hunting and fishing practices, and the banning of harmful pesticides.

Thanks to these conservation measures, the bald eagle population in Oklahoma has rebounded significantly in recent decades. Today, they serve as a testament to the power of conservation and the importance of protecting our natural environment.

Northern Cardinal

bright red bird species

With its vibrant red plumage and distinctive crest, the Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) is a striking bird species commonly found in the state of Oklahoma. Known for its melodious song and beautiful appearance, the Northern Cardinal is a favorite among birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike.

This species exhibits interesting mating rituals, with the male bird attracting a mate through a combination of singing and displays of courtship. The male cardinal will puff out its chest, lift its crest, and hop around the female, demonstrating its fitness and attractiveness.

As for migration patterns, Northern Cardinals are generally non-migratory birds. They tend to stay in their breeding range year-round, which includes Oklahoma. However, some individuals may make short-distance seasonal movements in search of food or to escape extreme weather conditions.

Eastern Bluebird

vibrant blue bird species

The Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis), a small migratory thrush species, is a delightful sight often observed in the state of Oklahoma. These birds can be found in a variety of habitats, including open woodlands, orchards, and fields with scattered trees. They prefer areas with short grass and open spaces, where they can easily spot insects and other small prey.

Eastern bluebirds also require nesting sites such as tree cavities, abandoned woodpecker holes, or nest boxes. Their diet primarily consists of insects, including beetles, grasshoppers, and caterpillars. They also feed on berries and fruits, particularly during the winter months when insects are scarce.

Red-winged Blackbird

bird with red wings

The Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) is a common sight throughout the state of Oklahoma, known for its striking appearance and distinct song. These birds can be found in a variety of habitats, including marshes, wetlands, and grasslands. They are often seen perched on cattails or in tall grasses, where they build their nests.

Red-winged Blackbirds are highly social and form large flocks during the breeding season. Males are known for their vibrant red and yellow shoulder patches, which they display to defend their territory and attract mates. Females, on the other hand, have a more subdued brown coloration.

Conservation efforts for the Red-winged Blackbird focus on protecting their wetland habitats and managing grasslands to provide suitable nesting sites. By preserving these habitats, we can ensure the continued presence of these iconic birds in Oklahoma.

Western Meadowlark

bird with yellow throat

After discussing the Red-winged Blackbird, it is important to now turn our attention to the Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta), a distinctive bird species commonly found in Oklahoma.

The Western Meadowlark is known for its bright yellow underparts and black V-shaped bib on its chest. This species primarily inhabits grasslands, prairies, and open fields, where it can find its preferred habitat. They are well adapted to these areas, as their diet consists mainly of insects, spiders, and seeds.

Western Meadowlarks are ground foragers, using their long, pointed bills to probe the soil for insects and their strong legs for running and hopping across the ground. Their diet also includes grasses and weeds, which provide the necessary nutrients for their survival.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

distinctive bird with long tail

The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus) is a unique and elegant bird species commonly found in Oklahoma, known for its long, distinctive tail feathers.

This species has specific habitat preferences, typically found in open grasslands, pastures, and agricultural fields with scattered trees for perching and nesting. They are also known to inhabit urban areas with suitable habitat.

During the breeding season, male Scissor-tailed Flycatchers engage in elaborate courtship displays to attract females. These displays include aerial acrobatics, fluttering their wings, and spreading their striking tail feathers.

Once a mate is selected, the female builds a cup-shaped nest in a tree or shrub, using materials such as grass, twigs, and hair. The female then lays a clutch of 3-6 eggs, which she incubates for about two weeks.

Both parents are involved in feeding and caring for the chicks until they fledge around 18-21 days after hatching.

Great Horned Owl

feathered predator of night

During the breeding season, another fascinating bird species that can be found in Oklahoma is the Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus), a formidable predator known for its distinctive horn-like tufts of feathers on its head.

The Great Horned Owl is a large bird, measuring around 22 inches in length, with a wingspan of up to 4 feet. This species is known to inhabit a wide range of habitats, including forests, woodlands, and even urban areas. They are adaptable and can thrive in both open and closed environments.

In terms of diet, the Great Horned Owl is a versatile predator. They primarily feed on small mammals such as rabbits, mice, and voles, but they are also known to prey on birds, reptiles, amphibians, and even larger mammals like skunks and raccoons.

Their exceptional hunting skills, combined with their ability to camouflage in their surroundings, make them one of the top predators in the Oklahoma ecosystem.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

small bird with red throat

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) is a fascinating avian species known for its vibrant plumage and unique feeding behavior. These tiny birds are found primarily in eastern North America, including Oklahoma, during the breeding season.

One of the remarkable aspects of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is its migration patterns. Every year, these birds undertake an incredible journey, traveling up to 2,000 miles from their breeding grounds in North America to their wintering grounds in Central America and Mexico. This remarkable feat is made possible by their efficient flight capabilities and their ability to store fat as fuel.

In addition to their impressive migration, the feeding habits of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird are equally intriguing. These birds have a specialized long, slender bill that allows them to extract nectar from flowers. They are also known to catch insects in mid-air, providing an important source of protein. To fuel their high energy needs, they consume nectar from a variety of flowering plants, including native Oklahoma species such as trumpet vine, cardinal flower, and bee balm.

This unique feeding behavior not only sustains the Ruby-throated Hummingbird but also serves as an essential pollinator for these plants.

American Robin

common north american songbird

A common sight in Oklahoma's avian landscape, the American Robin (Turdus migratorius) distinguishes itself with its distinctive orange-red breast and melodious song. This medium-sized songbird has a gray-brown back and a white belly. The American Robin is known for its migratory behavior, with individuals typically spending their summers in Oklahoma and then migrating south to Mexico for the winter. During their time in Oklahoma, American Robins build cup-shaped nests made of twigs, grass, and mud, usually placed on tree branches or ledges. Their diet consists mainly of insects, earthworms, berries, and fruits. American Robins are important seed dispersers, as they consume a variety of fruits and excrete the seeds elsewhere, aiding in plant propagation.

Identification Migration Patterns
Orange-red breast Summer in Oklahoma
Gray-brown back Winter in Mexico
Melodious song
Nesting Habits Diet
Cup-shaped nests Insects
Made of twigs, grass, and mud Earthworms
Placed on tree branches or ledges Berries and fruits

Northern Mockingbird

versatile songbird with mimicry

The Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) is a highly versatile and adaptable species of songbird found in Oklahoma. Known for its remarkable ability to mimic other bird songs and even sounds from its environment, the Northern Mockingbird has a diverse range of vocalizations. This bird is typically found in open habitats such as fields, parks, and suburban areas.

It is known to be an excellent singer, often singing throughout the day and night. The Northern Mockingbird is territorial and will fiercely defend its nesting territory. It is a highly intelligent and curious bird, often observed imitating sounds of other animals and even car alarms.

Its diet primarily consists of insects, fruits, and berries. The Northern Mockingbird is a year-round resident in Oklahoma and is a common sight in urban and rural areas alike.

Painted Bunting

colorful bird species

Painted Buntings (Passerina ciris) are vibrant and colorful songbirds commonly found in Oklahoma. These small birds are known for their striking plumage, with the males displaying a combination of bright blue, green, and red feathers. Painted Buntings prefer open woodlands and brushy habitats, where they can find a mix of dense vegetation and open areas for foraging. They feed primarily on seeds, fruits, and insects.

Conservation efforts for the Painted Bunting have focused on protecting and restoring their preferred habitats, as well as raising awareness about the threats they face. The population trends of Painted Buntings in Oklahoma have shown some decline in recent years, likely due to habitat loss and fragmentation. Efforts are being made to conserve and restore suitable habitats to ensure the long-term survival of this beautiful species.

It is important to continue monitoring their population trends and implementing conservation strategies to protect these colorful birds for future generations to enjoy.

Killdeer

bird with false injury

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) are a species of small and highly adaptable shorebirds commonly found in Oklahoma. These birds are known for their distinctive appearance and unique behaviors.

One important aspect of the killdeer's life is its nesting habits, which have a significant impact on their survival. Killdeer typically build their nests on the ground, often in open areas such as fields or gravel rooftops. The nests are shallow depressions lined with small rocks or plant material. This nesting strategy helps protect the eggs from predators by blending in with the surroundings.

Moreover, killdeer are known for their vocalizations, using a variety of calls to communicate with each other. Their calls are loud and distinctive, allowing them to alert other birds of potential threats or to establish territories. These vocalizations play a crucial role in their social interactions and overall survival.

Great Blue Heron

elegant water bird sighting

The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) is a majestic and highly prevalent bird species found throughout Oklahoma's diverse ecosystems. This large wading bird can be easily recognized by its long legs, neck, and dagger-like bill.

Great Blue Herons are adaptable and can be found in a variety of habitats, including wetlands, marshes, lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. They are known for their ability to stand motionless for long periods, patiently waiting for their prey to come within reach. These birds primarily feed on fish, amphibians, reptiles, and small mammals.

Great Blue Herons have an interesting courtship behavior, where they engage in elaborate displays such as bill clacking and stretching their necks. They also build large nests made of sticks and twigs, usually in trees near water bodies. These nests can be used year after year and can reach sizes of up to four feet in diameter.

With their stunning appearance and remarkable adaptability, the Great Blue Heron is a captivating bird that adds beauty and intrigue to Oklahoma's natural landscapes.

Snow Goose

migration of the snow goose

Nestled among the diverse bird species found in Oklahoma's ecosystems, the Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens) serves as a testament to the remarkable range of avian diversity in the region.

This migratory bird is known for its spectacular long-distance journeys, with some individuals traveling over 3,000 miles from the Arctic tundra to wintering grounds in Oklahoma. The Snow Goose's migration patterns are awe-inspiring, as they navigate vast distances using celestial cues and landmarks.

In terms of habitat preferences, these geese are highly adaptable and can be found in a variety of environments, including wetlands, marshes, and agricultural fields. They are also known to gather in large flocks, creating a mesmerizing sight as they take flight or land in synchronized unison.

The Snow Goose's presence in Oklahoma adds to the natural beauty and ecological richness of the state.

About the author

I'm Gulshan, a passionate pet enthusiast. Dive into my world where I share tips, stories, and snapshots of my animal adventures. Here, pets are more than just animals; they're heartbeats that enrich our lives. Join our journey!