The Orniphile

Birding Website
of Robert D. Hughes

Featuring Photographs and
Articles About Chicago Area Birds and Birding

The Birds of Illinois

Part 1: Waterfowl to Sandpipers

This is a list of the birds that have been officially recorded in Illinois. Status information is also provided. A total of 445 species have been seen in the state as of July 2019. The 3 species pairs (White-crested/Small-billed Elaenia, Pacific-slope/Cordilleran Flycatcher, and California/Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay) are not included in the total. Note: Most of the information presented here is from The Illinois Ornithological Society (IOS) website.

Recent additions: Red-naped Sapsucker, Pacific-slope/Cordilleran Flycatcher, White-crested/Small-billed Elaenia, Cassin’s Vireo, Plumbeous Vireo, Wandering Tattler

Recent removals: Western Gull

Status and Breeding Information  


Status Information

  • Regular = Species for which there are records in at least eight of the past ten years.
  • Casual = Species for which there are accepted records in three to seven of the past ten years.
  • Accidental = Species for which there are accepted records in no more than two of the past ten years.
  • Extirpated = Species which were formerly Casual or Regular in Illinois but which have not been recorded in the wild in the state for at least 50 years.
  • Extinct = Species which have occurred in the state but no longer occur anywhere in the world.

Breeding Information

  • For species that have bred in Illinois, an additional notation appears in the entry, following a slash ("/").
  • B = Species which currently breed more or less regularly in the state. In general, this is defined by breeding in at least eight of the last ten years or 40 or more of the last 50 years.
  • b = Species which have bred at least once in the past 50 years, but do not currently breed regularly.
  • (B) = Species which formerly bred more or less regularly in the state, but which have not been confirmed as breeding in the past 50 years.
  • (b) = Species which have been confirmed as breeding in the state, but never regularly, and with no confirmed records of breeding in the past 50 years.

Two terms are restricted to breeding species, based on Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) designations. These are:

  • Endangered = Species whose breeding populations are in danger of extirpation within Illinois; listed as endangered by the IDNR.
  • Threatened = Species whose breeding populations are at risk of becoming endangered within Illinois; listed as threatened by the IDNR.

Order: Anseriformes

Family: Anatidae (Geese, Swans, and Ducks)

  • Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) Casual
  • Fulvous Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna bicolor) Accidental
  • Snow Goose (Anser caerulescens) Regular / b (cross-breeding)
  • Ross's Goose (Anser rossii) Regular
  • Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) Regular
  • Brant (Branta bernicla) Casual
  • Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis) Accidental
  • Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii) Regular
  • Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) Regular / B
  • Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) Regular (introduced) / B
  • Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) Extirpated (reintroduced, established) / (b)
  • Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus) Regular
  • Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) Regular / B
  • Garganey (Spatula querquedula) Accidental
  • Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors) Regular / B
  • Cinnamon Teal (Spatula cyanoptera) Regular
  • Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata) Regular / b
  • Gadwall (Mareca strepera) Regular / b
  • Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope) Casual
  • American Wigeon (Mareca americana) Regular
  • Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) Regular / B
  • American Black Duck (Anas rubripes) Regular / b
  • Mottled Duck (Anas fulvigula) Casual
  • Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) Regular / b
  • Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca) Regular / b
  • Canvasback (Aythya valisineria) Regular / b (NE)
  • Redhead (Aythya americana) Regular / b
  • Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris) Regular
  • Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) Accidental
  • Greater Scaup (Aythya marila) Regular
  • Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis) Regular / b
  • King Eider (Somateria spectabilis) Accidental
  • Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) Accidental
  • Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) Regular
  • Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata) Regular
  • White-winged Scoter (Melanitta fusca) Regular
  • Black Scoter (Melanitta americana) Regular
  • Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis) Regular
  • Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) Regular
  • Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) Regular
  • Barrow's Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica) Casual
  • Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) Regular / B
  • Common Merganser (Mergus merganser) Regular
  • Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) Regular / b (NE)
  • Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) Regular / B

Order: Galliformes

Family: Odontophoridae (New World Quails)

  • Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) Regular / B

Family: Phasianidae (Partridges, Pheasants, Grouse, and Turkeys)

  • Gray Partridge (Perdix perdix) Regular (N, introduced) / B
  • Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) Regular (introduced) / B
  • Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) Casual (NW) / (B)
  • Sharp-tailed Grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus) Extirpated / (b) (N)
  • Greater Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido) Regular (SE, local) / B (endangered)
  • Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) Regular / B

Order: Podicipediformes

Family: Podicipedidae (Grebes)

  • Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) Regular / B
  • Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus) Regular / (b)
  • Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena) Regular
  • Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis) Regular / b (NE)
  • Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis) Regular
  • Clark's Grebe (Aechmophorus clarkii) Accidental

Order: Columbiformes

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Family: Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

  • Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) Regular (introduced) / B
  • Band-tailed Pigeon (Patagioenas fasciata) Accidental
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) Regular (introduced) / B
  • Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) Extinct / (B)
  • Inca Dove (Columbina inca) Accidental
  • Common Ground-Dove (Columbina passerina) Accidental
  • White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica) Casual
  • Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) Regular / B

Order: Cuculiformes

Family: Cuculidae (Cuckoos, Roadrunners, and Anis)

  • Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus) Regular / B
  • Black-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus erythropthalmus) Regular / B (threatened)
  • Groove-billed Ani (Crotophaga sulcirostris) Accidental

Order: Caprimulgiformes

Family: Caprimulgidae (Nightjars)

  • Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor) Regular / B
  • Chuck-will's-widow (Antrostomus carolinensis) Regular / B
  • Eastern Whip-poor-will (Antrostomus vociferus) Regular / B

Order: Apodiformes

Family: Apodidae (Swifts)

  • Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica) Regular / B

Family: Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)

  • Mexican Violetear (Colibri thallasinus) Accidental
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) Regular / B
  • Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna) Accidental
  • Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) Casual
  • Allen's Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) Accidental
  • Broad-billed Hummingbird (Cynanthus latirostris) Accidental

Order: Gruiformes

Family: Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

  • Yellow Rail (Coturnicops noveboracensis) Regular / (b) (N)
  • Black Rail (Laterallus jamaicensis) Casual / b (endangered)
  • King Rail (Rallus elegans) Regular / B (endangered)
  • Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola) Regular / B
  • Sora (Porzana carolina) Regular / B
  • Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinica) Casual / b (S)
  • Common Gallinule (Gallinula galeata) Regular / B (endangered)
  • American Coot (Fulica americana) Regular / B

Family: Gruidae (Cranes)

  • Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) Regular / B
  • Whooping Crane (Grus americana) Accidental

Order: Charadriiformes

Family: Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

  • Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) Regular / b
  • American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) Regular

Family: Charadriidae (Lapwings and Plovers)

  • Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola) Regular
  • American Golden-Plover (Pluvialis dominica) Regular
  • Snowy Plover (Charadrius nivosus) Casual
  • Wilson's Plover (Charadrius wilsonia) Accidental
  • Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula) Accidental
  • Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus) Regular
  • Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) Regular / b (endangered, State and Federal)
  • Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) Regular / B
  • Mountain Plover (Charadrius montanus) Accidental

Family: Scolopacidae (Sandpipers)

  • Upland Sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda) Regular / B (endangered)
  • Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) Regular
  • Eskimo Curlew (Numenius borealis) Extinct
  • Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus) Accidental / (b)
  • Hudsonian Godwit (Limosa haemastica) Regular
  • Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa) Regular
  • Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres) Regular
  • Red Knot (Calidris canutus) Regular
  • Ruff (Philomachus pugnax) Casual
  • Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (Calidris acuminata) Accidental
  • Stilt Sandpiper (Calidris himantopus) Regular
  • Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea) Accidental
  • Sanderling (Calidris alba) Regular
  • Dunlin (Calidris alpina) Regular
  • Purple Sandpiper (Calidris maritima) Regular
  • Baird's Sandpiper (Calidris bairdii) Regular
  • Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla) Regular
  • White-rumped Sandpiper (Calidris fuscicollis) Regular
  • Buff-breasted Sandpiper (Calidris subruficollis) Regular
  • Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos) Regular
  • Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusilla) Regular
  • Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri) Regular
  • Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus) Regular
  • Long-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus) Regular
  • American Woodcock (Scolopax minor) Regular / B
  • Wilson's Snipe (Gallinago delicata) Regular / B
  • Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius) Regular / B
  • Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria) Regular
  • Wandering Tattler (Tringa incana) Accidental
  • Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes) Regular
  • Willet (Tringa semipalmata) Regular
  • Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) Regular
  • Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor) Regular / b (NE) (endangered)
  • Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus) Regular
  • Red Phalarope (Phalaropus fulicarius) Regular
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The Birds of Illinois