The Orniphile

Birding Website
of Robert D. Hughes

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Articles About Chicago Area Birds and Birding

The Birds of Illinois

Part 2: Jaegers to Shrikes

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: Barnacle Goose, 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: Charadriiformes

Family: Stercorariidae (Skuas and Jaegers)

  • Pomarine Jaeger (Stercorarius pomarinus) Accidental
  • Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus) Regular
  • Long-tailed Jaeger (Stercorarius longicaudus) Accidental

Family: Alcidae (Alcids)

  • Dovekie (Alle alle) Accidental
  • Ancient Murrelet (Synthliboramphus antiquus) Accidental

Family: Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

  • Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) Regular
  • Ivory Gull (Pagophila eburnea) Accidental
  • Sabine's Gull (Xema sabini) Regular
  • Bonaparte's Gull (Chroicocephalus philadelphia) Regular
  • Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) Accidental
  • Little Gull (Hydrocoloeus minutus) Regular
  • Ross's Gull (Rhodostethia rosea) Accidental
  • Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla) Regular
  • Franklin's Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan) Regular
  • Black-tailed Gull (Larus crassirostris) Accidental
  • Mew Gull (Larus canus) Casual
  • Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) Regular / B
  • California Gull (Larus californicus) Regular
  • Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) Regular / B
  • Iceland Gull (Larus glaucoides) Regular
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus) Regular
  • Slaty-backed Gull (Larus schistisagus) Accidental
  • Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens) Accidental
  • Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus) Regular
  • Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus) Regular
  • Sooty Tern (Onychoprion fuscatus) Accidental
  • Least Tern (Sternula antillarum) Regular / B (endangered, State and Federal)
  • Large-billed Tern (Phaetusa simplex) Accidental
  • Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica) Accidental
  • Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia) Regular / B
  • Black Tern (Chlidonias niger) Regular / B (endangered)
  • Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) Regular / B (endangered)
  • Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) Casual
  • Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri) Regular / B (endangered)
  • Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus) Accidental
  • Sandwich Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis) Accidental
  • Black Skimmer (Rhynchops niger) Accidental

Order: Gaviiformes

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Family: Gaviidae (Loons)

  • Red-throated Loon (Gavia stellata) Regular
  • Pacific Loon (Gavia pacifica) Regular
  • Common Loon (Gavia immer) Regular / (b) (N)
  • Yellow-billed Loon (Gavia adamsii) Accidental

Order: Ciconiiformes

Family: Ciconiidae (Storks)

  • Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) Casual

Order: Suliformes

Family: Fregatidae (Frigatebirds)

  • Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) Accidental

Family: Sulidae (Boobies and Gannets)

  • Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus) Accidental

Family: Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants)

  • Neotropic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) Casual
  • Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) Regular / B

Family: Anhingidae (Anhingas)

  • Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga) Accidental

Order: Pelecaniformes

Family: Pelecanidae (Pelicans)

  • American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) Regular / B
  • Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) Accidental

Family: Ardeidae (Bitterns, Herons, and Egrets)

  • American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) Regular / b (endangered)
  • Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis) Regular / B (threatened)
  • Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) Regular / B
  • Great Egret (Ardea alba) Regular / B
  • Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) Regular / B (endangered)
  • Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) Regular / B (endangered)
  • Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor) Casual
  • Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens) Accidental
  • Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) Regular / B
  • Green Heron (Butorides virescens) Regular / B
  • Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) Regular / B (endangered)
  • Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (Nyctanassa violacea) Regular / B (endangered)

Family: Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

  • White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) Casual
  • Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) Regular
  • White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi) Regular
  • Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) Accidental

Order: Cathartiformes

Family: Cathartidae (American Vultures)

  • Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) Regular / B (S) (local)
  • Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) Regular / B

Order: Accipitriformes

Family: Pandionidae (Osprey)

  • Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) Regular / b (local) (endangered)

Family: Accipitridae (Kites, Eagles, and Hawks)

  • White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus) Accidental
  • Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus) Casual / (b)
  • Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) Regular
  • Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus) Regular / B (endangered)
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) Regular / b
  • Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) Regular / B
  • Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) Regular
  • Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) Regular / B
  • Mississippi Kite (Ictinia mississippiensis) Regular / B (S, local) (threatened)
  • Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) Regular / B
  • Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus) Regular / B
  • Swainson's Hawk (Buteo swainsoni) Regular / B (NE, local) (endangered)
  • Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) Regular / B
  • Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus) Regular
  • Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis) Accidental

Order: Strigiformes

Family: Tytonidae (Barn Owls)

  • Barn Owl (Tyto alba) Regular / B (endangered)

Family: Strigidae (Typical Owls)

  • Eastern Screech-Owl (Megascops asio) Regular / B
  • Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) Regular / B
  • Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) Regular
  • Northern Hawk Owl (Surnia ulula) Accidental
  • Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) Casual
  • Barred Owl (Strix varia) Regular / B
  • Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) Regular / b
  • Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) Regular / B (endangered)
  • Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) Accidental
  • Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) Regular / b

Order Coraciiformes

Family: Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

  • Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) Regular / B

Order: Piciformes

Family: Picidae (Woodpeckers)

  • Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) Regular / B
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) Regular / B
  • Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus) Accidental
  • Williamson's Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus thyroideus) Accidental
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) Regular / b
  • Red-naped Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus nuchalis) Accidental
  • Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens) Regular / B
  • Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Dryobates borealis) Accidental
  • Hairy Woodpecker (Dryobates villosus) Regular / B
  • Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) Regular / B
  • Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) Regular / B

Order: Falconiformes

Family: Falconidae (Caracaras and Falcons)

  • American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) Regular / B
  • Merlin (Falco columbarius) Regular
  • Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) Casual
  • Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) Regular / B (threatened)
  • Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus) Regular

Order: Psittaciformes

Family: Psittacidae (Parrots)

  • Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) Regular (introduced) / B
  • Carolina Parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis) Extinct / (B)

Order: Passeriformes

Family: Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)

  • White-crested/Small-billed Elaenia (Elaenia albiceps/parvirostris) Accidental
  • Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi) Regular
  • Eastern Wood-Pewee (Contopus virens) Regular / B
  • Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (Empidonax flaviventris) Regular
  • Acadian Flycatcher (Empidonax virescens) Regular / B
  • Alder Flycatcher (Empidonax alnorum) Regular
  • Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii) Regular / B
  • Least Flycatcher (Empidonax minimus) Regular / B
  • Pacific-slope/Cordilleran Flycatcher (Empidonax difficilis/occidentalis) Accidental
  • Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) Regular / B
  • Say's Phoebe (Sayornis saya) Casual
  • Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) Accidental
  • Ash-throated Flycatcher (Myiarchus cinerascens) Accidental
  • Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus) Regular / B
  • Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus) Accidental
  • Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis) Regular / b (local)
  • Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) Regular / B
  • Gray Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis) Accidental
  • Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus) Regular / b
  • Fork-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus savana) Casual

Family: Laniidae (Shrikes)

  • Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) Regular / B (endangered)
  • Northern Shrike (Lanius excubitor) Regular
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The Birds of Illinois