North America

Altamira Oriole Icterus gularis ©Mike Danzenbaker Website
Birding North America

Like many things, North America can be defined in a number of different ways and its extent is also very much a matter of opinion. Clearly the North American ‘continent’ as a purely notional geographical entity starts at the Panama Canal and extends upward to the far north of Canada encompassing central America and the Caribbean. Fatbirder considers North America to consist of the Bermuda, United States of America, Mexico, Canada & the French Islands of St Pierre et Miquelon., hiving off the rest of the Caribbean and nations south to Columbia as ‘Central America’.

Zoographically, the Nearctic starts in central Mexico northwards, excludes the Caribbean and the southern tip of Florida which are part of the Neotropics, but includes Greenland. Politically, most Canadians and US citizens see it as being just those two countries with every other part of the Americas being either the Caribbean or ‘Latin America’.

Birders from Canada & the US consider North America to be Canada, The French islands and the 49 continental US states and keep their bird lists accordingly. Numbers of species etc conform to this ‘gringo’ notion of what constitutes North America. Such birders would consider the latest filedguide recently published by the National Geographical as the best, although its checklist is more extensive than that of the ABA. That book is the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, Seventh Edition, 2017, Jon L Dunn and Jonathan Alderfer, with 592 pages, covering 1023 species.

Confusingly the most recent version of the ABA Area Checklist now includes Hawaii and the 106 extinct and extant species found there which do not occur in North America.

On Fatbirder the main pages for North America and its constituent countries, are supplemented by individual pages for each US state, each Mexican state and each Canadian province. The main country pages are reserved for entries for organisations etc. that are of national significance or, at the very least, cover several states. This page is for links of significance for the whole continent as defined by Fatbirder.

The size of the continent means that many species that summer in the North winter in the south. Even within the US alone some birds breed in the north and over winter in the southernmost states, although the majority of summer visitors overwinter in the neo-tropics.

North America probably has more websites than the whole of the rest of the world – it was first into the internet and many clubs etc. at a very local level have had websites for years. Some have the web addresses and formats they started out with, most others have moved on and upgraded following technology changes. We try to keep everything updated and are constantly adding new material. Please let us know if you come across a dead or changed link… and we are always very happy to receive suggested updates for any of the introductions, top sites or links.

This page is sponsored by Rockjumper Worldwide Birding Adventures

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 999 (Extant Continental US & Canada Only)

    (As at November 2018)

    The nearctic has approximately 9% of the world's total.

Useful Reading

  • American Museum of Natural History Birds of North America

    Edited by François Vuilleumier | Dorling Kindersley | 2016 | Paperback | ISBN: 9781465443991 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Collins Field Guide: Birds of North America

    By Norman Arlott | Harper Collins | 2011 | Hardback | 239 pages, 100 colour plates, colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9780007293346 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America

    By Kenn Kaufman | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | 2005 | Paperback | 392 pages, Col plates, maps | ISBN: 0618574239 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • National Geographic Complete Birds of North America

    By Jonathan Alderfer, Jon L Dunn & Paul Lehman | National Geographic Society | 2014 | Hardback | 744 pages, 180 colour photos, colour illustrations, 815 colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9781426213731 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America

    By Jon L Dunn, Jonathan Alderfer & Paul Lehman | National Geographic Society | 2017 | Paperback | 592 pages, 4,000+ colour illustrations & colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9781426218354 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America

    By Roger Tory Peterson | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | 2008 | Paperback | 530 pages, 195 colour plates | ISBN: 9780618966141 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Rare Birds of North America

    By Steve NG Howell, Ian Lewington & Will Russell | Princeton University Press | 2014 | Hardback | 428 Pages | 275 Colour Plates | 17 Colour Maps | 9 tables | ISBN: 9780691117966 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America

    By Ted Floyd | Harper Collins | 2008 | Paperback | 512 pages, 2000 colour photos, colour distribution maps, includes audio CD | ISBN: 9780061120404 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • The Best Places to Bird in the Prairies

    By John Acorn, Alan Smith & Nicola Koper | Greystone Books | 2018 | Paperback | 280 pages, 36 colour photos, maps | ISBN: 9781771643269 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • The North American Bird Guide

    By David Sibley | Bloomsbury Publishing | 2014 | Paperback | 599 pages, plates with 6600 colour illustrations, 600+ colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9781472909275 Buy this book from NHBS.com
Birding Aps
  • *Individual Country Bird Apps

    See Individual country pages for apps relating to that country (States & Provincial Apps are on the appropriate State or Province Page)

  • Audubon Bird Guide

    Apple iOS | Android
    | Audubon Bird Audubon Society | 105 MB | Requires iOS 9.0 or later. | Requires Android 4.1 and up |

    Identify over 800 bird species. The Audubon Bird Guide is a free and complete field guide to over 800 species of North American birds, right in your pocket. Built for all experience levels, it will help you identify the birds around you, keep track of the birds you've seen, and get outside to find new birds near you.
  • BirdNET

    Android
    | Bird sound identification | Stefan Kahl | Requires Android 5.0 and up |

    How can computers learn to recognize birds from sounds? The BirdNET research project uses artificial intelligence neural networks to train computers to identify more than 500 of the most common species of North America and Germany. Help us test this prototype app by recording a file using the internal microphone of your Android device and seeing if BirdNET correctly identifies the probable bird species present in your recording.
  • Merlin Bird ID app

    Apple iOS | Android
    | Instant Bird Identification | Cornell University | 72.4 MB | Requires iOS 9.0 |

    What's that bird? Merlin Bird ID helps you solve the mystery in 5 questions, or with a photo of a bird. First, Merlin asks you a few simple questions. Then, almost like magic, it reveals the list of birds that best match your description. Pick your bird, then delve into more photos, sounds, and ID tips about your bird!
  • North American Birds and Sound

    Apple iOS | Android
    | Bird Sounds, Calls and Songs | Faisal Akhtar | 68 MB | Requires iOS 8.0 or later |

    Presenting a completely Free North American Birds Sounds compilation app with high quality sounds and songs of birds found in North America!
  • Peterson Bird Field Guide

    Apple iOS | Android
    | North America Bird Identifier | gWhiz, LLC | 491.5 MB | Requires iOS 9.0 or later | Requires Android 4.4 and up |

    This comprehensive mobile resource includes information from 8 Peterson Field Guide books, including the best-selling guide to birds in print - Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America. Take birdwatching to a whole new level! Quickly identify birds you see in your garden, on your way to work, or out on a hike, with Roger Tory Peterson's innovative identification system. Time-tested illustrations and our unique display of similar looking birds make for fast comparison.
  • Sibley Birds

    Apple iOS | Android
    | (Birds of North America) | mydigitalearth.com | 2nd Edition |

    The new Sibley Birds app has arrived with comprehensive, up to date information of over 930 North American species. All the detailed artwork from David Sibley’s Guide to Birds Second Edition is included as well as thorough descriptions and distribution maps.
  • Song Sleuth

    Apple iOS |
    | Auto Bird Song ID 4+ | w/ David Sibley Bird Reference | 401.9 MB | Requires iOS 10.0 or later |

    Song Sleuth turns your iPhone or iPad into an automatic bird song identifier covering the 200 most common vocalizing land birds in the U.S.A. Developed by Wildlife Acoustics, in collaboration with world-renowned bird expert and illustrator David Sibley, the app records bird songs and suggests matching species. The identification algorithms are the result of over a decade of research and experience designing professional bioacoustics recorders and software.
  • iBird Ultimate Guide to Birds

    Apple iOS | Android
    | Advance Guide North America | Mitch Waite Group | 1.8 GB | Requires iOS 9.0 or later |

    Paintings and photographs; 946 species - iBird’s luxury features distinguish it from all other birding apps on the market. For example, unlike all other birding apps, iBird offers both illustrations and photographs for every species. The beauty of drawings is that an illustrator can emphasize the important identification markings of the bird family, something photographs can’t do. Photographs, however, let you see how the species looks in real life.
Organisations
  • American Bird Conservancy

    Website
    ABC is the Western Hemisphere's bird conservation specialist — the only organization with a single and steadfast commitment to achieving conservation results for birds and their habitats throughout the Americas.
  • American Birding Association

    Website
    The ABA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that provides leadership to birders by increasing their knowledge, skills, and enjoyment of birding. We are the only organization in North America that specifically caters to recreational birders. We also contribute to bird and bird habitat conservation through our varied programs. The American Birding Association inspires all people to enjoy and protect wild birds.
  • Birding For All (Formerly Disabled Birders Association of America)

    Website
    The DBA is an organization of disabled and able-bodied birders interested in addressing access and other problems faced by birders trying to get the most out of their birding experiences. US members or those wanting to join should email via the international site. We changed our name to Birding For All in 2011 to emphasise our inclusivity
  • Boreal Songbird Initiative

    Website
    Our Mission - As the voice for boreal birds, the Boreal Songbird Initiative (BSI) is committed to protecting the Canadian Boreal Forest—the largest intact forest on Earth—on behalf of the billions of migratory birds that rely on it.
  • HawkCount

    Website
    Count data and site profiles for over 200 North American Hawkwatch sites
  • North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI)

    Website
    Many bird species are migratory, and birds are not restricted by political boundaries. To effectively conserve migratory species, it is critical to work across geopolitical borders to ensure that birds are protected wherever they occur throughout the year.
  • North American Bluebird Society

    Website
    The North American Bluebird Society is a non-profit education, conservation and research organization that promotes the recovery of bluebirds and other native cavity-nesting bird species in North America. Here you can learn about the different species of bluebirds, how to attract and care for them, and download educational materials. You can also join our conservation efforts by becoming a NABS member.
  • Operation Rubythroat - the Hummingbird Project

    Website
    Building Environmental Cooperation and Understanding Throughout North and Central America
  • Optics for the Tropics

    Website
    Optics for the Tropics builds capacity for bird conservation in the western hemisphere by providing quality binoculars for ornithologists in the Caribbean and Latin America. Binoculars are used for monitoring, research and education.
  • The Institute for Bird Populations

    Website
    The Institute for Bird Populations is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation founded by Dr. David DeSante in 1989 to study the causes of bird population declines. IBP's first major initiative was the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) program, a continent-wide collaborative network of bird banding stations. Other flagship programs include the Monitoreo de Sobrevivencia Invernal (MoSI) program to study the ecology of Neotropical migrant birds on their wintering grounds, and the Sierra Nevada Bird Observatory to study and conserve birds in the Sierra Nevada region of California. Our work has spread to other parts of the U.S. and the globe, including Canada, the Neotropics, and Pacific Islands
  • Vital Rates of North American Landbirds

    Website
    This website provides results of temporal and spatial analyses of capture-mark-recapture and constant-effort capture-rate data on 158 landbird species collected as part of the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) program between 1992 and 2006. The objectives of these analyses are to provide estimates of, and explore relationships among, the vital rates and demographic parameters of each of these species in order to provide hypotheses regarding the demographic drivers of temporal and spatial variation in their population dynamics, especially as these results may help inform research, management, and conservation efforts for them.
Reserves

Abbreviations Key

  • Abbreviations used in reserves sections

    Observatory WebsiteSatellite View
    BR = Biosphere Reserve BiR = Bird Reserve BS = Bird Sanctuary CA = Conservation Area EBA = Endemic Bird Area ER = Ecological Reserve IBA = Important Bird Area IPP = Interprovincial Park MBS = Migratory Bird Sanctuary MP = Marine Park MWR = Migratory Waterfowl Refuge NA = Natural Area NC = Nature Center NF = National Forest NP = National Park NPR = National Park Preserve NPr = Nature Preserve NR = Nature Reserve NS = Nature Sanctuary NWA = National Wildlife Area NWR = National Wildlife Refuge PP = Provincial Park RNP = Regional Nature Park SNR = Strict Nature Reserve SeNR = State Nature Reserve SP = State Park SeR = Seabird Reserve SR = State Reserve SWA = State Wildlife Area SWMA = State Wildlife Management Area SWR = State Wildlife Refuge WA = Wildlife Area WBR = World Biosphere Reserve WMA = Wildlife Management Area WRf = Wildlife Refuge WRs = Wildlife Reserve WP = Waterfowl Park WiRv = Wilderness Reserve WeRv = Wetland Reserve WS = Wildlife Sanctuary WeS = Wetland Sanctuary WoS = Woodland Sanctuary
Forums & Mailing Lists
  • ABA News

    News & Sightings
    Filter Birding News by making a selection from the dropdown. Refine your search by entering the type of bird you are looking for. Or just browse the lists below.
  • North American Birding

    Forum, News etc.
    North American Birding is focused exclusively on birding in North America. We’re having an ongoing conversation with a range of voices about birds right here in North America. You’ll find a hugely talented – and growing – group of contributing bloggers, from seasoned experts to young beginners. Scientists and photographers, professional guides and graduate students. Oh, and a professional writer or two. Our goal is to assemble voices and opinions as diverse as the birds themselves.
Guides & Tour Operators


Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

  • Paradise Birding

    Tour Operator
    Thanks to all of our loyal friends out there, 2019 marks our 22nd year of nature tours in North America—and beyond. We continue to offer a handful of carefully crafted itineraries timed for optimal birding at some of the best destinations in the world. Let us take you to Florida's Dry Tortugas, Borneo's Danum Valley, or Peru's Abra Patricia, or come see us at our home base in Oregon's Woodpecker Wonderland!
Other Links
  • Bird Planner

    Website
    BirdPlanner is a free site that enables you to generate bird lists for any place in the western hemisphere…
  • Birds

    Website
    Your destination for news, pictures, facts, and videos about birds.
  • Birds of North America

    Webpage
    Birds of North America (BNA) is the most comprehensive reference for the life histories of over 760 bird species that breed in the United States and Canada...
  • NatureServe

    Website
    Welcome to NatureServe, a source for authoritative conservation information on more than 50,000 plants, animals, and ecological communities of the United States and Canada. NatureServe provides in-depth information on rare and endangered species, but includes common plants and animals too. NatureServe is a product of the Association for Biodiversity Information in collaboration with the Natural Heritage Network.
  • North American Birding

    Website
    North American Birding is focused exclusively on birding in North America. We’re having an ongoing conversation with a range of voices about birds right here in North America.
  • Owling.com

    Website
    If you are wondering what owl is hooting out your window, are a student, hobbyist, or just enjoy the owls and nature
  • Seiurus Video

    Website
    We are about birds, photography, and videography of birds. If you plan to photograph birds in Florida, or if you need stock video footage of birds from anywhere in North America, check us out. If you want to learn some basic techniques in making bird and wildlife video, or just want to watch some video of wild birds, you
  • Sibley Guides

    Website
    David Sibley - Celebrating the joy of discovery with observations, questions and comments about North America's birds…
  • WildBirds

    Website
    WildBirds.com can show you how to attract more birds to your yard. We can help you identify birds at your feeders. Explore. Click on any one of the ten sections listed to the left. The first two sections give tips on feeding and attracting wild birds. In the section called Protecting Wild Birds you will discover what to do with baby birds you find. You can also learn why that crazy bird keeps banging against your window each morning! Laugh at the latest bird jokes in Your Favourite Birds section. We also offer our recommendations for the very best birding books, feeders, binoculars and software. Click on the name of the book or product for more information.
  • eBird

    Website
    eBird began with a simple idea—that every birdwatcher has unique knowledge and experience. Our goal is to gather this information in the form of checklists of birds, archive it, and freely share it to power new data-driven approaches to science, conservation and education. At the same time, we develop tools that make birding more rewarding. From being able to manage lists, photos and audio recordings, to seeing real-time maps of species distribution, to alerts that let you know when species have been seen, we strive to provide the most current and useful information to the birding community.
Blogs
  • Boreal Bird Blog

    BLOG
    The Boreal Songbird Initiative (BSI) is dedicated to education and outreach about the importance of the boreal forest to North America's birds, other wildlife, and the global environment.
Photographers & Artists
  • Gallery - Monte Taylor - Bird & Wildlife Photography

    Gallery
    Enjoy the beauty of many North America's birds and mammals! Over 800 species of?birds and many large mammals, cetaceans, reptiles, and amphibians, including a number of the?rarest North American birds from places like Attu Island Alaska, Texas, SE Arizona, Florida,?Nova Scotia, and California, to name just a few! And, two special galleries of the Birds of Japan.?I've photographed over 780 species of birds in the US & Canada alone!?

Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND