Pictures of State Birds

State Bird of Illinois - Northern Cardinal
Dan Pancamo/Flickr/Used With Permission
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    Alabama

    State Bird of Alabama - Northern Flicker
    Nick Saunders/Flickr/Used With Permission

    Common Name: Northern Flicker, Yellowhammer
    Scientific Name: Colaptes auratus

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1927
    Range in State: Statewide in forests, parks, and gardens, year-round
    Shared With Other States: None

    These woodpeckers have been familiar in Alabama since the Civil War, when Confederate soldiers were nicknamed "yellowhammers" because of the yellow stripes on their uniforms. That historical connection led the yellow-shafted subspecies of the northern flicker, identified by the yellow coloration under the tail and the yellow edging on the primary feathers, to be adopted as the state's official bird. Today these are widespread birds easily recognized by the red wedge on the nape, the black bib on the breast, and their spotted underparts.

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    Alaska

    State Bird of Alaska - Willow Ptarmigan
    George C. Wood/Flickr/CC by-SA 2.0

    Common Name: Willow Ptarmigan, Willow Grouse
    Scientific Name: Lagopus lagopus

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1955
    Range in State: Statewide in open tundra and willow thickets, year-round
    Shared With Other States: None

    Selected as the official state bird four years before Alaska became a state, the willow ptarmigan is a striking bird found in the state throughout the year, unlike many migratory birds that breed in Alaska but migrate south during the colder seasons. In spring and summer these birds have mottled plumage that serves as ideal camouflage, and in winter they turn a bright plain white, which also works as spectacular camouflage during Alaska's hard winters.

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    Arizona

    State Bird of Arizona - Cactus Wren
    Joan Gellatly/Flickr/Used With Permission

    Common Name: Cactus Wren
    Scientific Name: Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1931
    Range in State: Year-round in dry brushland, desert areas, and suburbs, but only in the southern and western parts of the state
    Shared With Other States: None

    This distinctive wren is unmistakable with its boldly patterned plumage, including the dark bib, spotted streaks on the underparts, and bold white eyebrow. One of the largest wrens in North America, this bird also has a unique sound that can be useful for birding by ear. As a state bird, it is popular with Arizona residents because it will readily come to yards, particularly if ground-feeding areas and native plants are available.

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    Arkansas

    State Bird of Arkansas - Northern Mockingbird
    Don DeBold/Flickr/CC by 2.0

    Common Name: Northern Mockingbird
    Scientific Name: Mimus polyglottos

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1929
    Range in State: Statewide in scrub forests as well as yards, parks, and gardens, year-round
    Shared With Other States: Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas

    An accomplished mimic, the northern mockingbird is one of the most familiar southern birds and is both common and widespread. What is uncommon, however, is its vocal ability, and these birds have been known to replicate unusual sounds such as phone ringtones, squeaking gates, and even barking dogs. That unusual ability helps bring the bird distinction that drew the attention of the state's General Assembly and led to its adoption as the official state bird.

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    California

    State Bird of California - California Quail
    Sid Mosdell/Flickr/CC by 2.0

    Common Name: California Quail
    Scientific Name: Callipepla californica

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1931
    Range in State: In brushy woods and suburban areas as well as large urban parks, year-round, but absent from the southwestern part of the state
    Shared With Other States: None

    This state bird has the honor of being the only state bird whose name includes the full name of its state, though several other state birds include clues in their names. The California quail was recommended by the Audubon Society as the state's official bird and was legally named the state's symbol by the legislature. Round and energetic, these chicken-like birds readily come to yards in appropriate regions where ground-feeding areas are available.

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    Colorado

    State Bird of Colorado - Lark Bunting
    Nick Saunders/Flickr/Used With Permission

    Common Name: Lark Bunting
    Scientific Name: Calamospiza melanocorys

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1931
    Range in State: Grasslands in the eastern part of the state, summer only
    Shared With Other States: None

    Chosen as the state bird because of their distinct breeding plumage that makes them easily recognizable even for non-birders, these birds also represent the industrious and adventurous spirit of Colorado with their vigorous courtship, monogamous breeding pairs, and spritely whistling voices. Females are more camouflaged, however, and could be easily confused with other sparrows or house finches.

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    Connecticut

    State Bird of Connecticut - American Robin
    Nick Saunders/Flickr/Used With Permission

    Common Name: American Robin
    Scientific Name: Turdus migratorius

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1943
    Range in State: Statewide in forests, parks, and yards, year-round
    Shared With Other States: Michigan, Wisconsin

    These birds were familiar to European colonists because of their resemblance to European robins, though only rare vagrants of this thrush species are ever seen in Europe. Common throughout New England year-round, American robins often become nomadic in winter as they seek out the best food sources, including fruit, and they easily visit bird baths. Leaving fruit available on trees and providing a heated bird bath will ensure that Connecticut residents can enjoy their honorary bird year-round.

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    Delaware

    State Bird of Delaware - Blue Hen Chicken
    Pete Self/Flickr/CC by-SA 2.0

    Common Name: Blue Hen Chicken
    Scientific Name: None; not an officially recognized chicken breed

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1939
    Range in State: Domestic bird; farms and petting zoos
    Shared With Other States: None

    While not a wild bird (though all chickens are descended from the red junglefowl), the Blue Hen chicken nevertheless has a long history in Delaware. Soldiers in the Revolutionary War brought along the chickens not only for food, but also for their fighting abilities. The cockfights provided entertainment when soldiers were not engaged in battle. The fame of the cockfights spread throughout the colonial army, and the Delaware soldiers' valiant fighting was compared to the vicious abilities of their chickens.

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    Florida

    State Bird of Florida - Northern Mockingbird
    Thomas Brown/Flickr/Used With Permission

    Common Name: Northern Mockingbird
    Scientific Name: Mimus polyglottos

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1927
    Range in State: Statewide in thorny forests and both urban and suburban areas, year-round
    Shared With Other States: Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas

    A favorite bird in Florida for its bold personality, this state bird was adopted by Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 3 of the 1927 legislative session. Despite the legal designation, however, there have been several attempts to replace the northern mockingbird as Florida's official avian representative in favor of a bird more unique to the state, such as the endemic Florida scrub-jay or another bird that is not shared with several states.

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    Georgia

    State Bird of Georgia - Brown Thrasher
    patricia pierce/Flickr/CC by 2.0

    Common Name: Brown Thrasher
    Scientific Name: Toxostoma rufum

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1935
    Range in State: Statewide in wooded areas or developed gardens, though migratory in the northern part of the state
    Shared With Other States: None

    Though designated as the official state bird by the governor's proclamation in 1935, it wasn't until 1970 that the brown thrasher's ambassador role was agreed upon by the state legislature. These songbirds are accomplished mimics with one of the largest vocal repertoires of all North American songbirds, and brown thrashers in northern Georgia sing different notes and phrases than birds in the southern part of the state. Despite the bird's beauty and familiarity, there has been a semi-humorous movement to replace the brown thrasher with the chicken as the official state bird because Georgia is a popular poultry producer.

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    Hawaii

    State Bird of Hawaii - Nene
    Felipe Ortega/Flickr/CC by-SA 2.0

    Common Name: Nene, Hawaiian Goose
    Scientific Name: Branta sandvicensis

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1957 (two years before Hawaii's official statehood)
    Range in State: Pastures and scrub areas on Maui, Hawaii, and Kauai, year-round
    Shared With Other States: None

    Endemic to Hawaii, the nene is the rarest goose in the world and is listed as endangered. Stray dogs, feral cats, and introduced mongooses are all grave threats to this bird, but captive breeding programs are ensuring that Hawaii does not lose its distinctive state symbol. In some state parks, these geese are easily seen and can be recognized by their bold plumage, including the rippled feathers on their long necks.

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    Idaho

    State Bird of Idaho - Mountain Bluebird
    Nigel/Flickr/CC by 2.0

    Common Name: Mountain Bluebird
    Scientific Name: Sialia currucoides

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1931
    Range in State: Statewide in mountain meadows and open areas near forest edges, summers only
    Shared With Other States: Nevada

    Favored as the state bird by both women's groups and schoolchildren, the mountain bluebird nonetheless faced stiff competition for its election from the western tanager, which was first discovered in Idaho during the Lewis and Clark expedition. Despite an intense campaign to raise awareness about the western tanager, however, the mountain bluebird was eventually selected because of its greater familiarity, which makes it an appropriate symbol for the entire state.

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    Illinois

    State Bird of Illinois - Northern Cardinal
    Dan Pancamo/Flickr/Used With Permission

    Common Name: Northern Cardinal
    Scientific Name: Cardinalis cardinalis

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1929
    Range in State: Statewide in forests, suburbs, and parks, year-round
    Shared With Other States: Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia

    This brilliant red bird is popular as a state symbol because it is easily recognized and distinct with its colorful plumage and jaunty crest, and it happily stays in the same range year-round. Illinois schoolchildren were given a list of birds to select from for their state symbol, and the cardinal garnered more votes than the other options, the bluebird, meadowlark, quail, and oriole. Today, they are popular backyard birds and always enjoy a snack of sunflower seeds or safflower seeds.

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    Indiana

    State Bird of Indiana - Northern Cardinal
    Jen Goellnitz/Flickr/Used With Permission

    Common Name: Northern Cardinal
    Scientific Name: Cardinalis cardinalis

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1933
    Range in State: Statewide in forests, suburbs, and parks, year-round
    Shared With Other States: Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia

    At the time the northern cardinal was adopted as the state bird of Indiana, it was fairly rare in the state but its extraordinary plumage made it easily recognizable and unmistakable, even for residents who were not familiar with many wild birds. Even the female (shown above) is distinct with her perky crest, orange bill, and red-tinged tail, head, and wings. Both males and females retain their dimorphic plumage all year long.

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    Iowa

    State Bird of Iowa - American Goldfinch
    jeff.finn/Flickr/CC by 2.0

    Common Name: American Goldfinch, Eastern Goldfinch
    Scientific Name: Carduelis tristis

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1933
    Range in State: Statewide in weedy fields and yards, year-round
    Shared With Other States: New Jersey, Washington

    This brilliant wild canary was suggested and endorsed as the state bird by the Iowa Ornithological Union, and was subsequently legally adopted by the legislature as the state's official symbol. Boldly colored, these finches are widespread in Iowa and feast on the seeds of native wildflowers, helping farmers control weeds. In yards, these finches readily come to mesh feeders offering Nyjer seed.

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    Kansas

    State Bird of Kansas - Western Meadowlark
    Kathy & sam/Flickr/CC by 2.0

    Common Name: Western Meadowlark
    Scientific Name: Sturnella neglecta

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1937
    Range in State: Statewide in grasslands and fields, winters only in eastern part of state
    Shared With Other States: Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, Wyoming

    A statewide vote among schoolchildren, conducted by the Kansas Audubon Society in 1925, selected the western meadowlark as the state bird over the northern bobwhite and northern cardinal, though the state would not officially designate the bird until 1937. These birds, which are closely related to blackbirds, are easily recognized by their bright yellow underparts, black V-shaped bib, and rich whistling song. They are commonly seen perched on fences in rural areas, making them familiar throughout much of Kansas.

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    Kentucky

    State Bird of Kentucky - Northern Cardinal
    Dan Pancamo/Flickr/Used With Permission

    Common Name: Northern Cardinal
    Scientific Name: Cardinalis cardinalis

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1926
    Range in State: Statewide in forests, suburbs, and parks, year-round
    Shared With Other States: Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia

    Though the northern cardinal is the most popular state bird with seven different states claiming it as their avian ambassador, Kentucky was the first to adopt this bird as its state symbol, and in fact was the first state to adopt any official bird symbol. Not only is the bird found throughout the state, but cardinal pride is a hallmark of the University of Louisville, which has the Cardinal Bird, nicknamed "Louie" or "C.B." as its official mascot.

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    Louisiana

    State Bird of Louisiana - Brown Pelican
    cuatrok77/Flickr/Used With Permission

    Common Name: Brown Pelican, Eastern Brown Pelican
    Scientific Name: Pelecanus occidentalis

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1958
    Range in State: Year-round along the Gulf Coast
    Shared With Other States: None

    Though officially designated as the state bird in 1958, the initial designation only specified the pelican as Louisiana's state bird. The legislature amended the designation in 1966 to clarify that the brown pelican was the official symbol, thus avoiding any confusion with the American white pelican, which is also found in Louisiana in winter. In 2013, the NBA team in New Orleans was renamed to the Pelicans in honor of this amazing aquatic bird.

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    Maine

    State Bird of Maine - Black-Capped Chickadee
    Michael Woodruff/Flickr/Used With Permission

    Common Name: Black-Capped Chickadee
    Scientific Name: Poecile atricapillus

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1927
    Range in State: Statewide in wooded areas and yards, year-round
    Shared With Other States: Massachusetts

    This energetic little bird with a big personality was selected as the Maine state bird because it is one of very few birds that stays year-round in the sometimes harsh conditions of Maine. These birds have a distinct song and are boldly curious, readily coming to feeders and gardens for sunflower seeds. To help them survive a harsh Maine winter, provide bird roost boxes or leave birdhouses up year-round for extra shelter.

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    Maryland

    State Bird of Maryland - Baltimore Oriole
    Dan Pancamo/Flickr/Used With Permission

    Common Name: Baltimore Oriole
    Scientific Name: Icterus galbula

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1947
    Range in State: Statewide in open forests, gardens, and parks, summers only
    Shared With Other States: None

    The rich orange-gold and black colors of the male Baltimore oriole are similar to the coloration of the Calvert shield, the emblem of George Calvert, the colonist who chartered what would become the state of Maryland. Because of this, the bird was designated as the official state bird in his honor. Since 1894, the state has also been home the Baltimore Orioles major league baseball team, another point of birdy pride in the state.

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    Massachusetts

    State Bird of Massachusetts - Black-Capped Chickadee
    Nick Saunders/Flickr/Used With Permission

    Common Name: Black-Capped Chickadee
    Scientific Name: Poecile atricapillus

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1941
    Range in State: Statewide in wooded areas and yards, year-round
    Shared With Other States: Maine

    The black-capped chickadee was adopted by the Massachusetts Legislature because of its popularity and familiarity; these small birds are widespread throughout the state year-round and are common backyard visitors. By adopting a common bird as a state symbol, it is possible for every state resident to recognize and appreciate their state bird, and it is easy to attract chickadees so all Massachusetts residents can have their state bird right in their own yard.

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    Michigan

    State Bird of Michigan - American Robin
    Linda Tanner/Flickr/Used With Permission

    Common Name: American Robin
    Scientific Name: Turdus migratorius

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1931
    Range in State: Statewide in woodlands, suburban and urban areas, and parks, summers only in the upper peninsula and northern lower peninsula
    Shared With Other States: Connecticut, Wisconsin

    Called the "best known and best loved" of all birds in the state, the American robin won a vote to be designated as the state's official avian representative. The bird also won a contest organized by the Michigan Audubon Society, favoring it as the state bird, and today these hardy thrushes are popular throughout the state and are frequently seen even in dense urban areas as well as parks, gardens, and yards everywhere in Michigan. Northern populations are migratory during the winter months.

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    Minnesota

    State Bird of Minnesota - Common Loon
    Chris Thayer/Flickr/CC by 2.0

    Common Name: Common Loon
    Scientific Name: Gavia immer

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1961
    Range in State: Deep forest lakes in the northern region of the state, summers only
    Shared With Other States: None

    Minnesota is home to more pairs of breeding loons than any other state except Alaska, but it wasn't easily adopted as the official state bird. Before the common loon became the official state symbol, several other birds were considered for the honor, including the American goldfinch, mourning dove, pileated woodpecker, scarlet tanager, and wood duck. Eventually these iconic summer divers with their checkered markings were given the celebrity status they deserve.

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    Mississippi

    State Bird of Mississippi - Northern Mockingbird
    River Wanderer/Flickr/Used With Permission

    Common Name: Northern Mockingbird
    Scientific Name: Mimus polyglottos

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1944
    Range in State: Statewide in scrub forests as well as yards, parks, and gardens year-round
    Shared With Other States: Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, Texas

    The cheerful countenance and beautiful song of the northern mockingbird makes it the ideal symbol of southern hospitality, which helped it be chosen as the official state bird by the Women's Federated Clubs as well as the state legislature. These birds are easily recognizable by their overall size, long tail, and bold white wing patches that are also visible when the bird is perched. Once disturbed, they also display a fiery southern temper and will chase intruders away from nests and feeding areas.

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    Missouri

    State Bird of Missouri - Eastern Bluebird
    Bill Majoros/Flickr/Used With Permission

    Common Name: Eastern Bluebird
    Scientific Name: Sialia sialis

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1927
    Range in State: Statewide in agricultural areas, parks, and gardens, summers only in the northern part of the state
    Shared With Other States: New York

    Chosen as the state bird because of its widespread populations throughout the state and its association with happiness, the eastern bluebird is indeed happy in Missouri where its populations thrive. Birders can attract bluebirds with mealworms and other treats, and these birds have learned to make good use of birdhouses. When they become regular guests, eastern bluebirds do indeed spread happiness among birders.

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    Montana

    State Bird of Montana - Western Meadowlark
    Dominic Sherony/Flickr/CC by-SA 2.0

    Common Name: Western Meadowlark
    Scientific Name: Sturnella neglecta

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1931
    Range in State: Statewide in grasslands and agricultural areas, summers only
    Shared With Other States: Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, Wyoming

    First observed by Meriwether Lewis during his westward expedition, the western meadowlark was overwhelmingly voted as the choice for state bird by Montana's schoolchildren. These birds prefer rural grasslands and open spaces, and they are frequently seen perching and singing on fences, wires, and poles. They are absent from all but the southernmost extent of Montana in winter.

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    Nebraska

    State Bird of Nebraska - Western Meadowlark
    Dan Pancamo/Flickr/Used With Permission

    Common Name: Western Meadowlark
    Scientific Name: Sturnella neglecta

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1929
    Range in State: Statewide in grasslands and agricultural areas, summers only in the northern half of the state
    Shared With Other States: Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Wyoming

    Three separate votes secured the western meadowlark as Nebraska's state bird. On different occasions, the Ornithologists Union of Nebraska, the Nebraska Federation of Women's Clubs, and the schoolchildren of the state all chose this familiar bird as their official feathered symbol. As common birds in open areas and often seen singing from exposed perches where their distinct plumage and clear field markings can be easily identified, it's no surprise that this beautiful bird has been honored in several other states as well.

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    Nevada

    State Bird of Nevada - Mountain Bluebird
    Nigel/Flickr/CC by 2.0

    Common Name: Mountain Bluebird
    Scientific Name: Sialia currucoides

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1967
    Range in State: Statewide in high prairies, meadows, and ranges, summers only in the northeastern part of the state
    Shared With Other States: Idaho

    Though the Nevada Federation of Women's Clubs and votes in the state's schools selected the mountain bluebird as a preferred state symbol in 1930 and 1931, it would take more than three decades for the mountain bluebird to be officially designated as Nevada's state bird. These are the least easily seen of the bluebirds but are the most brilliantly blue, with the males sporting an allover bright blue plumage and females showing rich blue in their wings, rumps, and tails.

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    New Hampshire

    State Bird of New Hampshire - Purple Finch
    Lee Hunter/Flickr/Used With Permission

    Common Name: Purple Finch
    Scientific Name: Carpodacus purpureus

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1957
    Range in State: Statewide in forests and suburban areas, year-round
    Shared With Other States: None

    Despite support from Audubon Society of New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Federation of Garden Clubs, and the State Federation of Women’s Clubs to become the official state bird and unseat the previous avian ambassador, the New Hampshire hen, the purple finch faced some opposition to its new position. Eventually it was voted in, however, before any other state was able to claim its symbolism, and to this day, New Hampshire is the only state honoring the perky purple finch.

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    New Jersey

    State Bird of New Jersey - American Goldfinch
    LASZLO ILYES/Flickr/CC by 2.0

    Common Name: American Goldfinch, Eastern Goldfinch
    Scientific Name: Carduelis tristis

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1935
    Range in State: Statewide in weedy fields and yards, year-round
    Shared With Other States: Iowa, Washington

    The reason why the American goldfinch was designated as the official state bird of New Jersey has been lost to history, and even official records provide no clue for the reasoning. For birders, however, the bird's bright plumage and even its more drab but still lovely winter coat, cheery disposition, and melodious songs make it welcome in any yard, not only in New Jersey but anywhere weed seeds must be eaten, seed-bearing flowers for birds have been planted, or Nyjer is offered at feeders.

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    New Mexico

    State Bird of New Mexico - Greater Roadrunner
    Dominic Sherony/Flickr/CC by-SA 2.0

    Common Name: Greater Roadrunner
    Scientific Name: Geococcyx californianus

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1949
    Range in State: Arid habitats and suburban areas, year-round but absent from the northwestern corner of the state
    Shared With Other States: None

    A swift and distinctive bird, the greater roadrunner is popular in New Mexican culture. The state's early settlers believed that roadrunners could lead lost individuals back to the right trail, and Native American groups believe the bird's spirit has supernatural powers. For birders, its great powers are in its powerful legs, which help this bird run up to 20 miles per hour and jump to catch a wide variety of prey.

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    New York

    State Bird of New York - Eastern Bluebird
    Bill Majoros/Flickr/Used With Permission

    Common Name: Eastern Bluebird
    Scientific Name: Sialia sialis

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1970
    Range in State: Statewide in agricultural areas, parks, and gardens, summers only except in the extreme southern reach of the state
    Shared With Other States: Missouri

    The last state to officially designate a state bird, New York was relatively informal in selecting the eastern bluebird as its representative. The bird was sponsored by a simple referendum of the New York State Federation of Women's Clubs in 1928, but it would take more than 40 years to make the selection official. It did have some momentary opposition when a representative from the Bronx claimed the bird wasn't well known enough in urban areas to deserve the state bird designation, but eastern bluebirds are regularly recorded in major urban parks throughout the state.

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    North Carolina

    State Bird of North Carolina - Northern Cardinal
    Mike's Birds/Flickr/CC by-SA 2.0

    Common Name: Northern Cardinal
    Scientific Name: Cardinalis cardinalis

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1943
    Range in State: Statewide in forests, suburbs, and parks, year-round
    Shared With Other States: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia

    Adopted as a state bird from voting that covered 26 different candidates, the northern cardinal was selected as North Carolina's representative through a campaign arranged by the North Carolina Bird Club. The cardinal was not the state's first state bird; that honor went to the Carolina chickadee in 1933, but because the "tomtit" nickname for the bird was considered undignified, that initial state bird was repealed after just a few days.

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    North Dakota

    State Bird of North Dakota - Western Meadowlark
    Alex Galt/USFWS/Flickr/CC by 2.0

    Common Name: Western Meadowlark
    Scientific Name: Sturnella neglecta

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1947
    Range in State: Statewide in grasslands and fields, summers only
    Shared With Other States: Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, Wyoming

    Chosen because of its widespread range and easy familiarity, the western meadowlark is a popular bird in North Dakota, as well as in the five other states that also honor this amazing songster as an official state bird. The sharp bill, streaked upperparts, yellow underparts, and black bib make the western meadowlark easily recognizable even by non-birders, which also makes it a good choice of a state bird.

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    Ohio

    State Bird of Ohio - Northern Cardinal
    Larry Hennessy/Flickr/Used With Permission

    Common Name: Northern Cardinal
    Scientific Name: Cardinalis cardinalis

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1933
    Range in State: Statewide in forests, suburbs, and parks, year-round
    Shared With Other States: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia

    The northern cardinal's range has expanded to include all of Ohio since settlers first arrived in the area; in the 1700s, these birds were far more scarce in the then-heavily forested state, as they prefer edge habitats. Today, it is very appropriate for Ohio to honor the northern cardinal as its state bird, and they are found in both rural and urban areas throughout the state, even in winter, when their warm red plumage is a welcome ornament on snowy days.

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    Oklahoma

    State Bird of Oklahoma - Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher
    Ken Slade/Flickr/Used With Permission

    Common Name: Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher
    Scientific Name: Tyrannus forficatus

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1951
    Range in State: Statewide in open plains areas or suburbs, summers only
    Shared With Other States: None

    This distinctive flycatcher is easy to identify with its long, swallow-like tail, which it uses as an agile rudder for hunting insects. That hunting nature and the tremendous amount of insects the bird eats helped secure its position as Oklahoma's state bird because of its economic importance to farmers, along with the fact that no other state claimed this amazing bird as its own symbol. This gives Oklahoma a unique and distinctive avian ambassador.

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    Oregon

    Common Name: Western Meadowlark
    Scientific Name: Sturnella neglecta

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1927
    Range in State: Statewide in grasslands and fields, year-round
    Shared With Other States: Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Wyoming

    An Audubon Society poll of the state's schoolchildren showed that the western meadowlark was favored for the state bird honor, and it was officially designated by the governor's proclamation. Well known for its beautiful song, these birds are widespread in open areas of Oregon and are easily recognized by their colorful plumage and bold markings, including the thick eyebrow and the dark chest patch.

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    Pennsylvania

    State Bird of Pennsylvania - Ruffed Grouse
    Konstantin Ryabitsev/Flickr/CC by-SA 2.0

    Common Name: Ruffed Grouse
    Scientific Name: Bonasa umbellus

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1931
    Range in State: Statewide in open forests, year-round
    Shared With Other States: None

    Though more appropriately designated as the official state game bird of Pennsylvania, the ruffed grouse is the state's only bird symbol and so serves in the representative capacity of full state bird as well. A hardy grouse, these birds are well adapted to survive the state's sometimes harsh, long winters, and it once was a staple food source for Pennsylvania settlers. Today, it is vulnerable to habitat loss, but game bird management programs help protect its populations.

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    Rhode Island

    Rhode Island - Rhode Island Red Chicken
    Garrett Heath/Flickr/CC by 2.0

    Common Name: Rhode Island Red Chicken
    Scientific Name: None; not technically a wild bird

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1954
    Range in State: Domestic bird; farms and petting zoos
    Shared With Other States: None

    After a statewide contest in 1931 failed to result in an officially designated state bird, the Rhode Island Red chicken won a second contest in 1954 because of its commercial popularity. This chicken breed was developed in Rhode Island in 1854 for egg production, and because of its intimate connection with the state, the chicken was adopted as the state bird over the ruby-throated hummingbird. Though not a wild bird species, the Rhode Island Red, like all domestic chickens, is a descendent of the red junglefowl.

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    South Carolina

    State Bird of South Carolina - Carolina Wren
    Dan Pancamo/Flickr/Used With Permission

    Common Name: Carolina Wren
    Scientific Name: Thryothorus ludovicianus

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1948
    Range in State: Statewide in scrubby woods and yards, year-round
    Shared With Other States: None

    First unofficially adopted as the state bird in 1930, the Carolina wren was displaced when the state legislature designated the Northern mockingbird as South Carolina's representative in 1939. Nine years later, that act was repealed and the Carolina wren's position became official and legal, which was an excellent choice, since the northern mockingbird is the state bird of several other states. The Carolina wren's position is unique, giving even more distinction to its symbolism in South Carolina.

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    South Dakota

    State Bird of South Dakota - Ring-Necked Pheasant
    Mike Ostrowski/Flickr/CC by-SA 2.0

    Common Name: Ring-Necked Pheasant
    Scientific Name: Phasianus colchicus

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1943
    Range in State: Statewide in agricultural areas, grasslands, and scrub woods, year-round
    Shared With Other States: None

    A native of China, the ring-necked pheasant was first successfully introduced to South Dakota in 1908, but it quickly thrived and has become one of the area's most important game birds. The bird's financial influence that brings millions of dollars of hunting revenue to the state each year helped secure its position as the official South Dakota state bird.

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    Tennessee

    State Bird of Tennessee - Northern Mockingbird
    Robert Nunnally/Flickr/CC by 2.0

    Common Name: Northern Mockingbird
    Scientific Name: Mimus polyglottos

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1933
    Range in State: Statewide in scrub forests as well as yards, parks, and gardens year-round
    Shared With Other States: Arkansas, Mississippi, Florida, Texas

    A statewide educational campaign by the Tennessee Ornithological Society in 1933 was followed by voting to determine the state's official symbolic bird, and the northern mockingbird just managed to edge out the American robin, another popular bird that is symbolic in many states. Today, the northern mockingbird is found throughout Tennessee and its stark coloration and bold personality make it a fine representative for such a vibrant state.

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  • 43 of 50

    Texas

    State Bird of Texas - Northern Mockingbird
    Christopher Drake/Flickr/Used With Permission

    Common Name: Northern Mockingbird
    Scientific Name: Mimus polyglottos

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1927
    Range in State: Statewide in scrub forests as well as yards, parks, and gardens year-round
    Shared With Other States: Arkansas, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee

    The northern mockingbird's widespread range and overall familiarity helped secure its place as the state bird of Texas, but so did its personality. This bird's distinctive voice and protective nesting behavior, often fanning its wings to show off its bold wing patches, are personality traits admired in Texas. This bird's big attitude goes well with the idea that "everything's bigger in Texas."

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    Utah

    State Bird of Utah - California Gull
    Rick Wright/Flickr/Used With Permission

    Common Name: California Gull
    Scientific Name: Larus californicus

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1955
    Range in State: Marshes, lakes, and parks in the northern part of the state, year-round
    Shared With Other States: None

    The only state bird with another state in its name, and also the only state bird with a very narrow range in its symbolic state, the California gull nonetheless holds a special place in the hearts of Utahans. Legend has it that these birds, with their voracious appetites, devoured a plague of locusts that was threatening Mormon pioneers' crops in 1848, and because of the gulls' appearance to save the crops, the settlers were able to survive. Today, a monument to the California gull can be found at Temple Square in Salt Lake City.

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    Vermont

    State Bird of Vermont - Hermit Thrush
    Nick Saunders/Flickr/Used With Permission

    Common Name: Hermit Thrush
    Scientific Name: Caharus guttatus

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1941
    Range in State: Statewide in forests, parks, and gardens, summers only
    Shared With Other States: None

    Though many legislators initially did not agree with the hermit thrush as a candidate for Vermont's state bird because it is migratory and leaves the state in winter, it was eventually adopted because of its sweet songs and the fact that it can be readily found in each of the state's 14 counties. Birders can attract hermit thrushes by providing ground bird baths and abundant shelter, including shrubs and low trees that provide the understory these birds prefer.

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    Virginia

    State Bird of Virginia - Northern Cardinal
    Larry Hennessy/Flickr/Used With Permission

    Common Name: Northern Cardinal
    Scientific Name: Cardinalis cardinalis

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1950
    Range in State: Statewide in forests, suburbs, and parks, year-round
    Shared With Other States: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, West Virginia

    Called the "Virginia nightingale" by travelers returning to England from the colonies, the northern cardinal has been a favorite bird in Virginia for centuries. Its bright plumage and cheerful song, as well as its easy familiarity and willingness to visit yards, has made the northern cardinal the most popular state bird, with seven states giving it that symbolic honor.

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    Washington

    State Bird of Washington - American Goldfinch
    j van cise photos/Flickr/CC by 2.0

    Common Name: American Goldfinch, Willow Goldfinch
    Scientific Name: Carduelis tristis

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1951
    Range in State: Statewide in weedy fields and yards, year-round
    Shared With Other States: Iowa, New Jersey

    The American goldfinch was not the first choice of a state bird for Washington, but when schoolchildren selected the western meadowlark, it was decided that that bird was already too popular as other states' symbols. A second contest was held and though the American goldfinch was a clear favorite, no action was taken until 1951. Today, these brightly colored finches are one of the most common backyard birds in the United States.

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    West Virginia

    State Bird of West Virginia - Northern Cardinal
    Dan Pancamo/Flickr/Used With Permission

    Common Name: Northern Cardinal
    Scientific Name: Cardinalis cardinalis

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1949
    Range in State: Statewide in forests, suburbs, and parks, year-round
    Shared With Other States: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia

    Though West Virginia became a state after Virginia, it adopted the northern cardinal as its official symbol before its neighbor. The tufted titmouse had first been considered as West Virginia's state bird and was endorsed by the West Virginia Federated Women's Clubs in 1932 but it was not officially adopted, and eventually, the northern cardinal took the honors. Today, even non-birders can recognize and appreciate the beauty not only of the bright red males, but also the softer colored but no less beautiful females.

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    Wisconsin

    State Bird of Wisconsin - American Robin
    Fyn Kynd Photography/Flickr/CC by 2.0

    Common Name: American Robin
    Scientific Name: Turdus migratorius

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1949
    Range in State: Statewide in forests, parks, and yards, summers only in the northernmost part of the state
    Shared With Other States: Connecticut, Michigan

    Surveys of schoolchildren in 1926 and 1927 showed clear popularity for the American robin as the state's bird representative because of its widespread range and familiarity, but it was not officially adopted until 1949. These hardy thrushes stay throughout much of the state all year long, switching from an insectivorous diet to a frugivorous one when insects are not available in winter. Birders who plant berry bushes or fruit trees for birds can enjoy the robin's company in every season.

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    Wyoming

    State Bird of Wyoming - Western Meadowlark
    regexman/Flickr/CC by 2.0

    Common Name: Western Meadowlark
    Scientific Name: Sturnella neglecta

    Year Adopted as State Bird: 1927
    Range in State: Statewide in grasslands and fields, winters only in northeastern part of state
    Shared With Other States: Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon

    A common resident of Wyoming, the western meadowlark was selected as the state's official symbolic bird because of its bright colors and beautiful song, the same reasons that have made it a state bird in five other western states. A large member of the blackbird family, these birds are easy to find as they perch on fences and other exposed perches while singing, often in mornings and evenings.