Bird Species of Iowa

Bird Species of Iowa
Iowa is a land-locked Midwestern state bordered by six other states. Its location, in the upper middle of the United States, puts it in the flight path of many migratory bird species traveling from the Gulf Coast. Combined with the birds that call Iowa home year-round or travel there to breed before heading south for the winter, this gives birdwatchers in the state a multitude of winged friends to try to find and identify.

Water birds

The snow goose, Ross's goose, Canadian goose and the greater white-fronted goose are four of the geese that can be seen on Iowa lakes and ponds. The wood duck, American black duck, mallard, canvasback, redhead, ring-necked duck, various types of mergansers, canvasbacks, grebes, teal, cormorants, bitterns, herons, and egrets all are found near Iowa waterways. In addition to these water birds, there are kingfishers, rails, coots, cranes, plovers, sandpipers, different gulls, and terns living there, too.


Birds of prey

Birds of prey found in Iowa include several hawks, with the red-tailed hawk, Cooper's hawk, the broad-winged hawk, the red-shouldered hawk and the rough-legged hawk among them. The osprey will be seen near bodies of water as it lives almost entirely off of the fish it captures with its talons and keen eyesight. The bald eagle and golden eagle are native to Iowa as is the northern harrier, the northern goshawk and the Mississippi kite. Turkey vultures gladly feast on any dead animal they can find in Iowa. Members of the order of falcons include the American kestrel, the smaller merlin, the Peregrine falcon and the prairie falcon. Among the owls in Iowa you would expect to see, or at least hear, are the eastern screech owl, the great horned owl, the barn owl and the barred owl.

Perching birds

Iowa is a haven for perching birds, sometimes referred to as songbirds, with the scientific term for such birds being passeriformes. There are kingbirds, phoebes, flycatchers, shrikes, vireos, magpies, crows, ravens, jays, nuthatches, martins, swallows, titmice, chickadees, wrens, creepers, warblers, thrushes, kinglets, catbirds, thrashers and mockingbirds. Also in Iowa to the delight of both birdwatchers and average citizens who enjoy their singing are boisterous birds such as warblers, sparrows, tanagers, cardinals, grosbeaks and buntings. The state bird of Iowa belongs to this group of birds-the American goldfinch is a handsome yellow-and-black species that eats seeds and lives in large flocks.


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