21 March 2018

Avifauna Taxonomy for the Great American Sand Hills

This is a list of the known species of birds that occur with the sandhills of northern Nebraska and the edge of south-central Nebraska.

It has been several years since the taxonomy has been updated, but this has been rectified by spending multiple hours to address the efforts required to compile an authoritative list, with many subtle but substantive changes made (derived from: Gill, F. and D. Donsker (Eds). 2018. IOC World Bird List (v 8.1). Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.8.1. www.worldbirdnames.org). Multiple experts have evaluated the relationship of one bird species to others and issued scholarly papers that were evaluated by this list presented in a formal manner and following a detailed peer review.

This list for the greater sandhill region is the most up-to-date taxonomy available. It is also the most indicative list of species for the state of Nebraska as derived from an international and modern perspective. For example, gray has been updated to the proper attribution of grey. Genus attributions have been changed to add to a conformity of representation, including some revisions to Spatula from Anas. The Downy Woodpecker and Hairy Woodpecker no longer have a similar genus designation. The genus attribution has changed for the two species of waterthrush.

There are 408 official species indicated. This tally is based upon a database of multi-multiple thousands of observations that are specific records of occurrence for one-or-another particular geographic location, and which are known to occur within a specific county. There have been 309 species observed within Cherry County, based upon nearly 62,000 records associated with observations between 1888 and 2018, for example. The design of the database includes "meta-data" that allows records to be extracted for regional localities, including queries limited to sandhill sites, or for the Niobrara Valley, as examples.

Additional records for the early history of the region are also available, though not indicated here as they are in a separate database.

The numeric value shown indicates the number of records associated with the particular species as of mid-March 2018, and which is a value in constant flux as additional bird observations are made or considered.

Proper Name Scientific Name Number of Available Records*
Family Anatidae
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna autumnalis 5
Brant Goose Branta bernicla 3
Canada Goose Branta canadensis 4625
Cackling Goose Branta hutchinsii 57
Ross's Goose Anser rossii 29
Snow Goose Anser caerulescens 203
Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons 83
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 1
Trumpeter Swan Cygnus buccinator 1048
Tundra Swan Cygnus columbianus 35
Wood Duck Aix sponsa 1385
Cinnamon Teal Spatula cyanoptera 220
Blue-winged Teal Spatula discors 5389
Northern Shoveler Spatula clypeata 4656
Gadwall Mareca strepera 5073
Eurasian Wigeon Mareca penelope 1
American Wigeon Mareca americana 2187
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 8328
American Black Duck Anas rubripes 15
Mexican Duck? Anas diazi 1
Northern Pintail Anas acuta 3772
Green-winged Teal Anas carolinensis 2693
Canvasback Aythya valisineria 2385
Redhead Aythya americana 4051
Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris 1394
Greater Scaup Aythya marila 11
Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis 2990
Harlequin Duck Histrionicus histrionicus 1
Surf Scoter Melanitta perspicillata 22
White-winged Scoter Melanitta fusca 19
Black Scoter Melanitta americana 7
Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis 32
Bufflehead Bucephala albeola 2323
Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula 530
Barrow's Goldeneye Bucephala islandica 11
Hooded Merganser Lophodytes cucullatus 171
Common Merganser Mergus merganser 668
Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator 53
Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis 3780
Family Odontophoridae
Scaled Quail Callipepla squamata 1
Northern Bobwhite Colinus virginianus 139
Family Phasianidae
Wild Turkey Meleagris gallopavo 436
Ruffed Grouse Bonasa umbellus 1
Sage Grouse Centrocercus urophasianus 2
Sharp-tailed Grouse Tympanuchus phasianellus 497
Greater Prairie-Chicken Tympanuchus cupido 396
Chukar Partridge Alectoris chukar 13
Grey Partridge Perdix perdix 20
Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus 781
Family Gaviidae
Red-throated Loon Gavia stellata 1
Common Loon; this attribution has been a return to a former proper name, rather than the use of great northern loon Gavia immer 38
Family Podicipedidae
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps 2356
Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena 5
Horned Grebe Podiceps auritus 175
Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis 2041
Western Grebe Aechmophorus occidentalis 1393
Clark's Grebe Aechmophorus clarkii 28
Family Threskiornithidae
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus 2
White-faced Ibis Plegadis chihi 292
Family Ardeidae
American Bittern Botaurus lentiginosus 1005
Least Bittern Ixobrychus exilis 41
Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax 1222
Yellow-crowned Night Heron Nyctanassa violacea 4
Green Heron Butorides virescens 63
Western Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis 92
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias 2267
Great Egret Ardea alba 65
Reddish Egret Egretta rufescens 2
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea 14
Snowy Egret Egretta thula 72
Family Pelecanidae
American White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos 1680
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis 2
Family Phalacrocoracidae
Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus 2
Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus 2361
Family Cathartidae
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura 489
Family Pandionidae
Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus 106
Family Accipitridae
White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus 1
Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos 282
Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipiter striatus 170
Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii 136
Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis 30
Northern Harrier Circus hudsonius 788
Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus 491
Mississippi Kite Ictinia mississippiensis 7
Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus 3
Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus 39
Swainson's Hawk Buteo swainsoni 435
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis 789
Ferruginous Hawk Buteo regalis 218
Rough-legged Buzzard Buteo lagopus 249
Family Rallidae
Yellow Rail Coturnicops noveboracensis 1
Black Rail Laterallus jamaicensis 4
King Rail Rallus elegans 9
Virginia Rail Rallus limicola 298
Sora Porzana carolina 219
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus 7
American Coot Fulica americana 4995
Family Gruidae
Sandhill Crane Antigone canadensis (Linnaeus, 1758). "Move canadensis clade of Grus cranes to genus Antigone (Krajewski et al. 2010, NACC 2016-C-4)." 275
Whooping Crane Grus americana 70
Family Recurvirostridae
Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus 88
American Avocet Recurvirostra americana 1166
Family Charadriidae
American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica 16
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola 72
Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus 118
Killdeer Charadrius vociferus 3501
Piping Plover Charadrius melodus 59
Snowy Plover Charadrius nivosus 14
Mountain Plover Charadrius montanus 3
Family Scolopacidae
Upland Sandpiper Bartramia longicauda 1884
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 14
Eskimo Curlew; likely extinct but not indicated as such by the IOC checklist Numenius borealis 2
Long-billed Curlew Numenius americanus 1153
Hudsonian Godwit Limosa haemastica 13
Marbled Godwit Limosa fedoa 122
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres 10
Red Knot Calidris canutus 5
Stilt Sandpiper Calidris himantopus 278
Sanderling Calidris alba 60
Dunlin Calidris alpina 16
Baird's Sandpiper Calidris bairdii 389
Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla 273
White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis 57
Buff-breasted Sandpiper Calidris subruficollis 10
Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos 133
Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla 226
Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri 89
Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus 396
Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus 70
American Woodcock Scolopax minor 3
Wilson's Snipe Gallinago delicata 579
Wilson's Phalarope Phalaropus tricolor 1672
Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus 132
Red Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius 7
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius 379
Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria 98
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes 736
Willet Tringa semipalmata 1200
Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca 513
Family Laridae
Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 2
Sabine's Gull Xema sabini 8
Bonaparte's Gull Chroicocephalus philadelphia 53
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 1
Laughing Gull Leucophaeus atricilla 1
Franklin's Gull Leucophaeus pipixcan 299
Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis 931
California Gull Larus californicus 41
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 4
Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus 16
Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides; includes Larus glaucoides thayeri as an indication that the Thayer's Gull, notably seen at Lake McConaughy, is now scientifically recognized as a subspecies 7
American Herring Gull Larus smithsonianus 119
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 7
Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia 14
Least Tern Sternula antillarum 39
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 93
Forster's Tern Sterna forsteri 1038
Black Tern Chlidonias niger 1574
Family Stercoraiidae
Pomarine Jaeger Stercorarius pomarinus Cedar Point Biological Station checklist
Parasitic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus 2
Long-tailed Jaeger Stercorarius longicaudus Cedar Point Biological Station checklist
Family Columbidae
Rock Dove Columba livia 162
Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto 402
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura 2246
White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica 2
Family Cuculidae
Yellow-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus americanus 157
Black-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus erythropthalmus 61
Family Tytonidae
American Barn Owl Tyto furcata 42
Family Strigidae
Flammulated Owl Psiloscops flammeolus 1
Eastern Screech Owl Megascops asio 95
Snowy Owl Bubo scandiacus 22
Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus 512
Barred Owl Strix varia 3
Great Grey Owl Strix nebulosa 1
Burrowing Owl Athene cunicularia 145
Northern Saw-whet Owl Aegolius acadicus 14
Long-eared Owl Asio otus 42
Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus 84
Family Caprimulgidae
Common Nighthawk Chordeiles minor 720
Common Poorwill Phalaenoptilus nuttallii 45
Chuck-will's-widow Antrostomus carolinensis 2
Eastern Whip-poor-will Antrostomus vociferus 30
Family Apodidae
Chimney Swift Chaetura pelagica 261
White-throated Swift Aeronautes saxatalis Cedar Point Biological Station checklist
Family Trochilidae
Ruby-throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris 17
Broad-tailed Hummingbird Selasphorus platycercus 3
Rufous Hummingbird Selasphorus rufus 2
Calliope Hummingbird Selasphorus calliope 1
Family Alcedinidae
Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon 423
Family Picidae
Lewis's Woodpecker Melanerpes lewis 6
Red-headed Woodpecker Melanerpes erythrocephalus 424
Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus 117
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Sphyrapicus varius 23
Downy Woodpecker Dryobates pubescens 596
Hairy Woodpecker Leuconotopicus villosus 298
Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus 1392
Family Falconidae
American Kestrel Falco sparverius 647
Merlin Falco columbarius 65
Gyrfalcon Falco rusticolus 12
Prairie Falcon Falco mexicanus 186
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus 76
Family Tyrannidae
Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe 199
Say's Phoebe Sayornis saya 84
Olive-sided Flycatcher Contopus cooperi 23
Western Wood Pewee Contopus sordidulus 99
Eastern Wood Pewee; for both wood pewees, a significant change has been getting rid of the hyphen in the proper name. Contopus virens 102
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher Empidonax flaviventris 2
Acadian Flycatcher Empidonax virescens 1
Willow Flycatcher Empidonax traillii 118
Alder Flycatcher Empidonax alnorum 19
Least Flycatcher Empidonax minimus 86
Hammond's Flycatcher Empidonax hammondii 1
Cordilleran Flycatcher Empidonax occidentalis 5
Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus obscurus 2
Cassin's Kingbird Tyrannus vociferans 8
Western Kingbird Tyrannus verticalis 769
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus forficatus 11
Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus 1311
Great Crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus 218
Family Laniidae
Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus 402
Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor 105
Family Vireonidae
White-eyed Vireo Vireo griseus 2
Bell's Vireo Vireo bellii 190
Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons 12
Plumbeous Vireo Vireo plumbeus 1
Cassin's Vireo Vireo cassinii 2
Blue-headed Vireo Vireo solitarius 18
Warbling Vireo Vireo gilvus 244
Philadelphia Vireo Vireo philadelphicus 4
Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus 234
Family Corvidae
Grey Jay Perisoreus canadensis 5
Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata 677
Steller's Jay Cyanocitta stelleri 6
Pinyon Jay Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus 27
Black-billed Magpie Pica hudsonia 178
Clark's Nutcracker Nucifraga columbiana 6
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos 1303
Northern Raven Corvus corax 7
Family Bombycillidae
Bohemian Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus 26
Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum 355
Family Paridae
Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor 2
Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus 748
Family Alaudidae
Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris 1059
Family Hirundinidae
Sand Martin Riparia riparia 136
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor 758
Violet-green Swallow Tachycineta thalassina 9
Purple Martin Progne subis 72
Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis 257
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 1203
American Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonota 295
Cave Swallow Petrochelidon fulva 2
Family Regulidae
Golden-crowned Kinglet Regulus satrapa 65
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula 82
Family Troglodytidae
Rock Wren Salpinctes obsoletus 36
Canyon Wren Catherpes mexicanus 4
Sedge Wren Cistothorus stellaris 25
Marsh Wren Cistothorus palustris 839
Bewick's Wren Thryomanes bewickii 4
Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus 6
Winter Wren Troglodytes hiemalis 31
House Wren Troglodytes aedon 703
Family Polioptilidae
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea 9
Family Sittidae
Pygmy Nuthatch Sitta pygmaea 3
Red-breasted Nuthatch Sitta canadensis 327
White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis 551
Family Certhiidae
Brown Creeper Certhia americana 67
Family Mimidae
Grey Catbird Dumetella carolinensis 272
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos 51
Sage Thrasher Oreoscoptes montanus 9
Brown Thrasher Toxostoma rufum 599
Curve-billed Thrasher Toxostoma curvirostre 8
Family Sturnidae
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris 842
Family Turdidae
Varied Thrush Ixoreus naevius 5
Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis 525
Mountain Bluebird Sialia currucoides 67
Townsend's Solitaire Myadestes townsendi 197
Veery Catharus fuscescens 21
Grey-cheeked Thrush Catharus minimus 26
Swainson's Thrush Catharus ustulatus 148
Hermit Thrush Catharus guttatus 37
Wood Thrush Hylocichla mustelina 38
American Robin Turdus migratorius 1594
Family Cinclidae
American Dipper Cinclus mexicanus 2
Family Passeridae
House Sparrow Passer domesticus 496
Family Motacillidae
Buff-bellied Pipit

Anthus rubescens

Sprague's Pipit Anthus spragueii 11
Family Fringillidae
Evening Grosbeak Hesperiphona vespertinus 41
Pine Grosbeak Pinicola enucleator 3
Grey-crowned Rosy Finch Leucosticte tephrocotis 2
Purple Finch Haemorhous purpureus 21
Cassin's Finch Haemorhous cassinii 2
House Finch Haemorhous mexicanus 346
Common Redpoll Acanthis flammea 27
Red Crossbill Loxia curvirostra 90
Two-barred Crossbill Loxia leucoptera 4
American Goldfinch Spinus tristis 1187
Lesser Goldfinch Spinus psaltria 1
Pine Siskin Spinus pinus 134
Family Parulidae
Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapilla 202
Worm-eating Warbler Helmitheros vermivorum 4
Louisiana Waterthrush Parkesia motacilla 1
Northern Waterthrush Parkesia noveboracensis 29
Golden-winged Warbler Vermivora chrysoptera 2
Blue-winged Warbler Vermivora cyanoptera 6
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia 101
Tennessee Warbler Leiothlypis peregrina 44
Orange-crowned Warbler Leiothlypis celata 135
Nashville Warbler Leiothlypis ruficapilla 18
Connecticut Warbler Oporornis agilis 7
MacGillivray's Warbler Geothlypis tolmiei 20
Mourning Warbler Geothlypis philadelphia 9
Kentucky Warbler Geothlypis formosa 4
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas 950
Hooded Warbler Setophaga citrina 8
American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla 190
Cape May Warbler Setophaga tigrina 2
Cerulean Warbler Setophaga cerulea 1
Northern Parula Setophaga americana 14
Magnolia Warbler Setophaga magnolia 19
Bay-breasted Warbler Setophaga castanea 8
Blackburnian Warbler Setophaga fusca 8
American Yellow Warbler Setophaga aestiva 635
Chestnut-sided Warbler Setophaga pensylvanica 11
Blackpoll Warbler Setophaga striata 55
Black-throated Blue Warbler Setophaga caerulescens 6
Palm Warbler Setophaga palmarum 9
Myrtle Warbler Setophaga coronata 2
Audubon's Warbler Setophaga auduboni 254
Yellow-throated Warbler Setophaga dominica 2
Prairie Warbler Setophaga discolor 5
Grace's Warbler Setophaga graciae 1
Townsend's Warbler Setophaga townsendi 11
Black-throated Green Warbler Setophaga virens 12
Canada Warbler Cardellina canadensis 3
Wilson's Warbler Cardellina pusilla 87
Family Icteridae
Yellow-breasted Chat Icteria virens 207
Yellow-headed Blackbird Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus 1304
Bobolink Dolichonyx oryzivorus 584
Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta 2342
Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna 792
Bullock's Oriole Icterus bullockii 20
Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula 306
Orchard Oriole Icterus spurius 658
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus 2804
Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater 1150
Rusty Blackbird Euphagus carolinus 21
Brewer's Blackbird Euphagus cyanocephalus 84
Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula 1085
Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus 47
Family Passerellidae
Lark Bunting Calamospiza melanocorys 226
Red Fox Sparrow Passerella iliaca 9
Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia 268
Lincoln's Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii 152
Swamp Sparrow Melospiza georgiana 177
Harris's Sparrow Zonotrichia querula 152
White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys 239
White-throated Sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis 97
Golden-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia atricapilla 4
Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis 507
Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis 185
Nelson's Sparrow Ammodramus nelsoni 1
Saltmarsh Sparrow Ammodramus caudacutus 1
LeConte's Sparrow Ammodramus leconteii 8
Baird's Sparrow Ammodramus bairdii 3
Henslow's Sparrow Ammodramus henslowii 4
Grasshopper Sparrow Ammodramus savannarum 924
American Tree Sparrow Spizelloides arborea 378
Chipping Sparrow Spizella passerina 546
Field Sparrow Spizella pusilla 384
Clay-colored Sparrow Spizella pallida 153
Brewer's Sparrow Spizella breweri 5
Vesper Sparrow Pooecetes gramineus 157
Lark Sparrow Chondestes grammacus 1003
Black-throated Sparrow Amphispiza bilineata 1
Cassin's Sparrow Peucaea cassinii 7
Green-tailed Towhee Pipilo chlorurus 2
Spotted Towhee Pipilo maculatus 311
Eastern Towhee Pipilo erythrophthalmus 159
Family Calcariidae
McCown's Longspur Rhynchophanes mccownii 9
Lapland Longspur Calcarius lapponicus 61
Smith's Longspur Calcarius pictus 2
Chestnut-collared Longspur Calcarius ornatus 63
Snow Bunting Plectrophenax nivalis 29
Family Cardinalidae
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra 6
Scarlet Tanager Piranga olivacea 50
Western Tanager Piranga ludoviciana 25
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Pheucticus ludovicianus 69
Black-headed Grosbeak Pheucticus melanocephalus 144
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis 365
Dickcissel Spiza americana 482
Blue Grosbeak Passerina caerulea 222
Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea 160
Lazuli Bunting Passerina amoena 60
Painted Bunting Passerina ciris 2
* Additional records (2165) are available as derived from static bird checklists.

In addition to recognized species, the taxonomy list includes other features. Notably, this included a listing for the ten following hybrids known to occur in the region, and for which there are 36 records available: Blue-winged x Cinnamon Teal; Mallard x Gadwall; Mallard x Northern Pintail; Greater Prairie-Chicken x Sharp-tailed Grouse; Western Wood Pewee x Eastern Wood Pewee; Willow Flycatcher x Alder Flycatcher; Bullock's Oriole x Baltimore Oriole; Spotted Towhee x Eastern Towhee; Rose-breasted Grosbeak x Black-headed Grosbeak; and, Indigo Bunting x Lazuli Bunting.