Birding Factoids

426 species
in 50 families

25 of the 246 species 
endemic to 
North America are 
represented here. 
No state endemics
1 USA endemics

    North Carolina
Checklist of North Carolina BirdsLocal EventsTours and GuidesRare Bird AlertsSpeciality BirdsMap
Check out John Setzler's North Carolina Birds Gallery.
North Carolina Specialities
(Pause your cursor on the photo to see the species name. Click on the birds for more info... )
Northern Cardinal - Illinois State Bird - Photo by Michael Myers
Photo by Michael Myers

American Oystercatcher - highest breeding density - Photo copyright Don DesJardin

Photo copyright Don DesJardin

Pomarine Jaeger - Photo copyright Brian Patteson

Photo copyright Brian Patteson

Royal Tern - highest breeding density - Photo copyright Don DesJardin

Photo copyright Don DesJardin

Clapper Rail - Photo copyright Bill Scholtz

Photo copyright Bill Scholtz

Black Scoter - Photo copyright US Fish and Wildlife

Photo copyright US Fish and Wildlife

Brown Pelican - Photo copyright Jean Coronel

Photo copyright Jean Coronel
    Key to Icons....Cape Lookout National Seashore - The seashore
      is a 55 mile long section of the Outer Banks of North Carolina running from Ocracoke Inlet on the northeast to Beaufort Inlet on the southeast. The three undeveloped barrier islands which make up the seashore - North Core Banks, South Core Banks and Shackleford Banks - may seem barren and isolated but they offer many natural and historical features that can make a visit very rewarding.
    ....IBAs in North Carolina - The National Audubon Society's North 
      Carolina State Office has named the state's first Important Bird Areas (IBAs). These sites, ranging from far out at sea to high in the mountains, represent natural areas of special significance to birds that breed, migrate, winter and feed in North Carolina.
    ....Cape Hatteras National Seashore - Birdwatching. Over 400
      species of birds have been sighted in this park.
    ....The Outer Banks: Still First in Flight - In addition to being a prime 
      vacation destination, the Outer Banks of North Carolina offers great summertime birdwatching. Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, Bodie Island Lighthouse, Nags Heads Woods, Cape Hatteras, and the open ocean all offer a good variety of birds.
    ....A Birder's Guide to the Triangle - This is a prototype
      of an on-line guide to natural areas of the Triangle region of North Carolina. The Triangle region is comprised of the cities of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, and surrounding areas.
    ....Triangle Birder's Guide - The best birding spots in the Chapel
      Hill-Durham-Raleigh area of North Carolina. This site provides a general map of the area, showing the 15-mile-diameter Christmas Bird Count circles for Chapel Hill, Durham, Jordan Lake, and Raleigh. See also the Chapel Hill Bird Club Checklist. This lists all the birds ever recorded in Chatham, Durham, and Orange Counties, NC, from 1975-1996, with frequency designations for every week of the year. 
    ....Birding Hotspots of the Triangle Area - the Triangle is generally a 
      triangle formed by three cities in the Peidmont Region of North Carolina. Those cities are: Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. It covers 4 counties: Wake County, Durham County, Orange County, and a corner of Chatham County. This page covers the best birding hotspots in these 4 counties.
    ....Hot Birding Spots In the Highlands Area - from the Highlands Plateau
      Audubon Society. See also IBAs in the Highlands area.
    ....North Carolina and the Gulf Stream- by Angus Wilson. The Gulf 
      Stream is a warm water current that begins off the tip of Florida, where it is called the Florida Current, and ends off the coast of Ireland. In North America, the 'Stream' passes closest to shore off North Carolina's Outer Banks. The north wall of the Gulf Stream can be reached fairly easily from the fishing ports of Manteo or from Hatteras which is some 70 miles further south. Excellent pelagic birding and seawatching from Cape Hatteras. 
    ....Blue Ridge Birding! - by Alex Netherton. There are many birding 
      spots in the Blue Ridge (Asheville area), really too many to count. This site lists a few favorites.
    ....Charlotte Birding - from the Mecklenburg Audubon Society - This site
      provides a map of the Charlotte area. Click on a number to go to a description of the birding spot, directions and a map. 
    ....Birding North Carolina - See the coast including Pea Island and 
      Bowie Island, and join Mary Scott on a pelagic trip to the Gulf Stream, where we saw the elusive Herald Petrel. Then take a trip inland to the Croatan National Forest, Alligator River NWR, Weymouth Woods, and Lake Jordan.
    ....Palmetto-Peartree Preserve - a premier destination for outdoor
      enthusiasts. The Conservation Fund, in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Transportation, established the preserve in 1999 to protect critical  endangered species habitat.  Located in Tyrrell County, North Carolina the preserve provides  outdoor recreation, environmental education,  and  economic development  opportunities for local residents and visitors.
    ....Jordan Lake eagles and Wildlife Observation Site - from the New 
      Hope Audubon Society. Bald eagles were first observed at Jordan Lake in 1985. Bald eagles are now found on the lake all year, with nesting activity noted in late winter.
    ....Seawatching at Cape Point - part of Noel Warner's birding site.
    ...."Pterodroma Alley" by Michael Tove - this article about pelagic 
      birding off the shore of North Carolina can be found in the "Features" section of the website.
    ....National Wildlife Refuges Index - North Carolina. Includes links
      to information on: 
      • Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
      • Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
      • Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge
      • Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge
      • Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge
      • Roanoke River National Wildlife Refuge
    ....The Nature Conservancy of North Carolina - preserve profiles
      • Grandfather Mountain
      • Nags Head Woods Preserve
      • Big Yellow Mountain Preserve

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Tours and Guides

>>>>>> A Birding Pal is not a paid guide, but someone who likes to help out of town visitors. You can become a Birding Pal today! Help someone to enjoy your local birding spots and find a pal to help you when you travel. Click here for North Carolina Birding Pals, or join to be a Birding Pal!
Caroplina Chickadee - Photo copyright Brian Horn
Photo copyright Brian Horn

Band-rumped Storm-petrel - THREATENED - Photo copyright Brian Patteson

Photo copyright Brian Patteson
    ....Brian Patteson, Inc. Pelagic Trips - Brian Patteson has been organizing
      pelagic trips for birders since 1986. In 2001, Brian Patteson, Inc. is offering an extensive schedule of pelagic trips from North Carolina's Outer Banks as well as Virginia Beach, Virginia. Trips are scheduled at different seasons so as to see the fullest spectrum of pelagic birds and animals possible in the region. 
    ....North Carolina Pelagic Birding Trips with Focus on Nature Tours
      Various dates May through August. Birding trips to the Gulf Stream and continental shelf with landbirding, nearby onshore. North Carolina Pelagic Trips, onboard the "Country Girl" out of Manteo, with Captain Allan Foreman. FONT will continue to have good leaders & spotters with our trips. 
    **..Spring in the Great Smokey Mountains with Victor Emanuel Nature
      Tours (VENT). The famous smoky haze, the rugged mountains, and the hardwood forests–these are images that bring to mind this well-known region. Many have seen it from the byways and parkways, but it is a region that can be enjoyed on many levels. Our trip takes a slower, more probing look at the complexity of this multifaceted region. Like the Ozarks and Tallgrass Prairies trip, the tour seeks to bring together birds, botany, and a natural and cultural history of a timeless region.  VENT offers nearly 140 tours to over 100 land-based destinations each year and is the largest tour company in the world specializing in birding and natural history.

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Local Birding Events

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - Photo copyright Larry Manfredi
Photo copyright Larry Manfredi

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Rare Bird Alert

         North & South Carolina (Statewide) Hotline: 704/332-2473 or

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North American Specialities

in North Carolina

Information derived from Sibley & Monroe checklists in Thayer's Birder's Diary - Version 2.5.
These counts will differ in minor ways from counts based on the ABA classification,
but an international checklist system was required to enable world-wide
country to country comparisons.These speciality birds may be uncommon, or extremely rare
at this location, or may only be present in migration. However, documented sightings of each species
noted below have been made in North Carolina. Consult the Breeding Bird Survey or
Christmas Bird Count data on the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center website
to determine the "best" place to see each bird. Species printed in blue are endangered.

USA Endemics in North Carolina

___ Red-cockaded Woodpecker
North American Endemic Specialities in North Carolina

___ Bachman's Sparrow
___ Bewick's Wren
___ Black-headed Grosbeak
___ Bullock's Oriole
___ California Gull
___ Carolina Chickadee
___ Chestnut-collared Longspur
___ Fish Crow
___ Harris's Sparrow
___ House Finch
___ Le Conte's Sparrow
___ Mountain Bluebird
___ Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow
___ Pileated Woodpecker
___ Red-bellied Woodpecker
___ Red-shouldered Hawk
___ Ruffed Grouse
___ Sage Thrasher
___ Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed
___ Sparrow
___ Say's Phoebe
___ Seaside Sparrow
___ Smith's Longspur
___ Spotted Towhee
___ Tufted Titmouse
___ Western Grebe

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Links checked November 28, 2000