Birds of Nova Scotia

This bird list comprises of the 478 species that have been documented within the province of Nova Scotia and its surrounding coastal waters. The names and systematic order of the birds follow the latest 2013 American Ornithological Union's 54th Supplement of the birds of North and Middle America. Upon review of the list, you will notice bird species that are exceptionally rare to these parts. These occurrences are owed, in large part, to the province's geographical projection into the Atlantic and the susceptibility of significant weather events, especially in the late Summer and Fall.

This page is an on-going project while we add our members' photos to each species name listed below. You can click on the hyperlink and view photo images of that species. All photos were taken in Nova Scotia or within its surrounding waters.

Printable Field Checklist






Black-bellied Whistling Duck - Dendrocygna autumnalis
Fulvous Whistling Duck - Dendrocyna bicolor
Tundra Bean-Goose - Anser serrirostris
Pink-footed Goose - Anser brachyrhynchus
Greater White-fronted Goose - Anser albifrons
Graylag Goose - Anser anser
Snow Goose - Chen caerulescens
Ross's Goose - Chen rossii
Brant - Branta bernicla
Barnacle Goose - Branta leucopsis
Cackling Goose - Branta hutchinsii
Canada Goose - Branta canadensis
Mute Swan - Cygnus olor
Tundra Swan - Cygnus columbianus
Wood Duck - Aix sponsa
Gadwall - Anas strepera
Eurasian Wigeon - Anas penelope
American Wigeon - Anas americana
American Black Duck - Anas rubripes
Mallard - Anas platyrhynchos
Blue-winged Teal - Anas discors
Cinnamon Teal - Anas cyanoptera
Northern Shoveler - Anas clypeata
Northern Pintail - Anas acuta
Garganey - Anas querquedula
American Green-winged Teal - Anas crecca
Canvasback - Aythya valisineria
Redhead - Aythya americanca
Ring-necked Duck - Aythya collaris
Tufted Duck - Aythya fuligula
Greater Scaup -Aythya marila
Lesser Scaup - Aythya affnis
King Eider - Somateria spectabilis
Common Eider - Someteria mollissima
Harlequin Duck - Histrionicus histrionicus
Labrador Duck - Camptorhynchus labradorius
Surf Scoter - Melanitta perspicillata
White-winged Scoter - Melanitta fusca
Black Scoter - Melanitta americana
Long-tailed Duck - Clangula hyemalis
Bufflehead - Bucephala albeola
Common Goldeneye - Bucephala clangula
Barrow's Goldeneye - Bucephala islandica
Hooded Merganser - Lophodytes cucullatus
Common Merganser - Mergus merganser
Red-breasted Merganser - Mergus serrator
Ruddy Duck - Oxyura jamaicensis


Gray Partridge - Perdix perdix
Ring-necked Pheasant - Phasianus colchicus
Ruffed Grouse - Bonasa umbellus
Spruce Grouse - Falcipennis canadensis
Willow Ptarmigan - Lagopus lagopus
Rock Ptarmigan - Lagopus muta


Red-throated Loon - Gavia stellata
Pacific Loon - Gavia pacifica
Common Loon - Gavia immer


Pied-billed Grebe - Podilymbus podiceps
Horned Grebe - Podiceps auritus
Red-necked Grebe - Podiceps grisegena
Eared Grebe - Podiceps nigricollis
Western Grebe - Aechmophorus occidentalis


American Flamingo - Phoenicopterus ruder


Yellow-nosed Albatross - Thalassarche chlororhynchos
Black-browed Albatross - Thalassarche melanophris


Northern Fulmar - Fulmarus glacialis
Black-capped Petrel - Pterodroma hasitata
Fea's Petrel - Pterodroma feae
Cory's Shearwater - Calonectris diomedea
Great Shearwater - Puffinus gravis
Sooty Shearwater - Puffinus griseus
Manx Shearwater - Puffinus puffinus
Audubon's Shearwater - Puffinus Iherminieri
Barolo Shearwater - Puffinus baroli


Wilson's Storm-petrel - Oceanites oceanicus
White-faced Petrel - Pelagodrama marina
European Storm-petrel - Hydobates palagicus
Leach's Storm-petrel - Oceanodroma leucorhoa
Band-rumped Storm-petrel - Oceanodroma castro


White-tailed Tropicbird - Phaethon lepturus
Red-billed Tropicbird - Phaethon aetherus


Magnificent Frigatebird - Fregata magnificens


Masked Booby - Sula dactylatra
Brown Booby - Sula leucogaster
Northern Gannet - Morus bassanus


Double-crested Cormorant - Phalacrocorax auritus
Great Cormorant - Phalacrocorax carbo


American White Pelican - Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
Brown Pelican - Pelecanus occidentalis


American Bittern - Botaurus lentiginosus
Least Bittern - Ixobrychus exilis
Great Blue Heron - Ardea herodias
Great Egret - Ardea alba
Little Egret - Egretta garzetta
Western Reef-Heron - Egretta gularis
Snowy Egret - Egretta thula
Little Blue Heron - Egretta caerulea
Tricolored Heron - Egretta tricolor
Reddish Egret - Egretta rufescens
Cattle Egret - Bubulcus ibis
Green Heron - Butorides virescens
Black-crowned Night-heron - Nycticorax nycticorax
Yellow-crowned Night-heron - Nyctanassa violacea


White Ibis - Eudocimus albus
Glossy Ibis - Plegadis falcinellus


Black Vulture - Coragyps atratus
Turkey Vulture - Cathartes aura


Osprey - Pandion haliaetus


Swallow-tailed Kite - Elanoides forficatus
Mississippi Kite - Ictina mississippiensis
Bald Eagle - Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Northern Harrier - Circus cyaneus
Sharp-shinned Hawk - Accipiter striatus
Cooper's Hawk - Accipiter cooperii
Northern Goshawk - Accipiter gentilis
Red-shouldered Hawk - Buteo lineatus
Broad-winged Hawk - Buteo platypterus
Swainson's Hawk - Buteo swainsoni
Zone-tailed Hawk- Buteo albonotatus
Red-tailed Hawk - Buteo jamaicensis
Rough-legged Hawk - Buteo lagopus
Golden Eagle - Aquila chrysaetos


Yellow Rail - Coturnicops noveboracensis
Black Rail - Laterallus jamaicensis
Corn Crake - Crex crex
Clapper Rail - Rallus longirostris
King Rail - Rallus elegans
Virginia Rail - Rallus limicola
Sora - Porzana carolina
Purple Gallinule - Porphyrio martinica
Common Gallinule - Gallinula galeata
American Coot - Fulica americana


Limpkin - Aramus guarauna


Sandhill Crane - Grus canadensis


Black-necked Stilt - Himantopus mexicanus
American Avocet - Recurvirostra americana


American Oystercatcher - Haematopus palliatus


Northern Lapwing - Vanellus vanellus
Black-bellied Plover - Pluvialis squatarola
European Golden-Plover - Pluvialis apricaria
American Golden-Plover - Pluvialis dominica
Snowy Plover - Charadrius nivosus
Wilson's Plover - Charadrius wilsonia
Common Ringed Plover - Charadrius hiaticula
Semipalmated Plover - Charadrius semipalmatus
Piping Plover - Charadrius melodus
Killdeer - Charadrius vociferus


Spotted Sandpiper - Actitis macularius
Solitary Sandpiper - Tringa solitaria
Spotted Redshank - Tringa erythropus
Greater Yellowlegs - Tringa melanoleuca
Common Greenshank - Tringa nebularia
Willet - Tringa semipalmata
Lesser Yellowlegs - Tringa flavipes
Upland Sandpiper - Bartramia longicauda
Eskimo Curlew - Numenius borealis
Whimbrel - Numenius phaeopus
Eurasian Curlew - Numenius arquata
Long-billed Curlew - Numenius americanus
Black-tailed Godwit - Limosa limosa
Hudsonian Godwit - Limosa haemastica
Bar-tailed Godwit - Limosa lapponica
Marbled Godwit - Limosa fedoa
Ruddy Turnstone - Arenaria interpres
Red Knot - Calidris canutus
Ruff - Calidris pugnax
Broad-billed Sandpiper - Calidris falcinellus
Stilt Sandpiper - Calidris himantopus
Curlew Sandpiper - Calidris ferruginea
Sanderling - Calidris alba
Dunlin - Calidris alpina
Purple Sandpiper - Calidris maritima
Baird`s Sandpiper - Calidris bairdii
Little Stint - Calidris minuta
Least Sandpiper - Calidris minutilla
White-rumped Sandpiper - Calidris fuscicollis
Buff-breasted Sandpiper - Calidris subruficollis
Pectoral Sandpiper - Calidris melanotos
Semipalmated Sandpiper - Calidris pusilla
Western Sandpiper - Calidris mauri
Short-billed Dowitcher - Limnodromus griseus
Long-billed Dowitcher - Limnodromus scolopaceus
Wilson`s Snipe - Gallinago delicata
American Woodcock - Scolopax minor
Wilson`s Phalarope - Phalaropus tricolor
Red-necked Phalarope - Phalaropus lobatus
Red Phalarope - Phalaropus fulicarius


Great Skua - Stercorarius skua
South Polar Skua - Stercorarius maccormicki
Pomarine Jaeger - Stercorarius pomarinus
Parasitic Jaeger - Stercorarius parasiticus
Long-tailed Jaeger - Stercorarius longicaudus


Dovekie - Alle alle
Common Murre - Uria aalge
Thick-billed Murre - Uria lomvia
Razorbill - Alca torda
Great Auk - Pinguinus impennis
Black Guillemot - Cepphus grylle
Atlantic Puffin - Fratercula arctica


Black-legged Kittiwake - Rissa tridactyla
Ivory Gull - Pagophila eburnea
Sabine`s Gull - Xema sabina
Bonaparte`s Gull - Chroicocephalus philadelphia
Black-headed Gull - Chroicocephalus ridibundus
Little Gull - Hydrocoloeus minutus
Ross`s Gull - Rhodostethia rosea
Laughing Gull - Leucophaeus aticilla
Franklin`s Gull - Leucophaeus pipixcan
Black-tailed Gull - Larus crassirostris
Mew (Common) Gull - Larus canus
Ring-billed Gull - Larus delawarensis
California Gull - Larus californicus
(American) Herring Gull - Larus (smithsonianus) argentatus
Thayer`s Gull - Larus thayeri
Iceland Gull - Larus glaucoides
Lesser Black-backed Gull - Larus fuscus
Slaty-backed Gull - Larus schistisagus
Glaucous Gull - Larus hyperboreus
Great Black-backed Gull - Larus marinus
Sooty Tern - Onychoprion fuscatus
Bridled Tern - Onychoprion anaethetus
Least Tern - Sternual antillarum
Gull-billed Tern - Gelochelidon nilotica
Caspian Tern - Hydroprogne caspia
Black Tern - Chlidonias niger
Roseate Tern - Sterna dougallii
Common Tern - Sterna hirundo
Arctic Tern - Sterna paradisaea
Forster`s Tern - Sterna forsteri
Royal Tern - Thalasseus maximus
Sandwich Tern - Thalasseus sandvicensis
Black Skimmer - Rynchops niger


Rock Pigeon - Columba livia
Band-tailed Pigeon - Patagioenas fasciata
Eurasian Collared-Dove - Streptopelia decaocto
White-winged Dove - Zenaida asiatica
Mourning Dove - Zenaida macroura
Passenger Pigeon - Ectopistes migratorius
Common Ground Dove - Columbina passerina


Yellow-billed Cuckoo - Coccyzus americanus
Black-billed Cuckoo - Coccyzus erythropthalmus


Barn Owl - Tyto alba



To further the above list with birds that have some degree of plausibility of occurrence but have not as yet nor may ever be accepted as part of the NS list, the following birds are of note.


Trumpeter Swan
Ruddy Shellduck
Wild Turkey
Yellow-Billed Loon
Bermuda Petrel
Bulwer's Petrel
Roseate Spoonbill
Pacific Golden Plover
Red-necked Stint
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
Yellow-legged Gull
White-winged Tern










Eastern Screech-Owl - Megascops asio
Great Horned Owl - Bubo virginianus
Snowy Owl - Bubo scandiacus
Northern Hawk Owl - Surnia ulula
Burrowing Owl - Athene cunicularia
Barred Owl - Strix varia
Great Gray Owl - Strix nebulosa
Long-eared Owl - Asio otus
Short-eared Owl - Asio flammeus
Boreal Owl - Aegolius funereus
Northern Saw-whet Owl - Aegolius acadicus


Common Nighthawk - Chordeiles minor
Chuck-will's-widow -Antrostomus carolinensis
Eastern Whip-poor-will - Antrostomus vociferus


Chimney Swift - Chaetura pelagica


Ruby-throated Hummingbird - Archilochus colubris
Black-chinned Hummingbird - Archilochus alexandri
Rufous Hummingbird - Selasphorus rufus
Calliope Hummingbird - Selasphorus calliope


Belted Kingfisher - Megaceryle alcyon


Lewis's Woodpecker - Melanerpes lewis
Red-headed Woodpecker - Melanerpes erythrocephalus
Red-bellied Woodpecker - Melanerpes carolinus
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - Sphyrapicus varius
Downy Woodpecker - Picoides pubescens
Hairy Woodpecker - Picoides villosus
American Three-toed Woodpecker - Picoides dorsalis
Black-backed Woodpecker - Picoides arcticus
Northern Flicker - Colaptes auratus
Pileated Woodpecker - Dryocopus pileatus


Crested Caracara - Caracara cheriway
Eurasian Kestrel - Falco tinnunculus
American Kestrel - Falco sparverius
Merlin - Falco columbarius
Gyrfalcon - Falco rusticolus
Peregrine Falcon - Falco peregrinus


Olive-sided Flycatcher - Contopus cooperi
Western Wood-pewee - Contopus sordidulus
Eastern Wood-pewee - Contopus virens
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - Empidonax flaviventris
Acadian Flycatcher - Empidonax virescens
Alder Flycatcher - Empidonax alnorum
Willow Flycatcher - Empidonax traillii
Least Flycatcher - Empidonax minimus
Hammond's Flycatcher - Empidonax hammondii
Dusky Flycatcher - Empidonax oberholseri
Eastern Phoebe - Sayornis phoebe
Say's Phoebe - Sayornis saya
Vermillion Flycatcher - Pyrocephalus rubinus
Ash-throated Flycatcher - Myiarchus cinerascens
Great Crested Flycatcher - Myiarchus crinitus
Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher - Myiodynastes luteiventris
Couch's Kingbird - Tyrannus couchii
Cassin's Kingbird - Tyrannus vociferans
Western Kingbird - Tyrannus verticalis
Eastern Kingbird - Tyrannus tyrannus
Gray Kingbird - Tyrannus dominicensis
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - Tyrannus forficatus
Fork-tailed Flycatcher - Tyrannus savanna


Brown Shrike - Lanius cristatus
Loggerhead Shrike - Lanius ludovicianus
Northern Shrike - Lanus excubitor


White-eyed Vireo - Vireo griseus
Bell's Vireo - Vireo bellii
Yellow-throated Vireo - Vireo flavifrons
Plumbeous Vireo - Vireo plumbeus
Blue-headed Vireo - Vireo solitarius
Warbling Vireo - Vireo gilvus
Philadelphia Vireo - Vireo philadelphicus
Red-eyed Vireo - Vireo olivaceus


Gray Jay - Perisoreus canadensis
Blue Jay - Cyanocitta cristata
Black-billed Magpie - Pica hudsonia
Eurasian Jackdaw - Corvus monedula
American Crow - Corvus brachyrhynchos
Fish Crow - Corvus ossifragus
Common Raven - Corvus corax


Horned Lark - Eremophila alpestris


Purple Martin - Progne subis
Tree Swallow - Tachycineta bicolor
Violet-green Swallow - Tachycineta thalassina
Northern Rough-winged Swallow - Stelgidopteryx serripennis
Bank Swallow - Riparia riparia
Cliff Swallow - Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
Cave Swallow - Petrochelidon fulva
Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica


Black-capped Chickadee - Poecile atricapillus
Boreal Chickadee - Poecile hudsonicus


Red-breasted Nuthatch - Sitta canadensis
White-breasted Nuthatch - Sitta carolinensis


Brown Creeper - Certhia americana


Rock Wren - Salpinctes obsoletus
House Wren - Troglodytes aedon
Winter Wren - Troglodytes hiemalis
Sedge Wren - Cistothorus platensis
Marsh Wren - Cistothorus palustris
Carolina Wren - Thrythorus ludovicianus
Bewick's Wren - Thryomanes bewickii


Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - Polioptila caerulea


Golden-crowned Kinglet - Regulus satrapa
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - Regulus calendula


Northern Wheatear - Oenanthe oenanthe


Eastern Bluebird - Sialia sialis
Mountain Bluebird - Sialia currucoides
Townsend's Solitaire - Myadestes townsendi
Veery - Catharus fuscescens
Gray-cheeked Thrush - Catharus minimus
Bicknell's Thrush - Catharus bicknelli
Swainson's Thrush - Catharus ustulatus
Hermit Thrush - Catharus guttatus
Wood Thrush - Hylocichla mustelina
Fieldfare - Turdus pilaris
Redwing - Turdus iliacus
American Robin - Turdus migratorius
Varied Thrush - Ixoreus naevius


Gray Catbird - Dumetella carolinensis
Brown Thrasher - Toxostoma rufum
Northern Mockingbird - Mimus polyglottos


European Starling - Sturnus vulgaris


American Pipit - Anthus rubescens


Bohemian Waxwing - Bombycilla garrulus
Cedar Waxwing - Bombycilla cedrorum


Lapland Longspur - Calcarius lapponicus
Chestnut-collared Longspur - Calcarius ornatus
Smith's Longspur - Calcarius pictus
Snow Bunting - Plectrophenax nivalis


Ovenbird - Seiurus aurocapilla
Worm-eating Warbler - Helmitheros vermivorum
Louisiana Waterthrush - Parkesia motacilla
Northern Waterthrush - Parkesia noveboracensis
Golden-winged Warbler - Vermivora chrysoptera
Blue-winged Warbler - Vermivora cyanoptera
Black-and-white Warbler - Mniotilla varia
Prothonotary Warbler - Protonotaria citrea
Swainson's Warbler - Limnothlypis swainsonii
Tennessee Warbler - Oreothlypis peregrina
Orange-crowned Warbler - Oreothylpis celata
Nashville Warbler - Oreothlypis ruficapilla
Virginia's Warbler - Oreothlypis virginiae
Connecticut Warbler - Oporornis agilis
MacGillivray's Warbler - Geothlypis tolmei
Mourning Warbler - Geothlypis philadelphia
Kentucky Warbler - Geothlypis formosa
Common Yellowthroat - Geothlypis trichas
Hooded Warbler - Setophaga citrina
American Redstart - Setophaga ruticilla
Cape May Warbler - Setophaga trigrina
Cerulean Warbler - Setophaga cerulea
Northern Parula - Setophaga americana
Magnolia Warbler - Setophaga magnolia
Bay-breasted Warbler - Setophaga castanea
Blackburnian Warbler - Setophaga fusca
Yellow Warbler - Setophaga petechia
Chestnut-sided Warbler - Setophaga pensylvanica
Blackpoll Warbler - Setophaga striata
Black-throated Blue Warbler - Setophaga caerulescens
Palm Warbler - Setophaga palmarum
Pine Warbler - Setophaga pinus
Yellow-rumped Warbler - Setophaga coronata
Yellow-throated Warbler - Setophaga dominica
Prairie Warbler - Setophaga discolor
Black-throated Gray Warbler - Setophaga nigrescens
Townsend's Warbler - Setophaga townsendi
Hermit Warbler - Setophaga occidentalis
Black-throated Green Warbler - Setophaga virens
Canada Warbler - Cardellina canadensis
Wilson's Warbler - Cardellina pusilla
Yellow-breasted Chat - Icteria virens


Green-tailed Towhee - Pipilo chlorurus
Spotted Towhee - Pipilo maculatus
Eastern Towhee - Pipilo erythrophthalmus
Cassin's Sparrow - Peucaea cassinii
American Tree Sparrow - Spizella arborea
Chipping Sparrow - Spizella passerina
Clay-colored Sparrow - Spizella pallida
Brewer's Sparrow - Spizella breweri
Field Sparrow - Spizella pusilla
Vesper Sparrow - Pooecetes gramineus
Lark Sparrow - Chondestes grammacus
Bell's Sparrow - Artemisiospiza belli
Lark Bunting - Calamospiza melanocorys
Savannah Sparrow - Passerculus sandwichensis
Grasshopper Sparrow - Ammodramus savannarum
Henslow's Sparrow - Ammodramus henslowii
Le Conte's Sparrow - Ammodramus leconteii
Nelson's Sparrow - Ammodramus nelsoni
Saltmarsh Sparrow - Ammodramus caudacutus
Seaside Sparrow - Ammodramus maritimus
Fox Sparrow - Passerella iliaca
Song Sparrow - Melospiza melodia
Lincoln's Sparrow - Melospiza lincolnii
Swamp Sparrow - Melospiza georgiana
White-throated Sparrow - Zonotrichia albicollis
Harris's Sparrow - Zonotrichia querula
White-crowned Sparrow - Zonotrichia leucophrys
Golden-crowned Sparrow - Zonotrichia atricapilla
Dark-eyed Junco - Junco hyemalis


Summer Tanager - Piranga rubra
Scarlet Tanager - Piranga olivacea
Western Tanager - Piranga ludoviciana
Northern Cardinal - Cardinalis cardinalis
Rose-breasted Grosbeak - Pheucticus ludovicianus
Black-headed Grosbeak - Pheucticus melanocephalus
Blue Grosbeak - Passerina caerulea
Lazuli Bunting - Passerina amoena
Indigo Bunting - Passerina cyanea
Painted Bunting - Passerina ciris
Dickcissel - Spiza americana


Bobolink - Dolichonyx oryzivorus
Red-winged Blackbird - Agelaius phoeniceus
Eastern Meadowlark - Sturnella magna
Western Meadowlark - Sturnella neglecta
Yellow-headed Blackbird - Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus
Rusty Blackbird - Euphagus carolinus
Brewer's Blackbird - Euphagus cyanocephalus
Common Grackle - Quiscalus quiscula
Boat-tailed Grackle - Quiscalus major
Great Tailed Grackle - Quiscalus mexicanus
Shiny Cowbird - Molothrus bonariensis
Bronzed Cowbird - Molothrus aeneus
Brown-headed Cowbird - Molothrus ater
Orchard Oriole - Icterus spurius
Bullock's Oriole - Icterus bullockii
Baltimore Oriole - Icterus galbula


Common Chaffinch - Fringilla coelebs
Brambling - Fringilla montifringilla
Pine Grosbeak - Pinicola enucleator
House Finch - Carpodacus mexicanus
Purple Finch - Carpodacus purpureus
Red Crossbill - Loxia curvirostra
White-winged Crossbill - Loxia leucoptera
Common Redpoll - Acanthis flammea
Hoary Redpoll - Acanthis hornemanni
Pine Siskin - Spinus pinus
American Goldfinch - Spinus tristis
Evening Grosbeak - Coccothraustes verpertinus


House Sparrow - Passer domesticus



Brown Skua
European Turtle-Dove
Mangrove Cuckoo
Groove-billed Ani
Broad-billed Hummingbird
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Tropical Kingbird
Cassin's Vireo
Bahama Swallow
Tufted Titmouse
Baird's Sparrow
Black-cowled Oriole