Top 10 Birds of Oregon

Birds of Oregon

Birds of Oregon: Oregon is notable for its diverse habitats, including alpine meadows, rainforests, pine forests, marshes, estuaries, dunes, lakes and streams, deserts, and rocky headlands.

It comes as no surprise that a state with such diverse habitats will have a rich type of animal species. Focusing on birds, this state is home to a myriad of them.

Birds of Oregon

The below section will cover some of the birds found in the state of Oregon, starting with the state bird.

1. The Western Meadowlark

Western Meadowlark (Oregon State Bird)

The Western Meadowlark is best described as a robin-sized bird with a yellow breast that also spots a distinctive black V-shape. This bird also has black and white stripes on its head and back with a yellow cheek.

AnimaliaPasseriformesIcteridaeSturnellaSturnella neglecta
  • The Western Meadowlark was voted as Oregon State bird in 1927 by the school children in the state. The Oregon Audubon Society sponsored the poll.
  • The Western Meadowlark’s breast feathers change depending on the season. Usually, the feathers on the breast tend to appear bright yellow with tan tips. However, in autumn, when the feathers are new, the breast area appears to have a light tan hue.
  • During spring, the light tan on the breast feathers wears away, given that the feathers are a little older. As such, during this period, the bird tends to have a bright yellow breast.
  • Interestingly, the Western Meadowlarks are not part of the Lark family, despite them having the word “lark” in their name. These birds are instead part of the blackbird family.
  • The males and females of the Western Meadowlarks are similar in appearance. The main difference is the fact that the males are slightly brighter in color.
  • This bird is that it is polygamous. About two-thirds or more of the population have two mates, with some having three.
Where in Oregon can you find the Western Meadowlark?
Bird Watching In Oregon, the Western Meadowlarks will likely be spotted in areas where the native grasslands/meadows are thick. This will likely be in Owyhee River Country in Malheur County, the bunchgrass hillside at the Dalles, the prairies in Jackson Country, Rogue Valley, and the Blue Mountains.

Source: “Western Meadowlark”. Accessed June 01, 2021. Link.

2. Osprey

Osprey (Bird Of Oregon)

Often mistaken for the eagle, the ospreys have a distinct marking that separates them from eagles.

AnimaliaaccipitriformesPandionidaePandionPandion haliaetus
  • These birds have white underbellies and a dark line that runs along with the eyes on their white faces.
  • The ospreys migrat e to Oregon from April and stay in the state until late August, where they migrate to the south, particularly in Mexico. These birds have also been observed to migrate as far as Honduras.
  • Ospreys mate throughout their lives and will always return to the same nest each year.
  • In the summer of 2017, the Oregon State Legislator passed the osprey as the state’s raptor. In-flight, the ospreys can be observed to have distinct crooked wings. Additionally, the ospreys’ call includes loud whistles that are sharp.
  • Further, the ospreys have a distinct odor, attributed to the heavy oil they secrete that maintains their plumage in a water-resistant state. Ospreys can live up to 25 years old in the wild, one of the longest for a bird.
Where in Oregon can you find Osprey?
Bird Watching In Oregon, ospreys will likely be spotted next to central Oregon’s high lakes, Willamette, and lower Columbia rivers.

Source: “Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife – Osprey”. Accessed June 01, 2021. Link.

3. Anna’s Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbird (Oregon Bird)

Anna’s Hummingbird is one of Oregon’s resident birds spotted all-year-round within the state.

AnimaliaApodiformesTrochilidaeCalypteCalypte anna
  • This bird species is primarily grey and green, with males having pink neck and head feathers.
  • Anna’s Hummingbird is a vocal hummer compared to the hummingbirds. The males produce a dry, scratchy buzz that can be heard all year round.
  • The Anna’s Hummingbird is so tiny, and its egg is almost the size of a small jelly bean.
  • Despite its size, the Hummingbird can also eat about 50% of its body weight in nectar every day.
  • Additionally, in a routine flight, this bird’s wings can beat anything between 40-50 times a second.
Where can you spot Anna's Hummingbird in Oregon?
Bird Watching This hummingbird species is often spotted in Willamette and Oregon’s coastal areas (west coast). Their preferred habitats in these regions are gardens, valleys, and suburban parks, ideal for their food and shelter.

Source: “Anna’s Hummingbird (U.S. National Park Service)”. Accessed June 01, 2021. Link.

4. American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch In Oregon

The American Goldfinch is a small bird with a short bill, a short tail, and relatively long wings. This bird’s color changes depending on the season.

AnimaliaPasseriformesFringillidaeSpinusSpinus tristis
  • For example, during spring and summer, the American Goldfinch has a black heat, yellow body, and black and white tail and wings.
  • During winter, the yellow plumage takes up a light brown tint.
  • The American Goldfinch tends to have particular habitat requirements. For example, they require weedy fields and scattered wood growths for nesting.
  • These songbirds nest later into the year because they will often wait for the thistle to appear first before making their nests.
  • During winter, the American Goldfinch roosts with others in coniferous trees or burrow under the snow to keep warm.
  • The American Goldfinches are known as the only ones in their family with the capacity to shed and sprout new feathers.
Where can you see American Goldfinch in Oregon?
Bird Watching In Oregon, the American Goldfinch is found on the wet cascades, especially in the interior valleys. A smaller number of this bird is found in the coast range mountains. The preferred habitats in these regions are agricultural land, orchards, woodlands, and weedy fields.

Source: “Deschutes National Forest – Nature & Science”. Accessed June 01, 2021. Link.

5. Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-Eyed Junco (An Oregon Bird)

The dark-eyed junco is an abundant and widespread species resident in the state of Oregon. This species is classified under the New World sparrow family.

AnimaliaPasseriformesEmberizidaeJuncoJunco hyemalis
  • The juncos vary in appearance but are primarily brown or dark grey birds with pink bills and white feathers on the lower chest and tail.
  • The dark-eyed junco sub-species have different color variations that set them apart. These birds have a long lifespan, given that they can live for up to 11 years.
  • Despite having wings, the dark-eyed juncos are often found hopping on the forest floor. These birds are ground feeders, preferring to eat millet.
  • Finally, the dark-eyed juncos puff up during winter, which helps them retain warmth during the harsh cold season.
Where can you locate Dark-eyed Juncos in the state of Oregon?
Bird Watching The dark-eyed junco can be spotted virtually everywhere within the state. They can be found in the south Columbia River, in the cascades, and on the coast. Their preferred habitats in these regions are grasslands and shrubs, which have a high concentration of insects and grubs that make the perfect meal for the juncos.

Source: “Dark-eyed Junco” – by M. Mulanax and H. Stone. Accessed June 01, 2021. Link.

6. Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker (Birds Of Oregon)

The Northern flicker in Oregon is larger than most woodpeckers in the region. The bird tends to be of a lighter shade of gray and brown, with black markings.

AnimaliaPiciformesPicidaeColaptesColaptes auratus
  • This bird can be found in virtually every terrestrial habitat in Oregon. The northern flicker lays its eggs on wood chips created when excavating their nests.
  • Northern Flicker will commonly be found on the ground, where it searches for anthills to source for their favorite food.
  • When hunting for insects, these birds tend to look out for or listen to insect movements.
  • During breeding, this bord forages in different habitats.
Where in Oregon can you find the Northern Flicker?
Bird Watching In Oregon, the northern flickers are most common in open forests, open country, and forest edges. These birds tend to avoid dense forests.

Source: “tag based on what is being viewed. We filter the output of wp_title() a bit – see agriflex_filter_wp_title() in functions.php. –> NORTHERN FLICKER | The Texas Breeding Bird Atlas”. Accessed June 01, 2021. Link.

7. Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican (Oregon Birds)

The Brown Pelican is one of the two pelican species found in Oregon. This bird is well known because of its brown plumage.

AnimaliaPelecaniformesPelecanidaePelecanusPelecanus occidentalis
  • The brown pelicans have a distinctive pouch, which comes in handy for them during their hunting quests.
  • Brown pelicans are great divers and can spot prey and dive into the water from 9 meters to capture it.
  • The brown pelicans are, however, not deep divers. This is because they have a great system of subcutaneous air sacs that affords them buoyancy in water.
Where in Oregon can you spot Brown Pelican?
Bird Watching This species is that it thrives in places bordering coasts or islands. This bird is a common sight in Newport, especially next to the mouth of Yaquina Bay. This bird can also be found roosting next to rocky outcrops.

Source: “OFWO – Brown Pelican”. Accessed June 01, 2021. Link.

8. American Pelican

American Pelican In Flight In Oregon

The American White Pelican is a predominantly large white bird. The American white Pelican has the longest wingspan of any Oregon bird.

AnimaliaPelecaniformesPelecanidaePelecanusPelecanus erythrorhynchos
  • American Pelican has a large orange bill and tends to fly with its neck withdrawn.
  • The top of this bird’s head gets a black hue during the breeding season, and a horn emerges on the upper mandible.
  • This projection helps protect the bill pouch during aggressive encounters. The horn sheds following the completion of the egg-laying phase.
Where in Oregon can you locate American Pelican?
Bird Watching This bird can be spotted in a myriad of places in Oregon, including but not limited to the Malheur Lake area, Summer Lake Wildlife region, Lower and Upper Klamath, Warner Basin, and islands in the Columbia River.

Source: “American White Pelicans at Malheur Refuge – Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge”. Accessed June 01, 2021. Link.

9. Bonaparte’s Gull

Bonaparte's Gull (Bird Of Oregon)

The Bonaparte’s gull is widespread in Oregon, often found in flocks of 100 members.

AnimaliaCharadriiformesLaridaeChroicocephalusChroicocephalus philadelphia
  • The Bonaparte’s gull will only breed near water in a boreal forest. Additionally, this is the only gull that tends to make a stick nest in their preferred trees.
  • Further, there is a difference in appearance between the breeding and non-breeding members of this species.
  • Breeding adults mainly possess a blackhead, thin white eye arcs, and bright red legs, while their non-breeding counterparts tend to have white heads with black ear spots and pinkish legs.
Where can you spot Bonaparte's Gull in Oregon state?
Bird Watching Bonaparte’s Gull is found in abundance along the Oregon coast, especially over the ocean shore. The species is also common next to medium and large lakes and reservoirs, including Hatfield Lake and Tumalo reservoir.

Source: “Oregon Birds – Journal of Oregon Birding and Field Ornithology”. Accessed June 01, 2021. Link.

10. Black Tern

Black Tern (Oregon Bird)

The black tern is Oregon state’s smallest breeding tern, notable because of its black body, head, and gray-colored wings.

AnimaliaCharadriiformesLaridaeChlidoniasChlidonias niger
  • These birds fly gracefully with their pointed wings. This bird is very social; it breeds, forages, and migrates in colonies.
  • Adult males give a flight performance given females to appear attractive to them.
  • This is an essential strategy that allows Black terns to find a mating partner.
Where in Oregon can you see Black Tern?
Bird Watching The black tern, will mostly be found nesting along the edges of freshwater marshes. This bird will often be found in the marsh wetland complexes, particularly in Klamath, Harney, and Lake counties. Other black terns will be found breeding in western Oregon’s interior valleys.

Source: “”. Accessed June 01, 2021. Link.

Evidently, Oregon’s diverse habitats are a testament to the many bird species that call this state home. The best part is that even if one cannot go to designated locations to watch the state’s different bird species,

Oregon residents can still catch a glimpse of many other species resting or flying in their backyards or within the neighborhood.

Cite This Page

APA7MLA8Chicago (2024, July 20). Top 10 Birds of Oregon. Bio Explorer. "Top 10 Birds of Oregon" Bio Explorer, 20 July 2024, "Top 10 Birds of Oregon" Bio Explorer, July 20 2024.
  • “Western Meadowlark – Sacramento Splash”. Accessed June 01, 2021. Link.
  • “Western Meadowlark Overview, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology”. Accessed June 01, 2021. Link.
  • “Osprey | Oregon Wild”. Accessed June 01, 2021. Link.
  • “Anna’s Hummingbird Facts for Kids – NatureMapping”. Accessed June 01, 2021. Link.
  • “American Goldfinch – Portland Audubon”. Accessed June 01, 2021. Link.
  • “Dark-eyed Junco | American Bird Conservancy”. Accessed June 01, 2021. Link.
  • “Periodic Status Review for the American White Pelican”. Accessed June 01, 2021. Link.


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