Birds of Illinois

The Illinois Ornithological Records Committee IORC recognizes 450 species native to the state of Illinois as per the March 2020 records. The extinct species in the official list include wild turkey, ruffled grouse, and sharp-tailed grouse. 

One would find the beautiful bird species scattered throughout the state. Yet, the common northern Illinois birds include the American goldfinch, blue jay, and northern cardinal. In southern Illinois, the downy woodpecker, prothonotary warbler, and barred owl are common finds mostly in summer. Some common birdwatching sites include the Giant City State Park, Morton Arboretum, and the Eldon Hazlet State Park.

The northern cardinal has been the state bird of Illinois since 1929.

Birds of Illinois

  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Blue Jay
  • Great Egret
  • House Finch
  • Pine Siskin
  • Indigo Bunting
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Bald Eagle
  • American Goldfinch
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • Northern Parula
  •  Barred Owl
  • Rufuous Hummingbird
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • Purple Martin
  • American Kestrel
  • Eastern Wood-Peewee
  • House Wren
  • Cooper’s Hawk
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk
  • White-winged Crossbill
  • American Tree Sparrow
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Osprey
  • European Starling
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Snow Bunting
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Blue Grosbeak
  • Golden Eagle
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Glaucous Gull
  • House Sparrow
  • Mourning Dove
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • American Robin
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Carolina Wren
  • American Bittern
  • Northern Flicker
  • Purple Finch
  • Eurasian Tree Sparrow
  • Black-billed Cuckoo
  • Yellow-billed Cuckoo
  • Prothonotary Warbler
  • Least Tern
  • Baltimore Oriole
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Green Heron
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Snowy Owl
  • Ring-billed Gull
  • Purple Gallinule
  • Whooping Crane
  • Purple Sandpiper
  • Little Blue Heron

Backyard Birds:

All-year-round: Northern Cardinal, American Goldfinch, Blue Jay, House Finch, Black-capped Chickadee

Migratory Birds:

In Summer: Prothonotary Warbler, Blue Grosbeak, Purple Martin, House Wren, Indigo Bunting

In Winter: Glaucous Gull, Carolina Wren, Pine Siskin, Snow Bunting, Great Horned Owl

Birds of Prey: Red-tailed Hawk, Snowy Owl, Bald Eagle, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk

Rare Birds: Bobolink,Red Knot, Northern Harrier, Yellow Cardinal

Water Birds: Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Little Blue Heron, Green Heron,American Bittern

Common Birds Identification by Color

Black Birds

  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • European Starling
  • Common Grackle
  • Bobolink
  • Brown-headed Cowbird

Yellow Birds

  • American Goldfinch
  • American Yellow Warbler
  • Common Yellowthroat
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • Eastern Meadowlark

Blue Birds

  • Eastern Bluebird
  • Blue Jay
  • Indigo Bunting
  • Lazuli Bunting
  • Mountain Bluebird

Red Birds

  • Northern Cardinal
  • House Finch
  • American Robin
  • Scarlet Tanager
  • Red-headed Woodpecker

White Birds

  • Wood Stork
  • Whopping Crane
  • American White Ibis
  • White-tailed Kite
  • Common Gull