There’s nothing more thrilling to a bird watcher than spotting a bird that's so rare, only a few people have ever seen it. It’s one of the best feelings and greatest accomplishments a birder can achieve. But where are they?
This blog features some of the rarest birds that have ever been spotted in North America, and let’s you know where they were last seen. We can’t tell you exactly where they will be, but with this information, we might put you on the trail and the closest you have ever been to discovering a bird that’s truly incredible and for sure out of the ordinary.
Spotted In: Florida and Maryland
This lapwing is the only crested wader in South America. It is 32 to 38 cm (13 to 15 in) in length and weighs approximately 250 to 425 g (8.8 to 15.0 oz). The upperparts are mainly brownish grey, with a bronze glossing on the shoulders.
This is a lapwing of lake and river banks or open grassland. It has benefited from the extension of the latter habitat through widespread cattle ranching. When nesting in the vicinity of airports, it poses a threat to the safety of aerial traffic. Its food is mainly insects and other small invertebrates, hunted using a run-and-wait technique mainly at night, often in flocks.
Reference: Wikipedia Credit: Sharp Photography
West Indian Whistling-Duck
Spotted In: Virginia
The West Indian whistling duck is widely scattered throughout the West Indies, including a large breeding population in the Bahamas, and smaller numbers in Cuba, the Cayman Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and Jamaica. Nests have been reported in tree cavities, on branches, in clumps of bromeliads, and on the ground under thatch palms and other dense bushes. It habitually perches in trees, which gives rise to its specific name.
References: Wikipedia Photo: Dick Daniels
Spotted In: New York
The bill and frontal shield is a pale greenish-yellow.The wing coverts are greenish-blue while the back and tail are browner. The throat and underparts are white while the legs are yellow.
It is found in freshwater marshes where there is floating vegetation and this includes marshy edges of rivers and lakes. Nest is an open cup of leaves concealed in dense marsh vegetation. Clutch size is 4-5 eggs, incubated by both parents.
References: Wikipedia Photo: Feroze Omardeen
Spotted in: Texas
The mottled owl (Strix virgata) is a medium-sized owl found in Central and South America from Mexico to Brazil and Argentina. The head and back are mottled brown and the underparts whitish, with vertical bars on the chest and throat. The eyes are dark and the head is round and they do not have ear tufts.
Mottled owls produce a range of calls which include a hoot used in maintaining territory boundaries, and various whistles, screeches and hisses. It inhabits a variety of wooded habitats including rainforest, woodland verges, dry thorn forest, pine/oak woodland and plantations and also open countryside with scattered trees.
Spotted In: Florida and Texas
The ruddy quail-dove is a member of the bird family Columbidae, which includes doves and pigeons.
It breeds throughout the West Indies, Central America, and tropical South America. It has appeared as a vagrant in Florida and southern Texas. It lays two buff colored eggs on a flimsy platform built on a shrub. Some nests are built on the ground.
The ruddy quail-dove is approximately 19–28 cm in length. The bird is distinguished by having a rust colored back, facial mask and similarly colored wings.
This bird is found in woodland and scrub forest. These birds forage on the ground, mainly eating seeds. Ruddy quail-doves feed primarily on the ground.
Credit: Wikipedia Photo: Kim Hansen
Spotted In: Florida
The Cuban emerald (Chlorostilbon ricordii) is a species of hummingbird in the Trochilidae family. It is found in a wide range of semi-open habitats in Cuba and the western Bahamas. This bird is known locally as zun-zun, and can be observed to be feeding throughout the day, perching on a wire to rest. The male is almost entirely metallic green and measures up to 10 cm (3.9 in) long. He has a slight bluish tinge to the breast, white spot behind the eye and a forked black tail. The female differs with a grey throat, breast and belly.
Reference: Wikipedia Photo: Laura Gooch
Spotted In: Texas
The Amazon kingfisher (Chloroceryle amazona) is a resident breeding kingfisher in the lowlands of the American tropics from southern Mexico south through Central America to northern Argentina.
This large kingfisher breeds by streams. The unlined nest is in a horizontal tunnel made in a river bank, and up to 1.6 m long and 10 cm wide. The female lays three, sometimes four, white eggs.
Amazon kingfishers are often seen perched on a branch or rock close to water before plunging in head first after their fish prey. They also feed on insects fish and amphibians.
Reference: Wikipedia Photo: Bernard Dupont
Spotted In: Alaska
The Eurasian hoopoe (Upupa epops) is the most widespread species of the genus Upupa, native to Europe, Asia and the northern half of Africa.
The hoopoe has broad and rounded wings capable of strong flight; these are larger in the northern migratory subspecies.
The hoopoe has two basic requirements of its habitat: bare or lightly vegetated ground on which to forage and vertical surfaces with cavities (such as trees, cliffs or even walls, nestboxes, haystacks, and abandoned burrows) in which to nest. These requirements can be provided in a wide range of ecosystems, and as a consequence the hoopoe inhabits a wide range of habitats such as heathland, wooded steppes, savannas and grasslands, as well as forest glades.
Reference: Wikipedia Photo: Keta
Spotted In: Massachusetts
The red-footed falcon (Falco vespertinus), formerly western red-footed falcon, is a bird of prey. It belongs to the family Falconidae, the falcons. This bird is found in eastern Europe and Asia although its numbers are dwindling rapidly due to habitat loss and hunting. It is migratory, wintering in Africa. It is a regular wanderer to western Europe, and in August 2004 a red-footed falcon was found in North America for the first time on the island of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.
It is a medium-small, long-winged species. The adult male is all blue-grey, except for his red undertail and legs; its underwings are uniformly grey. The female has a grey back and wings, orange head and underparts, and a white face with black eye stripe and moustaches.
Reference: Wikipedia Photo: Jutta Luft
Spotted In: California
Xantus's hummingbird, Basilinna xantusii, is a medium-sized hummingbird endemic to Baja California. It is 8–9 cm long, and weighs approximately 3-4 grams. The breeding habitat occurs in various habitats of southern Baja Peninsula of Mexico where it is considered endemic. It has been recorded as a vagrant up the Pacific coast of North America to British Columbia in Canada. The Xantus' hummingbird feeds on nectar from flowers and flowering trees using a long extendable tongue or catches insects on the wing.
Reference: Wikipedia Photo: Marlin Harms
Spotted In: Florida
The Bahama swallow (Tachycineta cyaneoviridis) is a swallow found only in the Bahamas. This swallow breeds only in pineyards on four islands in the northern Bahamas: Andros, Grand Bahama, Abaco, and New Providence. The breeding population on New Providence is, at the very least, greatly reduced from historical levels, and may be extirpated as a breeding species. The Bahama swallow winters throughout the eastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. It is a rare vagrant elsewhere during migration, including south Florida and the Florida Keys. It is also an occasional vagrant to the southerly Americas.
Spotted In: Texas
The blue bunting (Cyanocompsa parellina) is a species of passerine bird found in Central America. Measuring 5.5 inches (14 cm) in length with a wingspan of 8.5 inches (22 cm), it is one of the smaller members of its genus. Like most buntings, the blue bunting is sexually dimorphic. The male has a dark blue body, with brighter blue highlights on the supercilium, forecrown, malar region, rump and lesser wing coverts. The female is an unstreaked warm brown, slightly paler below.
Reference: Wikipedia Photo: Dominic Sherony
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