San Diego Birding Pages

Birding San Diego County

Species Index

Click on a species below to be taken to that species' page; each page has charts reflecting my personal field data showing areas in San Diego County (or just over the border) where I've found the bird.  Please note that this is not a comprehensive San Diego County bird list, nor are the charts comprehensive lists of all the places in the county the bird can be found; they only reflect my personal observations at select locations.  Species marked in color correspond to Mark Billings' Rare Birds of San Diego County "rarity categories" as follows and should be reported to the San Diego Rare Bird Alert (619-NUT-BIRD):

Red = Category A: About 2 or fewer records in the last decade

Pink = Category B: About 3 records in the last decade and up to about an average of 1 annually

Blue = Category C: About an average of 2 - 8 annually

Green = Category D: Annual in minimal numbers

Taxonomic classification follows the Sibley Guide to Birds , 2000.  All photos taken in San Diego Co., California, unless otherwise stated.

  Loons (Gaviidae)

    Red-throated Loon (Gavia stellata)

    Pacific Loon (Gavia pacifica)

    Common Loon (Gavia immer)

  Grebes (Podicipedidae)

    Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus)

    Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)

     Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)

    Western Grebe (Aechmorphorus occidentalis)

    Clark's Grebe (Aechmorphorus clarkii)

  Shearwaters (Procellariidae)

    Black-vented Shearwater (Puffinus opisthomelas)

    Sooty Shearwater (Puffinus griseus)


  Pelicans (Pelicanidae)


    American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

    Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)

  Cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae)

    Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)

    Pelagic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pelagicus)

    Brandt's Cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicillatus)

  Boobies (Sulidae)

    Blue-footed Booby (Sula nebouxii)

  Herons (Ardeidae)

American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus)

Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis)

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Great Egret (Ardea alba)

Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)

Reddish Egret (Egretta caerulea)

Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor)

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)

Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)

Green Heron (Butorides virescens)

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)

Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax violacea)


  Ibises (Threskiornithidae)

    White-faced Ibis (Pegadis chihi)

  Waterfowl (Anatidae)

    Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)

    Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii)

    Brant (Branta bernicla)

    Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons)

    Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens) [Considered a vagrant in San Diego Co., but not at the Salton Sea]

    Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

    Gadwall (Anas strepera)

    Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) 

    Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors)

    Cinnamon Teal (Anas cyanoptera)

    Green -winged Teal (Anas crecca)

    American Wigeon (Anas americana) 

    Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)

    Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

    Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) 

    Canvasback (Aythya valisineria)

    Redhead (Aythya americana)

    Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris)

    Greater Scaup (Aythya marila)

    Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)

    Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis)

    Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata)

    Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clagula)

    Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)

    Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)

    Common Merganser (Mergus merganser)

    Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)

    Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)

  New World Vultures (Cathartidae)

    Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)

  Hawks (Accipiteridae)

Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)   
White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus)
Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus)
Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)
Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus)

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)
Swainson's Hawk (Buteo swainsoni)
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis)
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
Bald Eagle (Haliaeeatus leucocephalus)
Golden Eagle
(Aquila chrysaetos)

  Falcons (Falconidae)

    Merlin (Falco columbarius)

    American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)

    Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus)

    Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)

  Quail (Odontophoridae)

      California Quail (Callipela californica)
      Gambel's Quail (Callipela gambelii)

   Mountain Quail (Oreortyx pictus)

  Pheasants (Phasianidae)

      Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)
      Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)

  Rails (Rallidae)

    Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)

    American Coot (Fulica americana)

    Clapper Rail (Rallus longirostris)

    Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola)

    Sora (Porzana carolina)

  Plovers (Charadriidae)

    Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)

    Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva)

    Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus)

    Snowy Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)

    Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)

  Oystercatchers (Haematopodidae)

    Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani)

  Stilts (Recurvirostridae)

    American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana)

       Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus)

  Sandpipers (Scolopacidae)

    Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca)

    Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes)

    Willet (Catoptrophorus semipalmatus)

       Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularia)

       Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)

    Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus)

    Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa)

    Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)

    Black Turnstone (Arenaria melanocephala)

    Wandering Tattler (Heteroscelus incanus)

    Surfbird (Aphriza virgata)

    Red Knot (Calidris canutus)

    Sanderling (Calidris alba)

    Dunlin (Calidris alpina)

    Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri)

    Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla)

      Long-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus)
      Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus)
      Wilson's Snipe (Gallinago delicata)
      Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor)
Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus)

  Gulls and Terns (Lariidae)

    Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus)

    "Olympic" Gull (Larus glaucescens x occidentalis)

    Herring Gull (Larus smithsonianus)

    Thayer's Gull (Larus thayeri)

    Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus)

    Glaucous-winged Gull (Larua glaucescnes)

     Western Gull (Larus occidentalis)

       Yellow-footed Gull (Larus livens)
       Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus)
       California Gull (Larus californicus)
       Ring-billed Gull (Larus delwarensis)
     Heermann's Gull (Larus heermanni)

    Belcher's Gull (Larus belcheri)

    Bonaparte's Gull (Larus philadelphia)

    Franklin's Gull (Larus pipixcan)

    Laughing Gull (Larus atricilla) [a vagrant for San Diego County, but not the Salton Sea area]

    Mew Gull (Larus canus)

    Caspian Tern (Sterna caspia)

    Royal Tern (Sterna maxima)

    Elegant Tern (Sterna elegans)

    Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

      Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri)
      Least Tern (Sterna antillarum)
Gull-billed Tern (Sterna nilotica)
      Black Tern (Chlidonias niger) [somewhat rare in San Diego County, but not at the Salton Sea]
      Black Skimmer (Rhynchops niger)

   Alcids (Alcidae)

    Common Murre (Uria aalge)

   Pigeons and Doves (Columbidae)

    Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)

    White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica)

    Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)

    Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis) [pretty much extirpated, but the odd bird is still seen]

    Inca Dove (Columbina inca) [fairly common in the Imperial Valley, but extremely rare at Salton City]

    Common Ground-Dove (Columbina passerina)

    Rock Pigeon (Columba livia)

    Band-tailed Pigeon (Columba fasciata)

  Parrots (Psittacidae)

    Red-crowned Parrot (Amazona viridigenalis)

    Red-masked Parakeet (Aratinga erythrogenys)

    Cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus)

  Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

    Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus)

  Owls (Strigidae)

    Barn Owl (Tyto alba)

    Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)

    Long-eared Owl (Asio otus)

    Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)

    Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)

     Flammulated Owl (Otus flammeolus)

    Western Screech Owl (Otus kennicottii)

  Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

    Common Poorwill (Phalaenoptilus nuttallii)

    Lesser Nighthawk (Chordeiles acutipennis)

  Swifts (Apodidae)

    Vaux's Swift (Chaetura vauxi)

    White-throated Swift (Aeronautes saxatalis)

  Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

    Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna)

    Costa's Hummingbird (Calypte costae)

    Black-chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri)

    Allen's Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin)

    Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus)

    Selasphorus Hummingbird (Selasphorus sp.)

  Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

    Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon)

  Woodpeckers (Picidae)

    Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)

    Lewis' Woodpecker (Melanerpes lewis)

    Red-breasted Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus ruber)

    Red-naped Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus nuchalis)

    Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)

    Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus)

     Nuttall's Woodpecker (Picoides nuttallii)

    Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)

    White-headed Woodpecker (Picoides albolavartus)

    Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)

  Tyrant Flycatchers (Tyrannidae)

    Ash-throated Flycatcher (Myiarchus cinerascens)

    Brown-crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus tyrannulus)

    Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans)

    Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)

    Say's Phoebe (Sayornis saya)

    Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus)

    Pacific-slope Flycatcher (Empidonax difficilis)

    Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax trailii)

    Hammond's Flycatcher (Empidonax hammondii)

    Dusky Flycatcher (Empidonax oberholseri)

    Gray Flycatcher (Empidonax wrightii)

    Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi)

    Western Wood Pewee (Contopus sordidulus)

    Thick-billed Kingbird (Tyrannus crassirostris)

    Cassin's Kingbird (Tyrannus vociferans)

    Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis)

  Shrikes (Laniidae)

Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)

  Vireos (Vireonidae)

    Gray Vireo (Vireo vicinior)

    Yellow-green Vireo (Vireo flavoviridis)

    Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus)

    Philadelphis Vireo (Vireo philadelphicus)

    Bell's Vireo (Vireo bellii)

    Hutton's Vireo (Vireo huttoni)

    Cassin's Vireo (Vireo cassinii)

  Corvids (Corvidae)

    American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

       Common Raven (Corvus corax)
     Steller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)

    Black-throated Magpie Jay (Calocitta colliei)

      Western Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma californica)

  Larks (Alaudidae)

    Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris)

  Swallows (Hirundinidae)

    Purple Martin (Progne subis)

    Northern Rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)

    Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia)

    Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina)

    Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)

    Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)

    Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

  Titmice (Paridae)

    Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli)

    Oak Titmouse (Baeolophus inornatus)

  Penduline Tits (Remizidae)

    Verdin (Auriparus flaviceps)

  Bushtits (Aegithalidae)

    Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus)

  Nuthatches (Sittidae)

    Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)

    White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)

    Pygmy Nuthatch (Sitta pygmaea)

  Creepers (Certhiidae)

    Brown Creeper (Certhia americana)

  Wrens (Troglodytidae)

    House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)

    Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris)

    Bewick's Wren (Thryomanes bewickii)

   Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchos brunneicapillus)

   Rock Wren (Salpinctes obsoletus)

   Canyon Wren (Catherpes mexicanus)

  Wrentit (Timaliidae)

    Wrentit (Chamaea fasciata)

  Kinglets (Regulidae)

    Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa)

    Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)

  Gnatcatchers (Sylviidae)

    California Gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica)

    Black-tailed Gnatcatcher (Polioptila melanura)

    Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)

  Thrushes (Turdidae)

    Townsend's Solitaire (Myadestes townsendi)

    Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides)

    Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana)

    Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius)

    American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

    Swainson's Thrush (Catharus ustulatus)

    Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus)

  Mimids (Mimidae)

    Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)

    Bendire's Thrasher (Toxostoma bendirei)

    California Thrasher (Toxostoma redivivum)

    Crissal Thrasher (Toxostoma crissale)

    LeConte's Thrasher (Toxostoma lecontei)

    Sage Thrasher (Oreoscoptes montanus)

  Starlings (Sturnidae)

    European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

  Pipits (Motacillidae)

      American Pipit (Anthus rubescens)

      Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus)

  Silky Flycatchers (Ptilogonatidae)

       Phainopepla (Phainopepla nitens)

  Waxwings (Bombycillidae)

       Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedorum)

  Wood-Warblers (Parulidae)

    Orange-crowned Warbler (Oreothlypis celata)

    Nashville Warbler (Oreothlypis ruficapilla)

    Lucy's Warbler (Oreothlypis luciae)

    Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia)
Yellow-rumped ("Audubon's") Warbler (Dendroica coronata)

    Yellow-rumped ("Myrtle") Warbler (Dendroica coronata)

    Black-throated Gray Warbler (Dendroica nigrescens)

    Townsend's Warbler (Dendroica townsendi)

    Hermit Warbler (Dendroica occidentalis)

     Yellow-throated Warbler (Dendroica dominica) 

    American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla)

    Painted Redstart (Myioborus pictus)

    MacGillivray's Warbler (Oporornis tolmiei)

    Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)

    Wilson's Warbler (Wilsonia pusilla)

    Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens)

  Tanagers (Thraupidae)

    Hepatic Tanager (Piranga flava)

    Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra)

             [Considered a vagrant in winter, but a small breeding population has become established along San Felipe Creek.]

    Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana)

  New World Buntings (Cardinalidae)

    Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

    Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus)

    Blue Grosbeak (Guiraca caerulea)
Lazuli Bunting (Passerina amoena)

    Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)

    White-collared Seedeater (Sporophila torqueola)

  New World Sparrows (Emberizidae)

    Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)

    Green-tailed Towhee (Pipilo chlorurus)

            [a small breeding population existed on Cuyamaca Peak before the fires and is apparently recovering]
California Towhee (Melozone crissalis)
Rufous-crowned Sparrow (Aimophila ruficeps)

    "Bell's" Sage Sparrow (Amphispiza belli belli)

    "Desert" Sage Sparrow (Amphispiza belli nevadensis)

    Black-throated Sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata)

    Black-chinned Sparrow (Spizella atrogularis)

    Brewer's Sparrow (Spizella breweri)

    Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)

    Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum)

    Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)

    "Belding's" Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis beldingi)

    "Large-billed" Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis rostratus)

    Vesper Sparrow (Pooectes gramineus)

    Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus)

   Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)

   White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)

   White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)

   "Slate-colored" Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca schistacea)

   "Thick-billed" Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca stephensi)

   "Sooty " Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca unalaschcensis)

    Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)

    Lincoln's Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii)

   Dark-eyed ("Oregon") Junco (Junco hyemalis oreganus)

   Dark-eyed ("Pink-sided") Junco (Junco hyemalis mearnsi)

   Dark-eyed ("Slate-colored") Junco (Junco hyemalis hyemalis )

   Dark-eyed ("Gray-headed") Junco (Junco hyemalis caniceps)

   Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus)

  Blackbirds (Icteridae)

    Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)
    Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)
Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)

    Tricolored Blackbird (Agelaius tricolor)
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)

       Brewer's Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)
    Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)
      Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus)

    Bullock's Oriole (Icterus bullockii)

    Hooded Oriole (Icterus cucullatus)

    Scott's Oriole (Icterus parisorum)

  Finches (Fringillidae)

    Pine Siskin (Carduelis pinus)

    Lawrence's Goldfinch (Carduelis lawrencei)

    Lesser Goldfinch (Carduelis psaltria)

    American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)

    Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus)

    Cassin's Finch (Carpodacus cassinii)

    House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)

    Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra)

  Old World Sparrows (Passeridae)

    House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

  Waxbills (Estrildidae)

      Nutmeg Mannikin (Lonchura punctulata)

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