Birds of Indiana: The Fowl Watcher’s Information (2024)

The Hoosier State is the so-called crossroads of America and residential for the staggering 422 birds of Indiana all year long, together with 180 annual breeding species and even some shocking short-term migrants. Although songbird numbers have decreased in Indiana it current years, it’s nonetheless a superb place for chook watchers and nature photographers on the lookout for residents, rarities, and birds flying over this territory whereas migrating through the spring and fall.

Indiana Birds

Formally, greater than 420 native and migrating chook species are recorded in Indiana. The listing contains 125 uncommon birds, ten launched to this state, three already extinct, and three thought of extirpated. You may divide these birds into three classes:

  • Resident birds residing right here year-round
  • Birds residing in Indiana in spring, summer time, and early autumn
  • Birds that spend fall and winter right here:

The pernicious invasive Home Sparrow is amongst the most typical birds sighted in backyards throughout Indiana, however vibrant native species handle to maintain up properly, with Northern Cardinals and American Goldfinches numbering amongst most typical yard Indiana birds all year long, although American Goldfinches might migrate in winter relying on meals availability.

The Northern Cardinal is the state chook of Indiana since 1933 and likewise the official state chook in six different states. Different distinctive birds discovered within the Hoosier State embrace:

  • The Black-necked Stilt, is a slender and chic shorebird that has been sighted in Indiana regardless of the area being far outdoors of its common vary. An thrilling vagrant, the Black-necked Stilt is one among Indiana’s rarest birds.
  • Indigo Buntings are cheerful and exquisite with a melodious track and vivid blue feathers which have earned them the nickname of “blue canaries.” Discover Indigo Buntings in Indiana through the breeding season.
  • Northern Noticed-whet Owl, one of many tiniest owls worldwide might be discovered all through the state, however is specific frequent within the northern areas of Indiana.
  • The Snowy Owl is the biggest owl in Indiana, although it isn’t a typical resident. Snowy Owls are recognized for “irruptions” that drive them out of their northern vary and down into the center sections of the US. They sometimes even make it as far south as Texas! If you wish to see a Snowy Owl in Indiana, hold your ear to the bottom for irruptions and watch eBird for uncommon chook sighting information.
  • The Pileated Woodpecker is the biggest woodpecker in Indiana. To identify one, hear for the sound of this industrious woodpecker hammering away at timber for bugs!
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk is the tiniest hawk in Indiana and the smallest hawk in the US. Indiana birdwatchers will love watching these hawks burst into movement as they dive via the sky after songbirds and different prey.
  • If stories of Calliope Hummingbirds sighted in Indiana are true, then that is the smallest chook to seek out its solution to the Hoosier State at simply 3.5 inches lengthy. I haven’t been capable of confirm whether or not this specific migrant has been present in Indiana, however relaxation assured, the state’s many hummingbird guests are definitely contenders for smallest Indiana chook.
  • The American Flamingo might be the strangest and most unique chook present in Indiana. After a storm scattered a flock of flamingos in late 2023, birders obtained the prospect of a lifetime to identify a wild American Flamingo in Indiana’s Ohio River space.
  • The Mallard is among the most typical chook species within the US and essentially the most recognizable and essentially the most generally harvested duck in Indiana.
  • The Peregrine Falcon is the biggest falcon you may often see in Indiana. It is usually the quickest residing creature on the planet, with a developed pace of 200 mph (320 km/h) throughout dives.

Noteworthy Birds of Indiana

Planning a birding journey to Indiana? The beneath listing contains a few of the highlights together with frequent Indiana birds in addition to rarer entries to be careful for. Hopefully, this can make it easier to deal with your Life Listing as you discover.

Purple-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)

Red Breasted Merganser Swimming On A Lake Looking For Food

This charming, if disheveled-looking chook is a Purple-breasted Merganser. They kind pairs or small flocks of as much as 15 birds earlier than migrating in winter. Cornell Lab of Ornithology has reported that roughly 250,000 of those geese stay all through the US. Although its main spot is round Lake Erie, you may see it in Indiana, primarily in Eagle Creek Park, on the lake coast.

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)

falcon flying

This lovely Indiana chook is the biggest falcon on this state and the quickest residing creature worldwide. There isn’t any historic knowledge about this falcon nesting on this space, however it’s a common migratory chook alongside the Lake Michigan shore within the fall. These days, it’s reintroduced to Indiana, primarily in city areas.

Brief-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)

Asio flammeus

The mid-sized, flame-colored Brief-eared Owl lives in grassy, open fields and builds nests on the bottom. It’s an erratic winter customer in Indiana, primarily seen within the Indiana Dunes. Some might stick round all year long in additional northern parts of the state. To identify a Brief-eared Owl in these areas, look out for small loose-knit chook teams flying low over the bottom.

Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors)

Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors)

The Blue-winged Teal is among the most acquainted neotropical migrant duck species in Indiana and among the many most ample geese within the US. Because it migrates such lengthy distances, you may count on to see it within the Indiana Dunes and Calumet area late in spring. It is going to be the primary species leaving the Hoosier State in summer time.

Northern Noticed-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus)

Northern Saw-whet Owl

The strong inhabitants of Northern Noticed-whet Owls residing all through the US are amongst the tiniest owls on this planet. It’s an unpredictable creature and may migrate south in winter or keep in Indiana year-round, particularly within the dense coniferous forests at North. Hear for the attribute “too-too-too” cry for those who’re hoping for a Noticed-whet sighting.

Cerulean Warbler (Setophaga cerulea)

One other chook that’s extra typically seen than heard is the Cerulean Warbler. With a excessive buzzy foraging name, male Cerulean Warblers aren’t laborious to determine, however they have a tendency to stay to the excessive treetops, so sightings might be tough. Habitat loss has prompted Cerulean Warbler populations to drop, however they’re nonetheless breeding in Indiana.

Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus)

Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus)

The Bobolink is a dapper and outgoing chook with a light-weight again and darkish stomach that sings even whereas flying. You may see it in northern Indiana within the summertime, however it is going to solely be present in southern parts of the state as soon as winter units in. Since 1966, Bobolink populations have declined by as a lot as 65%, however prairie conservation and restoration tasks, like that of Indiana’s Kankakee Sands, are a light-weight of hope for this much-loved blackbird relative.

Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia)

Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia)

Caspian Terns are migrants that prefers saltwater wetlands and coastal bays. They nest in colonies, often in shallow depressions on gravel islands with out a lot vegetation. You may often see this lovely wanderer flying with gulls alongside the Lake Michigan shore in spring and fall and through the Indiana Dunes Birding Competition.

Nice Egret (Ardea alba)

Great Egret (Ardea alba)

This long-necked migratory chook is a wader that nests in timber and feeds in marshes and swamps. You may sometimes see this long-legged magnificence within the northern areas of Indiana. Sadly, its quantity declined drastically within the south a part of the state earlier than the Migratory Fowl Safety Act was handed, due to searching and the draining of shallow water areas.

Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)

Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)

The deep velvet blue Indigo Bunting is definitely black, however the gentle diffraction via its feathers provides it a vibrant blue look to the human eye. You’ll find this long-distance migratory chook in open woodlands. It involves Indiana through the breeding season, goes to the south in winter, and is an a favourite songbird for a lot of Indiana birders.

Widespread Birds of Indiana

A listing of the most typical birds in Indiana is predicated on eBird recorded views knowledge. Most of them you may see in your feeders on the applicable time of yr.

Widespread Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)

grackle portrait

You’ll find Widespread Grackles in Indiana all yr lengthy. It’s not laborious to identify semi-colonies numbering about 200 chook pairs in marshes, agricultural fields, parks, and open moist woodlands. This chook nests in barns, different chook’s nests, and previous woodpecker holes. It is usually a fairly gregarious feeder customer.

Purple-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)

The Purple-winged Blackbird is a favourite spring harbinger that spends the breeding season in wetland marshes. You may see massive flocks of assorted blackbird species throughout Indiana year-round, however the Purple-winged Blackbird’s flashy purple wing patches and assured track makes it stand out amongst its variety.

Snow Goose (Anser caerulescens)

Snow goose in flight

Because the Snow Goose spends its breeding season within the north, you may see these massive birds in Indiana solely whereas migrating south in fall. Search for the large flocks of the noisiest waterfowl within the state honking subsequent to water or in massive fields. Fortunately, the species have recovered properly after being on the verge of extinction, and plenty of Indiana birders are privileged so as to add Snow Goose sightings to their life lists.

European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

four starlings

You may see European (Widespread) Starling throughout Indiana year-round. This chook was launched to the US within the late 1800s, and it has thrived as an invasive species ever since. Although it’s lovely, the European Starling’s presence typically causes points for native birds. They’re aggressive at feeders and by no means laborious to identify.

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)

You may rapidly acknowledge Canada Geese because of their V-shaped flocks throughout fall and spring migration. Search for Canada Geese gathering round rivers, lakes, coastal areas, and concrete basins.

Purple Martin (Progne subis)

Purple Martin (Progne subis)

The Purple Martin is a herald of spring and one among America’s favourite chook species. You may see it in lots of Indiana’s yard feeders in March after spending winter in South America, 5,000 miles (8,000 km) away. These days, this chook is nearly totally depending on human-provided housing, so pay shut consideration to Purple Martin homes to get an excellent have a look at these birds.

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)


Thee Mallard is among the most ample duck species worldwide and is a typical sight at habitats like marshes, lakes, rivers, and wooded swamps. Ornithologists disagree if feral populations are everlasting residents or migratory species. You’ll find them throughout Indiana, subsequent to swimming swimming pools, retention ponds, and synthetic, human-built constructions.

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)

Ring-billed Gulls are migratory birds of southern Indiana. You’ll find them round ponds, lakes, and concrete and coastal areas. This species is just not uncommon all through the Hoosier State, however it prefers habitats like Turtle Creek Reservoir and Bloomington’s Lake Monroe. Since it’s a medium-distance migrant, it received’t go far-off from the Nice Lakes.

Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis)

Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis)

Tall and chic Sandhill Cranes are spectacular wild birds in Indiana. They stopped nesting within the US after wetlands within the North had drained. Most of them migrate to Canada, however some select companions in northern components of Indiana and keep. You may see roughly 20,000 birds within the Jasper-Pulaski State Fish & Wildlife Space in November.

Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)

Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)

The Northern Pintail is among the first geese that migrate via Indiana north in spring and south in autumn. This species chooses coastal wintering grounds, agricultural areas, and shallow estuaries. Look out for Northern Pintails it in wetland habitats and wildlife refuges by following the male’s distinctive prepare whistle-like name.

Indiana Panorama and Birding Seasons

Given the topography, you may divide Indiana into three areas:

North area – It’s largely flat land with quite a few small lakes, marshes, and tall-grass prairie. The 40 miles (64 km) lengthy shoreline alongside Lake Michigan is a kingdom for rarities like scoters, kittiwakes, and jaegers.

Central area – It’s nearly fully flat with deciduous forests and the restored Limberlost swamp. The expansive metropolis park, Eagle Creek Park, is an actual hotspot with 270 chook species noticed over time.

South area – It’s a rugged area with Hoosier Nationwide Forest and three Nationwide Wildlife Refuges.

As soon as spring comes, the primary Indiana birds that springtime birders typically report seeing are American Robins singing and courting within the countryside, marshes, and close to the lakeshores. Then come migrating geese, Canada Geese, and Mallards.

Whereas Purple-tailed Hawks benefit from the first sunny days, Tree Sparrows and Darkish-eyed Junco disappear from feeders after spending the winter in Indiana.

Summer time is time for younger birds to begin their lives, making this time of yr very best for Indiana birding. You may get pleasure from Barn Swallows and starlings flocks flying above the countryside whereas goldfinches start to nest.

Geese begin leaving the state in October, and this is a superb interval to go to Dunes and search for rarities like Iceland gull and Eurasian Wigeon. Lastly, you may get pleasure from birds native to Indiana throughout winter and solitary winter wanderers. If you’re fortunate, that is the time to maintain your eyes peeled for Snowy Owl irruptions.

Indiana Birding Hotspots

Though yow will discover quite a few chook species throughout Indiana, the most well-liked hotspots are situated alongside a 40 miles (64 km) lengthy Lake Michigan shoreline.

Indiana Dunes SP

Indiana Dunes is the last word space for watching birds of Northwest Indiana, with over 350 species residing and migrating right here. Are available spring to depend 100 hawks or get pleasure from spectacular Sandhill Cranes migrations in fall. It is usually an awesome place to catch a glimpse of nesting birds like Purple-headed Woodpeckers, Baltimore Orioles, Purple-shouldered Hawks, Prairie Warblers, and Scarlet Tanagers.

Miller Seaside, Lake Avenue

Come right here in August to scan the lake and its seashore for migrating gulls, terns, and shorebirds, and the rarest of the uncommon Indiana birds like jaegers. Fall is a perfect interval for Indiana chook identification and on the lookout for migrating Bald Eagles, Sandhill Cranes, and neotropical species, together with the Golden-winged Warbler, Wooden Thrush, and Canada Warbler.

Eagle Creek Park

Eagle Creek Park is the biggest metropolis park in Indianapolis and a productive vacation spot for over 270 Indiana birds. You’ll find nesting birds like Wooden Geese, American Woodcocks, and Yellow-throated Warblers after having fun with the hummingbird backyard within the Ornithology Heart. Typically, you may see the endangered Hooded Warbler. Don’t overlook to maintain an eye fixed out for geese as properly!

Indiana Dunes SP – Statement (Inexperienced) Tower

A tower would possibly seem to be an unlikely birding spot, however that is the place to identify a staggering 283 observed chook species. In truth, birders come from all around the state to birdwatch from the tower. It’s the good spot to see Purple-winged Blackbirds, Widespread Grackles, Brown-headed Cowbirds, and plenty of of Indiana’s rarest birds.

Gibson Producing Station

Producing Station and the related lake for storing wastewater have attracted about 300 chook species to its shores for many years. This place is understood amongst birders since endangered the Least Tern is commonly seen right here. You can even discover American White Pelicans, Purple-breasted Mergansers, American Coots, Double-crested Cormorants, and Inexperienced-winged Teal.

Cane Ridge WMA

Come to the south a part of Indiana and go to Cane Ridge to see shorebirds, Bald Eagles, waterfowl, and the one two Least Tern nesting colonies east of Mississippi. Search for uncommon Black-necked Stilts and Wilson’s Phalaropes, and the primary recorded Mountain Bluebird, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, and Northern Wheatear within the state. Snowy Egrets and Cattle Egrets are additionally found right here in winter.

Willow Slough FWA

A mix of woodland, prairie, and marsh makes Willow Slough an excellent space to listen to many Indiana chook calls. Search for the uncommon Smith’s longspur, Ross’s Goose, Yellow-headed Blackbird, and Black Rail. It is usually a superb location to get pleasure from Bald Eagle and Osprey flights. Bear in mind that some areas are closed through the searching season.

Lakefront Park and Sanctuary, Hammond

This tiny remoted patch of greenery between Lake Michigan and the city space is a migrant lure. Come right here in spring and fall to see as much as 250 chook species resting and feeding throughout migrating. You can even see Widespread Yellowthroats, Magnolia Warblers, American Redstarts, and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks!

Summit Lake SP

Summit Lake is situated not removed from New Fort and is among the finest locations to observe Indiana water birds. Birders often occupy vantage factors with glorious views of quite a few scoters, terns, geese, gulls, and geese, together with the unusual Lengthy-tailed Duck. Typically, it’s attainable to identify a pair of nesting Bald Eagles and migrating pelicans.

Celery Lavatory Nature Space

Celery Lavatory is a hotspot for 258 chook species, together with 25 shorebirds. There are​ quite a few Indiana winter birds to be discovered right here, like breeding Wooden Geese, Nice Blue Herons and Pied-billed Grebes, and migratory Bald Eagles and Osprey. Native forest close to the wetlands are glorious for nestling Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Baltimore Orioles, and Indigo Buntings.

Indiana Area Guides

Any chook lover wants a discipline information, whether or not you’re a smartphone app fan or an old school paper-and-ink loyalist. For those who don’t have an internet-enabled system or need to discover distant areas with out stressing cell protection, an affordable bodily discipline information could be a huge assist. Select the very best birds of Indiana discipline information fir you, and head on out to discover!

Birds of Indiana Area Information

Strive Stan Tekiela’s Birds of Indiana for assist studying to determine birds and making birding much more satisfying. The writer makes chook identification easy by together with detailed images, fact-filled data, and vary maps. With this information in hand, you’ll effortlessly acknowledge 112 described chook species very quickly in any respect.

Midwestern Birds: Yard Information

For those who get pleasure from Indiana yard birds, it is best to look into Invoice Thompson’s sensible guidebook. It options the 55 most typical yard birds within the 15 Midwestern states. This e-book contains high-quality shade photographs, chook bodily descriptions, chook calls, thrilling tales, and useful feeding and nesting data. Specializing in frequent yard birds will make it easier to grasp the fundamentals of chook identification.

Indiana Fowl Watching

Invoice Thompson additionally printed this handy state-specific e-book that may make it easier to determine the birds of Indiana. It’s a useful e-book for rookies and intermediate birders because of its detailed descriptions and vary maps.

Indiana Fowl Guidelines

In response to Avibase (Worlds Fowl Guidelines), yow will discover as many as 437 several types of birds in Indiana, together with 19 launched species. If you find yourself a birder planning to go to this state or stay right here, it is best to take this helpful chook guidelines earlier than beginning birding. You can even obtain the entire, up-to-date listing of all chook species on this state.

Obtain FREE Indiana Fowl Guidelines PDF

Click on right here for an summary of Indiana Birds

Particular Fowl Species

With this enormous listing of birds, together with 125 classed as uncommon and ten launched, Indiana is a superb space for birding and gives one thing for nearly everybody.

Hummingbirds in Indiana

In Indiana, you may sometimes discover six of those small nectar-loving backyard birds. Migrating Ruby-throated Hummingbird males come initially of April, adopted by females and offspring roughly two weeks later. You may typically see Rufous Hummingbirds from November to January, and migrating hummers are straightforward to appeal to to hummingbird feeders.

Owls in Indiana

Formally, it’s recorded that eight of those nocturnal birds of prey are present in Indiana, and also you solely must test their vary maps to find out the place to see every of them. Nice Horned Owls, Jap Screech-Owls, and Barred Owls are discovered all around the state year-round, whereas Snowy Owls are uncommon and like the shores of Lake Michigan throughout irruption years.

Woodpeckers in Indiana

Roughly 240 woodpecker species exist worldwide and 22 of those are discovered within the US. amongst them, eight are formally recorded on this state. Most of those Indiana woodpeckers are residents that hold round all year-round. The Pileated Woodpecker is the biggest Indiana woodpecker, although it’s laborious to compete with the Purple-headed Woodpecker and the Northern Flicker relating to magnificence. You’ll find them in residential areas, forests, and alongside rivers.

Finches in Indiana

You may count on to reliably spot a minimum of eight Indiana finches of the eleven recorded. Purple Finches spend their time in coniferous forests, however you may typically see them in your yard together with American Goldfinches that get pleasure from visiting feeders. The Home Finch is a year-round state resident, however it’s most ample in residential areas within the wintertime.

Bluebirds in Indiana

It isn’t laborious to identify bluebirds in Indiana, so long as you’re on the lookout for the Jap Bluebird. The Mountain Bluebird is sort of uncommon and plenty of consultants contemplate solely Jap Bluebirds to stay on this state persistently. Jap Bluebirds are discovered largely in open areas, however additionally they readily use human-made nesting packing containers. They’re medium-distance migrants that prefers spending winters within the South.

Hawks of Indiana

You’ll find eight varieties of these sharp-eyed Indiana birds of prey in all kinds of habitats, however it’s typically fairly laborious to distinguish them. Purple-tailed Hawks and Cooper’s Hawks are extremely adaptable species, making them the most typical on this state. The smallest Sharp-shinned Hawk is extremely athletic, and you’ll get pleasure from its acrobatic flights.

Falcons in Indiana

Technically, six falcon species are recorded in Indiana, however you may generally see solely three. Fortunately, yow will discover these three nearly anyplace. Whereas American Kestrel lives within the state year-round, Peregrine Falcons and Merlins are migratory species.

Geese in Indiana

Forty-one geese, waterfowl, and geese are seen statewide through the Indiana waterfowl season, together with migratory Mallards that stay in wooded swamps, marshes, and subsequent to lakes and rivers. Search for Northern Pintails in wetland habitats. It solely migrates at evening and may fly continuous as much as 1,800 miles (2,890 km) at approximate speeds of 48 mph (77 km/h).

Wrens in Indiana

Seven wren species are typically sighted within the Hoosier State, however solely 5 are frequent. Although Marsh Wrens are frequent breeding birds of northern Indiana, their marsh-dwelling way of life could make them troublesome to sight. Home Wrens are the most typical breeding wrens, and are sometimes seen in backyards.

Sparrows in Indiana

It’s attainable to see two Outdated World sparrow species and 26 New World sparrow species in Indiana. The most typical is the invasive Home Sparrow. These are common feeder guests. Birders looking for a problem typically attempt to spot the Henslow’s Sparrow singing all through spring and summer time within the Massive Oaks Nationwide Wildlife Refuge.


What’s the most typical chook in Indiana?

The most typical Indiana birds all year long are Home Sparrows, Northern Cardinals, Blue Jays, Downy Woodpeckers, American Robins, Darkish-eyed Juncos, American Goldfinches, and Mourning Doves.

What varieties of birds are in Indiana?

Since ornithologists and birders detected roughly 800 chook species all through the US, Indiana’s 400+ birds make it a hotspot for every kind of birding. Though it’s a landlocked state, its proximity to the Nice Lakes implies that even shorebirds aren’t off limits.

What’s the rarest chook in Indiana?

Although the simply identifiable Black-necked Stilt is sort of frequent in most West and Southwest states, it’s a uncommon and weird sighting in Indiana, surpassed, maybe, by the very uncommon American Flamingo sightings that occurred in late 2023.

What number of species of birds are in Indiana?

The listing of Indiana birds covers 437 species, together with 180 annual breeding species, 125 uncommon, ten launched, and three extirpated and extinct chook species every.

Do Ospreys stay in Indiana?

Sure, there are a minimum of 100 osprey nests present in Indiana in 2022, because of DFW wildlife biologists elevating 96 younger birds at 4 areas from 2003 to 2006.

Do Magpies stay in Indiana?

Most Magpies stay within the western half of the US, however yow will discover black and white noisy American Magpies (Black-billed Magpie) in Indiana as properly.

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