Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND

North America

Altamira Oriole Icterus gularis ©Mike Danzenbaker Website

Birding North America

Like many things, North America can be defined in a number of different ways and its extent is also very much a matter of opinion. Clearly the North American ‘continent’ as a purely notional geographical entity starts at the Panama Canal and extends upward to the far north of Canada encompassing central America and the Caribbean. Fatbirder considers North America to consist of the Bermuda, United States of America, Mexico, Canada & the French Islands of St Pierre et Miquelon., hiving off the rest of the Caribbean and nations south to Columbia as ‘Central America’.

Zoographically, the Nearctic starts in central Mexico northwards, excludes the Caribbean and the southern tip of Florida which are part of the Neotropics, but includes Greenland. Politically, most Canadians and US citizens see it as being just those two countries with every other part of the Americas being either the Caribbean or ‘Latin America’.

Birders from Canada & the US consider North America to be Canada, The French islands and the 49 continental US states and keep their bird lists accordingly. Numbers of species etc conform to this ‘gringo’ notion of what constitutes North America. Such birders would consider the latest filedguide recently published by the National Geographical as the best, although its checklist is more extensive than that of the ABA. That book is the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, Seventh Edition, 2017, Jon L Dunn and Jonathan Alderfer, with 592 pages, covering 1023 species.

Confusingly the most recent version of the ABA Area Checklist now includes Hawaii and the 106 extinct and extant species found there which do not occur in North America.

On Fatbirder the main pages for North America and its constituent countries, are supplemented by individual pages for each US state, each Mexican state and each Canadian province. The main country pages are reserved for entries for organisations etc. that are of national significance or, at the very least, cover several states. This page is for links of significance for the whole continent as defined by Fatbirder.

The size of the continent means that many species that summer in the North winter in the south. Even within the US alone some birds breed in the north and over winter in the southernmost states, although the majority of summer visitors overwinter in the neo-tropics.

North America probably has more websites than the whole of the rest of the world - it was first into the internet and many clubs etc. at a very local level have had websites for years. Some have the web addresses and formats they started out with, most others have moved on and upgraded following technology changes. We try to keep everything updated and are constantly adding new material. Please let us know if you come across a dead or changed link… and we are always very happy to receive suggested updates for any of the introductions, top sites or links.

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 999 (Extant Continental US & Canada Only)

(As at November 2018)

The nearctic has approximately 9% of the world's total.

Useful Reading

American Museum of Natural History Birds of North America

Edited by François Vuilleumier | Dorling Kindersley | 2016 | Paperback |

ISBN: 9781465443991

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Collins Field Guide: Birds of North America

By Norman Arlott | Harper Collins | 2011 | Hardback | 239 pages, 100 colour plates, colour distribution maps |

ISBN: 9780007293346

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America

By Kenn Kaufman | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | 2005 | Paperback | 392 pages, Col plates, maps |

ISBN: 0618574239

Buy this book from NHBS.com

National Geographic Complete Birds of North America

By Jonathan Alderfer, Jon L Dunn & Paul Lehman | National Geographic Society | 2014 | Hardback | 744 pages, 180 colour photos, colour illustrations, 815 colour distribution maps |

ISBN: 9781426213731

Buy this book from NHBS.com

National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America

By Jon L Dunn, Jonathan Alderfer & Paul Lehman | National Geographic Society | 2017 | Paperback | 592 pages, 4,000+ colour illustrations & colour distribution maps |

ISBN: 9781426218354

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America

By Roger Tory Peterson | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | 2008 | Paperback | 530 pages, 195 colour plates |

ISBN: 9780618966141

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Rare Birds of North America

By Steve NG Howell, Ian Lewington & Will Russell | Princeton University Press | 2014 | Hardback | 428 Pages | 275 Colour Plates | 17 Colour Maps | 9 tables |

ISBN: 9780691117966

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America

By Ted Floyd | Harper Collins | 2008 | Paperback | 512 pages, 2000 colour photos, colour distribution maps, includes audio CD |

ISBN: 9780061120404

Buy this book from NHBS.com

The Best Places to Bird in the Prairies

By John Acorn, Alan Smith & Nicola Koper | Greystone Books | 2018 | Paperback | 280 pages, 36 colour photos, maps |

ISBN: 9781771643269

Buy this book from NHBS.com

The North American Bird Guide

By David Sibley | Bloomsbury Publishing | 2014 | Paperback | 599 pages, plates with 6600 colour illustrations, 600+ colour distribution maps |

ISBN: 9781472909275

Buy this book from NHBS.com


American Bird Conservancy


ABC is the Western Hemisphere's bird conservation specialist — the only organization with a single and steadfast commitment to achieving conservation results for birds and their habitats throughout the Americas.

American Birding Association


The ABA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that provides leadership to birders by increasing their knowledge, skills, and enjoyment of birding. We are the only organization in North America that specifically caters to recreational birders. We also contribute to bird and bird habitat conservation through our varied programs. The American Birding Association inspires all people to enjoy and protect wild birds.

Birding For All (Formerly Disabled Birders Association of America)


The DBA is an organization of disabled and able-bodied birders interested in addressing access and other problems faced by birders trying to get the most out of their birding experiences. US members or those wanting to join should email via the international site. We changed our name to Birding For All in 2011 to emphasise our inclusivity…

Boreal Songbird Initiative


Our Mission - As the voice for boreal birds, the Boreal Songbird Initiative (BSI) is committed to protecting the Canadian Boreal Forest—the largest intact forest on Earth—on behalf of the billions of migratory birds that rely on it.



Count data and site profiles for over 200 North American Hawkwatch sites…

North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI)


Many bird species are migratory, and birds are not restricted by political boundaries. To effectively conserve migratory species, it is critical to work across geopolitical borders to ensure that birds are protected wherever they occur throughout the year.

North American Bluebird Society


The North American Bluebird Society is a non-profit education, conservation and research organization that promotes the recovery of bluebirds and other native cavity-nesting bird species in North America. Here you can learn about the different species of bluebirds, how to attract and care for them, and download educational materials. You can also join our conservation efforts by becoming a NABS member.

Operation Rubythroat - the Hummingbird Project


Building Environmental Cooperation and Understanding Throughout North and Central America…

Optics for the Tropics


Optics for the Tropics builds capacity for bird conservation in the western hemisphere by providing quality binoculars for ornithologists in the Caribbean and Latin America. Binoculars are used for monitoring, research and education.

The Institute for Bird Populations


The Institute for Bird Populations is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation founded by Dr. David DeSante in 1989 to study the causes of bird population declines. IBP's first major initiative was the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) program, a continent-wide collaborative network of bird banding stations. Other flagship programs include the Monitoreo de Sobrevivencia Invernal (MoSI) program to study the ecology of Neotropical migrant birds on their wintering grounds, and the Sierra Nevada Bird Observatory to study and conserve birds in the Sierra Nevada region of California. Our work has spread to other parts of the U.S. and the globe, including Canada, the Neotropics, and Pacific Islands

Vital Rates of North American Landbirds


This website provides results of temporal and spatial analyses of capture-mark-recapture and constant-effort capture-rate data on 158 landbird species collected as part of the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) program between 1992 and 2006. The objectives of these analyses are to provide estimates of, and explore relationships among, the vital rates and demographic parameters of each of these species in order to provide hypotheses regarding the demographic drivers of temporal and spatial variation in their population dynamics, especially as these results may help inform research, management, and conservation efforts for them.


Abbreviations Key

Abbreviations used in reserves sections

BR = Biosphere Reserve
BiR = Bird Reserve
BS = Bird Sanctuary
CA = Conservation Area
EBA = Endemic Bird Area
ER = Ecological Reserve
IBA = Important Bird Area
IPP = Interprovincial Park
MBS = Migratory Bird Sanctuary
MP = Marine Park
MWR = Migratory Waterfowl Refuge
NA = Natural Area
NC = Nature Center
NF = National Forest
NP = National Park
NPR = National Park Preserve
NPr = Nature Preserve
NR = Nature Reserve
NS = Nature Sanctuary
NWA = National Wildlife Area
NWR = National Wildlife Refuge
PP = Provincial Park
RNP = Regional Nature Park
SNR = Strict Nature Reserve
SeNR = State Nature Reserve
SP = State Park
SeR = Seabird Reserve
SR = State Reserve
SWA = State Wildlife Area
SWMA = State Wildlife Management Area
SWR = State Wildlife Refuge
WA = Wildlife Area
WBR = World Biosphere Reserve
WMA = Wildlife Management Area
WRf = Wildlife Refuge
WRs = Wildlife Reserve
WP = Waterfowl Park
WiRv = Wilderness Reserve
WeRv = Wetland Reserve
WS = Wildlife Sanctuary
WeS = Wetland Sanctuary
WoS = Woodland Sanctuary

Forums & Mailing Lists

ABA News

News & Sightings

Filter Birding News by making a selection from the dropdown. Refine your search by entering the type of bird you are looking for. Or just browse the lists below.

Listservs & Forums


A list of N American forums etc

North American Birding

Forum, News etc.

North American Birding is focused exclusively on birding in North America. We’re having an ongoing conversation with a range of voices about birds right here in North America. You’ll find a hugely talented – and growing – group of contributing bloggers, from seasoned experts to young beginners. Scientists and photographers, professional guides and graduate students. Oh, and a professional writer or two. Our goal is to assemble voices and opinions as diverse as the birds themselves.

Trip Reports


Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.


Boreal Bird Blog


The Boreal Songbird Initiative (BSI) is dedicated to education and outreach about the importance of the boreal forest to North America's birds, other wildlife, and the global environment.

Other Links

Bird Planner


BirdPlanner is a free site that enables you to generate bird lists for any place in the western hemisphere…



Your destination for news, pictures, facts, and videos about birds.

Birds of North America


Birds of North America (BNA) is the most comprehensive reference for the life histories of over 760 bird species that breed in the United States and Canada...



eBird began with a simple idea—that every birdwatcher has unique knowledge and experience. Our goal is to gather this information in the form of checklists of birds, archive it, and freely share it to power new data-driven approaches to science, conservation and education. At the same time, we develop tools that make birding more rewarding. From being able to manage lists, photos and audio recordings, to seeing real-time maps of species distribution, to alerts that let you know when species have been seen, we strive to provide the most current and useful information to the birding community.



Welcome to NatureServe, a source for authoritative conservation information on more than 50,000 plants, animals, and ecological communities of the United States and Canada. NatureServe provides in-depth information on rare and endangered species, but includes common plants and animals too. NatureServe is a product of the Association for Biodiversity Information in collaboration with the Natural Heritage Network.

North American Birding


North American Birding is focused exclusively on birding in North America. We’re having an ongoing conversation with a range of voices about birds right here in North America.



If you are wondering what owl is hooting out your window, are a student, hobbyist, or just enjoy the owls and nature… you are in the right place. Owling.com is a look at the North American Owls with both biology and multimedia sections to help with the identification, enjoyment, and appreciation of these awesome winged predators.

Seiurus Video


We are about birds, photography, and videography of birds. If you plan to photograph birds in Florida, or if you need stock video footage of birds from anywhere in North America, check us out. If you want to learn some basic techniques in making bird and wildlife video, or just want to watch some video of wild birds, you’ve come to the right place…

Sibley Guides


David Sibley - Celebrating the joy of discovery with observations, questions and comments about North America's birds…

The Zipcode Zoo


ZipcodeZoo is a free, online encyclopedia intended to document all living species and infraspecies known to science. It is compiled from existing databases. It offers one page for each living species, supplementing text with video, sound, and images where available.



WildBirds.com can show you how to attract more birds to your yard. We can help you identify birds at your feeders. Explore. Click on any one of the ten sections listed to the left. The first two sections give tips on feeding and attracting wild birds. In the section called Protecting Wild Birds you will discover what to do with baby birds you find. You can also learn why that crazy bird keeps banging against your window each morning! Laugh at the latest bird jokes in Your Favourite Birds section. We also offer our recommendations for the very best birding books, feeders, binoculars and software. Click on the name of the book or product for more information.

Photographers & Artists

Gallery - Monte Taylor - Bird & Wildlife Photography


Enjoy the beauty of many North America's birds and mammals! Over 800 species of
birds and many large mammals, cetaceans, reptiles, and amphibians, including a number of the
rarest North American birds from places like Attu Island Alaska, Texas, SE Arizona, Florida,
Nova Scotia, and California, to name just a few! And, two special galleries of the Birds of Japan.
I've photographed over 780 species of birds in the US & Canada alone!