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Today's Wildlife Field Identification Guide  

Upland Birds

Upland birds live in forests, brushlands, and prairies where there is cover. Examples are grouse, quail, and pheasants. Upland birds are found throughout North America.

Range Maps

All animal descriptions are accompanied by a map showing the animal's habitat range. The maps are color-coded as follows:

  Summer Range
  Winter Range
  All-Year Range
Chicken, Greater Prairie
Greater Prairie Chicken Credit: Tom J. Ulrich Greater Prairie Chicken Area Map
Chicken-like with barred body and short black tail; male displays black feathers on sides of neck. Inflates yellow-orange air sacs during courtship. Habitat and Habits:
Lives in tall-grass prairies. Makes cackling and clucking sound; male makes booming sounds during courtship. Nests in depressions; 7 - 17 olive-colored eggs with dark marks.
Chicken, Lesser Prairie
Lesser Prairie Chicken
Credit: Tom J. Ulrich
Lesser Prairie Chicken Area Map
Slightly smaller and paler than greater prairie chicken. Inflates orange-red air sacs during courtship. Habitat and Habits:
Lives in short-grass prairies. Makes cackling and clucking sound; male makes booming sounds during courtship. Nests in depressions; 11 - 13 yellowish eggs with brown marks.
Chukar
Chukar
Credit: Tom J. Ulrich
Chukar Area Map
Light brown back with gray head and chest; white below; white face and neck outlined in black; black and white stripes on sides; bright red on edge of tail. Habitat and Habits:
Lives in rocky hills and canyons. Makes a “chuck-chuck-chuck” call. Nests in rocks or brush; 8 - 15 white eggs with brown spots.
Crow, American
American Crow
Credit: F. Eugene Hester
American Crow Area Map
Stocky, all-black bird with fan-shaped tail. Habitat and Habits:
Lives almost anywhere except deserts and pine forests. Makes a “caw-caw” call. Nests in trees; 4 - 6 green-colored eggs with brown spots. Migratory.
Dove, Eurasian Collared
Eurasian Collared Dove Eurasian Collared Dove area
Large, pale gray-tan dove introduced from Europe with black half-collar on its nape. Habitat and Habits:
Urban, suburban, and agricultural areas where grain is available. Herbivorous. Bears two young which fledge at 15-19 days old.
Dove, Mourning
Mourning Dove
Credit: Texas Parks & Wildlife
Mourning Dove Area Map
Light grayish-brown; lighter below; wings are darker; tail has tipped outer feathers. Habitat and Habits:
Lives in dry uplands, grain fields, thickets of shrubs or trees, shrublands, and deserts. Unmated male makes a “ooahoo-oo-oo-oo” sound. Breeding male and female make a short “ooahoo” call. Nests in trees; two white eggs. Migratory.
Dove, White-Winged
White Winged Dove
Credit:Texas Parks & Wildlife
White Winged Dove Area Map
Light grayish-brown; white line along edge of closed wing. Habitat and Habits:
Lives in dry grasslands with shrubs and small trees. Makes a soft “who-cooks-for-you” call. Nests in tree branches; 1 - 4 creamy white eggs. Migratory.
Gallinules
Gallinule Gallinules area map
Medium-sized with huge yellow feet, purple-blue plumage, greenish back, and red and yellow bill. Pale blue forehead shield, and white undertail. Young birds are brown. Often walks over lily pads while feeding. Flies short distances with legs dangling. Habitat and Habits:
Breeds in swamps and marshes in southeastern U.S. and tropical regions of Central America and Caribbean. Most American birds are migratory, wintering south to Argentina. Often flies short distances with legs dangling. Nests in floating structures in a marsh; 5 - 10 buff-colored eggs with brown spots.
Grouse, Blue
Blue Grouse
Credit: Tom J. Ulrich
Blue Grouse Area Map
Male is gray with orange-yellow or red comb over eye; yellow skin on neck; gray band at end of dark tail. Female is brown with dark tail. Habitat and Habits:
Lives in coastal rain forest and just below mountain timberline. Makes a “whoop, whoop, whoop, whoop” call. Nests in shelter of stumps or rocks; 5 - 10 cream-colored eggs with brown spots.
Grouse, Ruffed
Ruffed Grouse
Credit: Tom J. Ulrich
Ruffed Grouse Area Map
Brown to grayish-brown, with black ruffs (sides of neck). Chicken-like in form with slight crest. Habitat and Habits:
Lives in forests with dense undergrowth and brushy areas. Alarm call is a sharp “quit-quit”; female makes soft clucking sound. Nests under brush; 9 - 12 buff-colored eggs.
Grouse, Sage
Sage Grouse
Credit: Tom J. Ulrich
Sage Grouse
Grayish-brown; black below. Male has long pointed tail and white breast; inflates yellowish-green air sacs during courtship. Habitat and Habits:
Lives in open country and sagebrush plains. Makes a cackling sound; male makes bubbling sounds during courtship. Nests in depressions, usually under sagebrush; 6 - 9 olive-colored eggs with light brown spots.
Grouse, Spruce
Spruce Grouse
Credit: Tom J. Ulrich
Spruce Grouse Area Map
Male has grayish-brown body; black throat and breast; red comb over eye. Female has brown body with black bars below. Habitat and Habits:
Lives in coniferous forests. Male makes a low-pitched “krrrrk, krrrk, krrk” sound; female makes low clucking sound. Nests on ground; 8 - 11 buff-colored eggs, possibly with brown spots.
Partridge, Gray (Hungarian)
Gray (Hungarian) Partridge
Credit: Alan G. Nelson
Gray (Hungarian) Partridge Area Map
Chicken-like with gray body; rust-colored face and throat; brown stripes on wings; rust-colored tail visible in flight. Male has large brown patch below. Habitat and Habits:
Lives in open farmlands and in trees separating farms. Makes a hoarse “kee-uck” call; cackles rapidly when flushed. Nests in depressions hidden in vegetation; 10 - 20 olive-colored eggs.
Pheasant, Ring-Necked
Ring-neck Pheasant Male
Credit: Texas Parks & Wildlife
Ring-neck Pheasant Area Map
Ring-neck Pheasant Female
Credit: Pennsylvania Game Commission
Large, chicken-like bird. Male is gold-colored with white neck band; green and purple iridescent head; red wattle around eyes. Hen is dull brown with dark flecks on wings and back. Both have long tail feathers.

Habitat and Habits:
Lives in farmlands near woods. Male makes “skwagock” cackle; female “kia-kia” sound. Flies for short distances. Nests in grasses and shrubs; 10 - 12 brownish-green eggs.
Pigeon (Rock Dove)
Pigeon
Credit: Tom J. Ulrich
Pigeon Area Map
Most often dark gray head, iridescent neck, and dark bars on wings. Habitat and Habits:
Lives in cities, parks, bridges, and steep cliffs. Male and female make a “coo-coo” sound when breeding. Nests on building ledges, rafters, and barn beams; 1 - 2 white eggs.
Pigeon, Band-Tailed
Band-Tailed Pigeon
Credit: Brian E. Small
Band-Tailed Pigeon Area Map
Dark gray; purple below; broad light band on end of square tail; white crescent on back of head; black tip on end of yellow bill. Habitat and Habits:
Lives in coniferous forests and oak or pine-oak woodlands. Makes an owl-like “whoo-hoo” call. Nests in trees; one white egg.
Quail, Northern Bobwhite
Northern Bobwhite
Credit: Texas Parks & Wildlife
Northern Bobwhite Area Map
Brown; male with white eyebrow and throat, dark streak across eyes; female with buff-colored eyebrow and throat. Habitat and Habits:
Lives in fields, farmlands, and open woodlands. Makes a wide variety of calls, including “bob-white.” Nests in ground; 12 - 14 white eggs
Quail, California (Valley)
California (Valley) Quail
Credit:Tom J. Ulrich
California (Valley) Quail Area Map
Male is gray with a grayish-blue chest and scaled appearance below; black face outlined in white; brown crown; black topknot with 6 feathers. Female is brown with scaled appearance below; smaller black topknot. Habitat and Habits:
Lives in brush in foothills and in live oak canyons. Makes a loud “ka-kah-ko” call. Nests in depressions; 12 -16 cream-colored eggs with golden brown spots.
Quail, Gambel's
Gambel's Quail
Credit: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, J. & K. Hollingsworth
Gambel's Quail Area Map
Pale gray; black face outlined in white; back of head is rust-colored; teardrop-shaped topknot. Female is brown; buff-colored neck and smaller topknot. Habitat and Habits:
Lives in desert-like shrublands. Makes “coo-cut” and “chi-ca-co-coo” call.
Quail, Montezuma (Mearns')
Montezuma Quail
Credit:Texas Parks & Wildlife
Montezuma Quail Area Map
Male is rust and brown with white streaks on back; black and white pattern on face; rust-colored crest. Female is rust and brown above and buff below. Habitat and Habits:
Lives in pine and oak woodlands. Call is a soft trilling whistle.
Quail, Mountain
Mountain Quail
Credit:Brian E. Small
Mountain Area Map
Brown back with gray head, neck, and chest; rust-colored throat; rust-colored sides with white stripes; long, straight, black head feathers. Habitat and Habits:
Lives in mountains and in brushy areas and thickets. Makes a loud “kyork” or “woook” call. Nests in hidden depressions; 8 - 12 light red eggs.
Quail, Scaled
Scaled Quail
Credit:Texas Parks & Wildlife
Scaled Quail Area Map
Light to medium gray; black tips on feathers appear as scales; white crest.
Habitat and Habits:
Lives in arid grassland and scrub. Male and female make a “pey-cos” call. Nests in grass or shrubs; 9 - 16 creamy white eggs.
Raven
Raven Large, black birds, Heavy beak, “V” or wedge-shaped tail, and shaggy throat feathers. May be most intelligent bird.

Habitat and Habits:

Prefers wooded or coastal area near open land. Omnivorous. Mate for life, clutch of 3-5 eggs.
Turkey, Wild
Wild Turkey, male
Credit: Texas Parks & Wildlife
Wild Turkey Area Map
Wild Turkey, female
Credit: Pennsylvania Game Commission, Hal Korber
Large, long-legged bird with dark, iridescent body; featherless, reddish head. Male is larger and more iridescent than female.

Habitat and Habits:

Lives in open woodlands, brush country, thickets of shrubs or trees, river bottoms, and hardwoods. Lives up to 12 years. Polygamous males. Mating call is a gobble; normal calls are clucks, putts, and purrs. Nests in depressions; 6 - 20 whitish eggs.
Woodcock, American
American  Woodcock
Credit: Tom J. Ulrich
American Woodcock Area Map
Brownish with lighter buff breast; large, lighter-colored head; short neck; large dark eyes. Very long, straight bill. Habitat and Habits:
Lives in woods and thickets near open areas. Makes a “peeent” sound. Nests in depressions in ground; four buff-colored eggs with brown markings. Migratory.
North American Flyways

North American Flyways

There are four major North American flyways—the Pacific, the Central, the Mississippi, and the Atlantic Flyways. The migration route is from the northern breeding grounds to the southern wintering grounds. The lanes of heaviest concentration conform very closely to major topographical features, following the coasts, mountain ranges, and principal river valleys. Except along the coasts, the flyway boundaries are not always sharply defined.
North American flyways
Pacific Flyway
Central Flyway
Mississippi Flyway
Atlantic Flyway
Wildlife Guide
White-tailed deer tracks
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Online wildlife identification guide last modified: January 3, 2008
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