The Checklist of North and Middle American Birds provides the taxonomic and nomenclatural foundation for bird research, conservation, and education in North and Middle America. It is used by scientific researchers, federal, state, and local government agencies, non-profit organizations, birdwatchers, and anyone else interested in birds of this region. It is overseen by AOS’s North American Classification Committee (NACC).

Access the complete list of species online

Recommended citation for the online list: Chesser, R. T., K. J. Burns, C. Cicero, J. L. Dunn, A. W. Kratter, I. J. Lovette, P. C. Rasmussen, J. V. Remsen, Jr., D. F. Stotz, and K. Winker. 2019. Check-list of North American Birds (online). American Ornithological Society. http://checklist.aou.org/taxa

Geographic Coverage

The geographic area covered by the Checklist includes North and Central America from the North Pole to the boundary of Panama and Colombia, including the adjacent islands under the jurisdiction of the included nations; Greenland; the Hawaiian Islands; Clipperton Island; Bermuda; the West Indies, including the Bahama Islands, the Greater Antilles, Leeward and Windward Islands in the Lesser Antilles (ending with Grenada); and Swan, Providencia, and San Andrés Islands in the Gulf of Mexico.

Checklist: 7th Edition and Supplements

In addition to accessing the online version of the checklist through the link above, the 829-page hardbound volume, published in 1998, may be purchased from Buteo Books or downloaded in PDF format (file size up to 13 MB):

These documents do not incorporate changes made in the annual supplements to the Checklist. Users of the book must check the supplements or online list to determine whether changes have been made.

The following open-access supplements have been published since the 7th edition:

Subspecies

The last edition of the Check-list to include subspecies was published in 1957 (5th edition). For reasons of expediency, the Committee reluctantly excluded treatment of subspecies in both the 6th and 7th editions, although it continues to endorse the biological reality and practical utility of subspecies as a taxonomic rank. Subspecies that reflect biological diversity play an important role in flagging the attention of evolutionary, behavioral, ecological, and conservation biologists.

Although a complete revision of North American avian subspecies has not been done, we refer readers to Avibase, Clements, and other checklists (see below), as well as to Birds of North America, for more up-to-date treatments of subspecies. The Birds of North America project is systematically revising subspecies accounts for North American birds.

Other Checklists

Checklist of South American Birds

Clements Checklist of Birds of the World

Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World

IOC World Bird List

Additional Links

Avibase World Bird Database

Bird 10K Genomes Project

History of North American Bird Names

Open Wings Project

Tree of Life Web Project

Zoonomen Zoological Nomenclature Resource

    From the field

    Finally, I’m so pleased to share with the AOS community the newest @audubonsociety report, Survival by Degrees: 389 Species on the Brink. Five years in the making, this report finds that 389 of 604 species evaluated are highly vulnerable to climate change. We compared the effects of a business-as-usual emissions trajectory (3.0 C average warming) to a scenario of drastic emissions reductions (1.5 C warming). The good news is risk to 76% of these birds can be reduced by emissions mitigation, and Audubon will be mobilizing its broad base to #ActOnClimate now.
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In a changing climate, birds are coping with disruptions in food, shelter, competition, extreme weather events. Looking at a combination of climate and vegetation predictor variables, we project spatial patterns of net loss and gain across continental Canada, U.S., and Mexico under 3.0 C of warming (figure 2). The boreal forest may see concerning rates of species loss in summer, and the Midwest and mountainous west may also see losses.
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As we know, climate change encompasses more than just long-term changes in average precipitation, temperature, and vegetation. In a novel analysis, we mapped nine acute climate-related threats (like fire risk, extreme heat, sea level rise) across the contiguous 48 states for which data were available. Risk (figure 3) is the product of the number of threats, the number of bird species under future conditions, and the number of vulnerable species under future climate—showing areas of high conservation priority.
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This can seem like a dreary message, but Audubon has a long history of achieving policy solutions that protect birds and better the environment; this effort is no exception. Reduce your energy use at home, ask your elected officials to expand clean energy development, advocate for natural coastlines and rivers to help with climate adaptation, or simply tell your elected officials that climate and conservation are election issues for you. Thank you for following me this week and let’s create a better future starting with climate.audubon.org! #BirdsTellUs #birds #wildlife #conservation #science #ornithology #climatechange
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[Thanks for a great week, Joanna!]@audubonsociety is also a powerful voice for environmental advocacy. Our work has led to the banning of lead ammunition in California, the proposed listing of Tricolored Blackbirds under the Endangered Species Act, and the defense of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, to name a few. In photo 1, a group of us are lobbying for the protection of California's public lands. Learning about issues surrounding women in the workplace is another personal passion of mine, and at the #AudubonConvention earlier this year, I was lucky to be among like-minded colleagues on a panel for women about making our voices heard (photo 2, by Hannah Waters). #birdstellus #womeninstem #womeninscience #conservation #birdconservation #environmentaladvocacy #science #ornithology
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[Thank you to #AOSMember Joanna Wu, who’s taking over our Instagram account this week!]As Project Manager & Avian Biologist at @audubonsociety, I work now mostly in R. My projects here include climate-related research, point count data analysis, research on North American grasslands and grassland birds, and managing Important Bird Areas. Last year I led a study done in partnership with the @nationalparkservice looking at how bird communities in these protected areas may be affected by climate change (photo 1). It was really gratifying to see this work visualized by @stamendesign on a 50-foot mural in downtown San Francisco (photo 2)! In doing all this work, I get to collaborate with great teammates. Some of us were at #AOS18AZ (photo 3), and this June many of us met again in Alaska at #AOS19AK (photo 4). Photos by Zach Slavin, Andrea Jones, and me. #birdstellus #womeninstem #womeninscience #conservation #birdconservation #environmentaladvocacy #birds #science #ornithology
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[Thank you to #AOSMember Joanna Wu, who’s taking over our Instagram account this week!]After finishing my master's degree, I moved back to California and conducted point count surveys in sometimes remote areas of the Sierra Nevadas (first photo; not a bad way to spend your summers!), compiled the state’s first conservation strategy on the Great Gray Owl, and worked in burned areas (second photo) to study impacts of fire on riparian birds and bumblebees. I was elated the day we caught swallows, which almost never end up in mist nets! It seems a flock of young Violet-green Swallows were flying low, perhaps chasing insects, and a number of them landed right in our nets. Their tiny feet and incredibly long wings were definitely different from the riparian birds we were targeting! Photos by me and Spencer Hardy.  #womeninscience #conservation #birdconservation #fieldwork #birds #wildlife #ornithology #science
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[Thank you to #AOSMember Joanna Wu, who’s taking over our Instagram account this week!]For my master's research, I worked in the lava fields of the Big Island of Hawaiʻi. Hawaiian birds are the most imperiled group of birds in the United States, and some ecosystems have collapsed following habitat alteration, predation by invasive species, and diseases like avian malaria. I worked in the relatively undisturbed kīpuka forests, naturally fragmented by lava flows. There, I studied how the native thrush, ʻŌmaʻo, differed in seed dispersal capabilities from the introduced Japanese White-eye. I found that the white-eye flew farther, but because it was much smaller than the ʻŌmaʻo, it dispersed smaller seeds and couldn’t fully replace the native frugivore where ʻŌmaʻo are extirpated. Ecosystem services like this are already lost for the bigger ʻAlalā, and conservation of Hawaiian birds is direly needed. Photos by Mark Kimura and Nick Turner. #hawaii #ornithology #science #womeninstem #womeninscience #conservation #birdconservation #fieldwork #birds #wildlife
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[Thank you to #AOSMember Joanna Wu, who’s taking over our Instagram account this week!]I learned how to use binoculars from my first field job! Just kidding, but I did learn the invaluable skill of closely observing nature following the ways of naturalist Joseph Grinnell. Growing up as a first-generation immigrant, I did not know that conservation biology was a career option. It was only when I came across a summer field assistantship at @ucberkeleyofficial that I got a taste of ornithology—and I’ve been hooked ever since. Scientists there were welcoming mentors and invested their time in undergraduates. I mist-netted birds and fell in love with them up close. A whole functioning creature less than the size of my hand—how amazing birds are! The key thing about that field assistant position was that it was paid. I didn’t have the privilege of working for free, and had the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology not had funding to pay assistants that summer, I would have taken a different job and not have found my passion so early on. It may seem trivial, but working funded internships and assistantships into grants will actively benefit a diverse pool of candidates. Photo: Madeline Tiee. #science #WomenInSTEM #WomenInScience #conservation #BirdConservation #fieldwork #ornithology #ConservationBiology #birds #wildlife
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[Thank you to #AOSMember Joanna Wu, who’s taking over our Instagram account this week!]Hi! My name is Joanna Wu. I'm an #AOSMember and a Project Manager and Avian Biologist on the Science team at @audubonsociety. I have mostly worked on climate projects here ⁠— I led Audubon's 2018 Birds and Climate Change in Our National Parks scientific publication and ensuing products, and I conducted a similar project with @parks.canada this year. Before joining Audubon, I worked at @instbirdpop in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, and I worked on Hawaiʻi Island for my masters research, studying seed dispersal in a landscape naturally fragmented by lava flows. I will be sharing about all of these projects this week here on the AOS Instagram account! Photo: Luke Franke/Audubon. #climatescience #birdstellus #climatechange #science #womeninstem #womeninscience #conservation #birdconservation #ornithology #birds
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