The AOS 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

    Hi everyone, I’m Connor Wood (@cmmwood), a PhD student at @uwmadison and AOS member, and I’ll be taking over AOS’s account this week! I use bioacoustics to study Spotted Owls and Barred Owls in California’s Sierra Nevada. Recent advances in bioacoustic hardware and software have opened up exciting new research possibilities in the last few years. I’ll be sharing some photos from my dissertation research, which was the first landscape-scale multi-species owl surveys in the U.S. One paper emerging from that project will be published by AOS’s The Condor this week. Photo by @the.jade.heron. #ornithology #wildlife #birds #owls #science #scientist #stemAs a member of the AOS Council, I am happy to play a role in helping to steer the society forward and also make our conferences a great experience for all! I am particularly keen to make AOS a society that fosters the development of early career ornithologists — they are the ones who will be doing the important work of the future. Thank you for following along this week! Photo by Todd Forsgren. #ornithology #science #stem
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[Thanks to Mike Webster for taking over the account this week! Mike had so much fun putting this together that he decided to create his own Instagram account — you can follow him at @michaelwebster83. If YOU are an AOS member and would like to be featured here for a week, please get in touch!]As Director of the Macaulay Library, I am excited to provide the resources and training that will help ornithologists do the research that helps us understand and conserve birds. This is a shot of me with a few of the students that participated in a bioacoustics recordings and analysis workshop that we ran in India this past year. Calling all researchers: the Macaulay Library has audio recordings, videos, and photos of more than 85% of the world’s birds available for your research project! Photo by Mike Webster. #ornithology #science #wildlife #stem #india
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[Our thanks to AOS member Mike Webster, who's taking over this account for the week!]New Hampshire and Colorado aside, much of my research career has involved tropical birds, starting with my dissertation research (many years ago!) on the breeding system of the Montezuma Oropendola. Photo Credit: Annette Teng/Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (ML83646041). #birds #wildlife #ornithology #science #tropicalbirds
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[Our thanks to AOS member Mike Webster, who's taking over this account for the week!]I grew up in Colorado, where I developed my fascination (and passion) for the outdoors and animal behavior, particular the behavior of wild birds. My first research experience came as a field tech studying the lekking behavior of Greater Sage Grouse in the Sierra Mountains. First photo, Linda Sterk; second photo, Andrew Spencer/Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (ML27679151). #ornithology #birds #science #wildlife #colorado #biology #ecology #birdbehavior
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[Our thanks to AOS member Mike Webster, who's taking over this account for the week!]Another major area of research in my lab is on the effects of climate change on breeding of migratory birds, such as the Black-throated Blue Warbler. Our work with this bird in New Hampshire's White Mountains has revealed that behavioral plasticity allows these birds to deal flexibly with advancing springs, but only up to a point! First photo, Ian Davies/Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (ML31729651); second photo, Rebecca Koch; third and fourth photos, Linda Sterk. #ornithology #birds #wildlife #science #biology #ecology #warblers #conservation #climatechange
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[Our thanks to AOS member Mike Webster, who's taking over this account for the week!]Much of my research focuses on the evolution of communication signals, like plumage coloration and song, in Australian birds. Currently much of my work focuses on the Red-backed Fairywren of northern Australia. I am fascinated by fairywrens because they live in complex, cooperative family groups, and yet show high levels of extrapair mating (that is,
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