A Checklist for
The Birds of
Harford County

Welcome To Harford County, Maryland.
This checklist is a general guide to bird abundance in Harford County, MD., current as of October 2014. Harford County, located at the northeast corner of the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, offers a diverse habitat for both breeding and migratory bird species. With the bay and the Susquehanna River on the eastern border, and Little Gunpowder Falls on the western border, there is a variety of habitats. Four state parks including Susquehanna and Gunpowder, as well as Swan Harbor Farm, Eden Mill Park, Harford Glen, and Conowingo Dam offer excellent birding opportunities.

A total of 323 species have been recorded in Harford County. This includes historical and unconfirmed species, which are listed separately at the end of the checklist. Confirmed and probable breeding species are indicated by an asterisk (*); historical breeding species (i.e., prior to 2000) are indicated by a dagger (†). Abundance ratings are based on records provided by experienced Harford County birders. Some species, marked with a pound sign (#), are more prevalent than here indicated in the restricted-access areas of Aberdeen Proving Ground. Breeding records are provided, in part, by the Maryland/DC Breeding Bird Atlases of 1983-1987 and 2002-2006. Common bird names and the taxonomic order are in accordance with the 54th Supplement (2014) to the American Ornithologists’ Union Checklist. For more specific migration times, refer to “Field List of the Birds of Maryland, 3rd Edition” by Marshall J. Iliff, Robert F. Ringler, and James L. Stasz, May 1996.

The seasonal occurrence and relative abundance of birds in their suitable habitat are coded as follows:
s – Spring (Mar – May)             F – Fall (Aug – Nov)
S – Summer (Jun – Jul)           W – Winter (Dec – Feb)

a – abundant        Numerous and widespread.
c – common         Likely to be present and observed.
u – uncommon     Likely to be present, but not routinely observed.
o – occasional     Occurs only a few times during a season, or restricted in distribution
r – rare                Not observed every year
x – accidental      Exceptionally observed outside of its typical geographic range.

Note: For a pdf version of the 5th edition checklist (2010), please click here.

We are establishing a Gallery of Bird Photos, taken by our members.
In the charts below, there will be birds whose names are hyperlinks and are underlined. Click on those birds to see the photos received and posted.

    s S F W
  Greater White-fronted Goose r   r r
  Snow Goose o x o o
  Ross's Goose x     x
  Brant     o x
  Barnacle Goose       x
  Cackling Goose o   o o
Canada Goose * a c a a
  Mute Swan * o o o o
Tundra Swan u x u o
Wood Duck * c c c o
  Gadwall u x u o
  Eurasian Wigeon     x x
  American Wigeon u r u o
  American Black Duck * u o u c
Mallard * a c a a
Blue-winged Teal u x u x
  Northern Shoveler r x o o
  Northern Pintail u x u o
  Green-winged Teal u x u o
  Canvasback u x u u
Redhead r x o r
Ring-necked Duck c x c u
  Greater Scaup o x o o
Lesser Scaup u r u o
  Harlequin Duck x     x
  Surf Scoter r   r x
  White-winged Scoter x x r x
  Black Scoter     r  
  Long-tailed Duck o   o o
Bufflehead u x u c
  Common Goldeneye u   u o
  Hooded Merganser * u r u u
  Common Merganser c o c c
  Red-breasted Merganser o x o o
  Ruddy Duck o x o o
    s S F W
  Northern Bobwhite * # r r r r
  Ring-necked Pheasant * r r r r
  Ruffed Grouse †       x
Wild Turkey * u u u u
    s S F W
  Red-throated Loon r   r r
  Pacific Loon     x  
Common Loon u x u o
  Pied-billed Grebe * u o u u
Horned Grebe o x o r
  Red-necked Grebe r x x r
  Eared Grebe x   x  
    s S F W
  Northern Gannet     x  
Double-crested Cormorant * c u c o
  Great Cormorant x   r r
  Anhinga x      
  American White Pelican x x x  
  Brown Pelican     x x
    s S F W
  American Bittern u x o x
  Least Bittern * u u u  
Great Blue Heron * c c c c
Great Egret u o u x
  Snowy Egret o o o  
Little Blue Heron o o u  
  Tricolored Heron x x    
  Cattle Egret r r r  
Green Heron * c c c x
  Black-crowned Night-Heron* u o u u
  Yellow-crowned Night-Heron x x x  
  White Ibis     x  
Glossy Ibis o r r  
Black Vulture * c c c c
Turkey Vulture * c c c c
    s S F W
  Osprey * c c c r
  Mississippi Kite x      
  Bald Eagle * c u c c
  Northern Harrier u x u u
  Sharp-shinned Hawk u r u u
  Cooper's Hawk * u u u u
  Northern Goshawk r   x r
  Red-shouldered Hawk * u u u u
  Broad-winged Hawk * u r u  
  Red-tailed Hawk * c c c c
  Rough-legged Hawk r   r r
  Golden Eagle x   r r
    s S F W
  Yellow Rail x      
  Black Rail r x    
  King Rail * # o o r  
  Virginia Rail * o o o x
  Sora u r u x
  Common Gallinule† r r r x
American Coot u r u c
  Sandhill Crane x   x o
    s S F W
  American Avocet x x    
  Black-bellied Plover o o o x
  American Golden-Plover x   r  
  Semipalmated Plover u o u  
  Killdeer * c c c u
Spotted Sandpiper c o c x
Solitary Sandpiper c o u  
  Greater Yellowlegs u o u x
  Willet     x  
  Lesser Yellowlegs u o u  
  Upland Sandpiper r x r  
  Whimbrel o r r  
  Marbled Godwit x   x  
  Ruddy Turnstone o   r  
  Red Knot x   x  
  Stilt Sandpiper r x r  
  Sanderling r r r  
  Dunlin o   u r
  Baird's Sandpiper x   r  
Least Sandpiper u o u
  White-rumped Sandpiper r x r  
  Buff-breasted Sandpiper     x  
  Pectoral Sandpiper o x o  
  Semipalmated Sandpiper u o u  
  Western Sandpiper x r o  
  Short-billed Dowitcher r r r  
  Long-billed Dow     x  
Wilson's Snipe u x u o
  American Woodcock * u o u r
  Wilson's Phalarope x      
  Red-necked Phalarope     x  
  Red-Phalarope x   x  
    s S F W
  Pomarine Jaeger     x  
  Parasitic Jaeger     x  
  Black-legged Kittiwake       x
  Sabine's Gull     x  
  Bonaparte's Gull c x u u
  Black-headed Gull r   x r
  Little Gull r     x
  Laughing Gull o o u r
  Franklin's Gull     x  
  Mew Gull       x
Ring-billed Gull a c a a
  California Gull x     x
  Herring Gull c u c c
  Thayer's Gull     x r
  Iceland Gull x   x r
  Lesser Black-backed Gull o x o o
  Glaucous Gull x     r
  Great Black-backed Gull c u c c
  Least Tern * u u o  
  Caspian Tern u o u  
  Black Tern r r o  
  Common Tern r r o  
  Forster's Tern u o c x
  Royal Tern x   x  
  Sandwich Tern     x  
  Black Skimmer     x  
    s S F W
  Rock Pigeon * a a a a
  Eurasian Collared-Dove x      
Mourning Dove * a a a a
Yellow-billed Cuckoo * u u u  
  Black-billed Cuckoo * o r o  
    s S F W
OWLS (8)
  Barn Owl * r r r r
Eastern Screech-Owl * c c c c
Great Horned Owl * c c c c
Snowy Owl x     x
  Barred Owl * u u u u
  Long-eared Owl       r
  Short-eared Owl r   r r
Northern Saw-whet Owl o   o o
    s S F W
  Common Nighthawk u r u  
  Chuck-will's-widow * # r x    
  Eastern Whip-poor-will * # r r r  
    s S F W
  Chimney Swift * c c a  
  Ruby-throated Hummingbird * c c c  
  Rufous Hummingbird x   x x
  Belted Kingfisher * u u u u
    s S F W
  Red-headed Woodpecker * r r r r
Red-bellied Woodpecker * c c c c
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker u x u u
  Downy Woodpecker * c c c c
  Hairy Woodpecker * u u u u
Northern Flicker * c c c c
Pileated Woodpecker * u u u u
    s S F W
  American Kestrel * u r u u
Merlin o   o o
Peregrine Falcon † o o o o
    s S F W
  Olive-sided Flycatcher r   r  
  Eastern Wood-Pewee * c c c  
  Yellow-bellied Flycatcher r x o  
Acadian Flycatcher * c c c  
  Alder Flycatcher r x x  
  Willow Flycatcher * u u u  
  Least Flycatcher r x o  
Eastern Phoebe * c c c o
  Great Crested Flycatcher * c u u  
  Western Kingbird     x  
Eastern Kingbird * c c c  
  Scissor-tailed Flycatcher x      
    s S F W
  Loggerhead Shrike x x x x
White-eyed Vireo * c u c  
  Yellow-throated Vireo * u u u  
  Blue-headed Vireo u x u  
Warbling Vireo * u u u  
  Philadelphia Vireo x   r  
Red-eyed Vireo * c c c  
    s S F W
Blue Jay * c c a c
  American Crow * a a a a
  Fish Crow * c c c u
  Common Raven * r x x x
    s S F W
  Horned Lark * u u u u
Purple Martin * u c c  
Tree Swallow * a c a r
  Northern Rough-winged Swallow * u u u  
Bank Swallow * u u c  
  Cliff Swallow * o o o  
Barn Swallow * a a a  
    s S F W
Carolina Chickadee * c c c c
  Black-capped Chickadee r x r r
Tufted Titmouse * c c c c
Red-breasted Nuthatch o   o o
White-breasted Nuthatch * c u c c
  Brown Creeper u   u u
  House Wren * c c c r
Winter Wren u   u u
  Marsh Wren * u u u r
Carolina Wren * c c c c
    s S F W
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher * c u c x
  Golden-crowned Kinglet c   c u
Ruby-crowned Kinglet c   c o
Eastern Bluebird * c c c c
  Townsend's Solitaire x      
  Veery * u o u  
  Gray-cheeked Thrush o   o  
  Bicknell's Thrush r   r  
  Swainson's Thrush u   u  
  Hermit Thrush u   u u
  Wood Thrush * c c c  
American Robin * a a a u
  Gray Catbird * c a c o
Brown Thrasher * u u u r
Northern Mockingbird * c c c c
    s S F W
  European Starling * a a a a
  American Pipit u   u o
  Cedar Waxwing * u u u u
  Lapland Longspur x     r
Snow Bunting x   r r
    s S F W
  Ovenbird * c u c  
  Worm-eating Warbler * u u o  
  Louisiana Waterthrush * u u o  
  Northern Waterthrush u x u  
  Golden-winged Warbler r   r  
Blue-winged Warbler * u o u  
  Black-and-white Warbler * u u u x
Prothonotary Warbler * u u o  
  Tennessee Warbler o   u  
  Orange-crowned Warbler     x x
  Nashville Warbler o   o  
Connecticut Warbler     r  
  Mourning Warbler r x r  
Kentucky Warbler * u o o  
Common Yellowthroat * c c c r
  Hooded Warbler * u o u  
American Redstart * c u c  
  Cape May Warbler o   u  
  Cerulean Warbler * o o r  
Northern Parula * c u c x
  Magnolia Warbler u x u  
Bay-breasted Warbler o   u  
  Blackburnian Warbler o   u  
  Yellow Warbler * c u u x
  Chestnut-sided Warbler u x u  
Blackpoll Warbler u r u  
  Black-throated Blue Warbler u x u  
Palm Warbler u   u x
  Pine Warbler * u o u r
Yellow-rumped Warbler † c   c u
  Yellow-throated Warbler * u o o  
  Prairie Warbler * u u u  
Black-throated Green Warbler u x u x
  Canada Warbler u   u  
  Wilson's Warbler o   o x
  Yellow-breasted Chat * u u o  
    s S F W
Eastern Towhee * u u u u
American Tree Sparrow o   o o
Chipping Sparrow * c c c o
  Clay-colored Sparrow     x x
  Field Sparrow * u u u u
  Vesper Sparrow † o x o r
Savannah Sparrow * u r u u
  Grasshopper Sparrow * u u o  
  Henslow's Sparrow x x    
  Le Conte's Sparrow     x x
  Nelson's Sparrow x   r  
  Seaside Sparrow r      
  Fox Sparrow u   u o
Song Sparrow * c c c c
  Lincoln's Sparrow r   o  
  Swamp Sparrow * u r u u
White-throated Sparrow a x a a
White-crowned Sparrow u   u u
Dark-eyed Junco a x a a
  Summer Tanager * # r x x  
  Scarlet Tanager * c u c  
Northern Cardinal * c c c c
Rose-breasted Grosbeak u x u  
  Blue Grosbeak * u u u  
  Indigo Bunting * c c c x
  Painted Bunting x      
  Dickcissel * r x r x
    s S F W
  Bobolink * u r u  
Red-winged Blackbird * a a a a
  Eastern Meadowlark * u o u o
Yellow-headed Blackbird r   x r
  Rusty Blackbird o   o o
  Brewer's Blackbird x   x  
Common Grackle * a a a a
  Brown-headed Cowbird * c c c c
Orchard Oriole * c u u  
Bullock's Oriole x     x
Baltimore Oriole * c u c r
    s S F W
House Finch * c c c c
Purple Finch o x o o
  Red Crossbill     x x
  White-winged Crossbill x   x x
  Common Redpoll r   x r
  Pine Siskin o x o o
American Goldfinch * c c c c
  Evening Grosbeak r   r r
  House Sparrow * a a a a

Historical Species - Well-documented records exist, although not seen or reported since 1900.

  Thick-billed Murre (F)

Unconfirmed Species - Reported by experienced birders in the season(s) indicated but awaiting formal review by the Maryland/DC Records Committee.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (S) Trumpeter Swan (s,W)
Leach's Storm-Petrel (F) Clapper Rail (s)
Note: The Whistling Ducks were found on 30 June, 2015

Please share rare findings with our members by e-mailing your information to: hb2@harfordbirdclub.org

Date Time
Number Age Sex
Distance from bird Duration
Optical Equipment
Weather Wind
Bird-sun orientation
Head & Neck
Eyes & Lores
Upper & Lower Mandibles
Legs & Feet
Additional Comments _____________________________
A Checklist for The Birds of Harford County Published by the Harford Chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society 5th Edition December 2010

Contact Information
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