Acadian National Park offers plenty of birding opportunities. This photographic guide includes 40 of the most conspicuous and more often reported birds in the park.
The list of 40 birds of Acadia National Park is arranged in descending order using a bird’s size from the largest #1 to the smallest #40.
The list is further divided into four color-coded size groups using as reference the size of familiar birds such as an eagle, a duck, a pigeon, and a sparrow.
Scroll down the list if you are using a desktop computer and would like to familiarize yourself with the birds of Acadia National Park in preparation for a visit.
You can enhance your Birdwatching experience by using this list in your cell phone to identify birds while at the park.
Where can I find Birds?
Everywhere! Acadia National Park is the breeding ground and stopover area during migration for many migratory and resident species of songbirds.
The park’s habitat diversity along the eastern seaboard harbor an amazing 338 bird species.
Walk some of the trails that go through wooded areas to see and hear songbirds or walk along the Ship Harbor trail or other coastal areas for sea ducks and shorebirds. The ponds and lakes also attract grebes, mergansers and freshwater ducks.
Why These 40 Species?
Whether you are a casual observer or an avid birder, Acadia National Park offers many opportunities to see some of the best birds of the upper northeastern United States.
These are the 40 Birds you are most likely to see on a visit to Acadia National Park. They are the most frequently reported by visitors and have things in common.
They are not difficult to find and observe as they are generally large, fairly common, and rather vocal.
BIRDS ABOUT THE SIZE OF AN EAGLE
1. Bald Eagle
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The adult Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is unmistakable. The juvenile is dark brown and go through several plumage stages prior to acquiring the majestic plumage of an adult bird. It is larger than a loon and favors lakes, ponds, and coastal areas.
2. Common Loon
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The breeding plumage of a Common Loon (Gavia immer) is an unmistakable patterned black and white. Both sexes look alike. The non-breeding plumage is brown above and whitish below. It is larger than a mallard and favors lakes and ponds (breeding) and coastal waters (non-breeding).
3. White-winged Scoter
The White-winged Scoter (Melanitta deglandi) is blackish with a conspicuous white wing patch. Males are darker, and unlike the female, they have white under and behind the eye. They have a pink bill. It is larger than a average-sized duck and favors shallow coastal water and large freshwater lakes.
4. Surf Scoter
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The male Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata) is black with a white area on the forehead and back of the neck. The female is brown with white areas in the face. It dives for mollusks and other invertebrates. It is larger than a Mallard and favors bays and other coastal waters.
5. Common Eider
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The male Common Eider (Patagioenas leucocephala) is black and white. The female is overall brown. They congregate in large flocks. They dive for crustaceans and invertebrates. It is larger than an average duck. It favors coastal waters.
6. Great Cormorant
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The Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) is blackish with a white throat patch, which distinguishes it from the smaller and similar Double-crested Cormorant. It is larger than a duck. and favors saltwater habitats along the coast. It seldom ventures inland.
7. American Black Duck
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The American Black Duck (Anas rubripes) is dark brown with paler brown head and neck. Males and females look alike. It is similar to a female Mallard but darker. It is about the size of a Mallard and favors salt marshes and other tidal areas.
8. Northern Gannet
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The adult Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus) is all white with black wing tips warm-brown head and back of the neck. The juvenile is sooty brown. They dive into the ocean for fish. It is smaller than a goose. It favors pelagic waters but can be seen in coastal waters.
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The Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) is a “staple” bird of coastal areas along the eastern United States. Its patterned black and white head, white underparts, and dark brown upper parts are unmistakable. It is about the size of a Mallard and favors lakes, ponds, and coastal waters.
BIRDS ABOUT THE SIZE OF A DUCK
10. Common Goldeneye
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The male Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) has a black-green head and dark back with the rest of the body white and golden eyes. The female and immature are gray-brown with a dark brown head and pale eyes. It is about the size of a Mallard. It favors shallow coastal bays and estuaries.
11. Wood Duck
The male Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) has an ornate plumage. The female is brown with a distinctive eye ring. The Wood Duck nests in natural cavities and also in nesting boxes placed near water. It is smaller than a Mallard and favors ponds, wetlands, and flooded woods.
12. Red-breasted Merganser
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The male Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) has a dark-green head with a shaggy crest, reddish-brown breast and black and white body. The female and juvenile are gray-brown with a brown head. It is about the size of a mallard and favors lakes and ponds.
13. Horned Grebe
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The Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus) has a black head and broad yellow-brown bands behind the eye that project into tufts. The body is reddish brown to dusky. Birds in non-breeding plumage are mostly gray with a black cap and white cheeks. It is smaller than a Mallard and favors large lakes and open ocean water.
14. Long-tailed Duck
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The male Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis) is black, white, and gray and has a long tail. The female is brown with a whitish face and a dark cheek patch. The plumage vary with seasons. It is about the size of a Mallard and is entirely restricted to saltwater.
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The male Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) is basically black and white. The female and immature birds are brown with a white patch on the cheek. It is a winter visitor to Acadia National Park. It is about the size of a Mallard and favors bays, lakes, and estuaries.
16. Black Guillemot
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The Black Guillemot (Cepphus grylle) is all black with bright red legs and large white patches on the wings. Both sexes look alike. They nest on rocky cliffs and forage in relatively shallow water near the coast. It is larger than a pigeon and restricted to rocky shores, cliffs, and coastal waters.
BIRDS ABOUT THE SIZE OF A PIGEON
17. Common Raven
The Common Raven (Corvus corax) is all black with a thick bill and a wedge-shaped tail. Unlike the American Crow, ravens are solitary and generally restricted to open country. It is larger than a pigeon and favors open fields, sparse woodlands, and forest edges.
18. Great Black-backed Gull
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The adult Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus) has black back and wings and a pure white rest of the body. The bill is yellow. Sexes look alike. It is the world’s largest gull. It is larger than a pigeon and favors coastal areas along rocky and sandy shores.
19. Ruffed Grouse
The Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) is patterned with shades of gray, brown, and black. It searches for food on the ground and is difficult to see as it normally hides from view. It is larger than a pigeon and favors the ground of forested areas.
20. Pileated Woodpecker
The Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) is mostly black with a patterned black and white head and red crest (males only). It is the largest woodpecker in the region and makes loud and distinctive drumming sounds. It is about the size of a pigeon and favors woodland habitats including urban areas.
21. Belted Kingfisher
BIRDS ABOUT THE SIZE OF A SPARROW
22. Northern Flicker
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The Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) is warm-brown with black barring above and large black dots on the underparts. It has a distinctive black crescent on the breast. It is frequently seen foraging on the ground. It is smaller than a pigeon and favors forest edges and open woodlands.
23. Blue Jay
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The Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) is one of the most familiar American birds. The patterned head, back, tail, and whitish underparts are recognized by most. They are usually found in flock 3 to 5 individuals. It is larger than a sparrow and favors semi-open, forest edges, and urban habitats.
24. American Robin
The American Robin (Turdus migratorius) is a widespread and familiar bird. The reddish-brown belly, gray back, and black head are unmistakable. They can be seen hopping on the lawns and open spaces. It is larger than a sparrow and favors forest edges and open spaces.
25. Red-winged Blackbird
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The male Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) is black with bright red shoulder patches. The female is brown with blackish streaks. It breeds in wetlands. it is slightly larger than a sparrow and favors open areas. It can form large flocks during the non-breeding season.
26. White-throated Sparrow
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The White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) has patterned upperparts and gray underparts. The head is also patterned with a white throat and yellow on the base of the bill. It favors the floor of forest edges, hedgerows, and shrubberies.
27. Song Sparrow
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The Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) has a patterned back and head and pale underparts with dark dots and streaks. It is one of the most common and widespread sparrow, and a great singer. It favors the floor of forest edges, hedgerows, and shrubberies.
28. Purple Finch
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The Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus) has a raspberry head, breast, and back that grades to gray-brown towards the back of its body. It is a good great singer. It favors a variety of habitats from woodlands to urban habitats. It is similar to a house finch.
29. Northern Cardinal
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The Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) is perhaps one of the most familiar North American birds. Males are bright red and females are a warm brown. They can be found in woodlands and urban habitats. It is about the size of a sparrow and favors semi-open habitats.
30. Cedar Waxwing
The Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) is brown overall with a yellowish belly. It has a yellow terminal tail band and waxy red tips on the secondary flight feathers, hence its name. It is about the size of a sparrow and favors any habitat that has berries and other fruit.
31. Downy Woodpecker
The Downy Woodpecker (Patagioenas leucocephala) has a patterned black and white plumage, which is similar to the larger and longer-billed Hairy Woodpecker (not illustrated). It is slightly larger than a sparrow and favors forest habitat in pristine and urban areas.
32. Red-breasted Nuthatch
The Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) is recognized by is patterned white, black, and gray head and reddish belly. Its habit of creeping up vertical trunks and limbs is a good way to tell them apart. It is smaller than a sparrow and favors forest and other woodlands.
33. Dark-eyed Junco
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The Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) is gray with a white belly. The bill is pink. The outer tail feathers are white. It is about the size size of a sparrow and favors the floor of forest edges, semi open areas, and woodlands.
34. Blue-headed Vireo
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The Blue-headed Vireo (Vireo solitarius) is distinguished by its white spectacles that contrast with the gray-blue color of its head. It is usually found along with mixed-species flocks in wooded areas of the park. It is slightly smaller than a sparrow and favors woodlands.
35. American Goldfinch
The male American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) is bright yellow with a black forehead in spring and summer. The female is brown. Both sexes turn brown during the winter and look alike. It is smaller than a sparrow and favors forest edges, semi-open woodlands, and urban habitats.
36. American Redstart
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The male American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) is black with orange wing and tail bands. The female is olive-gray and has yellow instead of orange. It is a very active bird that spread its tail while foraging in trees. It is smaller than a sparrow and favors any type of wooded areas.
37. Black-throated Green Warbler
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The Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens) has a yellow head and solid black throat and upper breast. These colors turn dull during the non-breeding season. It is often found in flocks with other warblers. It is smaller than a sparrow and favors woodlands with tall trees.
38. Yellow-rumped Warbler
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The Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) is mostly gray heavily streaked with black. It has yellow patches on the sides of the breast and on the rump. The throat is white. It is smaller than a sparrow and favors forest edges and scrub.
39. Black-capped Chickadee
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The Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) is very small with a proportionally large head. The black cap, white cheeks, and black throat are distinctive. They associate with mixed-species flocks. It is smaller than a sparrow and favors woodland areas.
40. Golden-crowned Kinglet
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The Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa) is a tiny forest bird recognized by its patterned head and golden crown, which is not always readily visible. It has a restless behavior. It often joins mixed-species flocks. It is smaller than a sparrow and favors woodlands.
To go beyond the 40 Birds of Acadia National Park, see the complete Bird Species List for Acadia National Park.
Credits Sound Recordings.
Recordings: Xeno Canto.
- Andrew Spencer: Common Loon, Ruffed Grouse, Song Sparrow, Blue-headed Vireo, American Redstart, Black-capped Chickadee, Golden-crowned Kinglet.
- Paul Marvin, Bald Eagle, American Black Duck, Osprey, Wood Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, Bufflehead, Common Raven, Great Black-backed Gull, American Robin, White-throated Sparrow, Purple Finch, Cedar Waxwing, Downy Woodpecker, Red-breasted Nuthatch, American Goldfinch, Yellow-rumped Warbler.
- Frank Lambert: Dark-eyed Junco.
- Steve Hampton: Long-tailed Duck.
- Stanislas Wroza: Black Guillemot.