Birds of Acadia National Park (with sounds)

The Birds of Acadia National Park are divided into 4 size groups, from the largest #1 to the smallest #40.

Based on the bird’s size you want to identify, scroll down the list or click-jump to one of the 4 size groups to find it. If not there, return to the top and try another size group.

Where to find birds in Acadia National Park? 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 harbors a remarkable 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.

When it comes to ease of seeing them, these are birds that favor mostly open or semi-open habitats where they can be readily spotted or heard calling.


1. Bald Eagle

The adult Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is unmistakable. The juvenile is dark brown and goes through several plumage stages before acquiring the majestic plumage of an adult bird. It is larger than a loon and favors lakes, ponds, and coastal areas. USFWS/Flickr/CC by 2.0

2. Common Loon

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). Shawn-McCready/Flickr/CC by 2.0

3. White-winged Scoter

The White-winged Scoter (Melanitta deglandi) is blackish with a conspicuous white wing patch. Males are darker, and unlike the females, they have white under and behind the eye. They have a pink bill. It is larger than an average-sized duck and favors shallow coastal water and large freshwater lakes. Adam Baker/Flickr/CC by 2.0

4. Surf Scoter

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 on her face. It dives for mollusks and other invertebrates. It is larger than a Mallard and favors bays and other coastal waters. Andrew Reding/Flickr/CC by 2.0

5. Common Eider

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, and it favors coastal waters. Allan-Hopkins/Flickr/CC by 2.0

6. Great Cormorant

The Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) is blackish with a white throat patch, distinguishing it from the smaller and similar Double-crested Cormorant. It is larger than a duck and favors saltwater habitats along the coast, and it seldom ventures inland.

7. American Black Duck

The American Black Duck (Anas rubripes) is dark brown with a paler brown head and neck. Males and females look alike and are similar to a female Mallard but darker. It is about the size of a Mallard and favors salt marshes and other tidal areas. Brendan F/Flickr/CC by 2.0

8. Northern Gannet

The adult Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus) is all white with black wingtips, 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. Julio Mulero/Flickr/CC by 2.0

9. Osprey

The Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) is a “staple” bird of coastal areas and the eastern United States. Its patterned black and white head, white underparts, and dark brown upperparts are unmistakable. It is about the size of a Mallard and favors lakes, ponds, and coastal waters. John Magnus/Flickr/CC by 2.0


10. Common Goldeneye

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, and it favors shallow coastal bays and estuaries. Eric Ellingson/Flickr/CC by 2.0

11. Wood Duck

The male Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) has an ornate plumage, but the female is brown with a distinctive eye ring. The Wood Duck nests in natural cavities and in nesting boxes placed near water. It is smaller than a Mallard and favors ponds, wetlands, and flooded woods. Mick Thompson/Flickr/CC by 2.0

12. Red-breasted Merganser

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 brown heads. It is about the size of a mallard and favors lakes and ponds. Jen Goellnitz/Flickr/CC by 2.0

13. Horned Grebe

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 primarily gray with black caps and white cheeks. It is smaller than a Mallard and favors large lakes and open ocean water. Scot Heron/Flickr/CC by 2.0

14. Long-tailed Duck

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 varies with seasons. It is about the size of a Mallard and is entirely restricted to saltwater. Dave Inman/Flickr/CC by 2.0

15. Bufflehead

 The male Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) is 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. Jeff-Bryant/Flickr/CC by 2.0

16. Black Guillemot

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. Scottish-government/Flickr/CC by 2.0

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. Ravens are large birds that favor open fields, sparse woodlands, and forest edges. Adam Baker/Flickr/CC by 2.0


18. Great Black-backed Gull

The adult Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus) has a 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. Andrew-Cannizzaro/Flickr/CC by 2.0

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. Nicole Beaulac/Flickr/CC by 2.0

20. Pileated Woodpecker

The Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) is primarily 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. Mick Thompson/Flickr/CC by 2.0

21. Belted Kingfisher

The male Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) is gray-blue and white, while the female has a rusty band on the belly. Both sexes have strong bills and shaggy crests. Dives for fish in shallow waters. It is smaller than a pigeon and favors shallow waters of lakes, streams, and estuaries. Dennis Church/Flickr/CC by 2.0


22. Northern Flicker

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. Jon Anderson/Flickr/CC by 2.0

23. Blue Jay

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 flocks of 3 to 5 individuals. It is larger than a sparrow and favors semi-open, forest edges and urban habitats. Phil Romans/Flickr/CC by 2.0

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. Dennis Church/Flickr/CC by 2.0

25. Red-winged Blackbird

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. Hal Trachtenberg/Flickr/CC by 2.0

26. White-throated Sparrow

The White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) has patterned upper parts 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. Doug Greenberg/Flickr/CC by 2.0

27. Song Sparrow

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 sparrows and a great singer. It favors the floor of forest edges, hedgerows, and shrubberies. Becky Matsubara/Flickr/CC by 2.0

28. Purple Finch

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. Fyn Kynd/Flickr/CC by 2.0

29. Northern Cardinal

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. BirdNerd67/Flickr/CC by 2.0

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. Adam Baker/Flickr/CC by 2.0

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 habitats in pristine and urban areas. Dennis Church/Flickr/CC by 2.0

32. Red-breasted Nuthatch

The Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) is recognized by its patterned white, black, 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. Nicole Beaulac/Flickr/CC by 2.0

33. Dark-eyed Junco

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. Fishhawk/Flickr/CC by 2.0

34. Blue-headed Vireo

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. Andy Reago/Flickr/CC by 2.0

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. Dennis Church/Flickr/CC by 2.0

36. American Redstart

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 spreads its tail while foraging in trees. It is smaller than a sparrow and favors any type of wooded area. Tom Murray/Flickr/CC by 2.0

37. Black-throated Green Warbler

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. Silver Leapers/Flickr/CC by 2.0

38. Yellow-rumped Warbler

The Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) is mostly gray, heavily streaked with black. It has yellow patches on the sides of the breast and the rump. The throat is white. It is smaller than a sparrow and favors forest edges and scrub. John Sutton/Flickr/CC by 2.0

39. Black-capped Chickadee

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. Jim Bauer/Flickr/CC by 2.0

40. Golden-crowned Kinglet

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 restless behavior. It often joins mixed-species flocks. It is smaller than a sparrow and favors woodlands. Ken Cole-Shriver/Flickr/CC by 2.0

Final Remarks:

To go beyond the 40 Birds of Acadia National Park, see the complete Bird Species List for Acadia National Park.

Next Read:

Acadia National Park: A visitor’s Guide


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.